Hypnotherapy FAQs: Common questions about hypnosis

Hypnosis is a mystical topic. Stage shows and TV programmes depict it as something magical, with a hypnotist taking control of the subject’s mind. I enjoy the sensationalism of stage hypnosis. However, stage hypnotists have many more skills than hypnosis alone. A stage hypnotist is an incredible performer who can work spontaneously with whatever happens. The hypnosis is a small part of their act, and no different to the hypnosis you will experience in a hypnosis session. In neither situation does the hypnotist take control of the hypnotised.


Two things hypnosis cannot do

Hypnosis cannot make you do anything you do not want to do. Although, if you’re on stage in front of a large audience and the entertainer asks you to perform something a bit out of your comfort zone, it might feel easier to follow the instructions than make a stand and refuse!

Hypnosis cannot change you. Every now and then, I work with someone who thinks the hypnosis will work like a magic wand and rewire their brain during the one-hour session. If hypnosis was this magical, society wouldn’t have half the problems it does! Hypnosis is a tool you can use to take control of yourself and your life.

Consider hypnosis like brain training. Lifting weights will tone your muscles, hypnosis or meditation will tone your brain. Your hypnosis sessions will help you find the right path and answers to your problems. When you make hypnosis or meditation part of your lifestyle and live mindfully, it will help you with future challenges.

What does hypnosis feel like?

Hypnosis feels different for everybody. Some people feel no difference at all, while others feel significantly different. When I first used hypnosis, it made me feel dizzy. A spinney kind of feeling, like how I feel with too much alcohol. Many people feel a heavy deep feeling, as though they have sunk into the surface beneath them. Sometimes you lose the feeling in your arms and legs as they become like a dead weight. 

People often incorrectly use the word "relaxation" to mean hypnosis. Although many people feel relaxed during hypnosis, it is not a prerequisite. When I use hypnosis nowadays, it feels like I open a door to a huge room that I rarely enter. I find myself exploring my most creative ideas and thoughts. My visions are vivid and real. When used regularly, hypnosis is powerful. Like meditation, when you get comfortable with the technique, you can use it to regain homeostasis in your body. 

Can anyone be hypnotised?

Yes and no! As previously mentioned, the hypnotist has no control over the subject. Some people say all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. The state of hypnosis is a perfectly natural state of mind that you enter many times a day. When you use hypnosis formally, you enter this state of mind deliberately. This is a skill, much like anything natural. Most of us can run naturally, but ask someone to compete in a 700-metre formal race, and they might feel uncertain about what to do. How to start, what speed to go, when to speed up or slow down to conserve energy, etc.

Unless you wear an electroencephalograph (EEG) to measure electrical activity in your brain, you probably don’t know when you enter the meditative state of mind. To go there on command isn’t so easy at first. In time, you’ll become familiar with the state of mind, and it will feel easier. In the meantime, a hypnotherapist or hypnotist will guide you with instructions.

If you choose to follow the instructions, you will enter this state of mind, if you don’t, you won’t! Just like everything, we all learn at a different pace. Some people will find it easy from the first try, and others need a few more experiences before they reach the hypnotic state of mind. 

Does self-hypnosis work?

This is a good question, but one I will answer with, "for what?" Hypnosis is simply a state of mind. It is a powerful state of mind in which many people feel their most focused. When you learn how to enter this state of mind on command, you can use it for all sorts of things in life. The more you practice, the more efficient it is. When I meet people who feel frustrated because they don’t see huge changes in a short amount of time, I remind them that Buddhist monks spend upwards of eight hours per day, every day for a lifetime practicing their technique! 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Farnham, Surrey, GU9
Written by Juliet Hollingsworth, MSc
Farnham, Surrey, GU9

Juliet is a trauma-informed therapist. Her passion is helping people reach their potential through a combination of hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and transpersonal psychology. Juliet works online and face to face with clients across the world. (DHP Clinical Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy. MSc Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal psychology.)

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