Programming the mind
Every year on Jan. 4, the world falls under the spell of World Hypnotism Day. This year, the Regina Public Library hosted Wanda Mang, a registered clinical hypnotherapist. Seventeen years ago, she was diagnosed with cancer and the doctors determined she had about one year to live. She tried many treatments, and after they failed she decided the only way she would get better was if she programmed her mind to heal herself. As a result Mang, started self–hypnosis, which she claims to be very powerful.
Mang describes hypnosis as a highly focused state of mind where one crosses over from the critical, conscious mind to the subconscious mind. In her presentation, she explained that 10 per cent of our brain functions consciously. This is where we use logic, analytical thinking, and our willpower, and in addition this is part of the mind that psychologists will use to solve problems. Hypnotherapists, on the other hand, access the other 90 per cent known as the subconscious or unconscious mind. This part of the mind accounts for involuntary body functions, as well as creativity, imagination, and emotion.
Furthermore, Mang mentioned that hypnotism can be performed on any willing person between the ages of five and 90; however, the best time would be in the mid-teens. At this time, the child is very creative and imaginative, which according to Mang is fundamental in hypnotherapy.
As a demonstration, Mang asked everyone in the audience to close their eyes and picture themselves in their home kitchen, after which she gave the instructions to take a lemon from the fridge, cut it open, and squeeze the juices into their mouths. At the end of the exercise, she asked the audience if they tasted the lemon and by a show of hands half of the two dozen persons in the audience confirmed that they tasted it.
She continued by highlighting the healing qualities of hypnotherapy; she uses it to cure smoking addictions and to aid weight loss. These are among the top issues that are resolved with hypnotherapy, along with fears and phobias, as well as learning enhancement with regards to studying and education.
One of the common myths about hypnotism is that hypnotherapists have absolute control of their minds. Mang stated when someone is hypnotized, their conscious mind is resting rather than disabled. Therefore, if for some reason you are hypnotized to do something against your moral values or something unethical, your mind will refuse to do so. She continued saying that only 20 per cent of the population is easily hypnotized and it takes 21 days to program a part of the mind, which is why she encourages self-hypnotism. In response to a question from the audience, Mang distinguished self-hypnotism from meditation by stating that in meditation, one receives answers from the subconscious without asking, where self-hypnotism is the opposite.
One young man in attendance explained that he had been hypnotized a total of four times. When he was a young boy, he constantly screamed in class and as a result his mother took him to Peter Reveen, a widely known hypnotist that visited Winnipeg in 1977. After his session, he never screamed in class again, but he did not know why. He could not recall answering to Reveen while he was being hypnotized, as he felt he was “blanked out” for a short period. Ever since, he has been a firm believer of the practice and is more than willing to recommend it to anyone.
According to Mang, however, hypnotism doesn’t necessarily require one’s belief to work. Its power has been noted by marketing firms, who use hypnotic methods when making ads.
Whether we choose to believe it or not, hypnosis is a part of our lives.