It might be easier to begin with what hypnotherapy isn’t. It is not what you’ve seen in movies, TV or stage shows, where it appears that someone comes along and takes control of someone else’s mind, causing them to do things against their will.
All it means to be in hypnosis is that you’re in your Alpha brainwave state. You’re in Alpha when you’re between being fully awake and sound asleep. So, unless you have certain rare sleep disorders, you pass through this Alpha or hypnotic state every time you fall asleep and every time you awaken.
When you’re in the Alpha or hypnotic state, you’re more suggestible to, or more influenced by, what’s going on around you, So, when you’re going to bed or first awakening, it’s not a great time to listen to news or watch stressful TV shows, because you’re more likely to be affected by the negativity of them. It is a great time, however, to engage in positive activities, like prayer, meditation, or affirmations, because you’re more likely to be affected by the positivity of them.
You’re also in Alpha or hypnosis when you are emotionally affected by a play or movie. For the time you’re watching, you suspend your disbelief and, essentially, become one of the characters, to the point that your emotional response would be appropriate if you were one of the characters. But, of course, you’re not.
You’re also in Alpha or hypnosis if you have a fight with someone, and the fight ends in an unsatisfactory way. You walk away from the situation, but you keep having the fight in your head, saying the things you wish you’d said, and having the other person respond the way you wish they’d responded.
In hypnotherapy, we use certain hypnotherapeutic techniques (called inductions and deepeners) to trigger this Alpha or hypnotic state in order to accomplish the positive changes you want to make in your life. You’ll feel quite relaxed, physically and emotionally. You’ll be completely aware of everything that’s going on, and you’ll be able to stop it at any time if you don’t like it. But, since we’ll be working on the goals you want to achieve, you won’t be very likely to want to stop it.
It is one of the most effective techniques for achieving your goals because it makes changes at a subconscious level which is much more thorough than simply making up your conscious mind to change.
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