Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness in which it is possible to communicate with the subconscious mind. It is a common state which everybody automatically drifts in an out of from time to time.

Examples of trance include becoming thoroughly lost in a beautiful piece of music, a good book, or a daydream. At these times a person’s attention is completely captured and everyday reality fades into the background as your mind carries you away to a different world of the imagination. You are still conscious, but your consciousness is temporarily altered. This is a form of trance. We all go through a similar phase just before we go to sleep.

When you are being hypnotised, you will be guided into this same kind of trance state, somewhere between being asleep and being awake. This is called a hypnotic trance. You will experience a very pleasant feeling of calmness and deep relaxation. You will still be able to hear, feel and even speak. Your concentration and awareness actually become heightened.

Different people can experience hypnosis in slightly different ways. Some people may notice that they feel rather heavy, whilst others may feel light and ‘floaty.’ Often the closed eyelids can flutter a little, or there may be a slight tingling sensation in various parts of the body.

When the body and the conscious mind have been sufficiently relaxed, the normal barriers to the subconscious part of the mind also become relaxed, and the subconscious becomes receptive to positive suggestions.

A positive suggestion is a positively worded statement or idea, suggested to the subconscious mind. In the relaxed state of hypnosis, the subconscious mind can accept and store positive suggestions and act on them later. Positive suggestions can re-programme the mind to bring about beneficial changes.

The mind consists of two parts, the conscious and the subconscious.

The conscious mind inhabits the surface level. This part of the mind is where we do all our everyday mindful thinking.

At a deeper level, there is the subconscious mind, which deals with our unconscious actions, or the things that we do automatically. In the subconscious we possess our habits, including our fears and phobias. All of our automatic responses are triggered from the subconscious.

The subconscious also stores our memories and everything that makes us what we are today.

How is a Hypnotic Trance Induced?

There are several ways to induce hypnosis. It is unlikely that anyone would ask you to gaze into their ‘piercing eyes,’ or stare at a swinging watch these days. That sort of thing has more to do with old fashioned Hollywood movies than modern Hypnotherapy.

Most Hypnotherapists, including myself, use relaxation techniques. You are also likely to be asked to concentrate on certain things. For instance you may be asked to focus your attention on your breathing, or to imagine various things.

During the induction, at the beginning of the session, I will speak to you at a particular tempo, designed to gently slow down brainwaves. This will help you to gradually drift into the pleasant state of hypnotic trance, in which you will experience feelings of relaxation and well-being.

Words like “relax,” and “deeper,” are often used in the induction. These are calming words which send special messages to the brain to help you to become very relaxed and tranquil.

Hypnosis is not a state of being unconscious, simply of having your consciousness altered. Your mind remains clear and focused, and you are likely to remember much of what is said to you.

Some people are very easy to hypnotise, while others take a little longer.

Could I be hypnotised against my will?

No, your co-operation is required

Can anyone be hypnotised or do you need to have an easily persuaded mind?

You need a reasonable amount of intelligence in order to be hypnotised. The people who respond best to hypnosis are those who are capable of concentration, imagination and mental dexterity. Most people can be hypnotised. The exceptions may be those who have a severe learning difficulty, very young children, or those under the influence of alcohol or some drugs.

Can I lose my self-control or can I be made to do anything against my will or against what I would normally feel is right?

No. You will know what is happening and you will retain your self-control and standards.

Hypnotherapy requires the client and the therapist to work together in a spirit of co-operation, in order to help you to control your own mind. For Hypnotherapy to be successful, you need to be comfortable with what is going on in the session. If any suggestion was given to you with which you did not agree, you could reject it. If anything was suggested to you that went against your beliefs or moral code you would reject it.

If you don’t lose control, what about those people on stage who do ridiculous things?

Successful stage hypnosis requires willing volunteers. These people obviously have a desire to join in the show and perform, or they would not volunteer to go on stage in the first place. Hypnosis merely helps them to lift the inhibitions which they may ordinarily have against performing.

Please do not confuse Stage Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy. The aims are very different.

Is hypnosis dangerous and are there any side effects?

Hypnotherapy is not dangerous. In skilled hands Hypnotherapy is a proven therapeutic aid. There are no unwanted side effects.

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