Hypnos is the God of dreams in ancient Greece, but in antiquity he was not adored for the psychological state of sleep but as the governor of the inaccessible world of dreams and the mysteries on it. That’s why actual hypnosis takes the mysterious god’s name, deepening on those states between being asleep and awake to deepen into the world of dreams, that is not something external to the individual but a product of the subject’s mind.
That vision of that world of dreams as a magic place and sometimes revealing of hidden aspects of one’s self could be considered a first approach to the concept of subconscious mind. It contains all the inaccessible content for the consciousness of the individual: instincts, emotions, hidden memories and feelings that create what we are. Without us knowing of their existence (or not fully).
Through specific techniques used throughout history, the human being has been able to alter the consciousness by blocking the conscious part of the mind and thus reaching the impulses, passions and contents of the unleashed mind without conscious control and without a guide to control it. Examples of this fact could be the shamanic rituals and the visions inducted by the fanatic religious practices on an individual that may seem possessed, see visions or receive messages from a supernatural being. From the look of the hypnotherapist, those inputs received by the individual are nothing more than a form of lucid dreaming, an entrance to this realm of dreams of our own mind. Actual hypnosis tries to establish a dialog with the subconscious through this altered state under control of a hypnotherapist, to be able to uncover it’s contents and to make it permeable to the inclusion of new contents or to reenforce preexisting ones.
But how can this state be reached? The process in which the conscious mind is blocked consists on making an individual center all of his attention on a single sensory stimulus (or stimuli) at the same time that he reaches a profound relaxation level, in a “guided meditation” process that makes him able to ignore external stimuli and reach the hypnotic state. In this state the individual’s mind has become permeable to the words of the one that has made him reach this point, leaving the hypnotherapist in a privileged position to be able to modify the contents of this dream between being awake and asleep, as an element of this dream with the capacity to guide it.
It must be said that the one who’s hypnotized hasn’t lost control over oneself, and everything said to him that’s contrary to his way of thinking or acting will alienate the subject from the hypnotic state, disturbing the placidity of the state he is in. Because in the end hypnosis is not based in the exercise of a power to the individual, the hypnologist is a mere vehicle for our mind to alter it’s consciousness similar to the great masters of meditation (capable of reducing their blood flux or not to feel pain) without lots of years of practicing.
Distracting the conscious mind for oneself is as difficult as not thinking on a polar bear.
What are you thinking about now? In a polar bear isn’t it? That’s why the hypnotherapist is necessary to, as in ancient Greece, discover the mysteries of Hypnos’s realm.