How mind tools can be incorporated in psychotherapy to facilitate and speed up positive change by reprogramming the subconscious mind.
"The unconscious has many faces: dustbin and reservoir, childish fantasy and wise vision, coward and hero, destroyer and creator." D. Glouberman
It is a well-known fact that our brains are electrochemical organs, made up of billions of neurons which communicate with each other by sending electrical signals. When examined by medical equipment like electroencephalographs, brain activity is displayed graphically in wavelike patterns, which are called brainwaves.
Although the different frequencies of brainwaves are not always clear-cut, there are gradations within each category, or the categories are often intermixed, basically there are 4 general categories of brainwaves.
These are the waves that our brains generate when we are wide awake, active and engaged in mental activity, usually involving more the left hemisphere, which is the rational, reality-oriented hemisphere of our brain. When beta wave activity becomes very intense, in actuality, our brain
hemispheres become less synchronized in their functioning.
These are lower frequency waves, which are generated when we are in a relaxed state and not actively engaged in rigorous mental, problem-solving or task-executing activity. For example, when
we are executing routine tasks, like taking a shower, putting on makeup, doing light housework, we are usually in alpha waves. Our thoughts are really not concentrated and our minds wonder freely.
When we are engaged in relaxing activities, or when we are meditating, we are usually generating alpha waves. When in an alpha state, a person is more receptive to suggestions, since beta activity, with its reality-checking orientation is no longer in charge. Creativity, and creative visualization can
be facilitated by alpha waves. Our brain hemispheres become naturally synchronized, or in-phase with each other.
The frequency of these waves is even lower resulting in deeper relaxation, and sometimes trance-like states, where the mind feels as though it may have gone to sleep although it hasn't. Prolonged daydreaming, or meditation can induce this low-frequency brain activity, during which an apparent
"loss of time" may be experienced, or the person might say that he had lost touch with the real, material world and was "elsewhere". Theta waves are also conducive to visualization and creativity and the mind in this very relaxed state is even more receptive to suggestion and hypnosis. Here, too, our brain hemispheres are synchronized and we experience wholebrain functioning.
This is the slowest band of waves that our brains produce and they occur when we are in deep, dreamless sleep. These waves are very beneficial for the body which restores and heals itself when in this state.
The brainwave patterns that are of interest to our discussion are those of the alpha and the theta waves. Precisely because our reality-oriented, critical, conscious mind is relaxed during these states, they are ideal for embedding affirmations and suggestions directly into the subconscious without the reality-testing filter of our conscious mind.
The power of the subconscious mind is recognized by all schools of psychology, no matter what terminology they choose to describe it. Within our subconscious are contained in a very compressed and highly interrelated form all our observations, experiences, learning, interpretations, thoughts, beliefs, values that we have accumulated over the course of our lives. This data in our subconscious mind is uniquely subjective in that it has been combined with emotional states to produce what
comprises our unique mental programming.
Once this mental programming has been established it is as if we are operating on automatic pilot. Our core beliefs, what we believe to be true about the world, ourselves and our relationship to it, and our automatic thoughts, which are off-shoots of our core beliefs tend to form our choices, and
shape our destiny. The subconscious mind does not distinguish between reality or fantasy but just accepts our conscious thoughts as facts and instructions. For this reason, new research and technology on how to directly influence the content of our subconscious, by inducing alpha and theta states and using affirmations and suggestions can greatly help in reprogramming the subconscious mind and encourage new, more constructive and positive behavior.
Brain Wave Entrainment is a procedure of balancing the left and the right hemispheres of the brain, causing whole brain functioning and inducing brainwaves to a specific frequency, usually alpha or theta, which are our most receptive states to suggestion and change. While binaural beats are frequently used to induce brain hemisphere synchronization, monaural beats - which do not require the use of headphones - are quite as effective.
We all know that repetition is key to learning of any kind. By repeatedly listening to suggestions while in a relaxed alpha or theta state we can achieve a great variety of results:
We can improve our learning ability, memory, and concentration.
We can improve our physical and mental health.
We can increase our confidence, reduce stress and depression, overcome addictions, program ourselves for healthier eating patterns, etc.
All that is required is that we religiously set aside some time, usually 30 minutes, every day to listen to our program, which we can design according to our specific goals.
Gradually, as the subconscious begins to accept the suggestions, a gradual shift is experienced in feeling and thought about the specific issue we are addressing. Our self-talk, our internal
monologue, becomes influenced by the suggestions/affirmations of our program. Soon, we "catch" ourselves repeating these suggestions as a new response to events or stimuli in our lives. For example, if we are using the affirmation "I am successful" in our program, when we accomplish something in our daily life, this affirmation will automatically begin to run through our conscious mind. In time, our behavior changes and as our behavior changes so do our results. As we observe
our new results, our sense of satisfaction, progress and accomplishment further reinforces the process of reprogramming our minds. Now, our conscious mind can also participate in the process, because it can no longer refute the new beliefs, attitudes or effects - and when conscious and
subconscious work together in harmony all sorts of results are possible for us.
Copyright (c) 2008 Ismini Apostoli
I am a psychotherapist living and working in Greece. In addition to in-office treatment, my services are open to people from all over the world, through online therapy, by emails. My specific fields of interest are building and enhancing self-esteem and encouraging people to discover and develop their hidden potential.
I invite you to visit my site at yourempowermenttherapist.com and get to know me better!