You're driving down the highway . . . heading home. It's a beautiful day . . . balmy . . . a lot of sun in an otherwise blue sky. The aroma of freshly cut grass . . . the last cut of the season . . . wafts through your window . . . bringing back a memory . . . lost in time. You glance to the left . . . as a silver car passes. The driver reminds you of a person you once loved. Suddenly . . . you can see her face . . . hear her voice . . . smell her freshly washed hair . . . feel her love. Now you're walking . . . arm-in-arm. The full moon illuminates the path . . . an owl hoots . . . you talk about something you both cherished.

By the time you finish revisiting that memory, you're safely home, yet no matter how hard you try, you can't remember getting off at the proper exit, or making that right turn at the light, or negotiating the traffic circle, though you know you must have done those things.
I call that phenomenon gray magic—the ability to operate efficiently and simultaneously at two independent tasks, one conscious, the other unconscious—otherwise known, by definition, as trance. Spontaneous trance is a normal state of mind that many of us experience six or seven times a day.

A couple of examples:
You're engrossed in a book, and you don't realize your cat has draped herself around your shoulders—trance.

You begin to peel a bunch of potatoes. Your mind begins to wander. The next thing you know, you've peeled the potatoes, cut them into quarters, and put them in the pot, but you can't recall doing it—trance.

If there was a hypnotherapist sitting in the passenger seat, and she noticed you were in a trance while you were driving, and she made a few positive suggestions, you would most likely respond to them. BUT, just as you can't consciously recall exiting the highway, or making that right turn at the light, or negotiating the traffic circle, because you were deeply immersed in a memory, you also can't consciously remember the therapist's suggestions (if she did her job well).

The therapist was speaking directly to the part doing the driving, your unconscious, who always makes good decisions for you. Why would she want to speak to you, with all your emotional baggage (your neuroses, your obsessions, your resistance, the stuff that keeps you mired in your programmed responses)?

By the time most people visit a hypnotherapist, they have already tried many other modalities yet haven't reached their therapeutic goals. A hypnotherapist's job is to send the conscious you—with all your baggage—off on a pleasant journey, while she communicates directly with your unconscious mind, who will respond to positive suggestions because they are, well, positive suggestions! Your mind, just like your body, has an internal dynamic drive to heal itself.

Author's Bio: 

I am a retired hypnotherapist, author, inventor, and club racquetball pro. I live in an 1813 farmhouse in upstate New York with my wife, Eileen, and when I'm not writing hypnosis related or political/social change oriented articles, I spend a good amount of my time working on the sequel to my first novel, "The Zedland Chronicles" sub-titled, "Orphan Running." I admire men like Mahatma Ghandi and also Pete Seeger, who remains on the front lines in the battle for social/political change in spite of his advanced age.