The healing use of hypnosis techniques date back throughout all of recorded history.  The root derivation of the word “hypno” is from the Greek word “hupnos,” which means “sleep” (a misnomer, because a hypnotic state isn’t synonymous with sleeping states). Hypnos was the ancient Greek god of sleep. The term “hypnotism” has been around since the early 1840’s, but the healing techniques have been around for thousands of years in China, Egypt, the Middle East and Greece.  Ancient, sacred temples called “sleep temples” were renowned as places of great healing. In Greece, for example, patients would enter a dimly lit stone room in the sacred sleep temple and recline on a stone bench, or “klini,” (which is the origin of the word “clinic”). There, they would be prepared for several days in advance with purifying waters, baths and fasting – they learned to relax into a peaceful calm state. On the day of their treatment the physician would enter the chamber while the patient relaxed in a calm, reverie. With a gentle touch to their head or arm, the physician would whisper their positive intention regarding the particular illness or condition in the patient’s ear. After the targeted affirmative words were spoken, the physician would leave. The remnants of sleep healing temples at ancient sites still exist today, as do the testimonials carved into stones and rocks by patients telling of their cures.

Throughout history prominent minds have used self-hypnosis or hypnosis to arrive at greater knowledge, to develop ideas or make discoveries. Albert Einstein, Mozart, Thomas Edison, Carl Jung, Rachmaninov, Winston Churchill, Lord Alfred Tennyson and Edgar Cayce, the "Sleeping Profit," are a few examples.

In modern times, hypnosis and hypnotherapy have evolved into an evidence-based healing modality. It’s often referred to as “mind-body medicine” or “mind-body healing.” Thousands of research studies appear in the medical literature pointing to the efficacy of hypnosis and hypnotherapy when used in concert with modern medicine and dentistry. It is an effective, safe and non-invasive way to easily reach goals without adverse side-effects. 


Hypnosis is a "natural yet altered state of focused awareness, whereby the critical factor (CF) is relaxed and selective thinking is maintained." Hypnosis is a trance state, similar to the many trance states we naturally pop in and out of throughout our day when we read, listen to music, meditate or get absorbed in a suspenseful movie. 


In order to understand how hypnosis works, we must first look at its component parts.  

The mind is a continuum; one mind, comprised of three different states of awareness.  Those states of awareness are the conscious mind, the subconscious mind and the superconscious mind.

The conscious mind encompasses approximately 10% of our total mind continuum.  It is akin to the tip of the iceberg.  The conscious mind is responsible for our will, volition, logic, analysis and inductive and deductive reasoning abilities. 

The subconscious mind is akin to the massive iceberg that lies beneath the surface of the water. The subconscious mind operates very similarly to a “kernel” or core computer program – it stores and retrieves data, and it responds exactly the way it is programmed. It is very literal. It is keen on making associations and continually strives to fulfill the agenda for which it is programmed by making everything you experience, think, say and do fit a pattern consistent with your core programming.  It is always recording and stores all of your memories, beliefs and scripts. Everything in your environment is potentially programming your subconscious mind.

It also brilliantly drives your body via the autonomic nervous system (parasympathetic and sympathetic branches), sustaining harmony and balance among hundreds of chemicals, trillions of cells… maintaining respiration, heart rate, body temperature, immune function and so much more.  

The subconscious is the seat of the imagination – and it speaks the language of imagery. 

The superconscious mind is our problem solving intelligence, our universal mind that inspires creativity, intuitive ability, peace, healing, unconditional love and forgiveness.

The critical factor (CF) draws a line between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. This divider acts as the gatekeeper, which either allows or does not allow data to enter the subconscious mind.  The CF becomes established around age 7, which means that the majority of subconscious programming occurs early in life, prior to age 7.  Ways in which the subconscious mind gets programmed: Authority figures, peer groups, repetition, when there is high emotion, in an altered state of consciousness or when we agree to it by saying “yes.” 


When striving to meet conscious goals and desires, oftentimes people don't experience sustained success. This occurs because there is unknown programming buried in the subconscious mind that also happens to be in opposition to the conscious goals and desires. Conscious will and volition are not powerful enough to override incongruent subconscious programming. Under these circumstances we will fail at losing weight, we will fail at shaking ourselves from depression and unhappiness, and we will fail at healing our bodies and minds and experiencing life at our highest potentials.  The conscious mind cannot always get in touch with what is really motivating us, and therefore willpower proves to be futile at resolving deep seated issues. There must be congruence between the conscious mind and subconscious mind in order for us to be successful at meeting our goals.

The goal of hypnotherapy is to gain insights into our subconscious minds and then reprogram where necessary in order to achieve our highest goals and desires.  While in trance, positive healing suggestions are made, replacing limiting beliefs that stand in the way of our goals and desires.  Hypnosis is an effective tool because it bypasses the limitations of the conscious mind in order to tap into the immense untapped potentials of the subconscious mind.  When we tap into the innate gifts of the subconscious mind, we have an authentic, powerful ally in creating enduring, beneficial change.




Disclaimer: Hypnotherapy is an educational and self-improvement process that facilitates access to a person's internal resources to assist him/her in solving problems, increasing motivation, or altering behavior patterns to create positive change.

Hypnotherapy is not a substitute for medical treatment or psychotherapy. Lisa Smole does not practice medicine or psychotherapy and her services are not a replacement for counseling, psychotherapy, psychiatric or medical or dental treatment. No service or product provided is intended to diagnose or treat any disease or illness, psychological or mental health condition. Medical support hypnotherapy is an adjunct to medical treatment. Consultation with a licensed physician is required before medical support hypnotherapy services are provided.

Hypnotherapy is a proven, adjunctive method to complement such ongoing treatment and care. Because hypnosis and hypnotherapy are a series of self-help skills and their effectiveness depends on the client, no guarantee can be made regarding results of their use.