HYPNOSIS: What is it?

The state we call hypnosis is something to do with the mind. However, as nobody really fully understands how the mind works, we need to use a mind model. (Just like we use a model of the atom for the purposes of particle physics and chemistry). In our model – which seems to work very well indeed –  and for the purposes of this discussion, our minds have two main components – the Conscious and the Subconscious. 

The Conscious appears to account for less than 10% of brain function and this switches off every time we go to sleep – we are unconscious at that time. This is our logical, rational, thinking mind which we have ready access to – Would you like a drink? What would you like to drink? Is this my bus coming up the road? How do I get it to stop for me?

The Subconscious, therefore, accounts for at least 90% of our mind and we don’t have ready access to it. This is more of an emotional landscape and is the real ‘engine’ of our mind which never switches off. This part of the mind has lots of functions but essentially we are interested in two of them in our work:

The subconscious maintains our archives – memories, experiences, our unique life map.

The subconscious also takes responsibility for Automatic Behaviours – often extremely complex behaviours –  walking, talking, riding your bike, playing musical instruments, driving, swimming, texting, – lots more too and they can all run on ‘autopilot’.

The story of human psychological evolution is impressive indeed – however, we occasionally end up with a behaviour which we don’t want in our subconscious – and this is the area which we don’t generally have access to. So once our unwanted behaviour is lodged in there, it just keep firing up – smoking, gambling, overeating, nail-biting, low-self esteem, etc..

And so we come to hypnosis – this state of mind effectively separates the conscious and subconscious minds and is not sleep (as the conscious mind is not switched off). When we hypnotise people, we essentially separate the conscious and the subconscious elements of the mind – with the conscious mind ‘out of the way’, the subconscious is left exposed which means we have access to the unwanted behaviours.

Hypnotising is the hypnotic induction and maintenance of that state*.

Hypnotherapy is the intervention on the subconscious whilst we have the state of hypnosis. We may go searching through the archives (memories) to find the root cause of problems or we may be switching some behaviours on and other behaviours off.

*We use various tools to hypnotise and deepen and we constantly monitor for the ‘unfakeable’ signs of hypnosis.

There has been a great deal deal written about what hypnosis is and how we can use it. What is written above is a summary but an understanding of this guides us well along the path of being able to use our tools successfully.


It is my belief that there is still a great deal of work to be done in our field of study. Over the years, I have come the view that the brain/mind is actually a Quantum device – this opens up a whole new discussion.


Professional Clinical Hypnosis