Hypnosis is the modern term used to denote an altered plane of consciousness intrinsic to the human mind known as trance; the relaxed twilight state between being awake and asleep. Trance-induced states of consciousness have been employed since time immemorial by virtually all cultures to access and affect belief systems lodged deep within the subconscious mind so as to influence the behavior of individuals, groups and even whole societies.
Hypnotherapy facilitates the therapeutic application of this phenomenon. It involves bringing a person into hypnosis with their consent in order to shift them out of negative subconscious thoughts, emotions and beliefs and influence them toward positive states of well-being and/or behaviors in pursuit of chosen goals. A cooperative partnership between hypnotherapist and client is the hallmark of successful treatment.
Note an emphasis here on the concept of cooperative partnership; for contrary to certain popular misconceptions, hypnosis cannot make you do something you don’t want to do. When you go to the dentist, he can only work on your teeth if you open your mouth. When you go to a hypnotherapist, he can only work on your subconscious beliefs if you open your mind. Hypnosis is not a magic wand. Real change involves following through with new strategies for living.
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