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Is Your Hypnotherapist Working With Your Subconscious Mind?

You are probably familiar with the concept of hypnotherapists 'working with the subconscious mind' to bring about beneficial change - absolutely, it's what we do and what makes us distinct from other talking therapies. But what I find strange is how many hypnotherapists so often work against the client's subconscious. What do I mean by that?

Your subconscious is your best friend - it always wants the best for you (highest positive intention), but like many friends the way it goes about getting the best for you is sometimes not the most helpful and can result in problem behaviours and outcomes.

Let's give an example to make things clearer. Maybe a person wants help in quitting smoking. They say that they tend to smoke at work, where they go outside every hour for a smoke of a cigarette with other smokers who gather for a natter. They find that convivial gathering enjoyable - in fact it is the only time that they get to socialise at all - it fulfils a need in their life that is not met elsewhere. So, what might be happening here is that a 'part' of the person's subconscious mind is trying its best to gain a benefit (social interaction) by perpetuating an unhelpful behaviour (smoking).

working with the subconscious mind

Now, any hypnotist that simply places suggestions that the client 'will cease to smoke and in fact any time that they try to do so the cigarette will taste like an old ashtray' is in fact working against a part of their client's subconscious that is trying its best to fulfil a positive intention (social acceptance). Such simplistic approaches are unlikely to be successful. I would want to work with the part to agree other ways of obtaining the same positive intention but without the unwanted behaviour.

Working in this way is referred to by hypnotherapists as 'parts therapy' or something called the '6-step reframe'. It is probably the single most useful technique that we have available because it ensures that we work with the subconscious rather than against it. It is also why so many clients can be helped to quit smoking in only one session!

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