WORKSHOP ON THEORY OF MIND BRUCE BONNETT. I. Why do we care about Theory of Mind?

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1 WORKSHOP ON THEORY OF MIND BRUCE BONNETT I. Why do we care about Theory of Mind? a. If you want to give sophisticated talks about hypnosis and hypnotherapy theory (or if you are, for example, Cheryl O Neil and teaching hypnotherapy 101 at HMI!) b, So you have some basic understanding of how and why hypnosis takes place and works so you can do hypnosis effectively c. So you can explain to your clients some basic understanding of how and why hypnosis works d. As a tool to help overload your clients so they go into hypnosis e. NOTE FROM BRUCE *** the level of detail involved in each of the above four reasons may vary! 1

2 II. THEORY OF MIND as described by Dr. Kappas in the Professional Hypnotism Manual (emphasis added) 1 : (Note from Bruce: How many of you were confused by this in 101? How many are still kind of confused a little?) There are four areas of the mind that must be affected before a person can enter a hypersuggestible state: 1. THE CONSCIOUS MIND Retains and remembers the events and feelings of approximately the past one and one half hours only. 2. CRITICAL AREA OF MIND Part is conscious; part is subconscious. Contains memories of approximately the past twenty-four hours only. Any time a suggestion is given to a subject that is detrimental to his well-being or in total opposition to his way of thinking, he will critically reject it by abreacting. 1 And as demonstrated in the workshop by our supermodel: Mr. Potato Head! 2

3 3. MODERN MEMORY AREA OF MIND Part of the subconscious mind. Holds memory from conception to present in this life. 4. PRIMITIVE AREA OF MIND Part of the subconscious mind; includes all the primitive memory that lies dormant, including genetic heritage and evolved learning and conditioning. Will react only when triggered, regressed or threatened beyond the point of reason. Examples would be a fight or flight reaction or an impulse to kill. Suggestions affecting this area result in rapid reaction without reason. The message units from a normal day s input enter the conscious mind first, then pass into the conscious portion of the critical area. Here they accumulate and are held. Critical area is partially conscious and partially subconscious because we have been educated and conditioned to develop an analytical sense of evaluation on the conscious level. At the same time, we have learned on a subconscious level to avoid anything that is critical or threatening to us. 3

4 The critical area will not analyze message units or release them into the modern memory area as long as consciousness is present, but only when sleep takes place or the consciousness is in abeyance, as in the hypnotic state, because at that time there is no conscious critical ability to hold on to them. If too many message units accumulate in critical area, the body fatigues and starts preparing the person to go into a sleep state to vent.... Once a person goes to sleep, accumulated message units are immediately dropped in the subconscious mind. Here, they are critically analyzed and some are allowed to go into modern memory; others are discarded (vented) through dreams. Those that lie in the modern 4

5 memory eventually begin to filter into different areas of the primitive mode. If the person receives an overabundance of message units when it is impossible to sleep or escape, hypersuggestibiltity and the accompanying anxiety result. At this time the critical area becomes less critical (because it is being threatened and because the consciousness is simulating sleep in this hypersuggestible state) and starts dropping message units without evaluating them.... The average person stays awake at least sixteen hours, so the conscious mind has roughly sixteen hours to evaluate message units before they are allowed to go into the modern memory area. The longer it takes a suggestion to reach the modern memory area, the weaker it becomes. The strength and longevity of any suggestion depends on how quickly and how often it is received in the modern memory area. The longer it stays in critical area, the more it becomes distorted and weakened.... In hypnosis this whole process takes place in minutes. From the conscious mind a suggestion moves into critical area where it is critically 5

6 analyzed. Because there are so many unknowns going into the subject s mind, critical area usually quickly drops the suggestions into the modern memory area. In some instances the subconscious mind may attempt to abreact a suggestion, and vent it out through the body. However, if that suggestion is repeated after the abreaction is recognized and there is no following abreaction, the suggestion goes to the modern memory area. Once a suggestion is accepted to the modern memory area, it returns to the critical area and then to the conscious mind for acceptance and acting upon. When the conscious mind is unconscious. as in sleep, it is not receiving anything; it is only dropping the message units into the subconscious and venting them through dreams. In hypnosis the conscious mind is not unconscious so it is able to receive as well as drop and vent message units. The release of message units into the subconscious mind takes place instantly as the consciousness goes into abeyance and then the venting process through hypnotic suggestions begins. A suggestion given in the hypnotic state is much stronger than one given in the conscious state because it moves so quickly from the critical area to the modern memory that it does not have time to become diluted. Further, if a consistent positive reaction to a suggestion takes place, that reaction will become a 6

7 permanent habit, and constant will power and motivation will not be necessary to maintain it. The success of the suggestion is predicated on how it is understood going from the conscious mind to the critical area (where it is critically analyzed and possibly changed) to the modern memory area (where it is accepted as a symbol) to the final stage (where it is acted upon). Success is also dependent upon how well the structure was prepared prior to giving the suggestions. Structuring or building a foundation means giving the subject known reasons as to why a suggestion will take hold, achieving proper desensitization if a conflict (fear or negative learned habit) exists, and giving literal or inferred suggestions according to the subject s suggestibility. (Bruce s Note: WHO IS OVERLOADED AND IN HYPNOSIS AFTER LISTENING TO THAT?!?!?!?) III. THEORY OF MIND as described on HMI s website in the HMI glossary Theory of Mind 7

8 The mind is divided into four areas; all of which must be affected to enter the state of hypnosis. The four areas are: The Primitive Area Part of the subconscious and established from birth. It contains the fight/flight response and the fears of falling and loud noises. The Modern Memory Area Also a part of the subconscious and contains all of a person's memories (Knowns). The Conscious Area Formed around the age of 8 or 9, and is the logical, reasoning, decision making part of the mind. The Critical Area Also formed around the age of 8 or 9, filters message units and accepts or rejects them from entering into the Modern Memory. If the Critical Area is overwhelmed, it breaks down, activating fight/flight, causing a hypersuggestible state, that is, hypnosis. 8

9 IV. THEORY OF MIND as described in HMI Distance Education Student Workbook Volume 8 (revised 9/9/15) regarding Mental Bank Theory of Mind: Understanding the Theory of Mind is the core of the mental bank concept. Knowns represent emotional pleasure to the subconscious mind. Unknowns represent emotional pain of the subconscious. Our knowns become our comfort zone. Our comfort zone dictates a lot of our behavior. If our financial comfort zone is at $20, any time we go much above that, we get uncomfortable and begin to procrastinate or sabotage our success in attempt to get back to our comfort zone. Anytime we get much below that amount, we get motivated to get back up to our comfort zone. The mental bank is a way to consistently expand our comfort zone upward. 9

10 Bruce s note: etch a sketch -like toys--- like Doodle pro V. THEORY OF MIND JOHN MELTON YOUTUBE VIDEO The Best Model of Hypnosis Explained - Theory of Mind Uploaded on Jan 12, 2011 In this lecture, instructor John Melton explains the theory of mind, a model used to illustrate how the mind works on the conscious and subconscious levels, how hypnosis occurs and how to create the hypnotic state. This clip is from the "Foundations in Hypnotherapy" course, which can be viewed in its' entirety at no charge by visiting A. A few notes about how Melton describes T.O.M. 10

11 1. primitive area is already wired when we are born 2. different people can have different associations with the same known (1 child grows up loving her dog; another gets bitten and is terrified of dogs) Bruce s Note: Book Lucky Monkey Unlucky Monkey 3. 12% conscious; 88% subconscious; hypnosis is a way to resolve conflicts between the two (where subconscious is preventing what you want) 4. We all get overloaded sometimes--- so everyone has experienced hypnosis (everyone can be hypnotized) 5. too many message units means critical area can t filter them ---making a person hypersuggestible 11

12 VI. BRUCE BONNETT S (unproven?) THEORIES ABOUT THE MIND (some of his ideas, thoughts, etc. about why certain kinds of hypnotic suggestions, imagery, etc. seem to work well at least with many of his clients) A. If Bruce is right, then using these ideas may make your sessions more effective. B. Even if Bruce isn t right, these ideas may help make your sessions more interesting and enjoyable to the client--- which helps you keep clients coming back for more. C. We already know that certain types of suggestions work better than others with certain types of clients --- even once the clients are in the hypersuggestible state/hypnosis, right? (Emo s/phys; Direct/Indirect Suggestions) D. We also know that even when a client is deep in hypnosis, there are suggestions the client will ignore or discard ( After you close your eyes, you will tear off your clothes and run around HMI naked for the next 3 days ) E. So, it only makes sense that there are certain suggestions (or other things one can do with a client during hypnotherapy) that : (i) probably generally work well with most clients; and/or (ii) can be tailored for more effective use with a particular client. F. Telling stories to client in hypnosis or reading/describing stories (even children s stories) to client in hypnosis G. Similarly, giving real life examples of others who went through what client is going through or who used hypnosis to help with issue similar to client s issue H. Humor using humor or funny examples/stories as a way to associate a more pleasant feeling with the old issue, to distract the 12

13 mind from stress, to reduce unhelpful stress, and to put the client in a more attractive/attracting energy I. Using persuasive speakers, authors, studies, etc. J. Giving clients tools that would help them even without hypnosis and then using hypnosis to encourage the client to use those tools and to enhance client s belief that the tools will work K. Hypnosis as a way to activate certain capabilities of the person L. Everything works better when relaxed (not falling asleep but comfortable, not overly stressed) M. Easier to achieve things if energy level is good N. Hypnosis as a creative, new strategy to allow success O. Imagining more (or way more) than what client hopes reach for the heavens, get the stars thrown in ; expand comfort zone P. Using the vocabulary of the client s world (just like it would not be effective to give a client hypnotic suggestions in Russian language if the client was not fluent in Russian!) 13

14 VII. DEMONSTRATION BY BRUCE --- (maybe using random client/presenting issue): simplified theory of mind explanation Bruce often uses with his clients VIII. PRACTICE OPTIONS A. Randomly choose an imaginary client/presenting issue from Bruce. Then individually or as a group think about how you would explain --and practice explaining --Theory of Mind to that client (maybe tailoring it to describe the client s specific issue & old subconscious programming and why it is so much easier to make changes with hypnosis). B. Randomly choose an imaginary client/presenting issue from Bruce. Using what you have learned about Theory of Mind (and also about Bruce s various theories about the mind and hypnosis), decide what kinds of suggestions, imagery, stories, tools, or other 14

15 things you might want to research before your session or use while the client is in hypnosis. You can also think about what kinds of questions you might want to ask the client. If you get stuck or want feedback or just want to pick Bruce s brain about ideas for working with a particular kind of client/presenting issue, ask Bruce or other people at the workshop. *** The more presenting issues/imaginary clients you do, the better prepared you will be in the future when those kinds of issues/clients walk through your office door! And, now is your chance to ask Bruce questions about those issues/clients or creative things he might consider doing with the client during hypnosis. C. Any Questions About Anything Regarding Things You Want or Need to Practice? Feel free to use some time to ask Bruce! That s why I am here. KEEP PRACTICING! 15

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