Most of us are familiar with the image of hypnosis portrayed by stage act hypnosis. The guy who’s hypnotized into thinking he can’t lift his leg off the floor, or is made to meow like a cat or bark like a dog. So how can something which is apparently bluntly embarrassing to the subject be used to help someone in treatment?
Mental Condition during Hypnosis
The solution lies not so much in what the subject is asked to do through hypnosis but in the trance like mental condition that someone enters during hypnosis. That hypnotic trance finds the subconscious mind, which is precisely what psychotherapists are after during lots of the phases involved in treatment. One of the keystone principles of modern psychology is the distinction between the conscious and the subconscious mind.
The conscious mind is the regular stuff we think of when we say “thoughts”. It’s the everyday sense, thinking, judging right and wrong, analyzing, looking, listening and decision-making. The unconscious mind is that which we do not see. It’s the automated programming behind the scenes which makes the conscious mind potential. Only a little bit of information can be in the mind at once, the remainder is unconscious mind.
Conscious Mind vs Unconscious Mind
A good analogy would be to compare your mind into a computer. What you see on the monitor is similar to the conscious mind. You essentially only see it one screen of information at one time. You may go through a great deal of displays of information quite quickly but it’s still only a small amount at one time. The programming within the computer is similar to the unconscious mind. It’s the programming inside that makes all you see on the monitor potential.
Most of us never understand the programming unless by accident or if something goes wrong and the operating system spits out some computer jargon. Generally, when common everyday computer users see the computer programming in this manner it’s a bad sign and the computer has to be fixed. Here is where the analogy begins to break down.
In today’s world if computer programming goes wrong we usually just reload the program and reboot the computer. You can not do this with people’s minds. But sometimes when a computer goes wrong a developer must get at the programming and adjust the program to find the computer working properly again. In precisely the same manner, occasionally people get off track in their own lives and can’t appear to get unstuck.
Sometimes a therapist must get at the subconscious mind of these people to find out what went wrong in the programming which triggered the awake day to day issues. Hypnotherapy not only provides access to the subconscious mind but also provides a tool for helping to repair the issue.
The same power which makes it possible for a stage hypnotist to get people to do odd things may be employed to help reprogram someone’s unconscious mind to fix the problem feelings or behaviour. To be certain, the human mind isn’t nearly as simple to fix as a busted computer but hypnotherapy provides the therapist with a powerful instrument to assist.