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What is Guided Imagery and Self-Hypnosis?

Why This Works

Frequently Asked Questions

Common Myths or Misconceptions

Why the Tools Were Developed

Guide for Use of Tapes/CDs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
About Guided Imagery & Self-Hypnosis

1. Can I really do this? Am I “hypnotizable,” even if it is “just” guided imagery for self-hypnosis?

-Most people initially asked this question, prior to experiencing self-hypnosis through guided imagery, either because they feared “failing” at this, being poor participants, not “getting it” or receiving no benefit from it. Let me truthfully reassure you as I did them, that there is no such thing as failing at this; and to further reassure you, that it requires only the use of your own imagination in focusing on visual pictures or ideas in your mind and, therefore everyone has the capacity, in varying degrees, to benefit from guided imagery and self-hypnosis.

-You will be able to participate in this relaxed physical state of mental concentration and focused awareness, simply by listening to the guided imagery; and you will be able to determine how far and how deeply you go with it. Since, you are doing this only for your own learning and benefit – not for anyone else – you truly cannot fail; the very least that will happen is a soothing, profoundly relaxing experience... and also a very interesting one.

2. If I’m not sure that I want to do this, then how can it possibly work for me?

Many people are intrigued, yet perhaps hesitant or skeptical, about the process of guided imagery and self-hypnosis. It may, however, pleasantly surprise you to realize that you have already naturally experienced self-hypnosis, through a form of guided imagery, and didn’t know you had accomplished it! It occurs when you are, for instance, deeply involved in reading a book and experiencing whatever images or sensations the words are evoking, while all the sound or sights of your environment fade into the background so much so that you no longer notice them. As another example, it occurs when you are engaged in conversation of importance to you while in a noisy restaurant, becoming so focused on your own conversation that the other people and chatter around you can seemingly no longer be heard. Therefore, you have the natural capacity for self-hypnosis, and it likely occurs spontaneously on perhaps a daily basis, whenever you concentrate on one thing to the exclusion of others. The only difference will be-and it is a positive difference-that you will be consciously deciding when and what to focus upon to constructively benefit yourself. You will be using the skill of harnessing and directing your brain power to suit your own purpose.

3. What if I am too self-conscious, or “analytical” in my thinking, or easily distracted and preoccupied to do this and benefit from it? I wonder if I’ll be able to learn and use these skills?

-First let me reassure you that this is not a performance on your part; it is in fact a very private experience in which no one, but you, will know what occurs and what benefits are derived. To anyone else, you will appear to simply be resting peacefully. The purpose of this is to provide you with invaluable information about how your mind works and how best to harness your own unique thinking process, whether it be more logic-based or more emotion-based, to accomplish goals or promote desired feelings that matter most to you. Each guided imagery and self-hypnosis recording is carefully designed to provide a beneficial, personalized learning experience, and to assist you in applying your newly acquired skill/tool to the areas or concerns you select. Through the guiding process of the imagery, you will very likely find that you can relax more readily and deeply than you have before, that you can release distracting thoughts, and that you can concentrate fully and productively on the task at hand.

4. Will I “go under” and lose touch with my surroundings? What will this be like?

-You will simply be concentrating upon some images and ideas that you have identified as being important to you, concentrating just as you would when watching a movie that captivates you or when reading a book of great interest. You become immersed in and completely focused upon the inner experiences being generated by that “stimulus” material - whether it be a movie, a book, or an audiotape/CD. While you are still aware of “where you are” and the everyday activities surrounding you, those everyday things recede into the background and time seems to be suspended, because you are fully absorbed in the experience you are attending to. It is much the same with the experience of self-hypnosis through guided imagery. You still know what is going on around you, however your attention is focused inwardly, so external distractions are no longer as noticeable.

5. Can I lose control over myself... over my thoughts, feelings or actions? Will I be giving control to someone else?

-This is one of the primary myths or misconceptions about the process and experience of self- hypnosis. If you have seen “stage hypnosis” characterized on television or in movies, you may understandably have been misled into apprehensively thinking it involves ‘mind control’ by someone else, and even fear being influenced to do something potentially negative or embarrassing that you normally would not do. This is untrue, for the experience of self-hypnosis through guided imagery is not a procedure of someone else hypnotizing you in order to change you, irrespective of your will. Instead, it is a process by which you learn to effectively concentrate mentally while relaxing physically, so that you can draw upon all of your mind’s inner resources, at both a conscious and subconscious level, in order for you to create the changes and achieve the goals you choose.

Self-hypnosis becomes a powerful skill for you to gain more control than you’ve had before to selectively build or increase the positive behaviors, feelings or thoughts that you want more of, and to decrease or eliminate the undesirable habits, feelings or thought patterns.

6. What if I am still anxious or concerned about the effect it may have on me?

-If you have any apprehension whatsoever, I encourage you simply to listen to the audiotapes/CDs all the way through to familiarize yourself with the content in a fully awake and conscious state. This will allow you to become comfortable that there is nothing to negatively affect you; there are no subliminal messages. It is simply as if I were talking directly to you in a soothing, motivating, and encouraging manner, offering just enough guidance for you to resolve your own problem or proceed with your own goal.

7. Will I “come out” of this? What if I fall asleep?

-At the conclusion of each guided imagery and self-hypnosis audiotape/CD is a gentle closing instruction to bring you mentally back to your normative state of alertness and awareness of your external environment, while still retaining the relaxing quality of the experience. You will be refreshed and ready to proceed with your day.

-If you are extremely tired or if you purposefully listen to the audiotape/CD before bedtime, you may fall asleep, which is perfectly fine. You will sleep naturally, restfully, and will awake normally to your alarm if you have it set. Again, if you have any concerns, I suggest you first listen to the tape in its entirety, so that you will see how relaxing, and yet re-energizing and restorative it is.

8. What can this be used for? What areas can I apply this new skill to?

-Once you have experienced self-hypnosis through guided imagery, you can use the technique as an effective tool for accomplishing desired personal changes and for achieving real steps toward short and long term goals. These changes and goals may include, but are not limited to: mental and physical relaxation; reduction of stress/worry/anxiety; movement out of depression; emotional strengthening,cleansing, and renewal; behavioral pattern and lifestyle changes, such as, sustaining regular exercising, smoking cessation, control of eating patterns; weight reduction and weight management; pain management; motivation and confidence-building for personal goal attainment - just to identify a few of the possible applications.

Any of the preceding highlighted areas of interest may be selected for a complete listing of available guided imagery and self-hypnosis audiotapes/CDs relevant to these subjects.

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