Personal Development: Part 1

Change Matters

Our conscious mind likes checklists. Once a goal is set, it can use all the tools of reason to create a plan. And checking off that goal is a satisfying reward. We know that we’ve accomplished something!

For the subconscious, the checklist isn’t so sexy. It’s not concerned with “what do I do?” but with “how am I?” In the beginning, “how am I?” is basic: am I comfortable? Hungry? Sleepy? As we gain control over those needs, our concerns change. Am I loved? Excited? Smart? These “how am I?” questions don’t go away. When we eat, we know that we’re going to be hungry again. Even if we are smart at math, we may need to work on our grammar.

The conscious mind struggles with “How am I?” problems because conditions change. We finish eating the cherries (om nom nom!), leaving the brussels sprouts (yuck!). We finish fourth grade, and our fifth-grade teacher doesn’t teach math so well. And eventually we grow up and our parents expect us to take care of ourselves. When changes like this occur, our plans break down.

It’s left to the subconscious mind to make certain that we recognize and adapt to change. Motivations help us focus on changes that matter; behaviors are how we react to those changes. For example, our motivation to be indoors at night causes us to watch where the sun is in the sky. When it gets low, our behavior is to head back home.

In most animals, behaviors are driven by material change: weather, growth and injury to the body, and other creatures. For people, there is another powerful source of change: our minds. When we learn to manage our basic needs, our mind becomes the most important of all. Paradoxically, its greatest power is in imagining things that haven’t happened or that don’t yet exist.

So how is the subconscious going to deal with that, ensuring that “we are like we want to be” when we get to the unknown? Particularly when the “unknown” includes how our brain works? Well, the subconscious relies upon the conscious mind to monitor and predict our progress. When a behavior fails and we end up sleeping cold and hungry in the open, the “why it happened” goes from our conscious mind into our subconscious mind which works during sleep to adjust our motivations and behaviors.

It’s that ability that makes us different from machines, and leads us into the realm of spirit.

Basics, Specializations

War of the Psyche – 3 of 6

A Hypnotherapist’s View: Basic Behavior

Battle trauma creates an imbalance in the warrior’s mind. Fear dominates his or her expectations. Obviously battle is not a typical experience, and the imbalance is extreme.

But parents raise children with predispositions toward euphoria or fear. When the former is expected, the child becomes adventurous. When the latter is expected, the child is protective. Most children have experiences that balance those expectations – they may be adventurous in one context and protective in another.

Until the 1950s, many hypnotists believed that protective people could not be hypnotized. Unfortunately, it is the protective person that most often needs hypnotherapy. As his practice became dominated by such clients, Dr. John Kappas applied himself to cracking their hypnotic code.

In the course of that study, surprising behavioral differences were revealed. Most naturally, adventurers (called “physicals” by Kappas) attract attention and crave intimacy, while protectors (called “emotionals”)  dress conservatively and prefer time alone. Less obviously: adventurers tend to answer questions indirectly, taking the listener on a journey of experience. Protectors tend to be terse – in extreme cases answering only with “yes” and “no.” Paradoxically, adventurers interpret requests literally – they take words at their face value – while protectors anticipate the motivations behind the request and act accordingly.

As regards the psychic struggle of combat stress, the most important difference is that the adventurer invests heart in every relationship, while the protector invests mind. They both care – and in fact complement one another. Adventurers without a protector find themselves out on a limb; protectors without an adventurer find themselves isolated and bored.

Part 1 || Part 2 | Part 4


Why Hypnotherapy – 1 of 2

Hypnotherapy helps us change our behavior.

Why is that help necessary? It seems that when we realize that our behavior is hurting us, it should be easy to change our mind and act differently. But it’s not.

The reason is that during elementary and middle school our mind breaks into two parts: the conscious and subconscious. The subconscious is the part that controls our behavior. It’s our oldest and dearest friend, concerned only with our well-being and happiness. The challenge is that it prefers the experiences that we survive (even the frightening ones) and is anxious about the unknown. It resists the attempts of the conscious mind to create change. Because the subconscious is “seven times more powerful than you think,” it normally wins the battle. 

Sometimes change is necessary, of course. To minimize danger, the subconscious considers change under the safest conditions: sleep. The body is inactive and the conscious mind disabled while the new behavior is imagined in dreams. If the dreams play out positively, the subconscious may try the new behavior in waking life. If that works out, the behavior often is accepted as a known and is available for future use.

A Comfy Client

In hypnotherapy, I facilitate a direct dialog between your conscious and subconscious minds. We begin the session by talking about your conscious behavior and discuss suggestions. After guiding you into hypnosis, I’ll offer your consciously accepted suggestions to your subconscious. Your conscious mind will monitor the dialog, and I’ll watch for signals in the body that tell whether the subconscious is comfortable with the suggestions.

In many cases, we also suggest that the subconscious release unwanted fears and motivations, through the venting dreams that we have just before waking up in the morning.

Between sessions, you go about your life and observe whether and how your behavior has changed. As you learn, new ideas and opportunities will come to mind. This is the where the next session starts, and the cycle continues until your goal is met.