What is hypnosis?
It is a pleasant, voluntary, state of relaxed attentive
concentration, an altered state of consciousness, during
which the conscious critical mind is relaxed and
relatively inactive, and the doorway to the
subconscious, inner mind is opened with a person’s
permission. In this comfortable state, suggestibility is
heightened, mental absorption is increased, the senses
are heightened, and the imagination is activated in a
controlled manner. The inner mind is more receptive to
acceptable, beneficial suggestions.
Can a person be hypnotized against his will?
No. You cannot be hypnotized against your will. You must
be a willing subject. Your hypnotist must have your full
Will a hypnotized person perform any anti-social,
criminal or immoral acts while under Hypnosis?
No. People who are hypnotized will not do anything in
Hypnosis that they would not do in the waking state.
This applies as well to sexual acts. Hypnosis is not a
master-slave relationship. When you are in hypnosis, you
are aware of everything that is going on and you
continue to retain your values and morals.
Does a weak-minded person make a better subject
than a strong-minded person?
No. Strength of mind really has little to do with it.
Either a weak-minded or strong minded person who resists
will make a poor hypnotic subject. On the other hand, a
weak or strong-minded person who cooperates will be a
good subject. However, because Hypnosis helps a person
gain greater control over both mind and body, it can
help a person develop a stronger mind.
What about the idea that
Hypnosis can weaken the mind?
Hypnosis does NOT weaken the mind. On the contrary, it
helps people use more of their mind’s potential. It
helps people access their inner strength. The
subconscious mind is protective. Hypnotized people will
accept suggestions that are acceptable, and reject
suggestions that are not acceptable. Suggestions must be
worded in a form and language that the client’s
subconscious can understand.
Will I be asleep?
No. When a person is in Hypnosis, he is not asleep. He
or she is very much aware of all that is going on. In
actuality, in Hypnosis, one’s senses become heightened
and more acute. Of course, if a person is tired, it is
possible to fall asleep during hypnosis. However, then,
the subject is asleep and no longer in hypnosis. In
actuality, when this occurs, the state of sleep is a
light but relaxing state of sleep. A simple suggestion
to wake up given by the hypnotist is all that is
required to rouse up the subject.
possible that a subject could not be brought out of
No it is not possible. You cannot get stuck in Hypnosis
because you do not lose control when you are hypnotized.
Hypnosis is a cooperative relationship. When you are
hypnotized, you retain full control over your mind and
your body. Sometimes, people feel so relaxed and
comfortable in Hypnosis that they may wish to remain in
that state for a little longer. However, a simple
suggestion for awakening (or alerting) is all that is
needed to bring a subject back into the Waking State
even if the subject has fallen asleep. Additionally,
when the hypnotist stops talking, the subject will soon
awaken on his own. Most importantly, you can come out of
hypnosis any time you want.
Will I tell any secrets under hypnosis?
No. Hypnosis is not a truth serum. You retain full
control over what you say. Subjects in Hypnosis reveal
no secrets in the Hypnotic State that they would not
reveal (because they want to) in the Waking State.
Hypnosis CANNOT be used to find the truth, or make a
person tell the truth. Hypnosis is NOT a truth serum.
First of all, the hypnotized subject retains enough
awareness and control to NOT say anything that he
doesn’t want to make known, or isn’t ready to make
known. Secondly, human memory is inherently inaccurate
and unreliable both in and out of hypnosis (Brown,
Scheflin, & Hammond, 1997). Hypnosis can help a willing
client get deeper in touch with his deepest and most
heartfelt feelings. But feelings are NOT facts.
Recollections that come to mind in hypnosis are colored
by the client’s feelings. We use hypnosis to find the
truth about how the client feels about something, NOT
the truth about what really happened. The hypnotist or
therapist CANNOT make the client find out, or talk
about, how he feels about something, unless the client
feels comfortable and totally safe, and is ready.
Can a person in Hypnosis be made to bark like a
dog or cluck like a chicken?
No. This is not what happens in Therapeutic or Clinical
Hypnosis. On the other hand, volunteers during Stage
Hypnosis Show, which is for entertainment purposes only,
will typically go along with the Stage Hypnotist’s
suggestions as long as it is all in good fun and for
entertainment purposes. This is not the context of
Can a person be made a "slave" to a hypnotist?
No. Hypnosis is not a master-slave relationship or a
power relationship. It is not about "zap, you are under
my power!" like Svengali type stuff. Hypnosis is a
cooperative and collaborative relationship. The subject
retains full control and responsibility for his or her
actions at all times. This myth comes from old movies
and novels such as the old novel "Trilby".
about the idea that Hypnotized People Behave like
Hypnosis is NOT about ZAP you are under my power like
Svengali. Hypnosis is a collaborative and cooperative
teacher-student relationship. Hypnosis is NOT sleep.
When a person is in hypnosis, he is relaxed and aware of
his surroundings. He hears the sound of the therapist’s
voice and will remember more or less of what the
The hypnotized subject or client is NOT asleep. He is
relaxed, comfortable, focused, and in a state of
daydream type thinking. His analyzing thinking mind
(Conscious mind) is turned off and his feeling and
intuitive and creative mind (Subconscious) is aware of
everything that is going on. A hypnotized subject cannot
be made to do anything he is not willing to do. A person
must be a willing and cooperative subject for hypnosis
Can a person become addicted to Hypnosis, or is
it habit forming?
No. A person can resist going into Hypnosis or being
hypnotized anytime he or she desires, regardless of how
many times he has been hypnotized.
What is the best age for being hypnotized?
People can be hypnotized at any age. However, on the
average, the years between 12 and 20 are a developmental
stage when pre-adolescents, adolescents, and young
adults are most fantasy prone and capable of employing
that trait to benefit from hypnosis. Nevertheless,
children can be helped to solve their problems with the
tool of hypnosis as can middle aged and older people.
"insane" person be hypnotized?
Persons who are clinically insane are typically out of
touch with reality and have difficulty concentrating.
The ability to sustain concentration and the ability to
follow instructions are necessary prerequisites to being
able to be hypnotized. Thus, clinically insane persons
can be very difficult subjects. Nevertheless, there are
clinical practitioners who specialize in working
therapeutically with this population, and some of these
practitioners do have the training to use the hypnosis
tool effectively and therapeutically in selected cases.
Anyone who can pay attention and follow instructions can
be hypnotized if they want to be. People will vary
however, as to the extent or depth to which they can be
What about the idea that some people are just not
Anyone who can daydream can be hypnotized if he is
willing. Nobody can be hypnotized against his will. If a
person is not willing to cooperate, he cannot be
hypnotized. However, the idea that some people are just
not hypnotizable is INCORRECT. Some clients may
initially have problems with feeling that they may lose
control in some unacceptable way. This may lead them to
intellectually second guess and over analyze what is
going on. Thinking too much will interfere with relaxing
enough to enter trance.
Hypnosis is NOT about the hypnotist controlling the
client. It is about the client gaining more control over
himself. Once the client realizes that experiencing
hypnotic trance will (a) help him feel how he wants to
feel and do what he wants to do, AND (b) actually give
him more control and power than he previously had, he
will stop over thinking, let it happen, and become a
What are the requirements of a good Subject?
They are mainly the desire to be hypnotized and to
experience Hypnosis, the ability to concentrate, the
willingness to cooperate and follow instructions, and
the relative absence of mistrust and fear.
Is deep Hypnosis necessary?
For most purposes, deep Hypnosis is not necessary. For
most purposes, in a therapeutic setting, a light degree
of Hypnosis is all that is necessary for experiencing
the therapeutic benefits of Hypnosis. In other words, we
typically do not need or aim for Deep Trance. The
therapeutic subject (the client or client) is awake and
aware of everything that is going on, but very relaxed.
Can "poor" subjects become better subjects?
Most definitely yes. Repeated conditioning can improve
the depth of relaxation, concentration and absorption
that a client or client can attain. Also, strong
motivation is a plus. A poor subject with a strong
desire to benefit from Hypnosis to get relief from a
problem can become a very good subject. Additionally, a
"poor" subject can become a better subject to the extent
that the Hypnotist instils confidence and helps the
subject diminish anxiety and fear.
What is Self Hypnosis?
This is Hypnosis induced by a person by himself without
the help of a hypnotist. Some experts say that all
Hypnosis is Self Hypnosis since the hypnotist is in
actuality not doing anything to the subject, but rather
guiding the subject into the hypnotic state of
consciousness with the subject’s permission. Because the
subject permits it to happen, he is really hypnotizing
himself with the assistance of the hypnotist.
How can one learn Self Hypnosis?
You can learn Self Hypnosis from a good CD or even a
book authored by a competent Hypnosis professional.
However, your best bet is to have the experience first
of being hypnotized by a qualified Hypnosis
professional, and then learn from that hypnotist how to
enter the hypnotic state on your own. At that point,
tapes (CDs) and books can be very useful aids, guides,
and sources of information and inspiration.
What are the benefits of Self Hypnosis?
The premier benefit of learning and practicing Self
Hypnosis is to initiate and continue the process of
positive self-change. The regular use of Self Hypnosis
facilitates the continuation of healthy changes in
behaviours, feelings, beliefs and attitudes. When you
practice Self Hypnosis you enter a state of self
relaxation. When you are relaxed, you cannot be
uncomfortable or anxious or stressed or in pain.
Relaxation is the physical and emotional opposite of
these negative feelings. Practicing Self Hypnosis
conditions your ability to relax at will. It builds your
ability to control your mind and your body. More control
is the goal, and with more control, you gain greater
ability to control your symptoms. Additionally, when you
are in a state of Self Hypnosis you are able to give
yourself positive suggestions and use positive imagery
for positive self-change.
Can anyone learn Self Hypnosis?
Any normally intelligent person who can concentrate and
follow instructions, and who is motivated and willing
can learn Self Hypnosis.
What is Hetero-Hypnosis?
This is Hypnosis wherein one person, the Hypnotist or
Hypnotherapist, hypnotizes (induces the Hypnotic State)
another person who is the subject or client (or client).
To do this, the Hypnotist uses an appropriate hypnotic
induction, which is a method for inducing the state of
hypnosis. For many types of problems where Self Hypnosis
is taught, the Hypnotist teaches Self Hypnosis to the
client while he or she is in the hypnotic state.
What is a hypnotic induction?
It is a method of inducing the hypnotic state. There are
numerous ways of inducing hypnosis. Most clinicians who
practice hypnosis have their favourites. However, it is
important for a clinician to choose an hypnosis
induction method that fits the needs of the client or
client. The hypnosis professional gives you carefully
worded instructions to follow with the goal of helping
you enter a state of deep relaxation and focused
attention. This is called the hypnosis induction. For
this hypnosis induction to be effective, you must
cooperate as an active participant in the process.
How does Hypnosis make a person more suggestible?
This occurs first and foremost with the subject’s
permission and cooperation. By following the
"hypnotist's" instructions, you become more suggestible.
When you are in this altered state of increased
suggestibility, your mental "clutter" is cleared away so
that you can pay attention to the hypnotist's
suggestions and be open to experiencing new perspectives
and solutions to your problem. In this "hypnotic trance
state", you remain aware of everything that is going on,
but at the same time, you become increasingly absorbed
in using your imagination as directed by the
How does Hypnosis work?
Once the Hypnotic State is induced and the doorway to
the Subconscious Mind is opened, with your permission,
the competent Hypnotist can provide information, in a
language and form that the Subconscious can accept, to
help you change the behaviours, feelings and thoughts
that you want to change. We utilize the fact that the
Subconscious Mind has the ability (actually the
tendency) to accept what it imagines as real. This can
greatly reduce the felt stress of changing unhealthy
habits to healthier habits.
What role does the Subconscious Mind play?
The Subconscious part of the mind, or the Inner Mind,
controls all of our living functions that keep us alive,
as well as all of our automatic behaviour patterns. But,
the Subconscious is not as easily communicated with as
is the Conscious Mind. Information is imprinted in the
Subconscious essentially in three ways: through trauma,
through repetition, and through the language of
Hypnosis. Thus, Hypnosis is the quickest and most
efficient way to impress the Subconscious and imprint
changes in behaviours, attitudes, beliefs and feelings.
The upshot is that making changes in long-standing, core
habits (e.g., eating patterns, smoking, emotional
reactivity, coping responses) often creates internal
discomfort and stress. Old habits cling and typically
resist efforts to change them. This can be because of
Conscious conflict about changing, but it can also be
the result of conflict between the Conscious and the
Subconscious parts of the mind. That is, you consciously
may want to change and may have decided to change, but
the Subconscious does not know this. If it did, it would
help you, but it often has no way of knowing that you
consciously want to change. So, it continues to control
the old behavioural habits and this creates and
perpetuates inner conflict. Once the Subconscious is
informed that you want to change, and once it knows that
it is in your best interest to be helped to change, it
has no choice but to help you change. Then, the two
parts to the mind, Conscious and Subconscious, can work
together in cooperation with little tension, upset, or
stress. Remember, what you can conceive you can achieve,
and the Subconscious has a tendency to accept what it
imagines as real.
What are some of the benefits of Hypnosis?
There are many benefits and uses for Hypnosis. To
mention but a few of the more common uses:
diminish and control anxiety
control mood swings
modify or change hurtful baits
lose weight through changing eating and
improve concentration and memory
improve study habits
develop natural abilities
aid police work
stop fingernail biting
preparation for surgery or other medical
What can Hypnosis "cure"?
Hypnosis by itself is not a "cure". It is a tool to be
used in therapy or treatment by a professional who is
qualified to render that treatment. Medical treatments
must be supervised by a medical physician. Similarly,
psychological treatments for emotional or psychological
problems must be supervised by a qualified psychology or
mental health practitioner.
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