Model of the Human Mind

You might care to imagine the human mind as an office building. On the top floor is the Managing Director. On the lower floor are the ordinary workers quietly doing whatever they need to do to keep the office running. The Managing Director is the conscious mind, the workers are the unconscious mind. Between the two floors is a secretary who passes orders from the Director to the workers and also provides a summary of what the workers are doing for the Director.

The secretary is very efficient and strict and will only allow orders to passed if they come from the MD directly. If an infiltrator, for instance, tried to pass on some orders, the secretary would spot them immediately and have them destroyed before the workers could see them. The secretary is also very fearful of chaos in the office and so if something goes wrong, will not necessarily pass this information on to the MD.

Sometimes, however, little mistakes escalate and before long the secretary, out of panic and anxiety, must tell the MD. But now the situation is so bad that the mD does not know what to do to put it right.

I stated earlier that the unconscious mind knows how to solve a problem. What's important here is whether the conscious mind will allow the unconscious mind to act.

If we consider this in terms of our analogy, imagine that a photocopier in the office has been malfunctioning for a few weeks. One of the workers asks the secretary to inform the MD, but the secretary decides that the MD is too busy to be bothered by such trivial matters. Eventually the photocopier breaks down completely and the worker once more asks the secretary to tell the Md. He wants the MD to authorise a repair man to come and fix the copier. The secretary informs the MD, but the MD decides that a repair is too costly and ignores the request. In desperation, one of the workers rings a repair man but when he arrives the secretary, being efficient and strict, will not let him go down to the office. But the repair man charms the secretary and eventually is allowed to go down and fix the copier.

So, the purpose of hypnosis is to relax the secretary, make him less strict, so that orders from outside the office will be passed on. The workers have no idea that the orders come from outside, they simply assume that they come from the MD and so act on them accordingly. If the correct orders are given, the workers can act to regain control of the office. The secretary can then pass on the good news to the MD.

In terms of hypnosis, the 'secretary' between the conscious and unconscious mind is called the critical faculty. This is our ability to question, analyse, criticise and compare. Just as the repairman in our analogy charmed the secretary into letting him go down to the office, by using hypnosis we can bypass the critical faculty. Once we have access to the unconscious, we can uncover memories, release repressions, plant positive suggestions and even reprogram unconscious traits responsible for habits such as smoking or over eating.

You may not realise it, but you have been in a hypnotic trance before. While watching television or reading a book, maybe even reading this, you are often in a hypnotic trance. In such a state you become unaware of the room around and are focused on the programme or book. It's not until someone calls your name, or the telephone rings, that you realise just how deeply you were involved.

Another good example is when you find that you have driven or walked some considerable distance and then somebody or something catches your attention. At this point you realise you can't remember the preceding part of the journey. You were in a trance state.

The only difference between these types of trances and a hypnotic trance is that the latter is deliberately induced.

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