How Deep Do you Want Your Trance State to Be?
How Deep Do You Want Your Trance State to Be?
Although each person reacts differently to trance induction, a good hypnotherapist will be able to choose the induction technique that fits best with your personal history, dominant learning modalities and stated desires. A skilled hypnotherapist can get you to the level you want and keep you there. Every day, every one of us goes through trance states. The following examples of everyday trance states can give you an idea of what sounds good to you, if and when you seek therapeutic hypnosis.
Right now, as you read this, you may be in a beta brain state, unless you have been on the computer for a long time and are starting to feel a little slowed down. That slowed down feeling is the alpha brain wave state, the lightest trance state. Most people get there by watching television. If you find yourself unable to switch off the television because you just don’t want to move, you have definitely moved from the wide awake beta state to the alpha state. Much useful hypnotherapy can be accomplished in the alpha state. If you have any fear of a deeper trance state for any reason, you may want to confine all of your hypnotic work to the alpha state.
A well-educated hypnotherapist knows many techniques that can be done in a trance state that is so light that you just feel a bit more relaxed than usual. If this is what you desire, it is wise to mention it when you interview a hypnotherapist. If there is unwillingness to comply, you may want to seek someone else who can give you more say in the matter. After all, the whole purpose of hypnotherapy is to put you in the driver’s seat regarding whatever issue is at hand. The hypnotherapist’s skills are there to help you rearrange and tap your own inner resources so that you have more freedom to create the life you want.
The next deepest trance state is the theta state, the state between television watching and sleep. While watching particularly boring television shows, or sitting through lectures in which you have little interest, you may have passed through the theta state into the delta sleep state so quickly that you didn’t notice the theta state slip by. The theta state is characterized by complete relaxation of the body and dreamlike thoughts.
It is possible to have waking dreams in the theta state, and religious visions are associated with theta brain waves. This is the state that most hypnotherapy is designed to induce and maintain because in it, the subconscious mind is available for interaction. While you are in the theta state, your hypnotherapist can have a conversation with the part of the mind that is controlling unwanted habits or creating blocks or psychosomatic symptoms. In a spirit of collaboration, agreements that are pleasing to all levels of consciousness can be reached.
However, this same type of work, including substantive interaction with the subconscious, can also be achieved in the alpha state with the appropriate induction and ideomotor signaling, for example. This is when the subconscious mind chooses physical signals such as finger movements to indicate agreement or disagreement in response to skilled inquiries. Given that option, what is the attraction of a deeper trance state?
One attraction is that a deeper trance state is deeply relaxing and refreshing to the entire organism. Another attraction of a deeper trance state is that afterwards, unless you ask to be able to remember and your hypnotherapist makes that posthypnotic suggestion for you to remember, you will have amnesia for some if not all of your inner adventure, while retaining its positive results. In this regard, a significant percentage of clients say, “Knock me out good, because I don’t want to know what’s down there.” Others don’t want to miss a moment of a rare chance to explore the interesting insights of the individual subconscious and the fascinating symbology of the collective unconscious.
Whether you want to see and remember all of the psychic scenery, or you want a perfect fusion of oblivion and results, it is wise to make sure beforehand that the hypnotherapist you choose is skilled at keeping you protected and empowered throughout the entire appointment. One way to get an idea of how deep and extensive are the skills of a particular therapist is to ask the question, “How do you prevent abreaction, and if it occurs, how do you deal with it?”
An abreaction is the spontaneous rising into consciousness of repressed materials. This occurs when emotions linked to hidden memories suddenly reveal themselves. Since none of us knows what memories we may be repressing, it is important to know that if one arises that is linked to very painful emotions that your hypnotherapist knows how to distance you from the material, so that you do not relive it.
Some types of psychotherapy and hypnotherapy purposely evoke the reliving of painful memories in order, through repetition, to discharge the negative emotions and lessen the effects of the memories.
However, if this is not the path you desire, there are ways to deal with difficult memories without reliving them. A skilled hypnotherapist is able to use either type of methods, and can safely take you down the path you choose. Although some of these methods can be complex, it is a good test of your hypnotherapist and of your rapport with him or her to ask exactly what methods s/he has available to you. If you do have a strong rapport, and s/he is well skilled and experienced, then regardless of the complexity of the methods and techniques, s/he will be able to explain them to you in terms that are clear and useful to you as an individual.