Hypnotherapy is a simple process of meditation / Guided Imagery where the Practitioner guides his / her patient in constructing a 'story' that the person can live with- a more positive, stronger version of him or herself, where they are always in control, always in peace and living the life they desire. The patient is guided to slow down their breathing and in so doing the body responses by automatically lowering the brain wave pattern, the heart rate and pulse and even the temperature is modified slightly to create a state of relaxation.
This is a state very similar to the one we experience each morning before we have fully awakened, or each night, moments before we enter a state of “Delta” or sleep, where the brain wave pattern is around 1 to 4 cycles per second. The state I am referring to is a Theta state of 4-7 cycles per second. In this state we are totally relaxed and peaceful.
In Hypnotherapy or Guided Imagery we fluctuate between the state of Alpha (7-14 brain waves per second) and the deeper of Theta state mentioned above. This is the state where the mind is most receptive to positive suggestions and visualizing the outcome they desire, as if it has already occurred.
There have been studies where it was demonstrated that when we visualize that we are eating a delicious meal, the neuro-transmitters in the brain fire in the very same sequence as when we are actually eating that meal. The sub-conscious mind does not know the difference between something real and something imagined. Therefore, when we guide our patients to see themselves as powerful beings who are in control of their addiction, their physical / emotional pain, or traumatic situations, they are in essence “suspending disbelief”, as we do when we become engrossed in a good book or movie. In this 'story' we create, they are seeing themselves shift from a 'victim' to a powerful person who can choose their state of being simply by 'becoming' the character in the story. They awakened from this “dream” feeling powerful, energized and ready to LIVE that reality.
With Hypnotherapy we can sometimes see instant change in someone that has gone through years of emotional distress and torture, simply by a “re-programming” of their negative beliefs and thought patterns.
The Hypnotherapist is like a 'story teller' guiding his patient in seeing himself as someone capable of conquering his fears, dealing with her pain and to 'become' the strong person that is buried deep within the layers of pain, doubts and feelings of insignificance . The patient responds and identifies with the character in the story, becomes the character and change takes place.
Ted Andrews in “Sacred Sounds-Magic and Healing through Words and Music” states: “The story teller, through his / her technique induces an altered state of consciousness and a dynamic resonance and / or response in the audience. , much in the same manner as getting cooked up within a movie or a good book. The difference is that the words and images are CHOSEN and expressed so as to elicit effects on the emotional, mental and spiritual consciousness of the individual. ” It works the same way with hypnotherapy / guided imagery.
One example is with sports hypnosis. We guide the player to visualize the perfect play and specific positive statements are added. We encourage the client to listen to the recording of the session daily for about 21 days. Each time they win in imagination, it's as if they are really playing the perfect game, again and again. After a few times of seeing themselves succeeding, and FEELING the positive emotions related to that visualization, they do not see it as something imagined but something real. They have mentally practiced that perfect game again and again and as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect”. In their mind they ARE that person and the feelings of having succeeded guide them to act as winners when actually playing the game, and in so doing they BECOME winners. They BECOME the character in the “movie” and enduring change takes place. It works the same way with releasing 'victim consciousness', in forgiveness, controlling pain / addictions or anything else they are trying to accomplish. Part of the process deals with changing the person's thinking, so the accomplished Hypnotherapist must word things in a way that will enhance the visualization process.
When dealing with spiritually minded people, we can incorporate what is referred to as “Affirmative Prayer” into the hypnotic induction. Affirmative Prayer, sometimes called “Spiritual Mind Treatment” is adapted from the belief that God / Creator or whatever you choose to call your Higher Power, exists within you and that you have access to Its Divine Intelligence, its Infinite Wisdom and Knowledge in order to resolve any difficulty. This entitles the Spiritually-minded individual to surrender their “small thinking” to a higher view of the situation. In other words, “Let Go and Let God”. This will not work without the patient has an understanding of spiritual concepts. Here is an example of an affirmative prayer incorporated into a spiritual hypnotic script:
“There is only ONE Power in the Universe. That Divine Intelligence lives within me. I am an expression of Infinite Consciousness. Spirit chooses to experience life through me and as me, in a healthy body and through a sound mind.” I choose to acknowledge and accept the Power within and I am awakening to the complete and perfect function of every cell of my being. I live confidently, peacefully and decisively.
Today, I quiet my mind and hear the whispers of my Higher Self, my intuition, the voice of Spirit. I trust that this Infinite Love Energy that courses through my veins has my best interest at heart and my life becomes a magnificent adventure! I live one day at a time, becoming aware of the constant evolution of my soul as I am challenged by my experiences and tune my mind to the Divine Mind and then each seeming adversity and challenge becomes transformed into the vibration of success!
I exude love and teach love. It is all I know and all that I am. As I express the Divine, it returns to me multiplied. Any fear or self-doubt is dissolved by the Power of Love. I live in a healthy body. I manifest healthy relationships, I follow my bliss. In gratitude I release these words into the Universal Mind. So it is and so it will be! ”
With spiritual hypnotherapy, when dealing with emotional issues / abuse issues, low self-esteem, etc., we guide the client to “tune in” to the Divine Mind and Christ Consciousness, where we no longer resent others for their lack of understanding, their callousness and hurtfulness. In this state of awareness, we quickly become aware that abusers act this way due to their own victim consciousness, anger and low self-worth. It is their unhealthy response to the challenges life keep them.
The positive suggestions / affirmative statements are geared towards helping the person realize that what others do is not about them. It is about the abuser and their own issues. Knowing this helps them not to take things personally and to react differently to situations. They learn to value themselves and not define themselves by the beliefs or behavior of others.
We guide the client to transcend to a Higher State of awareness in which they choose to take the steps necessary to become the Highest version of themselves that they can imagine. When the client visualizes their desired result and is taught to FEEL what it would feel like to have already completed it. Soon they start acting as if it were a reality, and soon they find themselves living that life. When the client is ready for change, hypnotherapy can have miraculous results.