Frequently Asked Questions About Hypnotism
Q: Does Hypnosis really work? I thought it was fake.
A: Yes. Hypnosis REALLY works! In fact, it works so well I quit my corporate job and made hypnotism my full time career. When you go to see a stage hypnosis show, those aren't stooges in the audience. They are real people!
Q: What is hypnosis anyway? I have an idea, but I really don't understand.
A: Simply put…hypnosis (hypnotic trance) is a relaxed, focused state of concentration where the subject (person being hypnotized) is in a more heightened state of awareness by focusing their attention inwardly. Although there are several definitions, this is essentially what it is. Hypnosis is the process by which we gain access to the subconscious mind. And folks…I can't emphasize this enough…the Subconscious Mind is really the superhero of our lives. In fact, this is where all our profound changes and healing occurs. Only where it occurs. Ever.
The Subconscious Mind takes in millions of bits of information from all five senses, every minute; whereas, the Conscious Mind can only take in about 5-7 bits of information per minute. The Conscious Mind is the typical waking state in which we live life, think thoughts, study, rationalize, judge, and analyse.
The Subconscious Mind is pretty much everything else. It can be divided into 3 main sub-sections.
1) The Subconscious. This where all of your experience and memories (from the time you were conceived to present day) are formed and stored. This part of your mind is very protective of you and acts like a child, since your Early Childhood Self created ego states to protect you around feeling highly charged emotions. In childhood, it put up walls of protection that no longer serve us as adults. These same "walls of protection" oftentimes become our "walls of prison" in adulthood. Sometimes we call it the Inner Child. (Thanks kid!)
2) The Unconscious/Co-Conscious. This is linked to the autonomic nervous system. It's the part of you that makes your heart beat without you having to think, beat, beat, beat. It makes all of your bodily organs work and function properly. It heals cuts and wounds without you having to think about it. When you cut your finger, you don't stare at it all day and will it to happen. (If you do, you may seriously need a hobby). It produces and regenerates cells. It's the very wisest part of you that knows how to deeply heal you. It can even work to change your DNA structures.
3) The Super-Conscious. This part works at an even deeper level. Some say it is the Soul, Spirit, Higher Self, or simply the part that connects us to God or the Universe. Some believe this part of consciousness exists and others do not. I make no judgment. The part is especially useful when needing to learn a lesson about ourselves.
Hypnosis induces the trance state, or "trance." Trance is just another word for very deep relaxation…but I think it's more fun to say trance! While in trance, you are not comatose or in a sleep-walking phase, but you are deeply relaxed and focused inwardly while allowing suggestions to take root in your subconscious mind by hyper focusing on the sound of my voice, or allowing your mind to drift and wander as I talk.
As a matter of fact, you could get up and walk out of the room at any time. You probably won't do that because you will notice how nice it feels to be in this deeply relaxed state of awareness, but you will have the knowing that you could do it if you so choose.
You might even be surprised to know trance is a natural state that we go in and out of at least four times an hour. (Have you ever been driving and missed your exist because you were deep in thought, or couldn't find something that was right in front you…like your glasses on your head? You were in a state of trance!)
All hypnosis is consentual. An agreement between the subject and the hypnotist (or hypnotherapist). The subject either audibly or silently agrees to take in and apply the suggestions or direct commands given by the hypnotist. Changes occur when you give the hypnotist permission to hypnotize you, open up to the process, and take in the suggestions and gentle commands, by agreeing to obey the hypnotist on some level of awareness.
If at any time you decide a particular suggestion or gentle command is not right for you, that's okay, because you have complete control to reject it. That's why all hypnosis, in essence, is really self-hypnosis and completely safe.
Depth of Trance (how deeply and quickly one goes) does not matter. The gentle commands and suggestions for your health and well being will take root as long as you allow yourself to get comfortable, relaxed, and open to learning something new and wonderful. Some people go into a light state of trance, while others go into a deeper state we call somnambulism, which is a misnomer since we do not actually sleep in trance, even though the hypnotist may say the word "sleep." The people who go very deep usually have been formally hypnotized before, or they were naturally born that way. These are people who have great imaginations and daydream constantly (like children).
Even I, myself, had to lean how to go deeper and teach myself how to use my imagination again, since I tend to have an over-analytic mind. Folks are welcome to analyze it all they want, but they will get the most benefit from it if they will wait to do that after the session. Each time someone is hypnotized, either by a stage hypnotist or a hypnotherapist, they tend to go deeper with each subsequent session; however–as I said before–the depth of trance is not necessary for gentle commands to be embedded. It just feels more wonderful to be that relaxed…and I always wonder which of my clients will go that deeply at the first session. Hmmm?
Q: Can you make me dance on a table, bark like a dog, or cluck like a chicken?
A: That depends. I can't make you do anything that goes against your core beliefs and values. If dancing on a table goes against your values, you will not do it. However, if you have secretly always wanted to make people laugh by clucking like a chicken, even though you may be shy, then yes, I can get you to do that in trance. (Remember, it is a consentual practice.)
Now, would I do that to you? Only if I were doing a stage show and you volunteered to come up on stage. In private practice, however, that would be stupid and unproductive so I would not make you do anything silly or humiliating.
Q: Is it possible to be hypnotized without my consent? Can you hypnotize skeptics?
A: Not only is it impossible for me to hypnotize you without your consent, but you must have a willingness to be hypnotized in order for it to even work in the first place. You can accept or reject at will any suggestion given to you. There is a saying, coined by Charles Tebbits, that goes "All hypnosis is self hypnosis," meaning you essentially hypnotize yourself under the guidance of the hypnotist. Furthermore, you don't have to believe that hypnosis works in order for it to work. Hypnosis generally works on believers and skeptics alike, as long as you consent to it and follow the instructions of the hypnotist.
Q: I don’t think I can be hypnotized, because I tried it before and was aware of everything going on around me. In fact, I could have just stood up and walked away at will. Are there people who cannot be hypnotized?
A: You were most likely hypnotized. Only the tiniest percentage of the population, like people with severe mental disorders actually cannot be hypnotized, and I'm not so sure about that either. I bet they can! Some people can be super-hypnotized and fall easily into deep states of trance, while others only go into a very light state of hypnosis. The lasting effects tend to be the same no matter how deeply one goes into trance; although the effects seem to take effect more quickly the deeper one goes.
Q: Will I lose my control under hypnosis?
A: Contrary to popular belief, you will not lose your control when in trance. This is probably the most common misconception about hypnosis. In fact, you might be surprised to find out that you could actually get up and walk out of the room any time. Hollywood has made people believe that trance is something completely different than it actually is. You are not knocked out, drunk, or unconscious. You are actually in a more controlled and focused state of deep concentration and a heighten state of awareness. You are more focused inwardly and let outward surroundings have no great affect on you during this time.
You actually accept or reject any suggestions given to you the entire time you are in trance. This happens because you have a part of your brain that is called your "hidden observer." This is a cute name for the part of your brain protects you even while you are asleep. It's the part of the brain that wakes you up when you sense danger or hear your baby crying in the middle of the night. So you can trust that part of your brain to protect you while the other part is in trance and taking in suggestions. Some people don't remember parts of the session once they emerge—but you are in full control the entire time!
Q: Why does hypnosis seem so mysterious?