“You are getting very sleepy,” says the hypnotherapist as they swing a pocket watch in front of the clients eyes. At least, that’s how it appears in the movies. In reality, hypnosis is about more than parlor tricks or simply mesmerizing somebody. Hypnosis is a process by which the pathway between the conscious and subconscious is cleared so that the memories and thoughts stored deep within our minds become readily available.
When an individual is in the hypnotic state, their conscious mind lets down its guard so that the subconscious mind can step in and approach a situation without all the judgments and preconceived ideas that we bring to the table everyday. In reality, we pass through the hypnotic state every time we fall asleep, and hypnotherapy seeks to harness this state to open a portal to the deeper parts of our minds and then use this connection to modify our thinking. Our conscious, critical minds construct how we view reality and then react to it, which can lead to unwanted thoughts and behaviors if our view is based on faulty judgments. Hypnosis bypasses this critical judgment and reshapes it so that our conscious minds will then approach situations such as addictions and habitual reactions differently.