Our brain operates in four general states that are determined by the frequency of the electricity generated by the exchange of chemicals in the neural pathways. The four states are: Full Conscious Awareness (BETA range) , Hypnotic State (ALPHA range), Dream State (THETA range) and Sleep State (DELTA range).
Full Conscious Awareness is where we spend most of our waking hours. In this state, our mind is attentive and uses logic to reason, evaluates, assesses, judges, and makes decisions.
In the Hypnotic State, the doorway between the conscious and the subconscious is opened, memories become more easily accessible, and new information is stored. In the Hypnotic State,we are not really “thinking” in the traditional sense. We “experience” without questioning, without critical judgment or analysis, like when we watch a movie. The hypnotherapist can make suggestions that are very likely to stay,because our conscious mind is not getting in the way.
We pass through all four states sequentially as the electrical activity decreases on our way to sleep and as it increases on our way of being total awake. Regardless of whether we are on our way to sleep or to wakefulness, we go into hypnosis automatically.
A less technical definition of hypnosis is: A naturally occurring altered state of consciousness in which the critical faculty is bypassed (mind in the conscious mode) and acceptable selective thinking established.
This simply means that the reasoning, evaluating, judging part of our mind (conscious) is bypassed. While we wonder how this can possibly happen, we are subject to it all the time. The advertising industry is dedicated to bypassing our critical judgment all the time in order to influence our buying behavior.
We usually also suspend our critical judgment other times when an authority figure makes some sort of comment; doctors, professors or parents for their kids.
Children suspend their critical judgment frequently in games of “let’s pretend”. Actors do it when playing a part and the audience when we watch them act.
With the critical faculty bypassed, specific thoughts/suggestions can be lodged in the subconscious where they can propel the client toward a desired goal or change behavior in a positive, permanent way. Any such suggestions must be acceptable to the client, of course or they would have no effect otherwise.