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Hypnosis: A Powerful Tool for Change

by Leslie K. Lobell, MA

"Change Your Mind... Change Your Life!" That is the message of The Secret, Wayne Dyer, and other Personal Development authors, but it’s frequently easier said than done. Hypnosis, a simple, non-invasive yet powerful mind-changing tool, can effectively help you achieve your life-changing personal goals. Frequently used for weight reduction, smoking cessation, stress reduction, relaxation, increasing self-confidence and self-esteem, overcoming isomnia, and coping with anxiety and depression, Hypnosis can also produce analgesic states, diminishing the pain of dental procedures and childbirth. The versatility of Hypnosis also extends to the exploration of past lives, life beteen lives and future lives. But what is Hypnosis and how does it work?

How the Mind Works

Science cannot yet fully explain how Hypnosis works mainly because scientists have not yet figured out exactly how the human mind works. The generally accepted theory, however, maps the human mind into three parts: The Unconscious Mind (which is the deepest level) controls breathing, heart rate, and automatic body functions (things we do not need to think about for them to occur). The Subconscious Mind, like a library or the hard drive of a computer, stores our permanent memory. It is highly organized and unlimited and every experience you’ve had in your entire life is stored there. The Conscious Mind (the outer level) is the part that holds your present awareness, and is also the part that analyzes and judges situations. The Conscious Mind also contains something called the Critical Factor, which filters information before it gets stored into the Subconscious mind. Like a watchdog, the Critical Factor compares new information with information already stored in the Subconscious, refusing to let pass through any information that does not fit the current paradigm. If the new information is not related to anything already stored, then it gets filed as a "maybe" or a "possible belief." The continuous operation of the Critical Factor is what makes it nearly impossible to change a belief with Conscious thought alone.

How Hypnosis Works

Many of our habits and beliefs, which are the cause of most of our behaviors, are rooted in memories or perceptions that may be long forgotten by the Conscious Mind, but are nonetheless retained and active in the Subconscious Mind, which continuously strives to uphold and achieve our personal status quo. For example, if you hold the belief, "I am clumsy," the Subconscious Mind will direct you to drop something you are holding or to walk into a chair. To simply tell yourself that you are graceful will most likely not cure your clumsiness since the Critical Factor in your Conscious mind will prevent that new concept from being stored in your Subconscious mind. Through Hyponosis (whether clinically induced or a natural state of Self-Hypnosis), a trance-like state is induced which distracts the Conscious Mind and weakens the Critical Factor, allowing suggestions that may assist you in re-programming old attitudes and beliefs to go straight through to the Subconscious Mind and be filed as "truth". The positive suggestions received during Hypnosis then become a part of those messages in the back of your mind that nudge you towards new behaviors, helping you to change old habits more quickly and easily. Repetition of these types of Hypnotic suggestions can boost your determination and enhance your conscious willpower, thus increasing your chances of success in changing an old behavior pattern.

Mental Imagery is commonly used in Hypnosis. For example, during Hypnosis for weight reduction, your Hypnotherapist may lead you through an imaginary journey in which you create an image of yourself at your perfect weight, looking the way you want to look, imagining positive comments from friends or co-workers. You will be encouraged to use all of your senses in imagining yourself as you would be once having achieved your ideal weight. Studies show that the more real your inner experience of accomplishing your goal, the more likely the final results will match your mental images. Positive Affirmations are also frequently used during Hypnosis, which can take root more rapidly and effectively during this highly suggestible state.

"Will I Cluck Like A Chicken?"

Not unless you want to.... A common misconception people have regarding Hypnosis is that the Hypnotherapist is in control. The fact is that you are always in control. Hypnosis is a state of relaxation and mental focus (much like meditation or daydreaming) and while in this state, you are also usually completely aware of what is going on around you. A small number of people who go into a very deep hypnotic trance may experience amnesia, however most people remember everything that occurred while under hypnosis.Your Subconscious Mind also functions to protect you both in and out of Hypnosis, and will only accept suggestions that are in accordance with your safety and morals. Additionally, you will not enter a Hypnotic state unless you want to and you will automatically come out of the state if there is any need to. The process of Hypnosis is a joint venture between you and the practitioner and you are free to choose to follow or not follow the hypnotic suggestions.

Past Life & Life Between Lives Regression

The first known case of Past Life Regression during Hypnosis, the case of Bridey Murphy, happened accidentally in 1952. Colorado businessman and amateur hypnotist, Morey Bernstein, put a housewife named Virginia Tighe in a trance, took her back to her childhood, and then asked if she remembered the time before her birth. To his astonishment, Virginia began speaking with a pronounced Irish brogue, identifying herself as Bridget "Bridey" Murphy, a woman who had lived in Ireland 100 years earlier. She gave vivid descriptions of her life and also her death, offering specific names, dates, places and events. Virginia Tighe had never even been to Ireland before, hadn’t the slightest Irish accent when not in trance, and even she was surprised at the details each time she awoke from hypnosis. The publication of Bernstein’s book, "The Search for Bridey Murphy," sent investigators immediately on a quest to confirm the details. Although they found some gaps and inconsistencies in the story, it was a remarkably precise account of Irish life in the 1800’s - information Virginia Tighe was unlikely to have come by on her own.

More recently, Dr. Brian Weiss, author of the best-selling "Many Lives, Many Masters," was one of the first doctors to explore the therapeutic benefits of past life regression, noting how traumas occurring in one’s past life can have after-effects and implications in one’s present life. His newest book, "Same Soul, Many Bodies," reveals how past and present lives can affect our future lives, and how our future lives can transform us in the here and now.

Life Between Lives regression was also stumbled upon accidentally. Michael Newton, PhD was conducting a routine past life regression with a woman whose presenting problem was depression over feelings of being isolated from society and missing her "old" friends that she frequently dreamed about. Since, according to the woman, these old friends were not part of her current life, Dr. Newton regressed her into past lives in hopes of finding these friends. Although the woman met up with some of these friends during exploration of different lives, she really wanted to see them all together. As it turned out, the woman actually took herself deeper into the hypnotic state to the time between her past lives, and to her happy surprise, found all of her friends grouped together there. Dr. Newton spent the next 20 years regressing over 7000 subjects into their life between lives state and in 1994, published his findings in "Journey of Souls," which quickly became a best-seller. In his ground-breaking book, Newton used 29 case studies from his research, mapping out the sequence of events a soul experiences from the moment of physical death to the choice of returning once again to the physical realm. Although many Hypnotherapists routinely perform past life regression, life between lives regression is a relatively new subspecialty in which few Hypnotherapists, as yet, have been properly trained to perform.

Qualifications of a Hypnotherapist

Hypnosis, conducted under the care of a trained therapist, is considered a safe complementary and alternative medical treatment, according to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), but it is not regulated in most states. When choosing to undergo Hypnosis, be sure that the individual is properly trained. Certified lay Hypnotherapists are individuals who have completed certification training in Hypnosis, although they do not have additional professional health care training. (Some states, such as New York and New Jersey, have recently begun regulating the title "Hypnotherapist," making it usable only by licensed practitioners. Unlicensed practitioners in these states may instead call themselves "Hypnotist", "Hypnosis Counselor," or "Hypnosis Practitioner.") Licensed health care professionals, such as psychologists, doctors and social workers, frequently undergo some training in Hypnosis to use as an adjunct to the other types of therapies they perform. The type and severity of the problem for which you are seeking Hypnosis should guide your choice between the two types of qualified professionals.

When looking for a Hypnotherapist, shop around. Ask the Hypnotherapist where they trained, what organizations they are certified by and registered with and how much experience they have with your particular issue. And remember - it takes time to change. Hypnosis is not a "magic bullet" or "quick fix." Though you may begin to see results even after the first hypnotherapy session, generally for hypnosis to be effective in producing long-term change, a series of sessions is required followed by a period of self-hypnosis in which you listen to a tape or recording to reinforce the suggestions for a period of at least 30 days. Hypnosis also may be combined with counseling and/or other modalities into a comprehensive program for improved physical and/or mental health. When used properly, hypnosis can help you replace "bad habits" with healthy behaviors, change negative thoughts into positive self-talk, and create a happier, more fulfilling life.

Leslie Karen Lobell, M.A., L.P.C. is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Clinical Hypnosis Counselor and Sekhem-Seichim-Reiki Master practicing in Summit, N.J. Leslie works with youth and adults offering holistic psychotherapy, hypnosis, dream inter-pretation, stress reduction, and Reiki. She provides the tools and support you need to create a happier, healthier, more peaceful and fulfilling life. Phone: 908-577-0053 Email: info@LeslieLobell.com Web: www. LeslieLobell.com.








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