Hypnosis is a natural, focussed state of attention. People go in and out of trance many times per day without thinking anything of it. Recall a time when you have left the house only to get down the road and wonder if you locked the door or turned off the iron. Most of the time you would discover that you did, you just don’t remember it because your conscious mind was focussed on something else . This is what happens in hypnosis.
Most people’s experience of hypnosis is limited to what they have seen or heard related to stage hypnosis shows, or knowing that it can be used to stop smoking. I could not tell you the number of times people have asked me ‘will you make me cluck like a chicken?’ While this is said in jest, I feel that stage hypnosis shows have created a level of worry or concern that prevents some people from accessing hypnotherapy as a treatment option. This is unfortunate because many people could benefit from hypnotherapy if they felt safe to give it a go. Below is some information about hypnosis and hypnotherapy that I hope gives you the confidence to experience it for yourself.
All hypnosis is self-hypnosis
As a hypnotherapist, I am simply a guide. I cannot make you go into trance and I do not take control of your mind. If you are attending an appointment for hypnotherapy, it means that you are open and willing to experience hypnosis and this is a good indicator that hypnotherapy may be useful for you.
Most people find hypnosis to be very relaxing
Part of going in to trance involves suggestions and techniques to help you feel very relaxed. This may be experienced as heaviness or lightness or something in between. Regardless, most people report that they find it very enjoyable and are often disappointed to come back to reality!
Most people have some capacity for hypnosis
People may have low, medium or high hypnotic capacity. Approximately 80% of the population fall into the medium range. The remaining 20% of the population are evenly split between the high and low capacity ranges. Even those with low capacity can often achieve a level of trance deep enough to see benefits.
You are usually aware of what is going on
Sometimes people expect that being in hypnosis will be like being asleep. In fact, hypnosis as I mentioned before, is a very focussed state of attention. People might think ‘it’s not working’ if their mind is not transported to another world but that is not the case. As you go deeper into trance usually anything that is not relevant or important just fades into the background.
Very high capacity subjects may experience what is known as ‘hypnotic amnesia’ where they do not remember all or some of what happened whilst they were in trance, but the subconscious mind remembers everything.
No, I won’t make you cluck like a chicken
Even if I was so inclined (which I can promise you I’m not), I am bound by a code of ethics which prevents me from using hypnosis for entertainment purposes. You are also protected by your own mind. When you are in trance, there is a part of your mind that is always aware and watching what is going on. If you were asked or told to do something that was against your morals or values, or that you simply weren’t ready to hear, your mind would either reject the suggestions or you would come out of trance.
Hypnotherapy is not a therapy in its own right
The hypnotic state itself is does not lead to psychological change, it is simply a way of accessing parts of your consciousness that may not be readily available otherwise. Hypnosis provides platform from which other types of therapy can be used. Some research has shown that hypnotherapy can improve treatment outcomes when combined with traditional therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy.
It’s not just for smoking
While I can and do help people stop smoking with hypnotherapy, it can also be used with a wide range of problems including anxiety, self-confidence, grief, phobias, depression and more!
A bit about stage hypnosis
Yes, stage hypnosis is real. The subjects you see in these shows are chosen for their extremely high hypnotic capacity as well as extroverted and outgoing personalities. People may do funny or silly things in these shows, but in all honesty, they do them because it is something that they would probably do anyway, under the right circumstances.