An Overview of Hypnosis

Everything that we are capable of experiencing with our senses—a rainbow, a galaxy, a cup of tea, a rose and the trellis it grows on—everything available to us in the manifest world has begun with a thought. Mind is not at war with matter, as the old phrase, “mind over matter,” might imply, but is, in fact, the genesis of matter. A more timely rephrasing, and one consistent with the latest discoveries in quantum physics, might be, “mind INTO matter.” For that is, essentially, the process of life experience: mind becoming matter, or thoughts becoming things.

Superficially, at the conscious level, we are rarely aware of this process in action and we find it convenient and certainly customary to separate mind from matter as two distinct and mutually exclusive aspects of being. Nevertheless, not only are they not mutually exclusive, they are essentially identical aspects of the same quantum reality which only appear to us as opposites.

To quantum physicists—and fortunately also to a growing number of practitioners in many alternative, complementary and holistic modalities, such as hypnotherapy—mind and body are components of a unified field of wholeness which interact with precision to create the experience we call reality. Deepak Chopra, a leader in the field of mind-body medicine, has written, “. . . happy thoughts create happy molecules . . .” and while this may seem like a whimsical oversimplification, it addresses the subject with perfect accuracy. In essence, what we think is what we become. What we believe is what our lives are made of. It is our thoughts that are shaping our world.

This truism becomes much more than theoretically significant when we discover something in our world that we feel needs to change. It could be an emotional issue such as depression or anxiety. It could be a physical problem, anything from tension headaches to cancer—or a dysfunctional response that seems to partake of both—as with sleep disorder, lack of motivation, or writers’ block. It might be an unhelpful habit we long to be finished with, or a helpful habit we wish we could establish. The list is virtually endless when we reflect on the ways in which our lives might improve. We imagine that there are many problems, each one requiring a different solution, but fundamentally there is only one problem—an unbeneficial thought. And there is only one solution—changing that thought to a better, more beneficial one. And that change forms the essence, and value, of hypnosis as a therapeutic healing modality.

Thoughts can be changed, though when the attempt is made to do so at the conscious level the process can be lengthy, laborious, time consuming and frustrating, because the conscious mind stubbornly will attempt to hold onto its preconceptions. But hypnosis gently bypasses the conscious level of mind, where opinions are obstinate and beliefs are entrenched and inflexible, and addresses instead the subconscious level of mind which is much more open to new possibilities. If we consider the conscious level as the place where our world view has become rigid and static, then we may consider our subconscious as a level which welcomes innovation with interest, curiosity and a willingness to change.

Though many people have never been more than peripherally aware that their subconscious mind exists, during hypnosis they actually gain access to it and can participate in making new, beneficial and life-affirming thoughts available to themselves at this more profound level. They are assisted in the process by a skilled, well-trained hypnotherapist whose job it is to create—and hold—a safe, comfortable mental space for this valuable work to be done, and to offer suggestions and direction that will lead to the fulfillment of virtually any goal which the client may have set for him/herself.

When we are willing to explore the great potential of our own subconscious mind to improve our life experience, we gain access to an invincible ally, without limits or conditions, whose only task is to understand what it is we want and then to provide it for us. Through hypnosis we create this powerful partnership of mind and matter that, literally, can change the world.