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Hypnotherapy; mind tricks or mind shifts?

If I told you, your mind could trick you into seeing colours that weren’t there – would you believe me?

David Spiegel, from Stanford University told the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science that he had scanned the brains of volunteers who were told they were looking at coloured objects when, in fact, they were black and white.

A scan showing areas of the brain used to register colour highlighted increased blood flow, indicating that the volunteers genuinely ‘saw’ colours, as they had been told they would. According to David Speigal, ‘This is scientific evidence that something happens in the brain when people are hypnotised that doesn’t happen ordinarily,’

Hypnotic brain states

The brain has different levels of consciousness, ranging from fully alert through drowsy and fully asleep, with variations in between. Hypnotic states occur naturally and spontaneously such as when we are day dreaming, reading a book or absorbed in a movie. Dr. Mark Jensen, a psychologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, found that hypnosis and meditation have similar neurophysiological profiles.

These brain states can be measured by EEG tracking brainwaves from high frequency to low frequency:

Beta: (14-30Hz) Normal awake state often associated with emotional states from stress through to higher anxiety states.

Alpha: (9-11 Hz) Associated with calm relaxed but alert states occurring naturally in everyday life.

Theta: (4-8Hz) Associated with deep relaxation, creativity, deep meditation and hypnosis.

Delta: (1-3 Hz) Sleep, deep physical relaxation and rejuvenation.

Hypnosis works, by the therapist deliberately inducing a relaxed state spanning from alpha through to theta states, and then offering therapeutic suggestions to reshape perceptions and change behaviours. These suggestions are subconsciously absorbed in these receptive states, but only if those suggestions are acceptable to the hypnotized person. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t be hypnotized into doing things against your will; neither can you be forced into a hypnotic state. Instead, you allow yourself to be hypnotised. It is a voluntary altering of your own consciousness, and you are always in control. In other words, you are hypnotising yourself.

The Hypnotherapist will carefully craft an individualized script focusing on the desired agreed goal which is tailored to each client.  Hypnosis works by updating the unconscious mind with new and more helpful information, like reprogramming a computer. It can be used to change associations, so that cigarettes, for instance, are no longer seen as “little friends”, and are more realistically regarded as “toxic killers”. It can also be used to mentally rehearse better ways of going about things, such as being able to deal with stressful situations without having to light up. Since the unconscious mind controls our autonomic bodily processes, physical change can also be achieved through hypnosis. Pain control is a very good example.

Hypnosis harnesses the power of your subconscious mind to eliminate limiting beliefs and obstacles to success.

Hypnotherapy is useful in four general categories:

Nervous system / emotional: stress, anxiety, depression, grief and loss, panic attacks, PTSD and trauma -based issues, nervous tension, insomnia, stuttering, fears & phobias and most nervous-based behaviour.

Habits/ compulsions / addictions: quit smoking, quit or moderate drinking, gambling, nail biting, thumb sucking, skin-picking or biting, hair pulling, over-eating, or compulsive eating, sugar addiction.

Physical: Natural fertility and childbirth, pain control, promote healing, improve chronic health conditions, IBS, assist body to fight cancer or manage chronic illness, improve immune function, improve stress- related physical ailments or health fears & phobia’s.

Self improvement: improve self-confidence, relationships, childhood wounds, coping with life transitions, public speaking, memory retention, focus, concentration, learn self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques, personal and business coaching.

Habitual responses in body and mind

Most of us are familiar with the mind triggering a physiological response such as the heart racing when hearing a police siren when driving slightly too fast, or mistaking a stick for a snake. Perhaps you have a fear or phobia which can be triggered by a memory or thought.

This is how it works- our emotional brain (limbic system) records and stores every experience from the womb through to adulthood either consciously or subconsciously. Family patterns and life experience positive or negative affect how we think, feel and respond now. Emotional responses are transmitted to the body the autonomic nervous system, which releases biochemical and electrical messages into the bloodstream.

Mind body interactions are circular in nature-each affecting the other in both directions. The lower brain stem control centres, which serve as relay stations of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems regulate our responses (fight or flight). This network of communication can increase blood pressure, control body temperature, regulate blood flow, increase or decrease salivation and gastrointestinal activity, and cause bladder emptying. Therefore all organs can respond psychosomatic. Neuron pathways are created in the brain determined by emotional responses to life events and we develop learned patterns of behavior which we continually re enact. These patterns are held in memory; firmly held patterns create physical and mental habits, and beliefs.

Yet all firmly held beliefs where once a new idea, and doubt-able. Therefore all neuron pathways can be changed. Change your mind and change your bodily response.

In a nutshell: Thoughts produce feelings which create a belief in the mind, which when repeated forms a habit or  attitude, this directly influences our behaviour contributing to our experience of life

Want to try it for yourself?

Heather Cavill Greer is a Clinical hypnotherapist and psychotherapist with many years’ experience. Heather uses Clinical Hypnosis, Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) most people feel better within 3-6 sessions. For a free 20 minute consultation either call or book with Heather on 0405  821 880.

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