The distinction between mind and brain
I discuss things in terms of mind and brain. The brain has many processes that operate consciously and unconsciously, and the mind is only conscious. When we say we’ll keep it in the back of our mind, it is still a thought. We are describing how we experience that thought and use memory.
Parents have their own language, lawyers have their own language, and builders have their own language. I’m giving you a chance to understand the framework for the language used in clinical hypnosis. In this article, you will understand the distinction between mind and brain as it is useful in clinical hypnosis.
Conscious vs Unconscious vs Subconscious mind
In clinical hypnosis, I’m cautious of the words I use and how I use them. It is common for people involved with hypnosis to discuss conscious mind, unconscious mind, or even subconscious mind and I understand describing the processes as conscious and not conscious. However, once you discuss them, and they become conscious, how does your meaning hold?
Too many variables make things unreliable and no longer useful.
I discuss things in terms of mind and brain. The brain has many processes that operate consciously and unconsciously, and the mind is only conscious. When we say we’ll keep it in the back of our mind, it is still a thought. We are describing how we experience the thought with memory across time.
Experience isn’t a thought. Experience is a process of the brain. Therefore experience is the brain, and thought is mind. Let me dig a little deeper to expose more light on this(a strange metaphor, although it illustrates my meaning…right?).
The mind is also a brain function. It’s something we habitually use and is how we make sense of the world. Think of it as your internal dialogue, your way of reasoning and fact-checking, in hypnosis people often call it the critical factor.
Some people in the hypnosis world have developed their career around the idea of bypassing the critical factor to speak directly with the unconscious mind. I’m not saying they are wrong and it is probably one of the better definitions of hypnosis. Unfortunately, it still uses the concept of the conscious and unconscious mind. When we talk in terms of brain and mind, there is less distraction and ambiguity.
Instead, that definition could be phrased as “activating parts of the brain to a point where the ongoing brain activity outweighs that of the mind.”
The conscious mind is believed to be mostly left frontal area (ill avoid unnecessary technical language). The mind is linear and logical. It tracks time and keeps the status quo by checking how new information fits your current understanding of the world. It is defined by the habits or skills of thought, reflection and affirmation.
What you experience as normal conscious awareness is a balance of brain activity and mind activity. The mind holds a level of intensity when compared to our other brain activity that is familiar in the normal waking state.
The brain in opposition has experiences, revelations and ideas. When a chemical reaction stimulates our brain (this traditionally being the unconscious), it brings an idea into our mind. Where else could your ideas possibly be coming from?
I’ll break this down further.
The unconscious brain stimulation happens first. The idea is the revelation or experience of the idea. As the idea passes to our conscious mind, it is reflected upon as a thought (for affirmation or discarded as unuseful).
In the article ‘what is hypnosis’ I’ll discuss why this is a useful concept to be efficient in clinical hypnosis.
Instead of thinking about conscious and unconscious think in terms of mind and brain. Once you are aware of it, it’s mind. Mind is our thoughts, reflections and affirmations. The brain produces experiences, revelations and ideas.
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