Hypnosis Blog

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The "Critical Factor" the Guardian at the Gate to the Subconscious Mind

If you have come to enough meetings, or have been through any of my trainings, then you will have heard us talk about the "Critical Factor" and that we must "Bypass" it in order to achieve a state of hypnosis. But what exactly is the "critical factor" and why do we have to bypass it, and how do we do so?

The "critical factor" is that part of the brain that sits on the border between the conscious and unconscious/subconscious mind. To use an analogy, its the bouncer at the door of an exclusive club, and if you want to get past the velvet ropes, then you must either be on the "list" or sneak in.

Recent studies in the field of neuroscience, which study the brain and its function, seem to indicate that the actual location of the "critical factor" process lies in the anterior cingulate gyrus, which starts at the front of the brain, just under the forehead and above the eyes, and runs along the corpus callosum, which separates and connects the two hemispheres of the brain. It is theorized that all information gets passed through this region, both during receiving and communicating.

The job of the critical factor is to maintain the status quo, which for the most part is a good thing, unless the behaviors of the status quo are no longer serving you in a positive way, and it's time to change those behaviors. In order to do so, we must get past the critical factor and work directly with the subconscious mind, in order to formulate new behaviors and facilitate change.

So how do we bypass the critical factor?

There are several ways that we can bypass the critical factor and gain access to the subconscious. The quickest and easiest is to engage the imagination. Since all imagination and creativity comes from the subconscious, by engaging our imagination, we have automatically bypassed the critical factor and gained access to the subconscious mind.

A similar technique is to use revivification, the act of recalling a memory. In order for someone to remember something, they must also re-experience it at some level, which accesses long term memory and visualization, all of which are also controlled by the subconscious.

When we perform rapid and instant inductions, we may also utilize some physical techniques to bypass the critical factor, like shock, or surprise, or the loss of equilibrium. When someone is startled by a shock, surprise, or a loss of equilibrium, a small group of organs in the brain called the amygdala are stimulated and spring into action. This group of organs sit right next to the motor center of the brain, and can cause us to move, before we are consciously aware we are moving. For example, have you ever placed your hand on a hot surface, and find yourself moving your hand out of the way, a split second before you even consciously register heat or pain? That's the amygdala at work and it has a direct link to the subconscious mind, therefore bypassing the critical factor.

It's actually very easy to bypass the critical factor and induce trance in ourselves and others. Often, the "trance" state is our natural state and therefore we are always on the edge of trance all the time, so that all we need to enter trance is a gentle "push" (either figuratively or literally) and trance is created. The real skill in hypnosis comes with what you do next, but a that's a discussion for another time.

That's all I have for now.

Michael C. White, C.Ht.