Dr M.D. Preston: “Hypnosis is not dangerous”. No one has ever died from

being hypnotised. The same cannot be said about any other form of medicine.

There is no modality less dangerous than hypnotism. No therapy is safer.

Hypnosis is a separate, altered state of consciousness. You are not asleep. You

are not awake. You are in a “trance” for lack of a better word. A trance is a state

of mind in which a hypnotised client is able to free his, or her mind from the

constraints of their five senses, and preconceptions. Typically the sensation is

described as relaxing, blissful, dreamy or “I just felt different”.

Hypnotism is the process of inducing a hypnotic trance. Hypnotherapy is the

practical application of Hypnotism, to help people overcome many problems,

and difficulties. Hypnology is another word you came come across. Hypo is

Greek for sleep. The ending ology means the study, the lore, or even the

science of something. So Hypnology literally means the study of sleep. This is

a good point in the course to introduce some basic definitions.

Psychology is the study of the mind. It is a vast, complex subject, and to deal

with it at length, would leave little room for any other subject in this course.

Nevertheless, we shall deal with the mind in general, and study all those

subjects most likely to contribute to this course. Although there are many

different schools of thought, and one can approach psychology in a variety of

ways, you are about to embark on a very straightforward, easy-to-understand

study, with everything explained in a simple, practical manner.

Hypnotherapy is one of a number of treatment modalities, within the orbit of

Complementary Medicine; that is to say that it is a complete therapy, within its

own right, practiced by properly trained professionals.

The Mind is intangible. It consists mainly of thoughts, ideas, reasoning,

awareness, perceptions, concepts, memories etc. It is creative, calculating,

scheming, imaginative, etc., etc. Although completely non-material and nonphysical,

the mind is a kind of receptacle for everything one experiences

throughout life.

Unconscious Mind

In order to give a little substance to mind, let us, in imagination, construct a

working model – a representation of mind in symbolic form.

Let us be very clear on one point this is not a technically exact model of the

human mind; it is an analogy, designed to assist you in gaining comprehension

concerning the subject matter of hypnosis, and hypnotherapy, namely; a basic

understanding of the structure of the mind, on which you can build as you

develop as a hypnotherapist.


Let us imagine a sphere, as shown in Figure 1.1, the solid interior which

represents the Unconscious Mind – that part of mind which is normally

inaccessible – the part of mind which contains a complete record of all one’s past


Subconscious Mind

The surface of the sphere can represent the Subconscious Mind. The

subconscious, although accessible, functions in a very special way – secretive

and somewhat obscure. It deals with a continuous influx of impressions, raining

in from every direction. As long as the impressions continue to strike the

surface of the sphere (subconscious) in darkness, they occur as subconscious

impressions, incapable of entering consciousness.

Using the imagination once again, imagine a dense population of ‘tiny men’,

covering the entire surface of the sphere (subconscious). These ‘tiny men’

represent Subconscious Response to the continuous influx of impressions, and

are of course, influenced by all impressions that reach the subconscious.

Each impression acts as a stimulus and each stimulus demands some kind of

response. A response coming from a group of ‘tiny men’ receiving an

impression, this could be a positive or negative impression. If positive, it could

be either Instinctive or Conditioned.

The ability to respond instinctively is inherent in humans from before birth,

whereas conditioned responses are the outcome of training, or learning

(conditioning) over the period from birth onwards.

The ‘tiny men’ are most obedient; but they lack such faculties as initiative,

reason etc. They are only able to respond as they have always responded to

stimuli. In fact, it could be said that they represent that motivating force, known

as Habit.

Consciousness and the Conscious Mind

Now practically all that has so far been mentioned has been to do with the

unconscious, and the subconscious. What then of the Conscious Mind and


If we use the imagination yet again, and imagine a helicopter of convenient size,

in flight around the sphere, at a distance from the spheres surface

(subconscious). And also imagine, a searchlight fixed to the underside of the

helicopter, its beam of light scanning the activities of the ‘tiny men’, and then we

shall have a fair representation of consciousness. As for the conscious mind, of

which consciousness is a part that can be best represented by the helicopter, its

equipment and the crew members.