Stories We Tell.

March 18, 2015

Trance is a state in which learning and openness to change is most likely to occur. By trance I am not referring to a state in which clients are ‘put under’ some kind of mysterious spell by a hypnotist, nor are those in a hypnotic trance out of control and directed by the will of another. Hypnotherapy bears no relation to the charade of Stage Hypnosis which is used solely for the purposes of entertainment. The therapeutic hypnotic trance is in fact a natural state experienced by everyone and is as natural to our experience of being alive as breathing. The most common experience of trance that is familiar to everyone is when you daydream, other trance states can occur when you meditate, pray, or perform exercises, – jogging is a great example of ‘hypnosis in motion’. During these situations a person creates a heightened awareness of their inner mental and sensory experiences, their internal story, whilst external stimuli such as sounds and movements take on a lesser degree of importance.

Whilst in a therapeutic hypnotic trance a client will often intuitively understand the meaning of dreams, symbols and other unconscious expressions. In essence you experience unconscious learning as you become less involved mentally with thoughts and issues. It is possible that new suggestions given by the hypnotherapist are more readily accepted as the critical faculties are reduced, however if any of the suggestions made are in conflict with your values then you will not accept them or the acceptance of them will be fleeting or transient. Sometimes people experience amnesia whilst in trance, this is neither damaging nor long – term.

The hypnotherapist’s role is to guide the client into a trance state, firstly by capturing the client’s attention and then to subtly direct the attention inwards, this leads to an inner search and a hypnotic response. The hypnotic response, which is related both to your needs and expectations and to the therapists direction is drawn from your vast store – house of learning. In order to achieve this response, the hypnotic suggestions may be either indirect, interspersed in an ordinary conversational style or an interesting story. Stories are a fundamental part of your experience of life. The life you are living is drawn from a construct of stories created through an internal dialogue which you then go on to live out externally. ‘it’s the story of my life’ is a common expression of belief that can keep you stuck in outmoded patterns of behaviour. To change your external experience it is necessary first to change the inner story. Your unconscious ability to create change is tuned to your natural ability to access and utilize knowledge. When a hypnotherapist who is optimistic, positive and supportive of your growth introduces stories “teaching tales” to you whilst you are in trance new feelings are evoked and you will encounter new life experiences.

Whilst you are in trance the therapist is alert to subtle changes that will indicate to what degree you are responding. Such indications may include a softening of facial expressions and features, staring, absence of blinking and almost complete immobility. When these series of responses are observed, the therapist can safely assume that you have entered a light trance state. It is usually at this point that the therapist will note that you are dealing with material from the unconscious and let your mind settle there.

More often than not the stories told follow archetypal patterns, much like those found in fairy tales, folk myths, legends and so on. The most common theme being that of a quest. The effect on you is similar to that experienced when you have been to see a really good movie, there may even be the sensation of a glow. Often after you have seen a really good movie there is a sense of well – being as most people naturally enter an altered state of consciousness whilst watching a film that engages them. During the film you identify with one or more of the characters and thus leave feeling ‘trance – formed’ Usually this feeling only lasts for a short period of time, 10-15 minutes at most. By contrast after a good hypnotherapy session clients often find that still many years later the story heard whilst in a hypnotic trance remains with them and their attitude has been permanently changed.

The reason for this profound change is due to the therapeutic hypnotic state where you are more readily able to access and use unconscious learning. Hypnotherapy is unique in that it allows you to get in touch with this unconscious learning state and retrieve your own inner wisdom which you can then incorporate into your behaviour. As a result you will experience more constructive and self – reinforcing behaviour.

Hypnotherapy is nothing like brainwashing. Brainwashing needs to be repeated, often with far greater force as the behaviour it aspires to induce is rarely enforced by your culture and so it fades rather quickly. Hypnosis which encourages and supports patterns of behaviour that serve to support you, strengthen you, benefits not just you but those around you also, creating a positive outcome. Advertising is an example of an attempt to brainwash people to believe that they are not good enough. If you spend enough time away from TV adverts you will eventually return to a healthy perception of yourself and your sense of self worth. Hypnotherapy leads to lasting change because it is directed towards personal growth, that you can better yourself because you already posses unique possibilities for growth.

If you would like more information about how Hypnotherapy can support you to create the life you want and minimise the effects of negative thought patterns and behaviour please call or email me.