Hypnosis is a natural state of consciousness that we drift in and out of quite regularly. For example, while driving along a highway and then suddenly discovering that you ‘lost’ several miles without being aware of it. This can also happen during reading when you may notice that you have ‘read’ a chapter or two without being mindful of the content. We have all spontaneously experienced this altered state of mind many times such as when we are day dreaming, crying while watching a movie, or being in love. Hypnosis is derived from the Greek word for "sleep," but hypnosis is not sleep. Hypnosis is actually a very relaxed and pleasant state, yet your mind is actually hyper alert and even more aware of what is going on around you at all times. During hypnosis you can open your eyes and carry on a conversation. How an individual actually experiences the state of hypnosis varies greatly from feeling very relaxed, mellow, euphoric or you may not even realize you were hypnotized. Hypnosis is basically a technique to focus consciousness by entering a deep state of absorption. It allows you to shift from your outer to inner awareness and tap deeper levels of consciousness, so that we can re-educate and reprogram the subconscious with empowering suggestions or beliefs.
Yes! This is the most common misconception about hypnosis. As one goes deeper into hypnosis, a part of you will enter a deeper level of consciousness and part of you will remain aware. This process is called dissociation and is becoming more accepted as a definition of hypnosis. Another quality of hypnosis is the ability to become absorbed which takes you to a deeper level of awareness. On occasion, particularly if you are quite tired, there may be a brief masking of consciousness as you drift in and out of a light sleep but your inner mind continues to hear the message.
Hypnosis is a skill that everyone can learn with increased practice. Everyone, as long as they want to, can be hypnotized as long as they want to be, and the higher one's IQ the easier it is to be hypnotized. Like other skills such as playing the piano, learning tennis or mastering a foreign language, some persons are ‘naturals’ and can become accomplished with little training while others can increase their abilities with regular practice. Fortunately, most goals in hypnosis can be accomplished in a light or medium state.
All Hypnosis is essentially self-hypnosis. You can either agree to accept suggestions or you can choose to mentally override them or change them to better suit your needs. As one becomes more relaxed and less critical or analytical, suggestions are more easily received by the subconscious mind.
On the contrary! During the hypnosis session you always remain in complete control and at anytime you can always emerge yourself from hypnosis. Hypnosis is a 100% voluntary consent state. You can not be hypnotized against your will and you can not be forced to do anything against your will. While in hypnosis you will not divulge secrets, say anything that is embarrassing, or be forced to do anything that you would not do in your normal waking state. As you go deeper into hypnosis, you will have easier access to the subconscious. Since the subconscious controls such functions as pain management, bleeding, blood pressure, healing and the immune system, and much more – you will actually have more control rather than less.
Stage hypnotists use various screening techniques to select the top five percent – or most hypnotically susceptible persons. The reason for this is that they have to work quickly and do not have time to train their subjects. Volunteers in a stage show are carefully selected and often are those who love to be the center of attention and its an excuse to act out. They can never be forced to do anything against their will, and if asked to do something objectionable they can instantly and willingly emerge themselves and leave the stage at any time. They then use hypnosis for humor and entertaining an audience – sometimes at the expense of the volunteers.
The terms hypnosis, trance and deeper levels of consciousness or awareness are frequently used interchangeably.
No! Absolutely not. No one ever gets stuck in hypnosis. If at anytime during a hypnosis session, no matter how deep your trance, if there were an emergency, you could instantly emerge yourself out of hypnosis.
Both hypnosis and meditation involve physical relaxation and a narrowing of consciousness. With hypnosis, it is task or goal-oriented as you are mentally ‘working’ on something such as weight loss. In meditation, consciousness is ‘free-floating’ and it may lead to a greater sense of expanded awareness. Many who practice meditation also use hypnosis and can slip from one state to the other quite easily.