Have you ever put something away for “safe keeping” and then forgotten where you put it? Or maybe, a few hours after doing the dishes, discover that you’ve forgotten to put your rings back on and then can’t find them? These are two common scenarios where hypnosis can help.
When we are distracted from the task at hand, we aren’t consciously aware of our actions and therefore have no “conscious memory” of what we have done. However, the subconscious mind stores all the stimuli from our environment, including our “unconscious” actions. In the state of hypnosis, we can access those unconscious memories, retrieving memory of our actions. Using the above scenario regarding the misplaced rings, what has usually happened is that a person is in a habit of removing their rings before doing the dishes and habitually places them in a certain place. If they are distracted while completing this task (for example, the phone rings), the rings may be placed “absentmindedly” in a different location. After doing the dishes, the person goes to get their rings from the spot that they normally leave them, find them missing, and then have no idea where they put them. While in hypnosis, the memory of going to the phone and placing the rings beside the phone can be retrieved, and the missing rings can be found.
People often ask if all memories can be retrieved. The subconscious is designed to protect an individual and so certain memories, particularly around trauma, cannot be retrieved “on demand” through the use of hypnosis. The subconscious will “hold” onto those memories, protecting the individual until the individual is capable of processing the information. Additionally, memories of experiences an individual has had while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are unlikely to be retrieved.