All Hypnosis is Self-Hypnosis


I don’t have to go too far into a coaching or counseling session before a client will mention that they are intrigued by the whole idea of hypnosis. Many are curious, even though they have concerns that it’s going to make them act weird. Really, this is the furthest from the truth. Clinical hypnosis is not “entertainment” hypnosis, and in truth, all hypnosis is simply self-hypnosis. We actually hypnotize ourselves everyday, all day long. Mostly we see hypnosis act out as critical self-talk, and it usually isn’t helpful or beneficial. “I really have to stop eating so much. Time to go back on that diet,” or, “I hate my job!” On and on...All of these messages are examples of self-defeating hot thoughts that I’ll talk about later. Interestingly, we can learn to cultivate this process into a healthy practice for getting what you want. Reframing those messages to be strong motivators of directed goals and warm affirmative messages, you can turn the practice into positives that reap great rewards.

All of these experiences are a form of hypnosis. We self-hypnotize multiple times throughout the day, but we just don’t know it. Anytime we aren’t in full awareness of what’s going on, what we are thinking and experiencing and why, we are experiencing a form of self-hypnosis. We begin the repetitive, cycling tapes that have been with us throughout life. So, if you are living a script, why not use words in your mind to support your goals. “I am in the best health of my life,” for example, or “I make good decisions in every moment of my day,” or “I stay calm in the face of trouble.”[1] Creating active, positive messages, and sending these messages to the subconscious, can turn your life into something more positive.

Understanding what hypnosis is creates a good start. Here is how to move things forward. Simply put, hypnosis is a form of relaxation, during which a message or suggestion is slipped into the subconscious mind. Have you ever had the experience of driving your car, arriving at a destination, and not being able to fully remember what you saw all along the way? Have you been in the shower and found yourself mentally transported somewhere else for a few minutes? Have you lost track of what was happening in the environment around you because you were thinking about something else? Then you have been in a state of light hypnosis, generated by relaxation. Yes, the first step in any hypnosis, whether done by yourself or a therapist, is relaxation. So you hold the keys. If you can get relaxed enough, you can be hypnotized, by someone else or yourself.

During hypnosis you are in the alpha to theta brainwave state —alpha is the same state experienced during daydreaming, deep meditation, and light sleep—theta, a bit deeper for longer, more complex states as for past life regressions. So you see, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis and you are always in control, if you can let go, you can be hypnotized. About 90% of people can be hypnotized without issue, and the hypnotherapist is a guide along the way. What things can you do with it? The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, ASCH, say that the benefits of hypnosis have been established for the following:

  • Addictions of all kind

  • Weight and exercise management

  • Performance

  • Sports visioning

  • Anxiety

  • Dementia

  • Depression

  • Epilepsy

  • Improved concentration and focus

  • Insomnia and sleep disorders

  • Memory improvement

  • Migraine headaches

  • Phobias

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Self-esteem issues

  • Sexual problems

  • Stress relief

  • Tourette syndrome

Whether you decide to seek professional help or do it yourself, you can affect major changes in the way you live life by thinking differently. When I work with someone from a performance coaching standpoint, the first thing we do is decide what you want to see happen. Yes, not what do you want to change, but what do we want to see happen. Once you get that written down as a statement, “I want to live a happy life. What stops you? I let people take advantage of me. So, how do you get to a “mantra” for self-hypnosis delivery? Put it in the present tense, something believable, something doable, repeatable over time. Mantra: “Today, I choose what I will give to others. I take care of myself first, with love and grace.”Once you have established a practice of conveying to yourself a mantra of loving self-kindness, keep the following in mind.

  • Self-Hypnosis practice means to develop reframing as a skill

  • Practice sessions should be regular

  • Practice self-hypnosis correctly

  • Use a suggestion (mantra reframe messages) to drive self-hypnosis goals

Ultimately, suggestion is the engine of change and it works at all levels of awareness. Don’t try to make anything happen. Be as casual and relaxed about the whole process as you can be, and just let things take their own course. It’s a medically recognized technique that uses innate mental powers to promote all kinds of mental and physical improvements. While hypnosis is a trance-like state that’s characterized by extreme relaxation, increased suggestibility, and heightened imagination, it is also a powerful tool. So, how does it work, really? We think that hypnosis may work by changing electrical patterns of brain function known as brain waves. Researchers have shown great success in documenting these patterns using electroencephalographs (EEGs), measurable changes in brainwave patterns have been detected. [2]

Summary All hypnosis is self-hypnosis and you can do a lot for yourself by simply thinking differently. When you think differently, you actually change your beliefs to allow life to be different. When you learn to control how you think, create messages that work for you and what you want out of life, you create new learning. When you create new thinking, you change the neurons in your brain. Getting started can be daunting thought, so if you are unsure about what to use as your mantra or reframe message, you can’t go wrong with this famous all-encompassing autosuggestion by French psychologist Emile Coue: “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” Whatever you decide your mantra to be, don’t just repeat it by rote. Replace any self-criticism or toxic thought or negative thought with your message or mantra. This creates better focus, thinking, decision making, appreciation, and brain functioning. Live in a body that is healthier, more connected to people and with an expanded imagination and creativity. Learn to love yourself through personal self-awareness and reflection, conscious connection with nature and animals, and you will fulfill the only purpose that matters, to make the world a better place.

Shirley Ryan, PhD, CCHt is a certified clinical and practicing hypnotherapist, Performance Coach, spiritual counselor and teacher. She has written 3 spiritual books and designed a 36 session training development program to create inner coherence, balance and harmony. See more at my performance coaching website: www.DrShirleyRyan.com

Resources & Notes

  1. Be Brain Fit https://bebrainfit.com/self-hypnosis/

  2. How Stuff Works, https://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/extrasensory-perceptions/hypnosis4.htm

  3. American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, http://www.asch.net/Public/GeneralInfoonHypnosis/UsesofHypnosisinMedicine

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