In my experience, anyone can be hypnotized. Some can be hypnotized to a deeper level than others, but everyone can to some degree. That is unless you do not wish to be.
It is very easy to resist a trance. Sometimes people think that it is a sign of weakness if you go into a trance. This is the wrong way of thinking about it.
A hypnotherapist is a guide. Thei job is to help you go into the natural hypnotic state. It is usually the more open minded, creative and brave people that allow themselves to deeply relax. Anyone can resist it – it’s nothing special.
New research, developed by board-certified hypnotist Gerald Kein, claims that everybody is equally hypnotisable and that “people accept hypnosis in direct relationship to the amount of fear they have”.
What is a hypnotic trance?
There is no precise definition. The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis’s web site says “Hypnosis is a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention.”
It is a normal and natural state that most of us experience several times a day. Have you ever driven somewhere and not remembered the journey? You were probably in a light trance state whilst driving.
It also often occurs when reading a book or watching TV. Sometimes you can be so absorbed in the book or TV programme that you are not consciously aware that someone is talking to you.
Hypnosis is the focussing of the conscious attention in a narrow corridor of influence. Your conscious mind is so intensely focussed that other influences are not being critically analysed by your conscious mind. We still hear them, but are not always aware.
You will not be asleep when in a hypnotic state. The word hypnosis comes from the ancient Greek word ‘hypnos’ meaning sleep. Hypnosis is generally a very relaxed state but it is not sleep. James Braid came up with the term, but sought to change it to “monoideaism” (“single-idea-ism”), when he realised that it was not a form of sleep.
What does hypnosis feel like?
Usually when in a trance you feel more mentally and physically relaxed. It is a pleasant experience, and you are still in control. You can hear exactly what is going on around you, unless you choose to drift your attention away. You become aware that you can easily stand up, talk, or move if you want. A lot of people (me included) when they first experience a hypnotic trance move their fingers or hands in order to test whether they can move at will. It is comforting to know that you can!
Occasionally a patient can be a difficult to wake up. This is not a bad thing. No one has ever been stuck in trance. It is because the patient “can’t be bothered” to wake up as it feels so pleasant. Soon they become bored and will wake up. One trick the old hypnosis pro’s use is to tell the patient that they are charging for the time. It’s amazing how quickly they then wake up!
Is hypnosis dangerous?
In 1955 the British Medical Association set up an inquiry which favourably reported hypnosis as a therapeutic tool. It even recommended that it should be taught at medical schools.
Hypnosis was also approved by the Council of Mental Health of the American Medical Association in September 1958 as a safe practice with no harmful side effects. Since then there has been acceleration in the establishment of hypnosis societies for doctors, dentists, and psychologists.
No one has been seriously hurt with hypnosis. If it were dangerous, then we would all be in potential trouble each time we watch a film, or read a book, since it is common to go into trance in these situations.
Are meditation and hypnosis different?
Yes. Meditative states are similar, but the practice of hypnosis is significantly different. Meditation aims to ‘empty’ the mind, whereas hypnosis aims to add ‘post hypnotic suggestions’. These are suggestions that are taken away from the session, and used when out of trance. They might be ‘eat healthily’, ‘stay motivated’, ‘keep calm and relaxed’ etc.
With hypnosis there is usually the aim of a specific change. It is not uncommon for people who do both to keep them separate. Hypnotherapists often employ meditation techniques to get their patients into ‘trance’. They then extend this by ‘deepening’ the subject, and offering them suggestions they have previously agreed on.
(Click here for a more in depth discussion about meditation and hypnosis)
Can I be made to do things against my will?
You could never be made to do anything against your will or contrary to your value system. If this was possible there would be criminals learning hypnosis in order to hypnotise their bank managers to opening the vaults and handing over cash!
In a trance, you would not unknowingly reveal your deepest secrets. You can even lie when in a trance, which is one reason why testimony in hypnosis is not permissible evidence in a court of law. It is only used by police to help with investigation.
A person will only act upon suggestions that serve them in some way or reinforce an expected behaviour, anything else their unconscious will ignore. Most people develop these misperceptions from seeing or hearing a Stage Hypnosis show. However they largely achieve their results from showmanship, selection of the more extrovert people, and peer pressure.
How long will it take before I notice a change?
This varies from person to person. However in one session, you can expect to become more relaxed than you are right now. Most people do not relax enough, and some people never seem to relax. Being more relaxed can help most mental and physical problems that you may have, even before we get to the therapy part of the session.
I have often had patients report back that people noticed that they seemed more relaxed after just one session. In the past I have significantly helped problems such as IBS, skin complaints, and addictions, simply by doing relaxation work.
Hypnosis can bridge the gap between your head and your heart, making your goals much more compelling, and increasing your chances of permanent change. Depending upon the intensity and number of sessions, you will notice suggestions for the desired behavioural changes popping into your conscious mind almost immediately.
Please keep an open mind when deciding whether to use hypnotherapy. I have been a clinical hypnotherapist, trained by the London College of Clinical Hypnotherapy (LCCH), for several years. During this time I have witnessed many things that, quite frankly amaze me at times! I have helped so many people in so many ways, that I feel it would be such a shame for people to opt out simply due to unfounded fear and misinformation.
Make sure you find a therapist that has received good training from a well respected body, and you will not be disappointed. It is not perfect. Hypnosis does not solve everything all the time. However it does help almost all of the time, and can create amazing changes. With a well qualified practitioner, you are pretty much guaranteed a comforting, relaxing, and enjoyable therapeutic experience, as well as a shot at gaining very good ground towards your goals.
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Yes it is perfectly fine to have several sessions that you listen to on rotation. I would however leave at least one hour in between sessions in order to give the subconscious mind time to process the information.
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Can I get stuck in a hypnotic trance?
Absolutely not! A hypnotic trance is in reality just like a daydream state of mind. It is a perfectly harmless and natural state of mind. You will ALWAYS snap out of it when you are ready to do so.
Is hypnotherapy safe?
Hypnotherapy is perfectly safe as long as it is done by a trained and ethical therapist.
Where was Jon trained as a clinical hypnotherapist?
Jon trained with the London College Of Clinical Hypnotherapy. He finished his formal training in 2003. Check out our About Us page for more information on Jon.
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