Updated: Jul 24, 2018
I think my friends and family thought I was nuts!
I get a lot of strange looks from friends and family when I tell them I trained to be a hypnotherapist. Some will come right out and ask why. Some just have a strange look on their face that simply says, "You've got to be kidding." The dirty little secret is that I had the same exact thought when a friend of mine suggested I look into going through the training at the Hypnotherapy Academy. Having received a degree in psychology years ago, hypnotherapy didn't seem to stack up to the academic rigor that I had confidently felt when I got my degree. At the same time, however, then and over the years, I had some reservations about traditional talk therapy. I could even point to studies that supported my concern. While I do know that considerable advances have been made in talk therapy since I got my degree, there still was something missing in my mind. As I looked into the program at the Hypnotherapy Academy and learned more about what the field was about, I realized that they were addressing something that had indeed been missing in my earlier education.
A substantial portion of what the field of hypnotherapy is about is the subconscious mind. Experts in a variety of academic fields now estimate that up to 95% of our behavior is driven by the subconscious mind. It seems rather obvious to me that if you are trying to change your behavior and do not address and work with the subconscious mind, you are missing a big part of the picture. The more I got into it, the more it explained a lot of things I had observed over the years but had not understood. I recalled back to my days of taking psychology courses and remembered many psychologists of the day arguing that there was no such thing as a subconscious mind. I now see this stubborn viewpoint as an example, or perhaps a metaphor, for the way we humans act most of the time; we treat what we experience in our conscious mind as "all that there is." The more I practice hypnotherapy, the more I realize just how short-sighted that viewpoint is. I do acknowledge that it is a seductive belief; it just seems to really be that way. As I was growing up my father drilled into my head the importance of being logical and rational (use our heads). I was a devoted student to that thought. It was reinforced by an instructor in one of my psychology classes that explained to us one day that we needed to get to the point that we could still work and be effective from the neck up (as indicated by his hand motions) when we were not working from the neck down (feeling sickly, in other words). He thought that was wise advice. I have since learned two things about these two pieces of advice. First, what is clear to me now is that any effort to create a separation between "logical" and "emotional" is a slippery slope at best. There is more emotion lying beneath our logic than most of us want to admit. Second, we now know from the worlds of cellular biology and neuroscience that we have brain cells throughout our entire body (just for a beginner). The upshot is that if we are not working well "from the neck down" or at least tuning into that lower part of the body, we are not working fully in our minds either.
The other really fascinating area of my work, as you might already guess, is in the area of mind/body work. Leading edge researchers tell us now that contrary to the way we have thought of it and approached it, their is no separation of mind and body. To think of them as separates is pure illusion. It makes sense then, that treating them separately is unwise. In terms of the challenges that we face in the healthcare crisis, it seems foolish that we do not move more in the direction of the holistic path of treating both mind and body in any endeavor of "physical" healing. I think we would all agree that the pharmaceutical companies will not be engaging in this research. I find the medical community is being rather slow to fully embrace this understanding as well. The field of hypnotherapy is one field that fully embraces this approach. I am convinced that there are some amazing things to be discovered in this endeavor.
There are skeptics. I have met many of them. I guess they have their place. However, I appreciated the comment by Deepak Chopra in his book "Quantum Healing" where he states that "skeptics consider themselves to be the keepers of scientific truth. It could be just as easily said that they belong to the society for the suppression of curiosity." Curiosity has always led the way to great advances. I am excited to be a part of this "curiosity-filled" effort. I will be sharing some of these issues in my upcoming blogs.
Wishing you happiness, health, and well-being.
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