Unconscious Problem Solving – Working Through Problems Using Hypnosis

by Erika Slater

Woman trying to remember something with a pained expression

In this article you’ll discover:

  1. How our unconscious mind works tirelessly to help us recall information buried deep in our memory and what that means for you.
  2. Strategies we can use to aid our unconscious mind to work while we sleep or nap!
  3. How hypnosis can help us expedite unconscious problem solving.
  4. Further reading and resources for help in memory recall and problem solving.

Do you ever have difficulty remembering something, especially when you need to remember it at a specific moment or when under pressure?

Does it frustrate you knowing the answer is ‘right on the tip of your tongue’, you can almost say it, but there’s some ridiculous mental block that won’t let you recall it in the moment when you most want to remember!

Then… moments later… when you’ve stopped actively trying to remember it, suddenly it pops into your thoughts like magic!

This happens to all of us and is more common than you may think.

This is referred to as unconscious problem solving, not the forgetting part, rather the ‘remembering’ part that comes to us… eventually!

Why is it you forget things you most need to remember in a moment’s notice, but are then able to recall whatever it is you were trying to remember after the fact when not trying to remember? Some people are able to recall details about trivial matters easily and effortlessly without even trying while the rest of us struggle to recall what we consider to be important stuff?

What the heck is that all about?

Much of this instant problem solving has to do with the rigors of forcing your conscious mind to act on your unconscious mind.

Let’s first start out by discussing the unconscious mind and the role it plays in retaining and recalling information…



Memory and mind computer storage concept for rememberingAnything and everything you’ve ever heard, experienced, or learned in your life is stored away in your unconscious mind! That’s right, everything remains in your unconscious mind as it’s like a hard drive in a computer system. Once the information is stored or programmed it’s there for good.

The unconscious mind has trillions of bits of information stored in it throughout a person’s life. It’s like a massive filing system categorized according to relevancy through thought patterns.

Those thoughts you’re focusing on actively are usually most readily accessible.

When you don’t think, act or do something for long periods of time, even years, then the memories (files in your unconscious mind) get pushed further down in terms of their importance or the connection links grow weak.

With that said, it doesn’t mean they’re gone, they just need more time to remake the connections and then access.

Going back to our analogy of files on a hard drive in directories (categories that is), I’m sure you’ve experienced frustration in trying to find a file or document because you can’t “remember” where you “stored it” on your computer? Enter the “find” or “search” command available on most operating systems (Windows or Mac), to help us uncover it.

And when we expose a document using the find command we instantly recall why we put it in that directory or category. It’s obvious then… but not when you were trying to remember!

So, if your conscious mind is your present state of awareness then this is where you begin your search command to recall information. For example, “What was that actor’s name that appeared in that goofy movie I loved and played the character who said that awesome thing?

Your unconscious mind wants to try and keep all your information available to you at the snap of your fingers. But it can’t. So instead it works like an advanced computer memory and keeps information stored and/or accessed “recently” accessible instantly. Now “recently” could mean months for us so much is still available quickly.

However, when your conscious mind starts pressing the unconscious mind for answers or to problem solve requiring access to information stored many months or years ago, it may come up momentarily ‘frozen’ or ‘on the tip of your tongue.’ This is because it’s guessing what you’re looking for but needs just a little more time to find the stored files while you “relax” and “chill out a bit.”

The unconscious mind doesn’t like that kind of pressure.

Eventually you “give up” trying to recall or problem solve because it’s not just working. But your unconscious mind doesn’t stop working in the background. It’s still searching trying to make the connections and recall the information you want or will help in solving a problem.

Moments, hours or even days later it may come to you.

Voila! That’s your unconscious mind delivering to you the “file” you were looking for!

Does this mean if our unconscious mind retains everything that there’s no such thing as memory loss? No, I’m not saying this. But it’s less about not having the information stored in your memory but more about an impaired ability to recall. As we age then its true our memory mechanisms can begin to fail us. Sadly, brain disease can impact us for sure and interfere with even our short-term memory.

If you’d like to read more about reducing memory loss as you age then I’ve placed a link in the additional resource section below to an article on this topic.

So, you may say, okay I get how we can recall information stored in our unconscious mind even when it’s buried deep from the past, but how does this help me solve problems where I don’t have the information stored at all?

This gets at the fact our unconscious mind not only works to recall information in the background while not “actively” thinking about it, but it also works to help us solve problems when in this mode as well. Such as when we sleep or are absorbed in thought on something else. Essentially, it’s the same mechanisms being engaged in/by your unconscious mind.

Ideas and thoughts can come to you at any time but its also true there are many stories of major problems being solved through dreams and sleep. While you may not suddenly have a profound insight on time travel or the theory of relativity through your dreams, but having solutions to a pressing work or personal problem is within reach if you just “program” your unconscious mind to work on it for you.

One strategy for leveraging our sleep or even nap hours to help us with problem solving is to deliberately set the task for the unconscious mind just before going to sleep. While it may sound “strange” to ask your subconscious for help before sleep, you can do it mentally, and speak it as a task to your mind, and then relax and forget about it.

Make sure you have a notepad and pen on side of bedside table as ideas and thoughts will come to you on waking but they can be subtle and quickly forgotten disappearing in an instant.

In addition to sleep and dreams, you can read a story about how a letter helped one business owner solve a major problem to save his business. A link to this story can be found in the resource section below.

One way of “greasing the wheels”, so to speak, for unconscious problem solving is using hypnosis, and we’re going to cover this now….



Woman relaxing in chair listening with headphones in chairI do want to recognize there are people who have amazing memory recall. Some people appear blessed with photographic memories if you will. Their powers of recall are above normal.

Neuroscience doesn’t exactly understand at this moment how this phenomenon happens and what’s going on to aid these people over others. But perfect recall is only one element we are discussing here today. The other is about creative problem solving and how to engage the unconscious mind in resolving issues you’re wrestling with to overcome.

We’ve already mentioned our unconscious mind can work on problems such as recalling a piece of information we’ve stored from years ago but just can’t “remember” it in the moment.

Leave it alone and it’ll work in the background for us and pop it up when its found it. At least this is the way it seems to work for most of us.

The same process works to help us solve problems overnight during the sleep. But what if we could give our unconscious mind a nudge to help come up with responses you’re looking for using hypnosis.

With the help of a skilled hypnotist they use hypnosis to put you into a trance-like state and then offer hypnotic suggestions directly to your unconscious mind to help with memory recall, or creative problem solving for specific challenges you may be facing.

Some information gets buried deep and escapes us no matter how long we wait for it to “appear.” In the past I’ve had people see me to remember where they hid or misplaced something such as jewelry, and other keepsakes or important papers. The protocol is once in hypnosis to take them back before the loss and walk them forward through a sequence of steps leading up to and then “hiding” of the object.

Because the forgetfulness of where a valuable object is hidden can be stressful then this can cause a barrier to remembering. The more you try and remember where you put something the more it eludes you to recall. Going into a relaxed trance-state using hypnosis can help remove barriers to remembering and potentially speed-up the recall process.

I’ve put a few links in the resource section below to articles for further reading, one on using hypnosis to improve memory, and another on minimizing memory loss as you age.

But what about hypnosis and problem solving?

Once in hypnosis we can access our unconscious minds and as we’ve already determined this is the part of the mind working in the background on any problem we set it, then we can use it to solve specific problems, break through creative blocks, and even find resolutions to personal issues.

This works equally well for unconscious goal achievements and ongoing creative insights throughout your life.

It also works for common uses such as using hypnosis to quit smoking when an individual wants to stop smoking, usually for health reasons, but there is also another part of them that enjoys smoking. So, the hypnotist works with the unconscious mind to help solve this dilemma and find a resolution by tapping into the problem solving capabilities of the mind.

Whether you do the work with a hypnotherapist or learn self-hypnosis skills doesn’t matter. The fact is when in hypnosis your conscious mind is less interfering with your unconscious mind which is free to develop solutions to your problems. The benefit of a hypnotist in the process is to induce trance and relaxation and then deliver suggestions based on the work you’ve already discussed you want to perform.

For long-term work learning the techniques of self-hypnosis provides life-long benefits and a tool you can leverage whenever you need to tap into your powerful unconscious mind to both recall memories, and perform unconscious problem solving. If you’re interested in working directly with me then check out my online and In-office Special Hypnosis Services here or you can contact me with a specific need here.

Hypnosis can help with getting you answers faster in the future!



We’ve all experienced a mental block when we can’t recall information we know we know, such as name of a film or an actor’s name, or that friend you had in high school. We say “it’s on the tip of our tongue!” Then we move on frustrated with ourselves, and suddenly later or the next day it comes to us in a flash!

This is evidence we have two minds, our conscious and unconscious mind, and proof they can work independently on separate tasks at the same time. You see when you posed the question but couldn’t find the answer and “gave up” your unconscious mind continued working on the problem in the background.

This unconscious problem solving doesn’t just work for recalling information, but we can also task our unconscious mind to work on solving problems and achieving goals for us both from a job or personal perspective.

Hypnosis is a trance-like state where we can make suggestions directly to the unconscious mind and help facilitate its recall or problem-solving skills. Sometimes we have a mental barrier to remembering or solving a problem and so our mind needs help and a different state to enable it. Learning the technique of self-hypnosis provides a long-term tool available whenever you want to tap into your unconscious mind to help with your personal goals.

If you want to discover more about self-hypnosis for unconscious problem solving then check out this session here >>>



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Library of Self-Hypnosis Downloads Products >>>

Erika Slater CH
Free At Last Hypnosis

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Interested in making a significant change in your life and interested in learning more about what I do and how I do it? Discover my hypnotherapy services here or contact me here.

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