Why see a hypnotist?
Why does change, at times, seem so difficult? Why cant we just make up our minds to change patterns of behaviors, thoughts, and emotions and have it happen that quickly? The Holy Grail of change work, whether it be self-help, or through utilizing a coach or therapist, is the instant quick fix change can rectify years of habitual behavior patterns in a few short moments. Oh, and while were at it lets make those moments comfortable and relaxing.
Let us look for a moment at a possible reason why change doesnt always occur that easily (in fact rarely) and why hypnosis might be a possible candidate for that Grail.
Your entire magnificent body/mind system sails through life performing an astronomical number of simultaneous tasks. Barring emergencies, your heart never stops beating, your lungs never stop operating, you metabolize the food you eat, and maintain a body temperature of 98.6 regardless of your environment. And, that is just a tip of the physiological iceberg of ongoing vital functions. Yet you only become aware of these processes if there is a problem. Otherwise they thankfully require no attention. These processes are part of your vast unconscious.
Included in this ever ongoing party of physiological processes beneath your awareness, or consciousness, are all of your brains functions, including language, proprioception (sense of your body and its position), emotional responses, etc., etc. There is, of course, no clear dividing line between physical and mental processes, and we are blissfully unaware of the overwhelmingly vast majority of them.
Now, specifically regarding behaviors. Most of our behaviors seem to be picked up unconsciously from our environment. Perhaps we are born with the tendency toward some behaviors, the jury is still out on that regard, but whether nature or nurture, the acquisition of behavior is predominantly unconscious. How many times, as we mature, do we marvel at how much our behaviors (particularly speech patterns) resemble our parents patterns, often in spite of our best efforts. These are behaviors we unconsciously picked up from our environment as we developed.
What then, is our conscious mind, and what is its scope? Whats left?
Research has repeatedly shown that we can generally only be aware of, or conscious of, seven plus or minus two pieces of information at any one time. As glorious as our conscious mind is, it is so severely limited in the volume of information it can handle, that, in most cases, it is unable to have much of an effect on our overall behavior. Our conscious mind can manage momentary adjustments of behavior at best. In fact, I suggest that the main purpose of the conscious mind is to handle the necessary small bits of information we receive just until we can process them into our much more able unconscious mind.
In fact, think about how we learn new things. Take riding a bike, for example. At first, when we climb on that wobbly two wheeled device, we have more things to attend to than we could possibly consciously handlebalance, speed, avoiding oncoming obstacles, and so on. We end up falling down a lot. However, we keep at it, and one day, success! We can climb on the bike and ride, virtually without a conscious thought about balance, speed, avoiding obstacles, and all of those other innumerable matters connected with bike riding. We say weve learned to ride a bike. What we mean is, riding a bike is now an unconscious behavior, and our conscious mind is free to think of other things while we ride.
Once we learn something, once it becomes accepted as an unconscious behavior, it usually stays with us for life. Thats a wonderful thing for habits like bike riding and learning to read. It sometimes becomes a bit of a problem when we have learned behaviors like smoking or phobic responses. It seems as though, once a behavior is learned, we unconsciously assign a value to it (we did, after all, work hard to learn to smoke for whatever reason we had at the time). To later try to change that learned habit challenges those initial reasons and values, and seems to violate the integrity of the unconscious. Trying to consciously change a habit, like smoking, is like trying to swim upstream against an overwhelming current. With smoking, in my experience, the habit is much more difficult to break than the chemical addiction.
Hypnosis to the rescue.
There is one method of interpersonal communication that does allow access to the normally unavailable unconscious processes, and that method is hypnosis. Hypnosis simply creates a doorway to the unconscious part of our mind. A qualified hypnotist can establish communication with the part of your unconscious mind that maintains the habitual behavior you want to change. Sometimes through simple suggestion (new information) and sometimes through a more complex conversation with that unconscious part of your mind/body that controls the problematic habit, a hypnotist can literally change the course of that mighty unconscious river. Once that occurs, change results as easily as floating downstream on a sun-drenched inner tube.
Hypnosis is that Holy Grail of personal change.
Another helpful article from Richard Lefever, hypnotherapist, and the mind weavers at www.quitsmokingoregon.com.