Hypnosis: Forget About Amnesia!

After a hypnosis session, I often have trouble remembering what it was that we just did. This is more true when I’m the subject, but it also happens when I’m the hypnotist! And that means that it’s not some kind of mysterious force, but just an example of “state-dependent memory,” which everyone has to one degree or another. It’s the same phenomenon that makes it easy to remember what you should have bought at the grocery store as soon as you enter the kitchen, but hard to remember in the store.

Since in many ways hypnosis is “coaching for the unconscious mind,” one school of thought is that it’s probably good thing if you don’t consciously remember what happened in trance, because the conscious mind is neither here nor there: it’s not the problem, it’s not the solution, and it’s best if it stands aside. I’m not sure I agree with this.

When I go all forgetful after a trance, it only takes a few hints to get the memories back. Of course, the unconscious mind never forgets anything, so the issue is only about what your conscious mind remembers. For some reason there can be a lot of disconnect here, such as when your wife glares at you when you come home from work and you suddenly realize, “It’s my anniversary today.” At which point it’s legitimate to ask, “Why didn’t that come to mind yesterday — or, better yet, last week?” Some people’s unconscious minds do that, and some haven’t yet figured out that they should.

Getting past these hiccups is what hypnosis is all about, and the importance of the problem doesn’t seem to make much difference in how you go about dealing with them. One of the most successful practice sessions I’ve been involved in used my unwillingness to floss daily (or, sometimes, weekly) as the target, and I’ve flossed my teeth every day for months, which is a big change for me! While this was not a mind-boggling accomplishment, it should save me a lot of inconvenience and discomfort at the dentist’s over the next few decades.

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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. Robert's publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of reprinted classics, including Hypnotherapy of War Neuroses, which covers treating PTSD in veterans. Robert and his wife Karen sell free-range chicken and eggs at the Corvallis farmers' markets. Robert's hypnotherapy office is in downtown Corvallis.

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