I have often been asked how hypnotherapy works – and in truth there are a lot of different explanations out there. Some people say it is reprogramming the mind, other people say that there is even no such thing as hypnosis and that it is all placebo!
I would suggest that hypnosis is all about using the power of your mind to get incredible results. We can achieve incredible things with the power of our mind, but most people don’t know how to do it. When we are born we aren’t given a ‘user guide to the brain’, although our brains are the most powerful computer that exists! When you buy a new computer, there might be a simple manual that tells you how to use it, and if you read it it can make the whole process a lot simpler, although most people don’t bother doing this and end up not knowing how to use it properly even several years later!
From birth we are getting all sorts of mental ‘programming’ which will affect how we experience life in the future. We are told the word ‘no’ hundreds of thousands of times and also receive lots of negative messages that can have deep rooted effects on us in the future.
Someone who has a phobia doesn’t have this from birth but learns it at some point in their life and from that moment on the response is conditioned into their neurology. Basically it is a learned response – and because you have learned it, you can also unlearn it! Hypnosis is a great way to do this.
The placebo effect probably works in a similar way to hypnosis – on the principle of suggestion. For example, if someone is given a placebo (or sugar pill) by a doctor and told this will take their pain away, many patients will get relief from their pain. This is because of the suggestion given by someone in a position of authority or respect which takes effect on the patient’s unconscious mind – and can you imagine how great that can be in avoiding giving people some potentially unpleasant medications!
Hypnosis has been used in surgery for at least a couple of centuries – where suggestion is used in place of anaesthesia and the patient has no pain for even major surgery – hypnosis for surgery is really an incredible thing.