Altering Awareness: Your Guide to Hypnosis
Perhaps you’ve noticed how you can feel one way and then a few moments later feel a different way. You notice tension easing out as you enter a calmer state; you can then let go, feeling peaceful and relaxed. The feeling of relaxation is likened to that of entering a different state of mind and body; you become aware of muscles loosening, tension draining away as the hurly-burly of life quietens. Your mind wanders as thoughts, judgements and decisions become remote and are put on hold.
Sooner or later everyone’s had a day-dream-like experience; driving on motorways in a state of automatic pilot; resting your eyes for a moment while watching television, still aware of the sounds in the background as the mind drifts in suspended time. In essence, being able to relax is like entering a state of altered awareness, commonly called hypnosis, in which the mind becomes detached from everyday cares and concerns, the body less tense or rigid.
Relaxation takes on others forms such as recreational activities, amusements, and creative expression. Here, however, we are focusing on how to facilitate the altered state of mind and body of patients and clients to induce and deepen their relaxed state, identify and ease their pain.
Sometimes our minds can be caught up in distracting conscious activities where we protectively screen our perceptions, censor our responses and use all our conscious effort to maintain the integrity of our current conscious framework. In a relaxed, altered state of mind and body people are able to pay closer attention to their own unconscious sources of discomfort, anxiety and pain.
Some people can experience imagined events with such clarity and relaxed involvement that they undergo many of the same changes in learning, performance and belief that they would in the actual situation. Therefore, the practitioner works with a client more open and receptive to suggestions, processes and observations rather than a person who is defensive, anxious or stressed. For some clients, therapeutic changes occur merely by eliciting a relaxed state and encouraging the client to use that state of mind and body to learn whatever the unconscious has to offer. Other clients need a more gentle facilitation to guide their attention to deeper levels of relaxation.
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