What is hypnosis?
While there are a lot of opinions about what hypnosis is — and isn’t, everybody agrees that it is a natural phenomenon. Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness of higher awareness and focus. Belief, expectation, suggestions, and imagination have a lot to do with it.
Our conscious mind serves as a screen to our subconscious mind, protecting it from harmful suggestions. Our conscious mind is our analytical, critical mind. That is why most of our negative programming is done in our childhood, when our conscious mind is not fully developed, and can’t protect us from negative statements/suggestions. Negative beliefs and habits can be changed through hypnosis since hypnosis accesses our subconscious mind, where all of those beliefs and habits are stored.
Have I been hypnotized before?
Many people think that they have never been hypnotized just because they haven’t gone to a professional hypnotist. Here is the truth: a hypnotist serves only as a guide in this process. Hypnotic suggestions given by a hypnotist can be compared to a prescription given by a doctor. The prescription can’t possibly work unless we fill it and take the medicine. In the same manner, hypnotic suggestions can’t have effect on us unless we allow them into our subconscious minds.
We all experience different phases of hypnosis in our daily lives. For instance, at the moment when you are not yet asleep and not exactly awake, when you are drifting off into a dreamland or just waking up with a dream lingering on, the frequency of your brain waves is the same as in hypnosis. When you watch a good movie, TV show or read a great book, you are emotionally focused on it so much so that someone might have to call your name a few times before you actually realize that someone is calling you. That is because you are in a state of hypnosis. You miss a familiar exit on a highway, because you are focused on something else. You are in a state of hypnosis. However, if a truck would cut you off, your defense mechanism would still protect you by making you automatically step on the brakes without you having to think about it.
What is the difference between clinical hypnosis, stage hypnosis, and self-hypnosis?
All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. The difference is only in intent. The purpose of stage hypnosis is entertainment; the purpose of clinical hypnosis and self-hypnosis is creating positive changes.
Unfortunately, stage hypnosis is responsible for a lot of confusion about hypnosis. We see people bark and quack on a stage, and not even remember doing it afterwards. After seeing a stage show, many people become apprehensive about hypnosis, afraid to be made fools of and of loosing control. However, the reality of it is totally different. In the beginning of a show, stage hypnotist asks for volunteers. By volunteering, these audience members give their consent to entertain and be made fools of. Even if they never saw a stage hypnosis show before, they have a good idea what might be expected. When they don’t remember doing anything silly upon awakening, it is because they have accepted the hypnotist’s suggestion of not remembering. It’s that simple.
Who can be hypnotized?
Anyone and everyone can be hypnotized unless the person is mentally impaired or psychotic to the point of not being able to focus at all.
Will I be aware of what’s going on around me while I’m hypnotized or will I be unconscious?
Hypnosis intensifies your senses and increases your concentration. However, you are focusing on imagery and suggestions, so you tend to block out everything else, in the same manner as when you are reading a good book or watching a great (or not so great, but interesting) movie. Hypnosis is not sleep. You’ll be more aware of everything around you than ever. Hypnosis makes you more sensitive in all sensory modalities.
Am I in control when I’m hypnotized?
Yes. The object of hypnosis is to give you MORE self-control. You can do anything while you are in a hypnotic state and actually do it better because your mind is free from distraction. You can take an exam, walk tightropes, or perform a play in a hypnotic state and be the best you’ve ever been because of your high level of focus.
Will I ever do something I don’t want to do?
There is an image of a sinister looking man wearing a turban, swinging a pendulum, and saying, “You are getting sleepier, and sleepier. You are under my complete and total control now!” Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is you can’t be forced to do in hypnosis what you wouldn’t want to do. Hypnosis is very empowering; it gives you more self-control, not less. It will never make you go against yourself. But you can use hypnosis to remove your inhibitions, blocks, fears; you can use hypnosis to get in touch with your feelings, goals, and aspirations. When you realize how hypnosis works, you will be able to start using it in a positive manner for your own benefit. For instance, before a test or interview, instead of saying to yourself, “I feel awful, I can’t do it” (which is an example of negative, harmful self-hypnosis), you can give yourself positive suggestions, such as, “I feel good, and I can do it”.
Will there be any trouble coming out of hypnosis?
Never. You are always in control. If hypnotist leaves the room, you’ll either open up your eyes and come out of hypnosis right away, or you’ll fall into a natural, restful sleep and wake up a little later.
Copyright © 2004-2011, Marianna Lead, MCC. All rights reserved in all media.