1) What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is an altered state of awareness, an intense state of focus. Hypnosis only occurs when there is a hypnotist and a hypnotee (subject). It is often confused with the ‘trance-like’ states that occur when someone becomes really absorbed while watching TV or driving to work on “auto pilot”. That, too, is an altered state, but it is not hypnosis.

There are a number of misconceptions about hypnosis. This is due in part to how it has been portrayed in movies and television. In reality it is typically a very pleasant experience. Often after bringing a subject out of hypnosis I have been asked if I would let them “go back for just a little longer.”

1a) What is the difference between trance and hypnosis?

Trance is an altered state that is typically characterized by dissociation and/or a non-focused state of mind, as a general rule. Thoughts flow…

Hypnosis is an altered state of mind that is highly associated and focused. The man who coined the name hypnosis wanted to change that to monoideaism (one-thought).

This is why just about anything can trigger a trance state. But a genuine hypnotic state is far more likely by specific intent and direction of one person by another.

2) What is Change Work?

Change work is the reason you go to a hypnotist, usually. While it is true that some people go just to find out what it is like to be hypnotized, or to find out if they are hypnotizable, most people go to a hypnotist to have a change made in their lives. For example: to stop smoking, or to lose weight, or to get rid of a social anxiety or phobia.

This does not include, of course, those who go to hypnosis stage shows. That is almost always just for the fun of it.

3) How does it feel to be hypnotized?

It feels great! Hypnosis feels similar to that feeling you get right before you fall asleep at night. When you awaken, you feel refreshed and revitalized.

Often it feels as if you are relaxing very comfortably with your eyes closed. You can sometimes hear everything going on around you – the sounds outside the building, a car going down the street outside, whatever. You will always hear the voice of the hypnotist as you are led through the hypnotic process.

There really would be no point to hypnosis if suddenly you became unable to hear the voice of the hypnotist. A good hypnotist will bring your awareness down to just what is needed so that the change work can be accomplished. He will make use of the environmental sounds to accomplish a more profound experience for the subject.

At times, it can be like listening to someone telling you a story while a radio plays in the background. You may shift your awareness back and forth between the two, focused on one but still aware of the other. It is the job of the hypnotist to keep that focus where it needs to be to give you the change that you are seeking.

4) How do you put people into hypnosis?

There are many ways to accomplish this. Some very rapid. Some not so much. I typically use a rapid induction to get the subject to the most focused state as quickly as possible. I truly believe that when a person comes to me for hypnosis, they want the change and they want it now. I endeavor to make the experience amazing and enjoyable throughout. And when someone comes to me for change, how much more enjoyable can it get than to know that the change has been made?

Put another way, I am thoroughly result-oriented when it comes to giving the client what he or she wants. And I make it feel as good as possible when I do so.

5) Is hypnosis “mind control?”

Absolutely! Think of it this way; if a person was getting the results in his life that he wanted by controlling his mind the way he always had, why would he come to see me?

The question is far too general. Every commercial you watch on tv and think to yourself, “Wow, I really would love to have one of those” is mind control. The difference here is that I am focused on giving you the change that you want and need.

6) What about those stage hypnotists that make people do strange and silly things?

This is an altogether different animal. When people go to a stage show and volunteer to go on stage, they are agreeing to be ‘the show’. Think about this; if you have seen or heard about a stage show you will have expectations about what happens in them. If you have never been formally hypnotised before, you may ‘create’ your own expectations about what it will be like.

If that doesn’t happen, you think, “This isn’t working, I’m not hypnotized,” and you will be more focused on your own inner voice. You will probably open your eyes and sit there waiting to be let off the stage.

Other people, however, will do well as volunteers. These are the people who do not expect ‘reality’ to cease, and they follow the instructions until it becomes the most natural thing in the world to see, hear, believe, and do what the hypnotist says. They understand that they will still know what’s going on and still hear everything the hypnotist says. They allow their ‘attention’ to be completely focused on the hypnotist and his words to the point that they can ‘enter his reality’.

Those who volunteer almost certainly realize that they will be called upon to do some pretty silly things. Perhaps even things that are a bit embarrassing. But it is all for the enjoyment and ‘being the show.’ By and large, the safest and happiest people in the room are those who are chosen as volunteers.

7. How much will I remember?

Some hypnotists will tell the clients that they will remember everything. This may or may not be true for each individual and each session with an individual. It is pure nonsense to state categorically that the subject will remember everything.

The subconscious mind will always remember everything. However, the conscious mind will often not be able to remember some or all of the session. This is dependent upon several things. If the instruction is given for all or parts of the session to not be remembered, it is likely that it will not be remembered.

There are times that I will specifically create amnesia for the change work in the client’s conscious mind to prevent his analyzing what has been done. Some change work can be ‘analyzed away’.

At other times, I have no need to produce the amnesia at all and it just occurs naturally. I trust the subconscious mind to do what it believes is best in this regard for the client.

8. How do I know if I can be hypnotised?

Nearly everyone can be hypnotised. There is a common misconception among hypnotherapists that ‘all hypnosis is self-hypnosis’. This is pure nonsense.

No hypnosis is self-hypnosis since there is no such thing as self-hypnosis. There is a small number of people who have difficulty entering hypnosis.

This is typically because they have too much on their mind. This prevents really focusing on the words of the hypnotist and following his instructions completely. That really is the main requirement for entering hypnosis.

{This, of course, does not count those with specific, organic mental problems.)

It is possible that the person a) doesn’t really want to be hypnotised (but then why would they have taken the time and spent the money to come see a hypnotist in the first place); or b) it is possible that at that moment they fear losing control. Some people simply have a hard time giving over control to the hypnotist. And this must occur to some degree for the hypnotist to make the desired changes in the thinking pattern of the subject.

A skilled hypnotist will be able to put the subject at ease to allow him or her to enter hypnosis.

9. Can hypnosis help me?

“Can hypnosis help me get past my fear of dogs/spiders/etc.?”
“Can hypnosis help me improve my golf game?”
“I am terrified of meeting people in public. Can hypnosis help me?”
“I have insomnia. Can hypnosis help me get a good night’s sleep?”

The subconscious mind runs every system in the body. The conscious mind acts as a sort of rudder to direct parts of the subconscious mind to give more attention to certain things.

In hypnosis, the hypnotist is dealing directly with the subconscious mind. So if what you are wanting involves ANYTHING that the subconscious mind is in charge of, the answer is, in all likelihood, ‘YES!’

The subconscious mind can alter the flow of blood, create or change ‘muscle memory’ to improve sports skills, raise or lower blood pressure, heal virtually every kind of tissue in the body, etc.

There really isn’t much that I would not be willing to give hypnosis a try with if I were asked to do so.

And, yes, it can help you LOSE WEIGHT and STOP SMOKING!