How does hypnosis fit in?
I find it absolutely fascinating that a religious evangelist can create a spellbinding atmosphere of belief and expectation, and thus merely bring about healing by touching a person. Yet, that same evangelist will proclaim to his congregation that "hypnosis is of the devil." It is that congregation's own faith and expectation that releases their very own power to heal and be healed. This is exactly what happens in using hypnosis.
Hypnosis reaches underneath that part of the mind which doesn't understand, and may not even believe, to that part of the mind which can understand, and believe. The hypnotherapist uses altered-state methods to get at that deeper part of the mind, which can have the faith to be healed. The therapist, just like the disciple, must have faith in order to use hypnosis to help another person be healed. The therapist is not doing the healing, but is assisting that person to use more of their own inner resources to release what is already given to them.
However, if therapists aren't convinced that hypnosis can help heal (or, more likely, worry that they might be too audacious in suggesting that a client can be healed), then they may betray their own lack of confidence and expectation, and thus affect the confidence and expectation of their clients.
What's the mind got to do with healing?
If it is a fact, as many physicians and scientists claim, that probably more than 90 percent of the diseases and disabilities we experience stem from our minds, then it seems reasonable that our minds can also heal us from them. I do not really agree with some of my colleagues that 100% of those diseases and disabilities come from our minds, but I certainly do believe our minds are greatly involved in whether we let those diseases and
disabilities take over our lives. (If it were true that 100% were caused by our minds, then I would have a difficult time understanding why small children should be afflicted, or why animals get diseases that have no human source.)
Be that as it may, there is enough evidence that we largely create our own environment, whether it be external or internal. Our belief systems make a difference in how we relate to life, and how we relate to our minds and bodies. We can create a healthy or unhealthy external environment; and, we can create a healthy or unhealthy internal environment. In other words, it is our thoughts, or ideas, that create both our external and internal environments. Another way to describe it is that an incident or accident by itself is not the problem. Rather, it is the relationship we take to an incident, and the story we tell about it makes it either a problem or not a problem to us.
The relationship and story we tell about what happens to us in life is received by the unconscious or subconscious mind. Negative programming has been accepted for one reason or another -- trust in a person or situation, threat and other trauma, misunderstandings, repetitive comments or events, protection in order to get through situations, etc. Such programming could be considered to be made of "negative hypnotic spells."
Anything the unconscious mind accepts as fact will be carried out in the body. The unconscious part of the mind doesn't distinguish the different between what is real and unreal, what is imagined and what is fact. The stronger the impression on the subconscious/unconscious mind, the more certain it will be carried out. The stronger the emotion, the more effect it has on the body. The more frequently said, implied, or experienced, the
stronger the suggestion.
As a child, how many times were we told that we would catch cold if we didn't wear a coat or boots on our feet. As adults, the assumption by many is, that if you are around someone with a cold, you will probably "catch" it. If someone merely says the word "cancer," a sudden rush of fear can take over our bodies.
As children, when healthy, we might do something wrong and be punished; however, if sick, we would be comforted. Being well brings discomfort; being ill brings comfort. Which would you choose? Consciously we want to be well, but unconsciously, we want to be comforted. Words and attitudes from an early age make a difference in how we perceive health and illness. Since illness is not to our benefit, then anything said that promotes it could be considered creating a negative hypnotic spell.
You mean, that what I imagine is what happens?
When you believe something, your subconscious mind accepts it whether it is real or not. Whatever the conscious mind believes in, it is accepted as fact by the subconscious mind. It doesn't differentiate between what is being imagined or what is actually happening. The unconscious mind doesn't distinguish between what is real or unreal, true or false. Whatever our unconscious or subconscious mind accepts as fact will be carried out in our bodies. The imagination has a powerful effect on the body.
There are written case studies and medical records, which show people who have died from the fear of being poisoned, when there has been no trace of it within their systems. When totally convinced that an onion is a delicious apple, over 50 percent of blind-folded people will eat the onion as if it was a delicious apple. In an episode of the popular series M.A.S.H., the doctors, who had run out of the supply of morphine, created placebo capsules, which they gave to their very uncomfortable patients. The only requirement was that the doctors had to present a posture of total belief in the placebo as actual morphine. Well over 50% of the patients were relieved totally of their pain, and most of the others, alleviated considerably.
There is a great story of the King of Orange whose troops were trapped behind enemy lines without any access to proper food. Scurvy abounded, so that most of the soldiers were seriously ill. Upon word of this, the King sent a special messenger to get through the enemy's lines to his troops. The messenger carried two vials of colored liquid. The message from the King was that those vials were very costly medicine, which was to be put in buckets of water, a few drops at a time. Each soldier was to have one ladle from the bucket daily. This would heal whoeverdrank the water.
After all, the King, himself, had sent these very expensive vials at great risk to his messenger. Within a very few days, all signs of scurvy had totally disappeared. The vials, of course, merely held plain colored water. Using one's imagination is crucial in any field or situation, including medical. We think, therefore, we respond. If a doctor tells a patient that they will never get well, then the combination of the authority of the doctor and/or the public's attitude toward the disease can create powerful images in one's mind which convince the patient of that suggestion. In other words, the suggestion, unless consciously rejected, is received and imagined to be true. And the patient will never get well, unless convinced otherwise; that is, unless their imagination is changed about that prediction.
If we believe that illness is inevitable, we will respond considerably differently than if we believe that illness and physical handicaps are NOT normal. It is a known fact that whenever a new "illness" is reported by the public media, the incidence of that illness amongst the population suddenly and dramatically rises. In other words, what we imagine is what happens. Such people have accepted a new hypnotic spell.
There are many instances in which people have been convinced simply by word or implication. A diagnosis creates a label, such as "bi-polar." At first, this may be very freeing to a person struggling with manic and mania responses within themselves. They realize that they are "not alone" or "going crazy." But that diagnosis can also serve to continue to convince that person that they are "locked in" to that condition for their lives. They carry the label forever, until it is removed. It is, therefore, important for the counselor or hypnotherapist to be aware of what labels a client carries with them, whether they were put there by themselves, or by others, even if those other people are part of the medical community. And then, the therapist, through hypnosis and counseling methods, helps the client "peal off" those labels and replace them with the more positive ones of health and wholeness.
There are people we tend to allow as our authorities-teachers when younger; peers when teenage; doctors when older. How much we believe in what other people say makes a big difference in how much of a hypnotic spell we allow ourselves to be caught in. In this light, it is understandable why parents are often concerned about with whom their children play; or, whom their teenage children are dating.
In the same way, a counselor or hypnotherapist ought to be concerned about whom their clients decide to let influence them. When I am working with an addictive client, for instance, I encourage them to get away from negative energy in which they are immersed, and get among those whose energy is positive. There is a high attrition rate in those who go through addiction programs, for at least two reasons: 1) the work is done primarily at the conscious-mind level; and 2) the patients go out into the same old environment they came out of. Physical and social "geography" does make a difference in how quickly we respond to positive growth and healing. Our external environment, just like our internal one, has become part of our imagination.
How can hypnosis help change the "environment"?
To overcome problems, the negative information in the mind (or old hypnotic spells) has to be reversed. It can be changed by hypnotic suggestions, by watching positive action, and by using the imagination. The unconscious responds to the strongest impression. Only if the previous impression is less in strength than the new impression, can reprogramming with new ideas take place. Hypnosis has to get rid of the previous imprint, and provide sufficient reasons and benefits to the unconscious mind for that new imprint. This is what reprogramming is about.
An example of this replacement is with a client of mine who had come for weight control. Consciously, he wanted to get rid of excess weight. However, despite proper suggestions for changing unhelpful habits, nothing occurred. In trying to discover the reason for the block to getting rid of the enormous amount of excess fat he was carrying on his body, we encountered his childhood experiences. In his younger years, he was sickly, exceedingly thin, and had trouble eating. His parents and other relatives were so worried for him they told him many times, "You've got to eat, or you'll die!" It is not difficult to grasp the power of that type of suggestion, which was, no doubt, accepted literally by the unconscious/ subconscious levels of my client's mind. As he began to recover from his illnesses, he began to eat enormous amounts of food, thus adding far too much weight to his body. It took (1) regression and releasing methods
concerning those early memories; (2) suggestions to the "child part" of himself that he no longer had to fear dying from not eating enough because he had become an adult and so obviously hadn't died; and (3) suggestions to the adult self that he was alive and well and could now eat normally. It worked. The client's "deeper" mind accepted this new fact, and it became the new imprint. He was now willing to change his poor habits; and began to shed the extra pounds.
Ideas can be positively or negatively accepted, depending upon previous "programming;" emotions surrounding the ideas, and whether those ideas are understood or mis-understood. Hypnosis is a method used to suggest positive ideas, which, if accepted by the unconscious mind, affect the body and cause a positive response. It is a powerful tool that can convince the mind to create a healthy environment -- outside or inside. Hypnosis helps clients overcome problems and get rid of self-defeating images, by breaking the old "hypnotic spells." the negative information in the mind has to be reversed. Negative programming can be changed. However, the "manager of the mind" awaits instructions before getting rid of negative programming. Until then, it goes on using the same program until told otherwise. It is like a computer which, despite all the hardware, cannot run until you enter a program. And that program cannot operate until you touch the keyboard. Entering a new program is like adding a new dimension to the imagination of the computer, or tapping into more of its potential "mind." For the client, whatever has been believed is imprinted on the mind. Proper use of hypnosis can change those imprints into something more positive and effective.
There is also the possibility of previous incarnations providing imprints. The question becomes: with whose illness are we actually dealing? In such a case, it is necessary to treat that previous incarnation as the client who is seeking relief from that "hypnotic spell," or imprint. Whether it is this existence, or a past one, or even some kind of incarnate attachment, that "person" is the actual client, or patient, and the one who needs the healing.
Can our minds really heal our bodies?
Some force within us is capable of repairing the body. This fact is acknowledged even by the medical community, as evidenced most strongly in the use of placebos in scientific medical studies. As mentioned before, it isn't the doctor who mends the broken bone who heals it. The doctor places the bones in proper alignment, and puts something around that area to keep it stable. But, that doctor does not do the actual knitting of those bones. The body has an instinct to send whatever is necessary to that site to stimulate the cells, fluids and chemicals to do whatever is required for that healing to take place. You could say that this very fact of nature supports the belief that our body's "natural" state is to be well.
The hypnotherapist, or counselor using hypnosis, will not set bones in place or wrap them for adequate support, nor do the job of the body. What it can do, is to send signals to the mind of that body to help that healing process respond more rapidly and completely; and to help the patient through it all with an easy, positive mind.
The body and the mind are made to be completely whole, completely healthy. They are meant to be continually recreated with new cells and ideas. But sometimes something occurs which blocks that continuous process of regeneration, or misdirects it. Hypnosis can be used to get to that part of the mind where some "disconnect" has occurred, and release it, so that the healing and regeneration process can continue as nature intended it.
Because hypnosis has the capacity to call forth this ability of the mind to "re-think" how it is operating the body, the hypnotist or counselor who works with hypnosis would be well advised to study the human body's anatomy and its physiological principles. By having a clearer idea of how the organs, glands, and various other systems operate, the hypnotist can encourage the client's practical imagination in helping the body promote its own health by thinking of that area of their body as healthy and operating perfectly.
Besides hypnosis and medical care of various kinds, there are other helpful tools for enhancing healing, such as humor, healthy sexual contact, harmonious relationships, good friends, and anything else that provides a positive atmosphere.
- The universe has been created with laws. Laws are objective.
- They apply to everything and everyone.
- The subconscious (or unconscious) mind controls all systems and processes of the body, including its healing processes.
- The body functions according to thoughts, ideas, and beliefs accepted by the subconscious/unconscious mind. "We are what we think."
- Thoughts filter from the conscious mind into the subconscious mind and affect the body positively or negatively, depending upon the types of messages received.
- Ideas don't have to be true to affect us; they need only to be accepted by our minds as true. What we imagine occurring is what occurs.
- Positive emotions are instrumental in producing good health. The body can usually withstand temporarily unpleasant emotions, but unpleasant emotions over a period of time can cause a negative effect on the body.
- Destructive emotions can have a definite effect on the health of the body, just as they do on the mind. Since it is basically "thoughts", or ideas, that determine how we respond, then thoughts and ideas can be changed in order to determine different responses.
- Hypnosis is a tool that can demonstrate the effect the mind has on the body. It can show how ideas formed by a person can affect the body positively or negatively.
- Hypnosis can be used to replace negative programming with positive programming, negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
- Hypnosis can be used to release blocks to the natural healing processes, by strengthening the imagination regarding healing.
- Hypnosis can seek out inappropriate imprints on the mind and change them to ones that are more beneficial to the client.
Del Hunter Morrill, M.S., Counseling Hypnotherapist
Author of the GREAT ESCAPES script books
and the NEW BEGINNINGS recording series
TRANSITIONS, a Center for Counseling & Hypnosis
and home of New Beginnings Publishing
Located in Tacoma, Washington USA
(253) 383-5757; (888) 663-5757 (toll free)