The following information is provided for those who are keen to know the details of this all encompassing therapy and the intricacies of its motive force. None of this material is meant to be judgemental or to offend. I believe that an individual's choice for healing or therapy is what matters. If you truly believe in the process you have elected to use then it will have a positive effect.
In no way do I think that Western medicine, or Eastern practices, or any of the numerous Alternative Therapies should be systematically avoided. They all have their uses so long as there are people who benefit in any way from their employment.
Usually, books concerning health are written from a scientific point of view. This is understandable since the medical profession's knowledge, and the treatments it uses all come from the application of "science". Because science deals with "facts", this gives it a great deal of credibility. But looked at in a different way, science has weaknesses, particularly when it comes to a study of the human mind.
It is important to realise that Science is a process for dealing with information and its application to theories. It is not a platform for making hard-and-fast conclusions; but for testing a given hypothesis within a reproduce-able "test" scenario.
"Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge."
Science really excels when dealing with the material world. It has difficulty when dealing with intangible subjects. Unfortunately for science, the human mind is intangible, unless one mistakenly defines it as the brain and nervous system.
One way to define "science" is to call it the art of finding answers. However, the right answers can only be achieved by asking the right questions. If those questions are not asked, then science is powerless when it comes to providing answers. One can only ask questions within the limitations of their current state of knowledge, or within a given belief structure. If the thinking (or philosophy) behind a project is faulty, then the best science can do is provide answers based upon a range of assumptions.
"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
An even worse problem is that scientific research has to be paid for, and those who provide the money will determine and dictate the direction that the research takes. For instance, drug companies employ a considerable number of scientists; but their research is directed towards developing "new and better" drugs. It is not directed to finding the best cure for any given condition, but rather "better and improved" at a cost to the consumer. Thus, capitalism and profit becomes an unfortunate motive.
The "subconscious mind" is defined as that part of the mind that is used for anything that does not require any conscious effort at all. For therapeutic purposes, the subconscious has three functions attributed to it. Its first job is the operation and maintenance of the physical body.
The moment we drift into sleep, we lose all consciousness. It is as though our conscious minds ceased to exist. Yet throughout the night our hearts keep beating, our lungs expand and contract, chemical reactions continue within our body. In short, we are kept alive by the normal operations of our body functions. This also operates at microscopic levels. The cells of the physical body are provided with food, their waste removed, repairs made and dead cells replaced, all without our conscious awareness.
The second function of the subconscious involves the development of habits and skills. There are many automated tasks which we do every day, such as walking and speaking. Riding a bicycle and swimming are also learned and become very automated. Brushing teeth and washing hands are considered habit, as they are semi-automated and are often done according to a schedule or as part of a sequence of events.
Throughout our lives, we have learned to do certain things so well that we no longer have to think about them. When we first began to learn these things, it took a lot of conscious effort. When we first learned to walk, we were only too aware of what each foot was doing. The activity required our fullest attention, and was therefore under the control of the conscious mind.
It is by means of reinforcement that skills are learned and habits are developed. As we became more skilled (through reinforcement), the conscious mind became less involved, until eventually it was not involved at all, except to initiate the action. It is as though, as the skill develops, the process is transferred from the conscious mind to another part of the mind, where no further effort is involved.
Habits develop similarly. We continue with a particular behaviour because there is an expectation of reward. Contrary-wise, we may have an avoidance behaviour because there is an expectation of punishment. Even though the actual reward or punishment may no longer exist, repetition has created an electro-chemical path within our brain through repetition (reinforcement) so that breaking that habit requires a Re-wiring (so-to-speak).
The third function of the subconscious is memory storage. Memories that are new or important are readily accessible to the conscious mind. All other memories, no matter how old, are stored in the subconscious memory bank. The subconscious will use these stored memories to create associations of experiences. These memories are also used during dreaming.
The next consideration is understanding stimulus-response. In the most simplistic way, our environment creates the stimulus. This stimulus is perceived by both the conscious and subconscious mind. Upon processing by the conscious and subconscious, there is then a response, both physical and emotional. Pavlovian behaviour modification (or Classical Conditioning) will create associations to a behaviour based on a reward and punishment scenario. It is this type of association, unknowingly created by a combination of a stimuli and an arguably unrelated experience, which could create unwanted, and even detrimental associations.
When making a diagnosis it is extremely important not to jump to conclusions. Too often we will decide that our suffering has a particular "cause" whilst in reality, what we identify as a cause, is a symptom. This relates nicely to our understanding of stimulus-response and associations.
The response to an environmental stimulus may consist of a very complicated spectrum of both the physical and emotional aspects. When we have physical or emotional aberrations, there can likewise be a whole spectrum of causes or contributions. Only through the subconscious can we begin to learn some of the aspects of the anomaly, and only through hypnosis can we begin to make reparations to the root cause.
One of the commonest kinds of problems the subconscious has to solve is how to cope with stress. It may be that something is actually stressful, or it may be that it is simply perceived as being stressful. But whether the stress is real or imaginary, or whether the conscious mind is aware of it or not, the subconscious feels the need to deal with it. It is therefore interested in learning strategies that will help it do this.
A common method it uses is to remove the individual from the stress. For instance, giving you an illness (like flu) which will make you take some time off, thus removing you from the stressful situation, at work for example.
Another way is to divert your attention by giving you something else to think about, like an anxiety state, or a phobia. This is where the alien reasoning comes in. The subconscious looks upon these methods as solutions, not as problems. While the subconscious may consider a problem as being dealt with successfully, the conscious may find this solution uncomfortable.
Because most of us, in our conscious state, are not living in concordance with our subconscious, it is very much like having a split mind. We may rationalise and justify a situation consciously; but the subconscious may have its own agenda. If the subconscious repeatedly attempts to protect the body; but all attempts seem to fail and it appears that there is no escape, it may give up.
This is rather the reverse of the sink-or-swim notion, which implies that you will learn to escape the hopeless situation or fail. Alternatively, learned helplessness is very much a swim-or-sink... just a bit less hopeful. If the escape is not coming, then we must insure that the sink is successful.
The subconscious mind, upon realising there is no escape will choose to terminate life. It may do this through Cancer, a brain tumour, or any other variety, or combination of terminal illnesses. This is both a scream for help and an ultimatum.
One of the most commonly expressed difficulties associated with breaking the smoking habit is a thing called "craving". This is developed through the body releasing chemicals to counteract the poison intake, and the subsequent associations the subconscious mind makes with the need of that chemical and spatially or sequentially associated, but unrelated activities.
Here's a hypothetical scenario for the reasoning of the subconscious:
Whenever you get the cigarette packet out of your pocket, the substance is going to come. So we can start making the chemical as soon as we see the packet emerge. Then, whenever you get a cup of coffee in front of you, you will extract that packet again. Thus the arrival of the coffee becomes a signal to start making the chemical. Then, whenever you put the kettle on, you are going to make a cup of coffee. And so it goes on. This had been so successful that now, when you light a cigarette, that chemical is already there waiting for it. As a result, there are no symptoms. Your body's defences are working as they should.
Now consider what happens on the day that you decide to stop smoking. Whereas you are not going to light the cigarette, you are still going to drink your coffee, this is a signal for your defences to spring into action. Now you have a chemical circulating around your body with nowhere to go. In normal circumstances, this chemical would dissipate over time, but, say 20 minutes later, you would normally light another cigarette, so you produce another batch of chemical. This process is repeated as each signal is encountered, with the result that the chemical builds up within the body to become the body's own poison. Thus the symptoms reoccur. the spinning head. the queasy tummy. this time it is called "craving", because your body is trying to tell you what it wants. This is where you can admit defeat and light a cigarette. Relief is immediate, because there is enough poison in that one cigarette to use up all that chemical and make you feel better.
When one uses surgery or drugs, herbs or acupuncture, to heal, this is very much a process of creating yet another environmental stimulus; but this time to systematically create a desired response, physically and emotionally, with the idea of alleviating the pain and suffering associated with a previous stimulus-response. This is very much akin to adding more ingredients to a soup into which you mistakenly put sugar instead of salt. Adding more to "the mix" does not get the recipe back to it's natural state; but only creates yet another "mix".
Drugs, in particular, work to either block or alter the chemistry of the body. Consequently, there will always be undesirable side-affects to this type of medicine. It is certainly a step forward to use Naturopathy and Homeopathy, for at least they are not in conflict with the natural chemistry of the body, and work more toward correcting an imbalance.
It can easily be seen from the above examination that the quickest and most efficient solution is to work with the mind itself and actually alter the way one responds to the environmental stimulus. And here is the most appropriate time to introduce hypnotherapy.
Diet provides molecules for RNA to maintain and build DNA for cell division (reproduction). A diet with the wrong molecular material can be as problematic as insufficient raw material. If we flood our bodies with the wrong molecular material, the body will suffer; just as much as starving the body of the necessary molecular material will have the same effect.
In the same way that diet can affect the operation of the genes, thought can affect them too. Thoughts produce chemicals which are food for the genes and produce their own results.
Genetics is a young science and it is well not to assume too much based on the eagerness of the researchers to make claims of revolutionary proportions. For every gene identified for a certain trait, it is wise to presume that there is an augmenter gene and a suppressor gene as well. With that said, and given the context of all we have come to understand thus far about the mind and its abilities to heal, it can easily be seen that deploying correct chemicals to the right sight can potentially activate a suppressor gene or an augmenter gene, as necessary, to provide the preferential result. This is a work requiring great consideration; but it is also something that the subconscious, if coaxed in just the right way, will know what can be done and if it should be done.
Now we come to two activities of the mind which are a bit disenfranchising. That of the humble association and that of the illusive ego. Associations are primal in the ability of the mind to respond quickly to environmental stimuli in such a way as to safeguard the physical body; but they are equally culpable for creating physical and mental aberrations.
"The self is not only the centre, but the whole circumference which embraces
both the conscience and the unconscious. It is all that Human Beings may be."
The realm of the association is exclusively within the subconscious. Being made aware, on a conscious level, of these associations does not necessarily make it easier to disassociate. One must work directly with the subconscious to effectively disassociate.
The physicality of our bodies crave stimulation. At the very moment of our birth we have the instinct to grasp and suckle. If one is denied the expression of this function, the body will find another avenue in which to satisfy the craving. Classically, smoking and chewing are considered surrogate behaviours to some of our unsatisfied cravings. The truth may be rather more complicated. Yet, binging and purging (associated with anorexia) provides acute, albeit unpleasant, stimulation for the satisfaction of misguided cravings. The need of our physicality for stimulation does not distinguish between the pleasant and unpleasant. That distinction is, to some extent, learned early in life. They are as well dictated, to some extent, by the norms of the society in which we live.
For the purpose of Hypnotherapy, we may treat these conditions as if they are associations. Finding the link that the subconscious has made with past experiences is a process for exploring the "toolbox" which your mind is using; but which is now obsolete, or superfluous, or simply detrimental to the body -- then working with the subconscious to deploy a more appropriate "toolbox".
The ego, alternatively, is an element of the subconscious which is very profoundly articulated in a person's character; but yet again, it is very difficult to remedy this simply by being conscious of it. The common path for reining-in the ego is with a solid spiritual or religious practice. And this is where Buddhism will be integrated with my therapeutic style.
Forget everything you know about ego and understand that the ego is both the best and the worst in everyone. Ego is, from a Buddhist perspective, a clinging to name and form. Without ego there would be no reality to the world. It is through clinging that we individually and collectively create the world in which we live.
"I said nothing for a time, just ran my fingertips along the edge
of the human-shaped emptiness that had been left inside me."
Ego becomes a hindrance to our happiness when we believe the world is the self and it is "me against the world" type of thinking. So long as we maintain this attitude everything which happens will happen to the "me". We cling to our own personal reality, to our "property", to our position and wealth, we cling to our belief system and compete with everyone around us. And it is this clinging which will create unhappiness as it is wrenched-away.
This is prevalent in the subconscious, clinging to associations which serve no purpose, or even creates physical and/or mental aberrations within our lives. So, in concert with breaking the association, there must also be a willingness to let-go, to reign-in the ego and let the healing process continue.
"Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing.
Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything."
"Everyone has love, but it can only come out when he is convinced of the impossibility and the frustration of trying to love himself.
This conviction will not come through condemnations, through hating oneself, through calling self love bad names in the universe. It comes only in the awareness that one has no self to love."
-- Alan Watts
"He who has overcome his fears will truly be free."
"Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest."
-- Leo Babauta
and its horrors, with an attitude of humble curiosity, acknowledging that however deeply you have seen, you have only scratched the surface, you will find worlds within worlds, beauties you could not heretofore imagine, and your own mundane preoccupations will
-- Daniel Dennett
"The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper."
-- W.B. Yeats
"If you can approach the world's complexities, both its glories
shrink to proper size, not all that important in the greater scheme of things."
"There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure."
-- Paulo Coelho
presence of any grander scheme."
-- Joss Whedon
-- Dr. Allen B. Allen
"Man is a substantial emigrant on a pilgrimage of being, and it is accordingly meaningless to set limits to what he is capable of
-- José Ortega y Gasset
-- Tenzin Gyatso
"Hope is the thing with feathers. That perches in the soul. And sings the tune without the words. And never stops at all."
"Five enemies of peace inhabit with us — avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and pride; if these were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace."
Jungle, you of the City. The same substance composes us — the tree overhead, the stone beneath us, the bird, the beast, the star — we are all one, all moving to the same end. Remember that when you no longer remember me, my child."
"I believe the only reality is how we treat each other. The morality comes from the absence of any grander scheme, not from the
"It's possible that ultimately the world is constructed of principles rather than units of matter."
"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
-- Emily Dickinson
"We are all made of the same stuff, remember, we of the
-- P. L. Travers
"Home is knowing. Knowing your mind, knowing your heart, knowing your courage. If we know ourselves, we're always home,
-- Glinda, the Wizard of Oz
"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk
-- Harper Lee
around in it."