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Hypnosis & Dream Interpretation:
What Your Subconscious is Trying to Tell You
What do we really know about the subconscious? Can we tap into this inner world and, more importantly, how can we use it to positively affect our lives? The editorial staff at YOU Magazine decided to find out.
What you are about to read is our investigation of the subconscious, along with its relation to the practices of hypnotherapy and dream interpretation. To assist in our efforts, we enlisted the help of a bona fide expert on all three subjects.
Juanita-Beth Morgan has been a practicing certified clinical hypnotherapist for 17 years. With an office in Beverly Hills, California, Morgan uses both hypnosis and dream interpretation to help countless patients create what she refers to as equilibrium between their conscious and subconscious thinking.
According to Ms. Morgan, every person has two minds. The conscious mind is what we use during our waking state to interpret and react within our outer world. Our subconscious is what stores our memories, our deepest emotions, and our intuition. Morgan suggests that we view the duo as a teeter-totter. When one side outweighs the other, an imbalance is created, allowing for unwanted behavior and/or stress.
What is Hypnosis?
We began our interview by asking Morgan to discuss the practice of hypnosis and its effects on the subconscious. She made it very clear that it has nothing to do with the occult or mysticism. It is not a religion, nor a philosophy. Instead, she says, "Hypnosis is a natural state, somewhere between sleeping and waking, where awareness is withdrawn from the outer world and focused on your inner world." She went on to say that a hypnotic state occurs when the body and mind relax simultaneously, and we, in turn, become extremely receptive.
For some, the mention of hypnosis conjures thoughts of dark and mysterious figures swinging pendulums. For others, it is reminiscent of nightclub acts featuring cape-clad hypnotists and trance-induced participants who act out by way of commands. But to Ms. Morgan, it is these stereotypes that have led to misconceptions.
To better understand the subject, she suggested we take a more historical approach, claiming the practice of hypnosis can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians. According to Morgan, the unearthing of tombs has revealed engravings that depict reclined people being hypnotized by a practitioner. But since its days in ancient Egypt, hypnosis' popularity has fluctuated, mostly due to charlatan practitioners as well as some general fears.
By the 18th century it became en vogue throughout France where it was known as "Magnetism". In 1955, the British Medical Association adopted it as a valid medical practice; and by 1958, the AMA had finally embraced it as a therapeutic, complementary medical tool.
Nowadays, most universities offering courses in medicine also offer classes in hypnosis. It is put forth by many hospitals as an alternative to medication for religious purposes and is prescribed by many doctors and dentists as treatment for a variety of medical problems. Morgan claims she gets a fair number of her clients through referrals from physicians.
Regarding the applications, Morgan says, "The list is almost endless." It can be used to overcome depression, anxiety, stress disorders, phobias, chemical dependency, and habits like smoking, nail biting, and overeating. She has experienced remarkable success in helping people to achieve self-confidence, motivation, better relationships, and mental focus. To her, every one of these conditions or disorders is an effect of an imbalance between the conscious and subconscious mind.
So, how does Morgan align these two areas of the mind? She starts like any other behavioral therapist by getting to know her patient. For as gifted as Ms. Morgan is with pinpointing issues, her greatest talent is her ability to listen and expeditiously process what she takes in. It is through this type of analysis that Morgan enables the patient to become self-aware. In other words, while you may have a clear understanding of what your behavioral issue is, Morgan's first job is bringing you closer to understanding why it exists.
Dream analysis plays a big part in creating self-awareness of one's issues. The reason, as she puts it, is "During the day, we think and conclude with our conscious mind. At night, we think in dreams." Morgan says the dream state is the most honest and irrational part of a person because it is rooted in deep-seeded feelings and emotions. By analyzing dreams, Morgan says she is better able to get an honest take on an individual.
When asked how she analyzes dreams, Morgan says it is first important to understand the two types, literal and symbolic. Literal dreams are just that; dreams that recreate events or situations that have already happened. They tend to make sense, allowing the dreamer to understand why they had the dream. Morgan says they generally occur a day or so after the event and serve as a means for the dreamer to vent frustration.
Symbolic dreams, on the other hand, are much harder to decipher. Due to their association with deep emotions, many of which are not realized by the dreamer, these dreams are filled with various symbols. Morgan says dreams that are both literal and symbolic are known as cluster dreams. She adds that a major characteristic of such dreams is that they contain several scene changes.
In terms of deciphering a symbolic dream, Morgan likens it to detective work. She says the first job is to figure out what role the specific symbols plays in the life of the dreamer. Through her questioning, Morgan works her way to finding the issue or issues behind the dream.
For one reason or another, people will oftentimes awaken prior to the conclusion of the dream. This can be a frustrating experience as humans have an inherent emotional need to finish what we start. Morgan says that through her "detective work", she can often help the patient complete the dream and, in turn, manage the issue at hand.
Morgan also recognizes the existence of prophetic dreams claiming, "They have the ability to change the direction of one's life." She says these dreams come from the part of the subconscious that handles intuition, or the stimuli received by our senses but not processed by our conscious mind.
When asked if she had any tips to help us laypeople better understand our dreams, Morgan conceded that it isn't all that important to record the specific details. Instead, it is more to our advantage to take notice of the individual themes (finding things, losing things, being chased, etc.), especially when they are reoccurring. Themes that reoccur multiple times over a 6-week period indicate a primary situation or issue. The inability to vent this issue could suggest a need for expert assistance.
Getting back to the idea of aligning our conscious with our subconscious, Morgan says the first step is realizing that moments of imbalance and problems in life are not unique to you. Everyone has them and many of us share the same ones.
She also recommends taking a proactive approach to solving our problems. No matter what the issue is, a healthy person will actively try to solve it. Morgan claims that people who continually experience the same problem have most likely never really attempted to correct it. She believes the first step in solving a problem is to proceed as logically as possible. The ultimate option is to enlist the help of an expert.
"Most problems seem worse than they are because they tend to take us by surprise," states Morgan. This brings her to the crux of her therapy – "Stress is an emotional climate, not a reaction to a negative event." By having a premeditated positive response to negative situations, you have the ability to alleviate stress from your life. Through hypnotic suggestion, Morgan helps her patients to create any number of positive responses.
In terms of finding a qualified hypnotherapist in your area, Morgan suggest starting with referrals, if not from trusted friends than from medical professionals. She says you should feel free to talk to several therapists before settling on one. Aside from asking about training, experience, and credentials, Morgan advises that you make sure the hypnotherapist is someone you are completely comfortable with. Communicate openly with the therapist and ask about their game plan for your treatment.
Juanita-Beth Morgan, C.H.T is a graduate of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, having continued her studies at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute under the direction of Walter E. Brackelmanns, M.D., Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA.
Morgan is a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, American Hypnosis Foundation, American Counseling Association, and the Hypnotherapist Union. She is a recognized public speaker on a national level and is available for speaking engagements for groups of any size. Always accepting new patients, she can be reached at (213) 389-2715. Ms. Morgan asks that anyone contacting her for an appointment please mention YOU Magazine as the source of the referral.
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