What Is Self-Hypnosis

“A happy life begins with tranquility of mind”
~ Cicero

Hypnosis has long been associated with the unknown and mysterious. Its exhibition in sideshows by "magic men" causes us to think it borders on the supernatural. We've seen that a hypnotized subject looses control over their actions and are at the mercy of another. Showmanship and the distorted portrayal of hypnosis by the movie industry have caused us to be weary of a time-honored and beneficial treatment used by healers, dentists, doctors, and mental health therapists.

Hypnosis is a method of quieting the conscious critical mind via relaxation to access subconscious recall or plant suggestions. The practice of Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis in a controlled therapeutic environment by a trained hypnosis professional. It is commonly used for many healing issues including: enhancement of body healing, trauma, abuse, low self esteem, anxiety, fears/phobia, stress control, body healing, sleeplessness, improved health, memory recall, pain control, creativity enhancement, increased energy, concentration, exam anxiety, inner child healing, inner guidance, athletic performance, and more. The altered state of consciousness induced in hypnosis is a natural state that occurs everyday. Experiences such as daydreaming, gazing into a fire, and losing thought while driving are examples of how the mind naturally experiences trance. In these daily occurrences, as in hypnosis, the mind quiets to the outside world allowing internal focus. Physiologically, the mind relaxes into an alpha brain-wave state and body processes are slowed. Heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure lower. The body and mind are relaxed, allowing tensions to release. This is not a sleep state, but a state of heightened internal awareness. While in this state we can access long forgotten experiences, focus healing in our bodies, zero in on issues, examine causes, find solutions, and eliminate problems. Hypnosis is effective due to this focused concentration that eliminates outside interference. When the conscious critical faculties of our minds are at rest, the subconscious is free to recall and process issues without judgment.

In a typical hypnotherapy session, the client is guided into a relaxed alpha brain wave state by the therapist using an induction that involves relaxation and visualization in a serene and emotionally safe environment. It is important to understand that hypnosis occurs only as deep as an individual feels comfortable and all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Even deeply hypnotized individuals are aware and in control. Life experiences are processed at both the conscious (aware) level and the subconscious (beneath) level. The subconscious level stores everything we experience, and though this information may not be available for immediate conscious recall, it is not forgotten. Memories in our subconscious mind have an impact on our daily lives and influence our actions and reactions in ways we may not be aware of consciously. If you are considering hypnosis to assist in processing traumas or emotionally charged concerns, a Hypnotherapist with mental health expertise is recommended. The advanced therapeutic skills they utilize may be valuable in your healing process.

Self-hypnosis is utilization of the technique of hypnosis for self-healing. Self-hypnosis is easy and entails self-recording a tape with a series of body and mind relaxations, visualizations, and suggestions for healing. I added this to my repertoire of home therapies when I became professionally trained as a Clinical Hypnotherapist. The tapes I created were expanded versions of the visualizations in which I imagined myself in a peaceful and beautiful environment, boosting my immune system and warming my body. Building on the success of these visualizations, I added the inductions that facilitate deep relaxation and the suggestions I wanted for symptom relief and overall healing. The rest was simple. I created a warm comfortable environment with no interruptions, played the tape, and just allowed myself to flow with the suggestions I offered myself, taking me to beautiful relaxing far off places where my body was warm and healthy. Listening to this tape on a regular basis facilitated even deeper healing and my body grew stronger.

Making your own personal tape is easy. Write out the script of what you want to say and then record it speaking in slow soft monotone, pausing at every punctuation and any other time you feel would be appropriate. Speak slowly and quietly. The object is for you to be lulled into deep relaxation.

The following is a sample induction to give you an idea of how to create your own script.

“Allow your eyes to naturally close. Take in a long deep breath. Feel the air nurture your lungs. And as you exhale, allow all the stresses, and all the tensions of the day to release with the breath. Allow your mind to relax. Allow your body to relax. Take in another long, deep breath, holding the air for a moment, and then releasing all the stress, and all the tension, along with the breath. Take in yet a third long, deep breath, and allow your body to relax as your breath slowly exhales from your body. Feel your body melt into the softness of whatever you are sitting or lying upon. Release and let go. Relax and let go. Imagine that you are lying on a warm sunny beach in the tropics, feeling the glowing sun warming your body. And as you continue to relax, listen to the waves as they wash in, and wash back out. Wash in, and wash back out. Wash in, and wash back out. Feel your body relax with the rhythm of the ocean mother.

The rise and fall of the waves clears your mind, and your body fully relaxes, as you breathe normally. And as you continue to relax, focus for a moment on the muscles in your toes, your feet, and your legs. Contract those muscles, and as you release those muscles, allow all the tension, all the stress, and all the pain to relax out of your body. Feel those muscles as they lengthen and uncoil, loosen and relax. And as you continue to relax, contract the muscles in your torso, your stomach, your back, and in your chest. And as you release those muscles, allow all the tension, all the stress, and all the pain to release out of your body. Feel those muscles as they lengthen and uncoil, loosen and relax. And as you continue to relax, contract the muscles in your shoulders, your arms, and in your hands for a moment. And as you release those muscles, allow all the tension, all the stress, and all the pain to release from your body. Feel those muscles as they lengthen and uncoil, loosen and relax. Allow the muscles in your neck, your face, and in your head to contract. And as you release those muscles, allow all the tension, all the stress, and all the pain in your body to release. Feel those muscles as they lengthen and uncoil, loosen and relax. Feel all the muscles everywhere in your body loosen, and relax, lengthen, and uncoil. All of your body melts with relaxation, as your muscles become limp, and heavy. And as you continue to relax, imagine that you are walking down a path in the woods, feeling light, and connected with nature. It’s a beautiful day, filled with soft sunlight, and a warm gentle breeze. A slow and easy, perfect day. And as you stroll down this path in the woods, you notice any birds that flit back and forth amongst the trees. Enjoy your connection with Mother Earth. Breathe deeply of the fresh-forested air. Slowly, as you stroll along the path, the woods opens up into a heavenly meadow filled with wildflowers of all colors. You notice the bees, and the butterflies as they flit and float from flower to flower.

You slowly meander through this heavenly meadow, feeling calm and connected with Mother Nature. And as you continue to stroll down this path through the beautiful meadow, the path comes to a stone stairway, leading down to a large rock archway. There are ten steps in all, and each stone is wide and flat so is easy to step upon. With each number that I count, I’d like for you to mentally take one step down, and with every step you take, you go further, and further into deep relaxation. One, take the first step, two, take the second, three, four, going down deeper and deeper, five, six, more and more relaxed, seven, eight, deeply relaxed, nine, ten, at the bottom and deeply relaxed. And as you reach the bottom, you walk underneath the large rock archway, and step into the most peaceful and glorious place you could ever imagine. The most magnificent place in the entire universe. Take a moment to look around this most wonderful place. This is a place where no one else may enter, without heartfelt honest invitation from you. This place is calm and peaceful, safe and protected, serene and tranquil. This is your sacred healing medicine place. Gaze around this most extraordinary place and use all of your senses to explore. (long pause….) And now as you look about you find one place amongst all others where you could easily lie down and relax. Go to that place. Lie down, curl up and relax. Allow your self to be totally relaxed. And now I will count from 1 to the number 21 and with each number that I count you will go deeper and deeper within, to a place of total relaxation. 1, 2, 3, etc. counting to 21. And now you are deeply relaxed. Listen to my voice and allow the messages of my words to internalize.” (Place your suggestions here, I wrote some of mine for example) “As you continue to relax, your body is getting stronger, and more healthy. Feel the strength, and the power returning to your body. You are strong, happy, and healthy. See the cells of your immune system fighting off any foreign invaders, easily and effortlessly. You are filled with energy, and passion for life. Your body is warm, and healthy, and growing stronger each moment. See yourself strong, healthy, and living life to the fullest. Etc., etc., etc.” (When you have finished with your suggestions, it is time to return.)

“And now take in a deep breath, and allow the suggestions to deepen within your body and soul. Feel the images growing stronger and stronger within you, with every breath that you take, and every beat of your heart. With each passing moment, your essence absorbs the suggestions and the images, and you grow profoundly. And now, know that it is time to return. Gently, you mentally rise from your special spot, coming slowly to sitting, then kneeling, and then carefully to standing. You slowly walk through your sacred healing medicine place, breathing deeply of all the powerful energy here. As you reach the large rock archway, you turn to look once more into your beautiful sacred healing medicine place and know that you can return here anytime that it is safe and appropriate for you to do so. Gathering one last deep breath of this healing, calm, peaceful power, you step underneath the large rock archway, and begin to ascend the stone stairway with every number that I count from ten to the number one. And with every number that I count you become more awake and more alert, being fully awake and alert at the number one. Ten, begin ascending the steps by taking your first step. Nine take the second, eight, seven, six, coming up, five, four, three, becoming more awake, two, one, fully awake and alert, and feeling better than you have in a long, long, time.”

Sit quietly for a few moments and reflect on your experience. Be gentle with yourself as you wiggle and stretch, becoming fully present in your body and conscious mind.