The world of hypnosis is often perceived as a strange and mysterious one - a world inhabited by such characters as Svengali and various dangerous Hollywood villains. The truth is very different. Hypnosis is a very simple and naturally occuring process or state depending on how you look at it. To start to get an idea of how hypnosis actually works, consider two alternative states of mind - the first one is when your thoughts are occupied with what is going on in a very conscious way, in other words, you are very aware of what you are thinking. The second state is one in which things are running automatically. You are thinking about things but perhaps aren't consciously aware of what you are thinking. This is the state in which decisions are made which affect your beliefs and your emotions. Hypnosis, used properly and professionally is simply a way of helping you make the right decisions and develop the right beliefs for you, thereby helping you to 'feel' better and to get better day to day results. Maybe this helps you to understand why self-hypnosis is the most powerful tool you can aim at.
Most people's questions about hypnosis stem from the confusion caused by technical and Hollywood style explanations of the subject. Questions often reflect people's worries about control or danger or people's lack of understanding about the process which, frankly, could be taught in far simpler ways than it generally is. Here are some of the more common questions encountered.
No. This is a common misconception about hypnosis. Nobody can be hypnotised against their will. Hypnosis is not about control by the hypnotist. It is about working together so that the client can be empowered to create change in his or her life. Nobody can be forced to do anything against their will. The 'control' misconception appears to originate from stage hypnosis which funnily enough also involves people doing exactly what they want to be doing.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if Paul McKenna told someone to walk out of the theatre and shoot someone - of course, they would refuse to accept the suggestion and would probably be very cross. Hypnosis and hypnotherapy are about empowerment and people's incredible capacity for change. If hypnosis was about control or making people do things there would be no money left in the banks and I wouldn't be writing this.
You will not be asleep when hypnotised. The word hypnosis comes from the ancient Greek word 'hypnos' meaning sleep. It is a misnomer. Hypnosis is generally a very relaxed state but it is not sleep. Many people after a session of hypnosis don't believe that they were hypnotised at all but that comes from misconceptions about just what a 'trance' in fact is.
Hypnosis is not about control. If you want to come out of hypnosis you simply choose to do that. If the hypnotherapist disappeared or fell over and knocked themselves out you would simply come back to full consciousness in your own time. We go in and out of hypnosis and other altered states of consciousness (e.g. daydreaming) many times a day but we always come back out of them easily and naturally.
No. You cannot be forced to say or do anything under hypnosis that you don't want to. Remember that you are completely in control and empowered. Again, if this was not the case, don't you think the police would just hypnotise their suspects and get them to 'tell the truth'?
Some people find it easier to relax than others. By the same token, some people are able to go into hypnosis more quickly and more deeply than others. Most people can go into at least a light trance and with most hypnotherapeutic goals that is enough so therefore everyone can benefit from hypnotherapy to some extent.
You will hear lots of different words and expressions used and as with anything, people often like to use technical descriptions for simple and straightforward subjects. Hopefully, we have made a reasonably successful attempt to simplify the whole subject on this website. Hypnosis and hypnotism basically refer to the same thing. Hypnotherapy is the therapeutic use of hypnosis or hypnosis used in a clinical setting as opposed to say, stage hypnosis. In many states in America, it is not permissable to refer to oneself as a hypnotherapist without having an appropriate medical or psychological background. Hence, the word hypnotism has become far more common for practical reasons.