Hypnosis FAQ

The best revenge is massive success
Frank Sinatra

What is Hypnosis?

It’s not like what you see in the movies.
Hypnosis is a natural state of selective, focused attention, and, even though it is 100% natural and normal, it remains one of the most fascinating phenomena of the human mind. Our ability to enter this unique state of consciousness opens the door to countless possibilities for healing, self-exploration and change. Hypnosis, called by different names in different cultures and times, has been recognized for thousands of years and used for many purposes.

When we enter into the absorbed state of hypnosis, we can use our thoughts, talents and experiences in ways not usually available to us. With the help of a trained professional, we can develop innate, individual abilities that enable making desired changes in our thoughts, feelings and behaviors possible. For reasons that are as yet not clear, the focused state of hypnosis allows changes to intentionally be made “automatically”, changes that we could not ordinarily consciously make.

Hypnosis has been used in the treatment of pain, depression, anxiety, stress, habit disorders, and many other psychological and medical problems. However, it may not be useful for all psychological problems or for all patients or clients. The decision to use hypnosis as a component of treatment can only be made in consultation with a qualified healthcare provider who has been trained in the use and limitations of clinical hypnosis.

In addition to its use in clinical settings, hypnosis is used in research with the goal of learning more about the nature of hypnosis itself, as well as its impact on sensation, perception, learning, memory, and physiology. Researchers also study the value of hypnosis in the treatment of physical and psychological problems.

How can a treatment aimed at your mind affect your body?

The body responds physically to thoughts. For example, when we think a frightening thought, we can experience increased heart rate, shortness of breath, “butterflies” in the stomach, muscular rigidity, sweating, shaking, and so on. Similarly, when we think a pleasurable thought, we can experience reduced heart rate, deeper breathing, relaxation of muscles, and so on. These are autonomic nervous system responses that are involuntary, but they can be utilized to promote health. When hypnotized, an individual is very open to suggestions that can enhance positive and diminish negative physical reactions.

Can anyone be hypnotized?

Some people find it easier to relax than others. By the same token, some people are able to go into the hypnotic state more quickly and more deeply than others. All people can go into a light hypnotic state. For most therapeutic goals, light state is enough to enable almost everyone to benefit from hypnotherapy.

In a relatively small number of situations, (say, when hypnosis is being used instead of a general anesthetic, e.g., as in labor and childbirth), a deeper level of hypnosis may be needed.

Can children be hypnotized?

Because children are naturally imaginative, they naturally and easily engage in hypnosis and respond well to hypnotic suggestion for a wide variety of problems, e.g., self- esteem issues, anxiety, behavior problems, habit change, and certain medical issues. It is important that your child’s therapist be competent and experienced in dealing with your child’s particular issue or problem.

Will I be asleep or unconscious?

The word hypnosis comes from the ancient Greek word ‘hypnos’ meaning sleep, but it is 
mis-named. Hypnosis is NOT sleep. To the external observer, sleep and hypnosis may appear similar since the hypnotised person looks very relaxed and have their eyes closed, but there are 
many differences. One main difference is that we tend to be in a relaxed state, but with 
heightened awareness! If a person were to fall asleep during a session, they would 
return to normal consciousness when asked to, or simply awaken after a short nap. 
They would feel refreshed, relaxed and would have no ill effects at all.

“I don’t think I was hypnotized–I heard every word you said!”

Some people, after a session of hypnosis, don’t believe that they were hypnotised at all. 
This likely comes from misconceptions about just what the ‘hypnosis state’ really is. There are 
differences between the brain waves of people who are asleep and those who are in hypnosis. In practice, people who are hypnotised often talk with the clinical hypnotherapist. They can both answer and ask questions, hear everything that is said very clearly, and are perfectly well aware of their surroundings.

There is no mysterious feeling to being hypnotised and our minds are not taken over nor controlled. If hypnosis was a form of mind control the police would use hypnosis to ensure that people could not commit crime(s).

Will I lose control of myself?

No, there is no loss of control. Hypnosis allows clients to be more focused and less 
distracted and more skillful in using their own mental abilities constructively. In this 
way, they can achieve their goals, and consequently, actually achieve more control of their personal comfort, health, and well-being. The ‘control’ misconception appears to originate from stage hypnosis which actually 
involves people doing what they want to be doing in a social agreement to be 
entertaining.

Can I get stuck or trapped in the hypnotic state?

No. At any time a client can open their eyes, be in charge of the session and ignore any suggestions. No one stays 
hypnotised indefinitely – you will always “come out” of hypnotic state within a short time.

Will hypnosis make me remember things accurately?

No. Hypnosis can improve our recall of events that we believe happened to us. But 
hypnosis is not a way to find out the truth (whatever that may be) about events that are 
in dispute. That is, under hypnosis you may re-experience events, but there is no guarantee that you are remembering them accurately. Hypnosis only assists the subject in 
recalling perceptions, not truths.

Courts recognise this, and sometimes take the position that being hypnotized influences 
your ability to later testify in court on those matters. You should get legal advice before 
attempting to use hypnosis to improve your recall of events when there are, or might be, 
court matters involved.