Based on the work of Sigmund Freud – the human mind can be split into three distinct areas of consciousness; the conscious, subconscious and unconscious. It can be useful to think of each part of the mind on a scale of depth. Freud believed that the conscious mind is the top or shallowest part of the mind and is responsible for making sense of the things we are directly aware of – like stress levels.
The subconscious mind is below consciousness most of the time, a deeper level – it is therefore not so easily accessible and controls how we may feel or react to certain situations or circumstances, based on what we have learnt through experience, in the past. It also controls and regulates our essential bodily functions, such as breathing.
The unconscious mind is the deepest part of our mind and is much more difficult to reach – it can include suppressed memories of traumatic events.
Hypnotism works by reaching a relaxed state whereby it is possible to sink deeper into our minds and rewrite or reprogram our subconscious.
Through physical and mental relaxation, self-hypnosis can allow people to bypass their conscious minds and introduce positive thoughts and ideas into their unconscious. Upon ‘awakening’ from the hypnotic state the new thoughts and ideas in the subconscious will, eventually, affect the conscious mind and can, in turn, lead to changed behaviors.
Hypnotherapy does not claim to be a ‘quick fix’, such methods require perseverance and practice in order for the subconscious mind to pick up and apply the new messages.
To start the process you need to feel physically relaxed and comfortable. Try using a basic relaxation technique such as the one outlined on our Relaxation Techniques page. Find an object that you can focus your vision and attention on – ideally this object will involve you looking slightly upwards on the wall or ceiling in front of you. Clear your mind of all thoughts and just focus on your object. This is obviously quite hard to achieve but take your time to let thoughts leave you.
Become aware of your eyes, think about your eyelids becoming heavy and slowly closing. Focus on your breathing as your eyes close, breathe deeply and evenly. Tell yourself that you will relax more every time you breathe out. Slow your breathing and let yourself relax deeper and deeper with every breath.