What Is Hypnosis


Please take a few minutes to read a little of what hypnosis is all about. 

The Merriam-Websters Dictionary lists hypnosis as a trancelike state of altered consciousness that resembles sleep but is induced by a person whose suggestions are readily accepted by the subject. 2 : any of various conditions that resemble sleep. 

Hypnosis is, perhaps, one of the most misunderstood and controversial methods of psychological treatment. The myths and misconceptions that surround hypnosis mostly stem from people’s ideas about stage hypnotism. The truth is that stage hypnotism is essentially a theatrical performance and has about as much in common with bona fide clinical hypnosis as many Hollywood movies have with real life.

  The fact is, however, that hypnosis is a genuine psychological phenomenon that has valid uses in clinical practice. Simply put, hypnosis is a state of highly focused attention or concentration, often associated with relaxation, and heightened suggestibility. While under hypnosis, it seems many people are much more open to helpful suggestions than they usually are. 

The positive suggestions that people are given while hypnotized are referred to as “post hypnotic suggestions” because they are intended to take effect after the person emerges from the trance and is no longer under hypnosis. Everything about us is represented physically in our brains as neural pathways. There are three basic mechanisms that result in the creation of these neural pathways.


First of all, we are born with a lot of them. These are our instincts. This is what allows our tiny human bodies to breath, circulate blood, digest food, suckle, and so on. The reason we can do these things is because we have neural pathways in our brains that instinctually light up when any given behavior is called for. Crying, swallowing, digesting food, blinking, and so on. The next two descriptions of neural pathways have a lot more to do with hypnosis because we have more choice about the context of how these are created; at least we do once we understand that we do.

2nd - Repetition is key in the creation and maintenance of neural pathways. Everyone is different, but most people are able to firmly reinforce and/or establish new habits, rituals, and routines in 10 days to 2 weeks of listening, or “practicing”, the new way of being. First, they listen to the recording daily, at the right time of day, and secondly, they need to be mindful of their internal dialog and/or the conversations they are having with others about the topic at hand. Whatever they are thinking about, talking about, watching, listening to, and so on, is going to light up those neural pathways.

3rd - The third and final way of creating neural pathways is trauma. Physical and/or emotional trauma results in an immediate neurological change that can last a short time or a lifetime. When we experience a trauma, our brain takes a 360-degree picture of everything in our environment. This image becomes embedded and to one degree or another, anytime something from that image is encountered again, the whole shebang lights up, and the person experiences the same, or very similar, emotions related to the trauma.

 Most people are aware that we have both a conscious mind and a subconscious mind. But what do they have in common, and what is the difference between the two? A great analogy to use to explain the vast difference between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind is a picture of an iceberg. The top part, the visible portion is likened to the conscious mind, and the enormous section “beneath the surface” is the subconscious mind. You may have also heard the term “the unconscious” mind. Depending on the context of the material you’re reading, the terms unconscious and subconscious can mean similar or different things.  For the purposes of your reading here, these terms are interchangeable. I will use the term subconscious. 


Luckily, the conscious & subconscious parts of our mind work together, however, they are vastly different. Let’s take a look at the subconscious mind. As the word subconscious would indicate, things going on in the subconscious mind are below our level of awareness. This is the habit mind. Our physiology is run by the subconscious mind. It keeps the blood circulating, the lungs breathing, the intestines digesting, the immune system running, and so on. It also houses all our habits, rituals, routines, beliefs, values, memories, mannerisms and so on. According to Bruce Lipton in the Biology of Belief, the subconscious mind is processing at 40 million bits of data per second. That’s a lot of information, and all of it is represented physically in our brains as neural pathways. There’s a lot going on in there!

The conscious mind, on the other hand, is the part of our mind that is more representative of our current level of awareness. It is here where we have the ability to compare and contrast, to analyze and make decisions. It seems like the conscious mind is the dominant mind. Seems like we’re pretty aware of what’s going on. Seems like we’re in charge of our day, doesn’t it? Well, we’re not, really. Again, according to Bruce Lipton in Biology of Belief, we are only consciously aware of 1-5% of our day. That is not a typo, 1-5%. And it makes sense when you think about all the automatic systems being run by the subconscious mind. Luckily, the two minds work in tandem. Whatever the conscious mind is not thinking about is being taken care of by the subconscious mind, sometimes in our favor, but many times not. 

 The subconscious mind does not differentiate from really doing something or pretending to do something.  When I say pretending, I mean thinking about, talking about it, watching it, or even listening to it. We are the only species that can trigger an emotional response, wanted or unwanted, merely by thinking about something.  The subconscious mind always responds as if what you are focused on is happening right here and now because your thoughts trigger your emotions. This is often to our detriment. But in hypnosis, we use this fact to create real change by practicing, in the privacy of our own minds, the way we want things to be.  Also, the subconscious mind is a bit like a computer in that it speaks its own language, and that is the language of imagery. Your subconscious mind takes all the incoming data and translates it into imagery.  The context of all those neural pathways in your brain is based on imagery! It makes sense when you remember that we’ve been learning, growing, and creating new neural pathways since birth, long before we had language acquisition.  

Hypnosis is an amazing way to change bad habits, quit smoking, lose weight, reverse phobias, assist with trauma, help with anxiety, & build confidence, just to name a few. My techniques are individualized based on our pre-hypnosis conversation. I do not use a "cookie cutter" script.  

 Having studied under Debbie Taylor and the Portland School of Hypnosis, I am a Certified Hypnotist looking forward to helping you live your best life.  If you would like to learn more about hypnosis and how it can help you, I offer a free 30-minute consultation to explain the process and answer your questions 

I look forward to your call - 


 Disclaimer:  Hypnosis and coaching results vary and the practitioner may not guarantee results.  Hypnosis is not a replacement for medical treatment, psychological or psychiatric services, or counseling.  The hypnotist does not treat, prescribe for, or diagnose any condition. 

Artist of painting - Roger Glenn Holly