Is hypnosis sleep?
No. It is a naturally occurring state of deep relaxation and focused awareness in which you can still hear the hypnotist’s voice and even surrounding sounds (although probably to a lesser extent). It is very relaxing and enjoyable. You may hear a hypnotist say “Sleep!” to help induce the hypnotic state, but this is because that word is so associated with hypnosis (hypnos is the Greek word for sleep) and it just works really well.
Can I be hypnotized?
Almost anyone of normal intelligence can be hypnotized as long as they are willing and able to concentrate and follow instructions. Some drugs that affect brain functions may affect your ability to be hypnotized.
How can I help the hypnotist?
Some people try to help the hypnotist by making a conscious effort to go into hypnosis. Unfortunately, this is similar to deliberately trying to go to sleep on one of those sleepless nights. The harder you try, the more sleep eludes you. A good way to think about hypnosis is that it’s like goosebumps or a hiccup. You can’t cause those to happen, but you notice it when they do. The best way to go into trance is just relax, follow the hypnotist’s instructions and let your conscious mind wander wherever it wants to. If you do this, hypnosis will naturally occur.
What is ‘hypnosis homework?’
After your in-the-office sessions, you will have things to do on a daily basis to reinforce and amplify the work done in the office. And example would be listening to a recorded hypnosis session, or perhaps repeating positive affirmations. Your “hypnosis homework” is an important part of feeling better.
Is hypnosis safe?
Yes. Some people worry that they may get stuck in a trance (like the guy in the movie ‘Office Space’), but even if a hypnotist left you in a trance by walking out of the room, you would snap back into normal conscious awareness in a minute or two or just drift off into regular sleep. In more than 200 years of recorded hypnosis history, there has never been a documented case of anyone being harmed by hypnosis. Hypnosis has been recognized by the American Medical Association, the American Dental Association and The National Institute of Health Technology Assessment Panel confirmed in 1995 that hypnosis is an effective adjunct in alleviating pain.
What does it feel like to be hypnotized?
It’s a wonderful, relaxing feeling. As you become more and more physically relaxed, it is easier to relax mentally as well, and as you listen to the hypnotist’s soothing voice, you wil find your focus turning inward. Some people describe it as a feeling of floating gently or feeling a pleasant kind of “melting” sensation. You will still hear the hypnotist’s voice, and you might hear some other sounds around you, but your focus on the hypnotist’s voice will the be the most important thing. Your thoughts may drift and that is perfectly natural.
You may not remember everything that was said during a hypnotic trance, but that’s okay. The most important thing is that your subconscious mind heard and absorbed the suggestions while you were in the trance state.
Can I be made to do something I don’t want to do?
No. Some people think a hypnotist could make them rob a bank or something like that, but if such a suggestion were made, your core values, morals and ethics would cause it to be rejected. Likewise you cannot be made to reveal any deep, personal secrets about yourself unless you want to.
I’m skeptical about hypnosis. Does this mean I can’t be hypnotized?
Almost everyone is capable of being hypnotized, even the skeptic and even the “control freak.” It’s a natural process of the human mind and we would not be able to learn without it. This is not to say being hypnotized is a bit more difficult for some people–it can be. But a skilled hypnotist can quickly work past these difficulties and achieve good results.
Is hypnosis a battle of wills?
Some people think this is true, and purposely try to resist the hypnotic process. But the truth is that all hypnosis is really self-hypnosis, and the hypnotist is more of a guide to help the process along and give positive suggestions. It’s a cooperative process between you and the hypnotist. If you are really resistant to the idea, no one is going to try to force you to go into hypnosis. But you are missing out on some amazing benefits if this is the case.
What is the relationship between hypnosis and willpower?
One of the first things a hypnotist learns is that in the battle between imagination and willpower, imagination always wins. We resolve not to eat that candy bar, but then our imagination kicks in and we start thinking about the delicious chocolate melting in your mouth and then, well, you know the rest. It’s a very similar situation for smoking. We have all sorts of ways of sabotaging our willpower with rationalizations (“It’s just a pice of chocolate.” or “I will stop smoking tomorrow.”) that make the process of changing our habits even more difficult. The good news is that hypnosis uses that same power of imagination in positive ways to circumvent the need for willpower, creating change much more quickly and effectively.
I’ve seen hypnosis portrayed in movies and on TV. How accurate are those?
Not very, unfortunately. Writers for movies and TV have to exaggerate and fictionalize things like hypnosis to satisfy the need for drama or comedy. Hypnosis is very different than it is portrayed in movies and TV shows.
Is hypnosis anything like meditation?
Quite a bit. Both are very relaxing and enjoyable states of focused awareness. But hypnosis is much more specific and goal-oriented than meditation. If you are good at “getting into the zone” with meditation, it’s very likely you will be good at hypnosis.