In trance work with hypnosis we talk about the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. Some people associate the word “unconscious” with being in a coma or anaesthetized in an operation. We simply mean that the conscious mind, the content we are aware of, accounts for 5-10% of all brain activity whereas the unconscious mind takes up 90-95%. So most of our brain activity is unconscious, some of it related to normal body functions which we do not consciously control eg pumping blood around the body.
The distinction here is that we might know what we are doing wrong consciously, what we want to change or why phobias are irrational fears but the unconscious mind is keeping us stuck in the habit, the behavior pattern or the trigger response. All long-term change and learning takes place in the unconscious. You only know something when you cannot forget it.
The conscious mind might want to make a change and so those words come out of our mouth but the unconscious could be holding on for a secondary benefit such as attention-seeking, keeping the person on long-term sickness benefit.
Hypnotherapy can be a very fast technique. Typically, smokers stop smoking with hypnosis in one session. Most issues are dealt with in 2-5 sessions, some health problems take longer. But some people are not really ready to change. Without realizing, they argue to stay stuck the way they are and that is simply because they have rehearsed that way of being or doing for a very long time.
I always ask the client whether they are committed to make change NOW and may test with ideomotor signaling or quantum linguistics, questions which make no sense to the conscious mind but fire up the neurology in the unconscious. In relevant cases, a detailed personal history can already lead the person to identify patterns and make changes.
Milton Erickson said, “Your clients will be your clients because they are out of rapport with their unconscious mind.”
If the client cancels their second appointment, I don’t take it personally. I just realize they are not ready to make change even though they say they are. This lack of personal congruence may be due to beliefs, value systems, identity issues which is where NLP comes in.
1. “People have within them all the resources they need to achieve what they want.” Yes, but they don’t know it.
2. “People make the best choices they can at any given moment, given their present model of their world.” Exactly, it is their model or view of the world which needs to be altered before they can achieve the outcome they want and we must always respect another’s model of the world, even crazy sounding ones!
The client must agree to enter into a relationship with me. Just because they have come for help does not mean that they are ready to change. My job is to do the initial work with their unconscious so that they can move forward and make positive change.
© Antonia Harrison is the English Hypnotherapist & NLP Coach in Belgium and recommends Download Hypnosis Mp3s for immediate access to positive life-changing hypnosis sessions.