As a hypnotherapist, I am a behaviorist. Thatmeans that I treat my client’s presenting issues symptomatically, starting with learning what behaviors they wish to change and helping them to create new habits.
ARE YOU RESISTANT TO BREAKING BAD HABITS – DO YOU SABOTAGE YOUR EFFORTS?
All of us have been on a diet, I have. I would set a S.M.A.R.T goal: a specific purpose, measurable so I can track progress, attainable means that is are realistic, relevant to what I genuinely want and time-bound that has to see completion by a specific date. However, I have strong willpower, and although I can make good decisions, I still struggled to avoid eating gelato, and often I failed my purpose. Why would I end up eating gelato when I’ve decided that was not good for me and it was not serving my purpose? The answer to this behavior can be found in another question: at which level have I decided that gelato was not good for me? Most probably, looking at the resistance, I had rationally decided that in order to improve the physical appearance I had to stop eating gelato. It is logical, but at a deeper level, subconsciously, my mind had a strong positive association with gelato, and that part of my mind didn’t want or need to stop eating gelato. In fact, what I was trying to do, was break a bad habit. I had eaten gelato and loved it for a long time (Law of repetition).
Every organism will seek pleasure trying to avoid pain (S. Freud), “unknown" represents pain to the subconscious mind. An unknown is a physical or psychological threat that has never been experienced before; therefore, it carries no identification or association. It is strange to the subconscious mind. "Known" represents pleasure. A known is something that we have associated or identified before (Law of association). It may be either positive or negative but will be accepted by the subconscious because it has been experienced before. It might not be a pleasurable experience, but it represents pleasure because it is known. Negatives are accepted by the subconscious because they are known.
HOW CAN HYPNOSIS HELP?
The good news is that in order to break habits and therefore behaviors, hypnosis can help the client to change associations with the object (cigarette, food, nail-biting, etc...) by substituting the old unhealthy habit with a new healthy habit that is more desirable. So, the decision to change involves the subconscious mind instead of just the consciousness.