The science part:
The mind has two parts; the conscious and the subconscious, each playing a different role. The conscious part comes to the fore when something out of the ordinary happens and we need to formulate a plan. The unconscious mind does everything else including breathing and moving.
The unconscious mind generates most of our behaviour. As we grow, we develop templates of response to situations. It is due to these templates that we can do seemingly mundane tasks without consciously thinking. Behaviour can become so automatic that we forget what we have done: Where did I just put those keys?
Some habitual responses are beneficial whilst others are not but once these templates are formed, they are difficult to consciously change. The conscious mind is easily fatigued and protects what is in the unconscious mind. This works like a filter system, rejecting new information that challenges these templates.
To change this automated response, we need direct access to the unconscious mind and this is where hypnotherapy comes in. Clinical hypnotherapy is a safe and effective treatment for an array of psychological and physical issues.
The not-Sci-Fi part?
Hypnosis refers to the trance-like state; calm, pleasant and like daydreaming. The filter system is by-passed allowing the unconscious mind to come forward unchallenged. The ‘trance’ state is naturally occurring and something we all experience daily, we just do not label it as such. An example is ‘motorway hypnosis’. Whilst driving over a distance, have you ever ‘come to’ and wondered how you navigated the past few miles?
The most popular media description of hypnotherapy centres on taking full control of a person and making them ‘perform’ tricks for entertainment. This type of ‘hypnotherapy’ bears no relation to clinical hypnotherapy. Any clinical hypnotherapist will have undertaken accredited training, abide strict codes of practice and will be a member of an approved body.
It is widely believed that only those who are suggestible can be hypnotised. This is not fact. Almost everyone can be if they choose to be, apart perhaps, those who are very young/old, those who have complications is retaining focus or those under the influence of substances.