Archive for the ‘unconscious mind’ Category

What Hypnotherapy Is (And Some Misconceptions)

There are many misconceptions surrounding hypnotherapy at a time when it is only a process of inducing a very relaxed physical and mental state (i.e. a trance) more like guided day-dreaming or meditation. The hypnotherapist, in this process, supports you work-out being stuck, modify maladaptive behavior, or eliminate stressors in multiple ways. Effecting positive change can range from curing phobias, to dealing with low self-esteem, to resolving repressed traumas, to installing new beliefs, and many more….. The whole idea of inducing a trance is to facilitate your getting in touch with your unconscious mind – that part of your mind that has command over much of your behavior, emotions, and ingrained beliefs; hence, make important life transformations. During the process, your conscious mind is asked to relegate to the periphery. It is that logical analytical part of your mind that has everything you are aware of at the moment (i.e. the spotlight mechanism directing your attention to your thoughts, feelings, and behavior). You may wonder: why, then, seek the unconscious mind during hypnotherapy?

Your conscious mind is deliberate and has limited capacity. It relies heavily on the automatic unconscious mind to deal with overwhelming diversified other functions. Known for multi-tasking, your unconscious mind is by far the larger store of all your memories and is the domain of your emotions both of which continue to have influence over you without your awareness. Your unconscious mind is guided by the principle of least effort and loves repetition; thus, is responsible for creating and maintaining your habits (of thought and behavior). Your perceptions are formed, controlled, and are similarly maintained by your unconscious mind; hence, internal and external events are interpreted through schemas formulated at the unconscious level. For your protection, your unconscious mind represses memories of unresolved negative emotions as well as thoughts that are too anxiety provoking for your conscious awareness (i.e. ideas you’d spank yourself real hard for even considering). It, furthermore, runs and preserves your bodily process (e.g. you don’t notice that your heart beats, nor are you aware of your stress hormones being released in your system). No wonder, then, we seek to communicate with your unconscious mind to involve the whole of your mental processes in working for you; not against you.

In hypnotherapy, the aim is to tackle any concerns controlled by your unconscious mind (and these are plenty as briefed above). To help you speed up processes of change, hypnosis takes a short cut targeting the root causes of behavior, beliefs and emotions. Many prominent figures used hypnosis to enhance their achievement like: Mozart, Thomas Edison, Einstein, Sir Winston Churchill, and Henry Ford to name a few. Others used it to overcome their life tragedies (e.g. Jackie Kennedy-Onassis), beat the habit of smoking (e.g. Drew Barrymore), or make it as champions (e.g. Tiger Woods). To date, many are still reluctant to take this quick fix because of many circulated popular misconceptions that portray hypnosis as scary or dangerous. Frequently asked questions are addressed herein to clarify:

–       Is hypnosis really safe? Yes, hypnosis is a normal state that you go in and out of everyday without noticing. Spacing out while driving, or being totally engrossed in a movie are trance-like states. An autopilot takes over and you’d be totally absorbed in focus. The state induced in hypnotherapy is very similar. The difference is that your focus will be totally inward on your internal states in a dream-like fashion. After a session, many wonder whether they were in fact hypnotized, as the induced state resembles so much normal experiences. There are no mysteries about it and no magic (though I consider the after effects more like “white magic”).

 –       Do I end-up sharing my deepest secrets? No, you won’t say anything you’d rather remain private; and you can openly express your reluctance to share your secrets during the session. It helps more, though, if you verbalize your thoughts out, as your hypnotherapist will better be able to guide you in resolving any issue. Besides, why would you be reluctant to talk about what bothers you? Get it off your shoulders. Confidentiality of anything you discuss is ensured through-out the process. That’s an oath your hypnotherapist abides by all the time.

 –       What if I am the type who cannot be hypnotized (i.e. I’m un-suggestible)? Everyone can be hypnotized. We are in trance at least twice a day: when we wake up in the morning and as we fall asleep. It is your choice to willingly collaborate with your hypnotherapist or not; go deeper or not; cooperate to solve what’s bothering you or decide to forfeit the highway to effecting positive change. It is known that smart people are easily hypnotized because they can easily follow instructions. It’s not a sign of being too gullible, weak-minded or submissiveness. Hypnosis just creates the space for solving problems. And practically we all get immersed in our own thought processes whether we like it or not. The only difference in a hypnotic session is that you will have someone guiding you through the process to achieve the outcomes you desire.

 –       What if my hypnotherapist suggests that I do things I don’t approve of (e.g. robbing a bank or take off my clothes)? You will never do anything that violates your values or find objectionable in normal circumstances. This myth has grounds in stage hypnosis during which extroverted people volunteer to be in the arena. They totally let go of their inhibition and engage in outlandish behavior. It’s their choice to be in the spotlight, but clearly have an excuse by blaming it on the hypnotist. You can always check the credentials of your hypnotherapist (many charlatans have intruded on the profession and Hollywood movies jazzed up their stories by making up such exciting scenarios). Certified hypnotherapists abide by a code of ethics and would definitely not cross the lines.

–       Would I be completely under the control of the hypnotherapist? No, you won’t. The degree of control over you is only that which you allow. Your conscious mind will keep track of all the session details while you do the change work with your unconscious mind. Your hypnotherapist will merely suggest imagery and thoughts that instill a new way of being (one that you choose). You remain at all times in charge of accepting the suggestions or not. You are the one in control of your heightened state of alertness, memory, and concentration. If for any reason your hypnotherapist says anything you don’t agree with, you can still control the flow of the session and express your disapproval. It’s not that you are stripped of any power; on the contrary.

 –       Will I forget what went on during the session? No, you won’t unless it’s a therapeutically induced amnesia to forget a past trauma (the light can be made dimmer on distressing memories). The empowering suggestions by your hypnotherapist will linger and you will remember everything that took place during the session. The suggestions are repeated continuously to become your new driving force. These will positively influence the way you behave and emotionally react to life events. Unless you are motivated to forget and express that to your hypnotherapist, it is not usually the norm.

 –       Would I sleep during hypnosis? And what if I don’t wake up? Although many use the term “sleep” to induce hypnosis, it is not “sleeping” per se. It just refers to a state akin to “sleeping” when you experience utmost relaxation and calmness. It differs with sleeping because your senses remain alert during hypnosis. They don’t shut down.  You, especially focus more on your hypnotherapist’s voice. I personally prefer to use the term “relax” instead of “sleep” just so it eliminates this confusion. Never worry about not being able to return from trance; the choice to return to your previous state remains up to you any time. And when the session is over, you will always feel more refreshed, invigorated, and more empowered. If for any reason you do fall asleep (i.e. because you’re very tired), you will easily be awakened when I tell you that you’ll be charged extra for “over-using” that relaxing chair :).

 As a final note and after clarifying the above misconceptions, a survey of the psychotherapy literature by psychologist Alfred A. Barrios, Ph.D. (published in the American Health Magazine) revealed that hypnotherapy recovery rates after 6 sessions were 93%. Using Psychoanalysis, recovery rates were 38% after 600 sessions. Using Behavioral Therapy, recovery rates were 72% after 22 sessions. Knowing all this by now, are you prompted to take a short cut to effecting positive change through hypnosis, or would you rather keep postponing?

Note: Please refer to “Contact 3Ds” on this website if you need to know more about hypnotherapy or benifit from this service.



Categories: stress, Therapy, unconscious mind Tags:

How Can NLP Improve Your Life?

      Many still don’t know what Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is, or for what purposes it is used. NLP is a very broad field and tends to be linked to many concepts and various settings. Despite the numerous long definitions, I like to think of it as a “pool of tools” to bring more life fulfillment. NLP stipulates that our habitual patterns (mental or behavioral) are highly linked to our neurology; hence, create our habits and programmed responses. Its techniques instill new neurological patterns to replace unhelpful thought or behavioral process; thus, reprogram “the willing to change person” to be more empowered and efficient. It, also, relies heavily on the use of language and this is when it becomes all too therapeutic. Language can trigger a shift in thinking; hence, behavioral change. The proper use of language, also, facilitates more effective communication with people we want to have a positive influence on.

      As an NLP practitioner, how can I possibly help you implement positive changes? And in which life areas can we apply NLP techniques? The use of NLP spreads to effectively dealing with dissatisfaction in many areas of day to day living. The procedures work only if one is really motivated to make the changes and expends the proper and required effort. Most techniques involve visualization giving this free reign at times, and controlling it at others. The following are only a few examples targeting specific areas of concern you may encounter:

–       Like to dislike: Change something you like or desire to something you don’t like (or vice versa). For instance, you have the continuous urge to eating chocolate, but you know it negatively affects your health (e.g. being over-weight or having high cholesterol levels). Broccoli is one vegetable that is very healthy, but many dislike it. Both patterns can be changed in few minutes through a simple exercise of visualization.

–       Change a limiting belief: If you have a limiting belief (e.g. I’m not good enough) that cripples your actions or decision making abilities, a similar exercise can be undertaken. A more empowering belief can be substituted in no time. The technique can help you deal with issues of low self-esteem, hesitation, lack of control, etc….

–       Eliminate contextualized habits through the swish pattern: create a substitute action for a habit you want to get rid of (e.g. nail biting, grabbing a chocolate bar after dinner,….). Only habits that are relevant to specific contexts can be eliminated through the swish pattern, not more general ones (e.g. smoking may require a different tool). It also makes use of visualization and an alternative action needs to be well thought of.

–       Putting yourself in a resourceful state: This could be used for particular situations when someone needs to feel more empowered, relaxed, happy, or confident – to name a few (e.g. presenting to a large audience). We work on creating an anchor (e.g. an action like pressing your own knuckle) that fires up the desired state when needed.

–       Dealing with major negative emotional events: Past traumas and acquired phobias can be overcome through Time Line Therapy. It’s based on the idea that people have a Time Line in which life events (past and future) are organized. You are taken on an amazing mental trip during which memories just pop out there while you’re in a conscious state. Distressing memories are dealt with through letting go of the relevant emotional baggage, reflecting on the lessons learned, and detaching from the distressing event(s). Time Line Therapy can also be used to remove distressing memories all together, change memories, or even create future memories.

–       Conflicting parts integration: It’s used whenever you have a conflict towards a specific issue. It could be inconsistencies in emotions towards something/someone, or a conflict in making a decision. The process is based on the idea that we have different parts within us and they all serve our best interest in becoming whole. This technique reduces the conflict among two opposing parts, integrates them into one, and a new state of “ease” is created.

      NLP is used in psychotherapy and life coaching. These two areas capitalize on the proper use of language (with self and others) and use many techniques to help people overcome obstacles and limitations. Mastery in effective communication extends, also, to better outcomes in interrelationships and even the business setting. Hypnotherapy is another area that extensively utilizes NLP. Hypnosis deals with problematic behavior (i.e. phobias, anxieties, smoking cessation, insomnia, etc…) or to change negative mental patterns (i.e. low self-esteem, concentration, procrastination, etc….). It branches out as a leading “change” tool and relies heavily on the use of language that is most comprehensive to the unconscious mind.

       Any certified NLP Practitioner can guide you through the processes of positive change. The practitioner acts as a facilitator of reprogramming the mind and behavior; the motivation to change and the effort rely on you. If you follow the steps proposed by the practitioner wholeheartedly, you will enjoy the transformation. The techniques are said to work like magic because they take very little time and the results are amazing. And best of all, it doesn’t have to be called therapy (if that makes you a bit reluctant). You won’t be labeled a patient. I’d like to think of it as “empowerment” to move forward. So go on, have a taste of NLP. You do want to improve your life in more than one area, don’t you?

People Are Like Coins

During my training as a Neuro-Linguistic Programming practitioner, I was asked with my peers to think of some metaphors to share. Metaphors are stories – imagined or real – that carry implicit meaning and may carry several embedded messages. They are powerful in transforming how people think. Metaphors provoke a specific emotion and may be interpreted in different ways depending on what’s going on in the listener’s life at the time. Milton Erikson, a pioneer in hypnosis, made extensive use of metaphors with his clients and the results were always amazing. That is because metaphors work at both the conscious and the unconscious levels. Consciously, one would come up with a somewhat clear conclusion. The unconscious mind, on the other hand, loves to work out symbols. There’s new meaning derived inadvertently; and this creates a new behavioral change driver.

  I pondered about the message I wanted to instill for that specific exercise. Then, I thought that I might as well relay my life philosophy about the essence of human nature. That’s a perspective many may disagree with, but that’s the purpose of metaphors after all: to make a shift in thinking. You see, I always thought that people are like monetary coins. They are produced in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Coins always have two faces and carry different themes, pictures, and designs. When they are first put into circulation, they are marvelously shiny and new. Some coins rotate within confined territories; others travel long distances. And still others remain locked behind closed doors. Coins belong to one country or another. They all have worth and that can be relevant to those who hold them. They are there to serve or be used in varying degrees. With time, many eventually become really dirty, tainted, lose their shine, or merely damaged. The writings or design on some coins may slightly fade. It all depends on how these coins spent their life time. It all depends on whether they are in the right hands or not.

 That’s all too common knowledge you might think, so what’s new? The most interesting aspect about coins, I find, is their true core. The idea dawned on me some time ago when I was handed a rusted coin. I could barely make sense of the writing or design on it. Curious as always, I wanted to discover what’s behind the rust. What signs does that coin carry? To find out, I thought I might as well polish it, so I did. It was challenging to unleash what’s behind the accumulated corrosion. It took me a lot of time and effort. I knew that behind the rust, I’ll find an attractive design. I knew if I worked hard enough, I could make it shine again. And I did restore that shine; and I did reach to its spectacular core. There it was: the fundamental nature of that coin can be restored if we just remove the surface rust. Coins are beautiful at heart.

 We can do a lot to remedy the mishandlings of coins in circulation. Some are easier than others. It would be really exigent to restore damaged, dented, or faded coins. These require more drastic interventions and more people to help out, but it certainly is doable to repair any mishap. Now, I am in the coin-polishing business, but I use all sorts of techniques and skills to refine my practice. So go on….. Give me more coins to handle. Let me restore their shine……

 P.S. Let your mind wonder some more on this one (there are many implicit messages there)…..


I Have Grown Antennae: Trusting That Gut Feeling

It’s weird, but lately I did observe my antennae growing. They are not visible to any eye (not even mine), but I can feel them. You have these too; only they do not resemble what you might first picture. I am referring here to those “gut feelings” or “implicit knowledge” about things that bubble up inside us. Many times we just don’t trust these and, instead, choose to disregard. We start giving reasons, analyzing logically, and sometimes hoping that things will be what we expect, or want. Our judgments rely so much on the apparent and we get so engrossed with conscious scrutiny that we block the “little voice” inside our head saying “Hey…wait….!!!”Happens all the time, doesn’t it? Well…. I am learning to listen to that “little voice” and give it the consideration it deserves.

 To demonstrate: Recall a time when you were having a conversation with someone and then you split, and went in different directions. You may then find yourself in a bad mood (or a good mood). What happens here is that if you think hard about it you can’t pinpoint the real reasons for the mood change. You just have a bad/good feeling about the whole meeting with that person. Actually your antennae picked up how that conversation went; and it’s all stored there at the back of your mind (your unconscious mind). It knows the reasons. It could be one remark or other subtleties in behavior, posture, facial expressions, or tone of voice. You just didn’t pay attention, but that radar in you did detect it. That is why it precipitated into having that bad/good feeling.

 Take another example: you’re facing a quandary and need to make a decision. You contemplate the facts to the nth degree, mill about it, exhaust the statistics, and list down the cons and pros of the whole situation. Okay done, I’ll do “this”, you reason. But when you do decide, you find that something inside you isn’t quite approving. Despite the well-formulated assessment, that “little voice” says take “that” other option. This happens because your antennae know more than you consciously are aware of. You did miss some important information to base your decision on, but that gut feeling knows better.

 And… another example: you know someone – a friend let’s say (could be a potential lover). You spend good times together and enjoy yourselves to the max. You bond and your chemistries combine into a fine relationship. Your new friend may appear very loving telling you things you’re thirsty to hear. Still sometimes you sense things in your friend’s behavior that contradict what s/he declares openly. Something makes you feel disgruntled, but you can’t pin point why. You deny and refuse to believe your analyses because you’d want to maintain good faith in how your relationship is going. You resist that “gut feeling” despite knowing it has the big picture. You don’t want to lose your new friend. And then your friend clearly messes things up and this is when you say “I knew it all along, but I just ignored it at the time”; and then you start whipping yourself.

 I am sure you can think of many more examples. Sometimes we look too closely at things when all we need to do is just “feel”. It’s been repeatedly documented that our attention is very limited and we cannot pick up consciously on all the sensory information we’re bombarded with. We notice only a few, but the rest is perceived by those antennae (at the back of our mind). All the surplus information that we cannot register is kept there in store. That information builds up inside and create that “gut feeling” in your stomach, the unease, or the “having a good feeling about it” phenomena you always experience. So learn to grow your antennae further and resist sliding into oblivion. Trust and embrace that “little voice” when you hear it. It has more information than you can think of…..


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