What exactly IS Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a completely natural state that we enter several times a day as part of our body’s natural rhythm of activity-relaxation. You pass through this natural trance state every night before you go to sleep and every morning before you are fully awake. In is a highly suggestible state where the conscious mind and the subconscious mind dissociate, or separate. Here are a few other natural hypnotic situations:
- when you’re watching TV or watching a movie
- when you’re working at the computer or playing a video game
- when you’re involved in reading a good book or article
- when you’re daydreaming or lost in thought
- when you’re driving to work and you wondered how you got there because your mind was on a thousand other things
- anytime you find yourself in the “zone” where you were totally focused on the task at hand and nothing else.
During these states, your body may be relaxed but your mind is highly focused. In hypnosis, you are totally focused on my words and in open state of mind to receive and accept positive suggestions.
What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis as a therapeutic tool to address a specific issue. Hypnosis is a deliberately induced trance state in which our brain waves slow down to an alpha state (as opposed to the normal active state of beta.) In this slowed-down brain-wave state, the conscious mind relaxes its incessant chatter to make way for the subconscious mind – which is way more powerful and has a much larger storage capacity. We can then use the subconscious mind deliberately to get rid of things that are stored that we don’t like and introduce what we actually want to be happening in our life.
Is hypnosis like meditation?
Hypnosis and meditation are two different states. In meditation, you enter an altered state and are focused on yourself. The goal, if there is one, is to get “centered” and to be in a “no-thought” place. Hypnosis, on the other hand, is an altered state that’s entered to receive specific suggestions that will help you enjoy a new behavior, and the focus is on the words of the hypnotist, or your own words if you’re doing self-hypnosis.
Will I lose control if someone else hypnotizes me?
Hypnosis is not mind control. You, the client, are always in control and can choose to come out of hypnosis at any time. So in essence, all hypnosis is “self-hypnosis.” You will only accept the suggestions that fit with your value system. You cannot be “made” to do anything against your will.
What if I get “stuck” in hypnosis?
Hypnosis is an enjoyable state and you may not want to leave the experience right away. However, you are in control and you cannot get “stuck” in hypnosis.
Is hypnosis the same as sleep?
The word hypnosis comes from the Greek word, hypnosis, which means “sleep.” However, you are not asleep when you are in hypnosis. It was given this term by a Scottish surgeon in the 1840’s who observed that this state resembled sleep. Here are a few comparisons:
|Eyes closed usually but can be open||Eyes closed|
|Body relaxed but can be instructed to become tense||Body relaxed|
|Extremely focused concentration||No ability to concentrate|
|Alert and focused on the hypnotist’s voice and the words and images she gives you||Drift off, don’t care about outside noises|
|Highly conscious state||Unconscious state|
How does hypnosis “work”?
Hypnosis works with the power of the subconscious mind to change habits and behaviors. The subconscious mind is considered to be the source or root of many of our behaviors, emotions, attitudes, and motivations. Hypnosis is believed to be a powerful tool for accessing the subconscious mind and creating improvements in our lives.
What does it feel like to be hypnotized?
During hypnosis, clients remain completely aware of everything that is going on. In fact, many people experience a hyper-awareness where sensations are perceived enriched and vivid. The ability to visualize or imagine is enhanced. Deep relaxation is common. Many describe the hypnotic state as a complete and total escape from physical tension and emotional stress while remaining completely alert.
How did hypnosis get started?
Hypnosis has been around for thousands of years. Documents from Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Chine, and others show extensive studies in hypnosis.
For modern day hypnosis, Dr. Frantz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) is considered by many to be the “Father of Hypnosis.” He was the first to bring the process to the attention of the medical community. His name lingers on in our vocabulary as the word “mesmerize” which means to “hold someone’s attention to the exclusion of anything else so as to create a trance state.”
Scottish surgeon, James Braid in the 1840’s observed that “mesmerism” resembled sleep, and that his subjects tended to be more easily influenced by verbal suggestions while in this state. In his writings, he used the word “hypnotism” (which comes from a Greek word meaning “sleep”) to refer to this state. At this time no one really understood how hypnosis “worked” – just that it did.
In 1933 a group of psychologists including Clark L. Hull (1884-1952) demystified hypnosis discovering that it was essentially a normal part of human nature and that the important factor was the subject’s imagination.
Hypnosis finally gained the support of the medical world in 1955, the British Medical Association, and in 1958, by the American Medical Association.
Stage hypnotists, as well as TV and movies, tend to give hypnosis a bad name. However, psychiatrist Milton H. Erickson (1901-1980), was instrumental in taking hypnosis off the stage and into respected medical practice.
Today hypnosis is used in hospitals, psychiatric clinics, jails, courtrooms, sports, schools. Medical doctors refer their patients to hypnotists for habit control – stop smoking, weight control, stress reduction.
What can Hypnosis be used for?
Millions of people all over the world have successfully used hypnosis for many conditions including…
- smoking cessation
- weight loss
- pain management
- building confidence
- fear of public speaking
- creative imagery for healing
- more positive outlook on life
- better study/learning abilities
- preparation for a medical procedure
- performance betterment, sports, actors, musicians
- clarity around a specific business or personal issue
- and more…