How Does Hypnosis Work?

One of the first questions asked by our clients is almost always, “How does Hypnosis work?”

Hypnosis works by updating the unconscious mind with new and more helpful information, like reprogramming a computer. It can be used to change associations, so that cigarettes, for instance, are no longer seen as “relaxing”, and are more realistically regarded as “stimulant toxic killers”. It can also be used to mentally rehearse better ways of going about things, such as being able to deal with stressful situations, motivating positive changes, or even releasing fears and trauma.

It really is one of the simplest solutions to many problems.  Its simpler than most people know.


Conscious and subconscious (terms you’ll see all over this site and hear regularly at our office) are really just terms to describe the characteristics of the human mind.

  • The conscious mind is where we tend to “live” and make all of our analytical choices.
  • The subconscious mind is the memory bank of emotion which ultimately has the ability to change the conscious mind.

The subconscious controls all of the autonomic processes that you don’t have to think about — heart rate, blood pressure, tissue growth, cell regeneration, the immune system, etc.  Its where our thoughts, memories and experiences are stored.  It controls our habits, emotions and our responses to the outside world.

The subconscious mind creates the world of our emotions, habits, etc. for us.  It determines if we want to smoke, eat too much, hurt, “over-feel” in situations, etc.

The conscious mind is more logical, critical and analytical, constantly making value judgments.  It creates the reasons “why not” when we look at something that is really good for us.  Consider if someone says you really should give up smoking because its bad for you.  You’re highly unlikely to become a non-smoker on the spot.  You’re more likely to come up with a dozen rational sounding reasons as to why you should keep smoking and you even may tell them to mind their own business.  It’s the conscious part of the mind that keeps the bad habit going.


The subconscious mind is much more accepting and less judgmental.  Its liberal and tends to take things personally, relating things to you as your own individual spirit.  Hypnosis bypasses the over-critical conscious mind and speaks directly to the subconscious mind in a way it understands.  This is what a hypnotist or hypnotherapist helps you achieve.

Until you choose to work more with the subconscious mind, the conscious mind is basically in charge and ruling your life.  This is what causes people to seemingly repeat the same negative actions and thus, getting the same result.

Decades of research and trials show hypnosis is remarkably effective for a wide variety of conditions.

  • A study published in the June 2007 Journal of Pediatrics showed hypnosis produced a significant drop in the severity and duration of headaches in children, and even a drop in the frequency of headaches themselves – near 75%.
  • A University of Iowa meta-analysis showed hypnosis was 3x more effective than nicotine replacement when it came to quitting smoking.

Believe it or not, when someone learns to smoke, it is done through a form of hypnosis.  Many smokers start in their teens when smoking is seen as a quick way to fit in, acquire friends and adult status and generally be “cool.”  Through repetition, the subconscious mind becomes convinced that smoking is serving a vital purpose of being accepted by others and that it is “good” for you.  It sounds weird, but that’s how it happens!

The hypnotized person is not sleeping or unconscious—quite the contrary. Hypnosis (most often induced by a hypnotherapist’s verbal guidance, not a swinging pocket watch) creates a hyper-attentive and hyper-responsive mental state, in which the subject’s subconscious mind is highly open to suggestion.

Hypnosis works by updating the subconscious mind with new information.  In the smoking example, hypnosis changes associations so cigarettes are no longer seen as “good” for you or “a way to fit in.” In reality, you no longer see smoking as a way to fit in, but instead a dirty habit you want to end. But your subconscious mind is still telling you its required and taking higher priority, even if your conscious mind is saying “no, no, no!”

Hypnosis works by re-shaping our subconscious mind — the memory bank of most issues, and the source of the solutions too!