How the power of hypnotism Works
When a client of mine stops smoking or loses weight or stops biting his finger nails, it's evident: he or she has experienced the power of hypnosis. Whether or not you understand why hypnotism works, it does.
Yet some persons would like to know how and why hypnotism works in the many ways it can (see my Portland hypnotherapy discussion). There are at least two ways of explaining the efficacy of hypnosis
The Unconscious Explanatory Model
Almost everyone has heard of the unconscious and conscious mind. The conscious mind is how we typically know ourselves as we go throughout the day. it is the mind which we consciously experience. Yet there is more to what we are than what we are conscious of at any moment. Prior to reading these following words, you conscious mind was unaware of how much 2 + 2 equals. Where was that knowledge until it became conscious? In the unconscious or "not conscious" mind.
The unconscious stores your memories, knowledge, habits, and much much more. In hypnotic trance, your critical thinking ability is softened. This allows hypniotic suggestions to more directly influence and change the contents of your unconscious mind. If a person wants to stop smoking, then the hypnotist will give a variety of suggestions related to stop smoking, affecting a change in the unconscious related to smoking.
The Neuroplasticity Model
The new science of neuroplasticity offers a more contemporary explanation of how hypnotism works. Persons growing up before the mid 1990s were raised with the belief that when a person reached physical maturity, the brain was pretty much "frozen" in place. The brain did not change.
Yet research into how stroke survivors and brain-injured persons were able to regain functioning reveals how amazingly dynamic the brain really is. The brain does change! Your brain can almost ceaselessly create new synaptic connections and even new neurons when given adequate stimulation. Your brain is changeable, malleable, plastic in its capability of changing structure.
The primary stiumulus which creates new synaptic connections or neurons is experience. Experiences which are novel, emotionally charged, or repeated can change brain structure. How interesting then, that since the earliest days of hypnosis, one of the key tenets of how to give successful hypnotic suggestions was to repeat your suggestions.
I am confident that just as an emotionally stimulating conversation can create new synamptic connections, so too can effective hypnotic suggestions. I look forward to research in this area.