What is hypnosis?.
Hypnosis is a perfectly naturally occurring phenomenon that goes on around us, every day of our lives,
For example, do you ever remember the exact point at which you fall asleep? No! That’s because at the moment you fall asleep you are deeply hypnotised, you have to be in order to fall asleep, it’s a prerequisite! Or, perhaps you’re driving along a familiar route, suddenly you realise you can’t remember the last three roundabouts you came past, it’s like daydreaming. Or perhaps you scratch, bruise or injure yourself in some small way but have no recollection of the moment you sustained the injury, there are many other examples.
In short it is any moment in time when there is direct communication with the unconscious part of the mind, without the simultaneous involvement of the conscious part
One of the best technical definitions of the hypnotic state was given by the late great Dr Milton Erickson, who described hypnosis or trance as: “The loss of the multiplicity of the foci of attention.”
What on Earth does that mean?
When we are in the ‘normal’ waking state, we have a multiplicity of awareness, a multiplicity of sensory perceptions. For example, you’re at a party, in a crowded room, full of people, and it’s very noisy. Yet someone mentions your name across the other side of the room and you automatically look over – you have a multiplicity of the foci of attention!
Under hypnosis you lose some of that multiplicity; your attention becomes focused in a narrower band.
The amazing thing – which few realize – is that THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME IN EVERYDAY LIFE!
For example, when you were a child and were watching a really good television program, your mum or dad may have called you for tea but you really didn’t hear them – you had lost the multiplicity of the foci of attention. You were in a light trance.
Another example – have you ever lost yourself in a good book or magazine article? Someone speaks to you, or the phone rings... but you dont hear it? Some people call that selective hearing or selective deafness, there is no such thing! It is a form of hypnotic trance!
Perhaps when you go to the cinema and watch an engrossing film, you forget the seat you’re sitting in and forget about the audience around you. The screen becomes your sole focus of attention – you become absorbed, engrossed and entranced!
Hopefully you are beginning to see that you have already been in a trance more times than you could possibly count and so has everyone else in the world
It is a perfectly natural occurring phenomena. All a hypnotist does is harness that phenomena and make it occur on demand, for positive change – as opposed to it happening randomly.
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