What is hypnosis?


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What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis has a lot of mystery surrounding it. In no small part due to entertainment and media misinformation. Most people have an idea about hypnosis but would admit they don’t know. It can be confusing to know what to expect from hypnotherapy. Let’s just get rid of some common myths.

Debunking the myths

Hypnosis is mind controlNo one can control your mind
Hypnosis is being unconscious or asleepYou are fully awake, fully aware
You lose control and may do or say things you don’t want toYou are always in control
Some people can’t be hypnotisedEveryone can be but you can’t force anyone to be hypnotised
Whilst hypnotised you are suggestible and may be programmed to do something you don’t wantYou can choose to accept or eject any ideas or suggestions
You must be gullible to be hypnotisedYou need to be able to focus and have imagination

What is hypnosis?

There are lots of articles explaining what hypnosis is. It is a natural state of focused attention, enabling your subconscious to process ideas easier. It provides a suitable environment for people to create change. Imagine that you need to teach a classroom of people something new. It helps if they are in the right frame of mind. Not distracted from looking out of the window. Not playing with their phones or talking to each other. In a similar way hypnosis does the same thing. It provides a suitable environment for you to create change. To achieve what you want to achieve.

The power of hypnosis

Most problems have a simple solution. To stop smoking, just don’t smoke. To lose weight, just eat more natural foods, exercise more and don’t eat bad foods. To get rid of anxiety, just stop thinking negative thoughts etc. If we could solve our problems consciously it would be easy. Unfortunately it isn’t that simple. No matter how often you tell yourself not to have negative thoughts, the thoughts come anyway. In fact, trying to stop them only makes them worse. This is because the thoughts, the craving to smoke or to eat bad foods are not created by your conscious mind. You didn’t make a conscious decision to think/feel that way. They are created by your subconscious mind. In order to change them you need to communicate with the subconscious mind. Hypnotherapy creates change at the subconscious and conscious level.

Dandelion with seeds blowing

Hypnosis is a useful tool

Hypnosis is great for creating effective change. However, hypnosis is not the answer. It’s not as simple as putting someone into a nice hypnotic state (a trance) and then suggesting that they, “Do not need to smoke cigarettes”, or “You will no longer desire cake”.

Hypnosis is just a tool that makes change work more effective, by communicating with the subconscious.

In order to help people, change you still need to do the actual change work. Change work can involve exploring and analysing a person’s situation, what they are doing. Change work can involve examining your beliefs and habits. It can involve any number of psychotherapeutic techniques, CBT techniques, counselling etc.

Hypnotherapy is a talking therapy that uses hypnosis as a tool to create effective change at a subconscious and conscious level.

What does hypnosis feel like?

Hypnosis feels different for different people. It can feel different for the same person on different occasions. Sometimes you may be in a light, medium or deep state of hypnosis (trance). The depth of trance does not determine how effective change work is.

Commonly people feel physically and mentally relaxed but are fully aware and in control. If anything, your awareness and ability to focus are increased. It is not a black-and-white situation. It is not normally a situation of now you are in a trance, and now you are back in the room. Most people change from one state to another. Changing between different depths of trance. So sometimes you may be very aware of the hypnotherapist talking and the sounds around you and other times you may drift off on your own thoughts. You often continue to go in and out in waves.

Afterwards, you will normally be able to remember everything.

As well as being able to feel physically relaxed, one of the benefits many people feel is being able to slow down and even switch off the mental chatter.

Working together

The important thing to realise is that hypnotherapy is a collaboration. Any type of therapist, no matter how good they are, cannot force someone to change. A therapist acts like a guide. By working together, you can create change and get great results.  People who get the best results are those who are motivated and committed to change. The best approach is to imagine the process as a learning process. Hypnotherapy is a brief therapy. The aim is to get results as quickly and effectively as possible. It’s not a miracle cure. If a therapist could just click their fingers and make everything perfect in an instant, they would be a very rich person. It’s a learning process, it takes a little time, commitment and practice. If you know what to expect from hypnotherapy if you are committed and motivated you can get great results.