Hypnosis and Mindfulness
Experience of mindfulness training and practice has demonstrated through the body scan technique, otherwise known as progressive muscle relaxation in hypnotherapy, that the mind is brought into a ‘fixed state of attention’, as the body subsequently relaxes through its compassionate psychic awareness i.e. paying attention, on purpose, in a particular way, moment-by-moment, non-judgementally, to the observable events and sensations within the body, which may also include feelings and emotions. Thereafter, the body subsequently relaxes, a prerequisite for meditation, and the mind is then directed to focus upon the breath, and in the same non-judgemental way. This phenomenon of ‘fixation’ or ‘fixed attention’, in conjunction with the body scan, facilitates a quietened mind, in order for the participant of mindfulness to subsequently recognise any disturbances in conscious awareness or thinking, typically attributed to our deeper subconscious processing that unwittingly ‘affects’ the subjective body-mind organism as a whole. The whole process facilitates communicating with yourself, through attentive listening, without the continued barrage of thoughts and sensations, that as an appendage, typically pollutes our everyday, ordinary consciousness.
Hypnotherapy, on the other hand, utilises the same mental ‘fixation’ or ‘fixed state’ of attention (called trance) but primarily utilises an external object, namely that of the therapist’s voice, who then skilfully chooses a method of approach from a repertoire of techniques to empower their client. Furthermore, creative visualisation is encouraged by the therapist, through guided visualisation (visual meditation), enhancing the power of client’s imagination to reprogramme their own subconscious thinking via visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfactory or gustatory description or metaphors (sense representations), consequently encouraging the client to see, feel, hear, smell, and taste their preferred outcome or result, through a desired future orientation, which ‘ethically’ is in-keeping with the client’s values and goals. However, mindfulness doesn’t use future orientation, and it doesn’t use imagination, as it only deals in the here-and-now, despite being a very effective psychological intervention, although it does use relaxation and meditation (trance) to stabilise the client before observing, with acceptance, what is actually disturbing the individual’s mind and body in the present time. Similarly, hypnosis stabilises the client using the same relaxation process and trance like mental state, before embarking upon a journey of therapy when utilising the imagination to positively affect stubborn and difficult memories from the past, deal with present day obstacles and barriers, and or visualise a better, brighter, intended future, by helping the client facilitate change to their mental-emotional perspective.