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Hypnosis: Cracking the Power of Our Subconscious Mind – Part II

Hypnosis: Cracking the Power of Our Subconscious Mind – Part II
Olivier Madelrieux is a mental coach for over 500 high-level athletes. He explains what can be treated with hypnosis, the techniques for reaching and surpassing one’s goals by literally reprogramming the subconscious mind to make it an ally, as well as Emile Coué's powerful method of autosuggestion. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Originally a pharmacist, self-taught in all types of hypnosisOlivier Madelrieux is a mental coach for over 500 high-level athletes. In this second part of our interview, he explains what can be treated with hypnosis, the techniques for reaching and surpassing one’s goals by literally reprogramming the subconscious mind to make it an ally, as well as Emile Coué’s powerful method of autosuggestion.

What can be treated with hypnosis? Can it treat depression or emotional, psychological, or physical disorders?

OLIVIER MADELRIEUX: Hypnosis can be used to address various problems, both at a superficial level and a much deeper one, depending on the technique employed. In my opinion, it’s essential to be proficient in all forms of hypnosis, including Ericksonian indirect hypnosis and deep Elmanian hypnosis, as relying solely on one or the other would be like playing tennis with only your forehand or backhand. You need to master all the shots.

For example, if you see a hypnotherapist to quit smoking, Ericksonian hypnosis might involve suggesting that smoking is not good for you, and your subconscious can choose something else. This approach can be effective. With a more direct form of hypnosis, an aversion can be created. You’ll leave the session finding smoking repulsive, unable to stand the smell of tobacco.

“With the Elmanian approach of hypnosis, we go back to the root cause of the problem, the initial event that disrupted the matrix’s proper functioning and created the symptom. In this way, we practice mental reprogramming.”

With the Elmanian approach, we delve deeper to discover why you smoke. We induce a deep hypnotic state and ask your subconscious to find the moment that triggered your desire to smoke. Then, we ask the subconscious to describe what it sees, hears, feels and believes during that moment. Most importantly, we inquire about what would have been needed for you not to start smoking. We seek to understand what was recorded, modify that representation and work to reset your mental state.

"With the Elmanian approach, we delve deeper to discover why you smoke. We induce a deep hypnotic state and ask your subconscious to find the moment that triggered your desire to smoke." (Credit: Shutterstock)
“With the Elmanian approach, we delve deeper to discover why you smoke. We induce a deep hypnotic state and ask your subconscious to find the moment that triggered your desire to smoke.” (Credit: Shutterstock)

Essentially, we wipe the slate clean and introduce a new scenario because the previous one (the one that led you to smoke) is like an imprint in the brain that, on a neuronal level, keeps pushing you to have the same thoughts, emotions and behaviors. This is the triple interaction: a person’s life experiences are a result of the interplay between their thoughts, emotions and behaviors.

Elman’s goal was to go very deep into hypnosis to achieve regression, meaning going back to the root cause of the problem, the initial event that disrupted the matrix’s proper functioning and created the symptom. In this way, we practice mental reprogramming.

So, to return to your question, in hypnosis, we can address how to stop smoking, phobias (such as a fear of flying, spiders, elevators, etc.) and weight management, but really, we can reprogram anything.

Can trauma be resolved using the Elmanian regression technique?

OLIVIER MADELRIEUX: It can be done with NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and a technique called Change Personal History. With this technique, we trace back along the timeline to the first event that caused all the emotional imbalances a person experiences. NLP is a form of hypnosis but at a shallower level.

Personally, my goal is to induce theta states in individuals because the alpha state, commonly found in sophrology or Ericksonian hypnosis, is sufficient to work on quitting smoking or losing weight. But when we enter the theta state, we completely disconnect from the body and it’s in these somnambulistic states that we can genuinely work and deeply modify people.

In the theta state, we enter what is called the Esdaile state, which is a complete body catalepsy. This induced relaxation results in a complete relaxation of the body and allows the mind to be freed. We can use this technique to anesthetize without using any anesthetics, for instance.

Surgery under hypnosis. (Credit: Claire Hache)
Surgery under hypnosis. “Under the theta state, we can use this technique to anesthetize without using any anesthetics, for instance.” (Credit: Claire Hache)

James Esdaile (1918-1987) was a Scottish surgeon who worked in hospitals in India and learned from fakirs that individuals could be induced into a deep trance through magnetic passes. Since anesthetics weren’t readily available at the time, he would put his patients into a deep trance and perform surgeries or amputations painlessly, without bleeding (and without alcohol) in this state.

“In hypnosis, we can address how to stop smoking, phobias (such as a fear of flying, spiders, elevators, etc.) and weight management, but really, we can reprogram anything.”

In Great Britain, this method was called into question and his right to practice was revoked. The subsequent discovery of chloroform in London completely hindered further development of the Esdaile state. If these chemical substances had not been introduced, we might have continued to practice hypnosis.

What about in psychiatry? Can hypnosis help with mental illnesses?

OLIVIER MADELRIEUX: The problem is that when we touch upon the psychiatric domain, it’s as if we’re dealing with a taboo subject. In France, at the end of the 19th century, there were two major hypnosis approaches:

1. The approach of neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, a neurology specialist who worked at the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris and conducted numerous studies to understand hysterical paralysis through hypnosis. According to him, hypnosis was to be reserved for hysterical individuals because it was shown to be helpful.

2. The other approach was that of Professor Hippolyte Bernheim from the Ecole de Nancy (he notably trained Freud), who believed that hypnosis was accessible to everyone because it was a natural, physiological, and spontaneous state.

“However, it’s important not to use hypnosis on schizophrenic individuals or those suffering from severe depression because they are already in a dissociated state.”

However, it’s important not to use hypnosis on schizophrenic individuals or those suffering from severe depression because they are already in a dissociated state. When you put such a person to sleep, you don’t know which part of them will awaken when they come out of it. These people may also experience decompensation, losing control of themselves and entering into a potentially violent crisis.

Let’s return to your approach to mental reprogramming. Does this mean that to achieve the results we want in life, we can do it by reprogramming our subconscious mind?

OLIVIER MADELRIEUX: If you want to achieve your desired results, you must modify your thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Pythagoras had a school in Croton called “The Golden Verses.” He said that one should not go to sleep at night without reviewing their day. If something displeased them, they needed to modify those things and visualize what they could or should have done differently, then fall asleep with this vision to bring it into reality.

This is a form of self-hypnosis and with this technique, you can reprogram exactly what you want. Our brain records memories, and from memories come emotions and then behaviors. Everyone can do it; it’s a discipline.

With this approach to mental reprogramming, you wanted to work with high-level athletes…

OLIVIER MADELRIEUX: Yes, I became a mental coach for over 500 high-level athletes, including members of the French national rugby, football and skiing teams. Sandrine Martinet, a French para-judo champion, became an Olympic champion after our sessions and Aleix Espargaró, a Spanish motorcycle racer, went from being ranked 24th in the world to 4th after working with me, and so on.

Sandrine Martinet (Credit: Eurosport)
Sandrine Martinet (Credit: Eurosport)
Aleix Espargaró (Credit: Motorsport)
Aleix Espargaró (Credit: Motorsport)

I conduct sessions with them where I perform hypno-programming: I program their subconscious to behave differently. It’s a bit like when we talk about artificial intelligence or implants that we might one day put into the brain to provide capabilities that humans don’t yet have today. In fact, we can already do this through hypnosis.

We just need to prepare new programs that we place at deep enough levels for the person to believe that they have always been that way. This helps get rid of any self-esteem issues or incapacities and helps people transform themselves. It only takes four to five two-hour sessions.

"We just need to prepare new programs that we place at deep enough levels for the person to believe that they have always been that way. This helps get rid of any self-esteem issues or incapacities and helps people transform themselves." (Credit: Shutterstock)
“We prepare new programs that we place at deep enough levels for the person to believe that they have always been that way. This helps get rid of any self-esteem issues or incapacities and helps people transform themselves.” (Credit: Shutterstock)

In this context, I’d like to mention someone who is talked about too little, Emile Coué, who released a book in 1922 titled Self-Mastery Through Conscious Autosuggestion. Shortly afterward, he embarked on a successful tour through the United States, making him the third most famous Frenchman in the USA.

Coué revolutionized hypnosis by stating that we have two things within us: willpower and imagination. In modern terms, we could say that willpower is the path of the mind or the left brain and imagination is the path of the heart or the right brain. Coué said that when there is a conflict between the two, imagination always wins. That means if I truly want something and am determined to have it, but in my heart, I believe I can’t achieve it, I won’t.

“Coué said that when there is a conflict between willpower and imagination, imagination always wins.”

Coué also said the goal is to make your imagination work for the mind, and when the two work together, we can achieve a lot. Someone with little willpower but a vivid imagination can succeed. It’s quite powerful. A pharmacist, therefore someone highly scientific, stated that imagination is also a form of reality. It’s our second reality, our subjective reality. Unfortunately, 100 years later, people still haven’t grasped this.

>>> How does the subconscious mind deal with willpower and imagination?

>>> Is our imagination more powerful and more real than our willpower?

>>> Can everyone be hypnotized?

Find all the answers in the final part of this interview to be released soon.

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