Basics

Personal Development: Part 3

Path to Maturity

In our last post, we offered a hypnotherapist’s view of behavior development. Rather than looking at the subconscious mind as a seething cauldron of primitive instincts, the hypnotherapist sees it as your oldest, dearest friend. Its only concern is your survival and happiness. Problems arise, however, because:

  • everyone else is trying to survive and find happiness, which can create conflict, and
  • normally the only time the subconscious tries to change is during sleep. This means that it gets out of step with our conscious goals.

Obviously we’d like to be able to seize opportunities – to change rapidly – without creating conflicts within ourselves or with others. That’s not easy. In fact, it’s the journey of a lifetime that I’ll call our “path to maturity.”

One of the great things about being human is that we teach each other. When somebody gets it right, they share their wisdom (Lao-Tzu) – or attract followers that write it down for them (Jesus). From my examples, you’d see that many religions are paths to maturity. But they don’t have a monopoly: Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs charts a course of increasing authority and responsibility; Erickson’s Stages of Life charts a course of social engagement.

But none of them considers the hypnotherapist’s concern: harmonizing conscious goals with subconscious motivations.

Furthermore hypnotherapists, in engaging with people’s deepest desires, also confront something else: the dissolving of boundaries between therapist and client that is spoken of in spiritual teachings. This is not found in Mazlow or Erickson. Religions deal with this, but rarely step-by-step as a path to be followed.

So it was entirely surprising to me how easy it is to fit hypnotherapy into the framework defined by the Indian Chakras. For that is what is represented in the graphic: a path of maturity built from the ground up upon the concerns most important to the subconscious. We’ll break down the stages in the posts to follow.

Part 1 || Part 2 | Part 4

Basics

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.

Conclusion…