Q: What is hypnosis?
A: Hypnosis is a natural, yet altered state of mental relaxation that allows the mind to focus selectively while critical thinking is partially suspended. It is not sleep. It is a state of altered awareness that everyone has experienced when daydreaming, reading, driving, watching TV and in the first moments of drifting off to sleep. In hypnosis, the passive, dreamy quality of total absorption is focused to accomplish a goal. The effect is similar to the way a magnifying glass can focus the sun’s rays to make them more powerful. Most people underestimate the power of their minds.
Q: What is self-hypnosis?
A: In effect, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. When you follow a hypnotist’s instructions, you’re using your own willpower to pass those instructions to your mind and body. However, the term “self-hypnosis” generally means inducing, managing and terminating your own state of mind without anyone else’s help. To learn self-hypnosis is to acquire a powerful tool for self-control. Your mind is like a super-computer that runs programs for your bodily functions (including labor and birth), thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Self-hypnosis gives you access to the programming.
Q: What does hypnosis feel like?
A: If you ask 20 people what hypnosis is like, you’ll probably get at least 20 different answers. There’s no, one “right way” to do it – people experience it in their own way. Hypnosis has the unique quality of increasing or decreasing sensory awareness, depending on what that person needs at that time. Most people report feeling extraordinarily relaxed and focused, as if the mind is awake while the body rests. They can move, talk and express emotion as usual.
Q: Is it harder for a smart person to be hypnotized?
A: Just the opposite! Intelligent and creative people are usually easier to hypnotize because they already have experience controlling their own minds. However, if a person chooses to resist, they will not go into hypnosis. This is usually a sign of fear, rather than strength. And fear can be resolved with education about what hypnosis is all about.
Q: In hypnosis, will I be deaf or lose my memory?
A: No. The idea that you lose control of your senses and memories is part of the mythology of hypnosis built by Hollywood to sell movies. Real-life experience always busts these myths. Here are some things people say upon emerging from their first hypnotic experience:
“I heard everything you said.”
“It wasn’t like being asleep, the way they show in movies. I was aware the whole time.”
“I remember all that happened.”
“I was totally in control.”
“I have never felt so relaxed.”
“I didn’t know it was possible to relax so much.”
Q: Can I be controlled or brainwashed?
A: No. Hypnosis actually gives you greater control over your mind and body. Hypnosis is not something someone does TO you — to be hypnotized by another person is simply to follow his or her instructions because you have chosen to do so. If you choose not to follow the instructions, you won’t be hypnotized. It is not possible for you to be hypnotized if you resist (and this also makes it impossible to get the experience you came for). While hypnotized, you can modify the instructions and control your experience. For example, if you are told to imagine relaxing on a lovely beach, but you’d prefer to be elsewhere, you can instead imagine another scene that relaxes you. You are in control the whole time while experiencing hypnosis. You won’t do anything in a hypnotic state that wouldn’t be acceptable to you in your everyday awareness. You won’t accept any instruction or suggestion that wouldn’t be good for you. In hypnosis, you are able to decide what to do, what to say, and what to think at all times.
Q: Can I get stuck in hypnosis?
A: No. You can choose to emerge any time. You are always in control. Hypnosis is all about increased communication between the conscious and subconscious mind; coming out of hypnosis is as easy as changing the subject. In hypnosis you actively participate and help direct the session. You put yourself in hypnosis and you can take yourself out when ready.
Q: How do I know hypnosis will work for me?
A: Most people go into hypnosis easily once they understand what it is. Experts estimate that 15-20% of the population is highly responsive to hypnosis, 15-20% is highly resistant to it, and everyone else is somewhere in between. Those who are “resistant” are choosing to be so, usually based on doubt, fear or misunderstanding about the natural state of hypnosis. Generally, good candidates for hypnosis can focus on a project for a time and enjoy working alone sometimes. They can use their imaginations, feel empathy, trust others and follow instructions.
Even if these qualities don’t totally describe you, you can still benefit from hypnosis by working with your instructor to customize an approach. Since it’s a natural state, everyone can learn to use it. It’s even great for people who have trouble meditating — it’s like meditating with a coach, and following someone else’s instructions is a great way to quiet that “monkey mind” right down!
If you have any further questions please send Paige an email and she will respond within 24 hours.