NLP hypnotherapy deals with exploiting the unconscious mind, working its way around the information and utilizing it in its favor, towards the goal of solving a problem or correcting a certain detail.
Unconscious is the word that NLP employs to name the process taking place inside our minds that deals with life-sustaining functions and thoughts that sometimes find their way into our conscious area. Although perceived as such, thinking is rarely a conscious action. Actually, we become aware of thoughts that come as a result of an unconscious process. However, there are some neurological experiments that give suggestions of the fact that we might be aware of everything that has ever happened during our life experience and that any of our memories can be triggered to show in our conscious level in certain circumstances. An occurrence in your mind of a forgotten experience from years ago is an example of just that.
Containing the most valued as well as the most despised thoughts, aspirations and dreams, storing all our experiences, memories and skills, the unconscious is powerfully represented in Freudian psychology, as the subconscious. Only, in NLP and hypnotherapy in particular, the name is different (also referred to as “other than subconscious”) so as to avoid considering this a somehow inferior or dangerous level of our being. It is actually seen as a chest of precious experiences and information about each individual.
A state of trance is the mean by which we can access the unconscious level. Trance represents a state of consciousness where the focus of attention is pointed internally. As the focus on your own thoughts and feelings intensifies, the attention you pay to the external world is diminished. The further into trance you go, the deeper you reach internally, you will eventually, at the limit of the state of trance, go to sleep. Trance is not an absolute state. As we pass through the day we focus our attention to either the inner or outer world, depending on our temporary mood or activity. So we actually drift in and out of trance. In NLP trance is referred to as a ‘downtime’ type of state. This means that during a trance you are predominantly focusing your attention on the internal world. Uptime is the opposite of this, representing a state when you are predominantly focusing on the external world.
Sleep is the deepest state of ‘downtime’. During sleep the external world no longer exists, while the internal world, filled with dreams, seems completely authentic and real. Uptime and downtime do not have absolute bad or good connotations to them. It depends on what you are doing. Walking through the park, talking, driving a car and playing tennis are all uptime activities. Making plans, daydreaming, playing chess, imagining, relaxing are all mostly downtime activities. Trance may also be very well be compared to a hypnotic state. A person who is in trance looks very much asleep to the outside world, but his/her own personal experience in that period of time is rich and very realistic. It is a creative state of inner consciousness.
Popular myths about people being hypnotized and ‘programmed’ to do various tasks which would seem ridiculous otherwise are just that – myths. Hypnosis cannot control anyone against their will and cannot force them to do something which is against their moral and important values. Trance and hypnosis are states of mind which help people learn about themselves and express themselves in a better way.