What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnosis is used for the resolution of many problems. We use it to give up smoking. We use it to resolve emotional issues. We use it to understand phobias and the like. But what is hypnosis exactly? How does it work? Many people use it who don't know what they are doing. Does this matter? What about past life regression? Why do past life regression and hypnosis go together? Is there genuinely such a thing as past life therapy, or is it just a gimmick?
To understand hypnosis we need to understand something about consciousness. Consciousness exists in different states. First there is the normal conscious awareness. This is the awareness we all experience when we are awake and pursuing our lives during waking hours. Then of course, there is sleep. But sleep is not just sleep. It is divided into stages. Just prior to sleep there is the hypnagogic state in which we daydream and visualise. As we transit this phase we enter the first stage of sleep which is rapid eye movement sleep, or Stage One sleep. In this we dream. An EEG monitor would register a brainwave pattern similar to the waking state. We are therefore conscious of what we dream. Stage two sleep is a deeper level of sleep but can still invoke dreams. As we sleep we move through to the deeper levels of sleep, but these levels can bring dreams also, its just that dreams in the deeper levels more closely resemble normal waking thought. In other words, we think, but when we wake, we are no longer aware of what we had been thinking. Deep hypnosis can tap into the deeper levels of sleep consciousness while the sleeper maintains a contact with the hypnotist who remains in the waking state. Hypnosis, like sleep, has different levels. At the deepest level, it is like somnambulism; being awake while at the same time being deep asleep. Awareness doesn't disappear, it just changes with the different levels of consciousness.
Hypnosis in common terminology can be different things. We say a person has been hypnotised when he or she moves under guidance into a hypnagogic state. This is a daydream like state. We can visualise during this state, but at the same time can see visions in response to questions. It closely borders Stage One sleep so there are possibilities of dream type expression of issues as well as fantasising. There we can't always trust that the visions we see in that state are literal. This is one of the problems with past life regression. If we say to someone in a light state of hypnosis that they will see a past life, they are liable to create one for us, but it will most probably be fantasy, as their consciousness is in line with the state in which we create all types of fantasies, some based on wish fulfilment and others on other fantasies. We cannot rely therefore on this state for accuracy of recall, whether it be related to past life memory, or to personal problems and normal memory. Hypnosis in this state creates what is known as false memory in addition to true memory. The dream state distorts in line with symbolic expression. So, when we see things in a light state of hypnosis (or what is commonly termed hypnosis) we really are likely to mix up any reality with large doses of fantasy and symbolic expression. nevertheless, this has a lot of uses in the hands of someone who knows how to utilise such a situation.
In my next blog I will talk more about hypnosis, about hypnotherapy, about past life regression and so called past life therapy. In these topics there is a lot to discuss.