Knowing Your Own Mind
Mental health and how to maintain it is more of an enigma than mental illness and psychological disorder; considerable research has been undertaken into major psychiatric conditions but less into factors that protect us from emotional disturbance.
Life is a series of challenges for most people. Some individuals endure catastrophic life events and suffer lasting trauma and emotional damage. Others develop serious depressive illness – but for reasons that are as much a mystery to them as to medical science!
Another more resilient group seem to be able to cope – in spite of facing tremendous personal obstacles. Personality factors influence the way we deal with the world and other people as do: lifestyle, general health, body chemistry, nutrition and issues from our past.
Cognitive psychology is the study of how the brain deals with information. When and why do we pay attention; how and what do we remember? This rapidly expanding area of study owes much to advancements in computing and brain-scanning technologies.
Knowledge gained in this field helps us understand how the brain reacts under stress – how strong emotions distort our perceptions and make us less rational. Cognitive therapies
aim to help us reason with our emotions and perceptions.
Very often we are unable to change circumstances that cause us distress – what we can change is the degree to which we allow circumstances to distress us.
Hypnosis is not a bizarre or mystical phenomenon; many times a day we enter a light state of trance; our brains switch rhythm and focus shifts to another reality. Experienced hypnotherapists make use of creative energies most active during this sort of brain activity. It is often said that “all hypnosis is self-hypnosis” – meaning no-one can enter a state of hypnosis against their will.
Willingness and enthusiasm to explore hypnosis are excellent indicators of success with this approach but clients who never experience very deep levels of trance can still derive great benefit from hypnotic techniques. Visualisation and self-hypnosis are skills we learn to develop through hypnotherapy.
Language and theory from different schools of therapy can be applied within the framework of hypnosis and experienced practitioners rarely limit themselves to a single doctrine. However, I do not favour ‘regressive’ techniques or practise so-called ‘past-life regression’.