It’s not uncommon to have questions about hypnosis, especially if you’ve never been hypnotized before. Movies, television and stage hypnotists often leave people with incorrect ideas. Listed below are a series of questions that are intended to help your understanding of hypnosis. If you have a question that is not listed here, please feel free to contact me at the Contact Page.
What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a naturally occurring state of relaxation that gives you a heightened sense of awareness and focused attention. In fact, hypnosis is something that we often experience in our daily lives all the time without realizing it. Another way to describe hypnosis is that it is a heightened state of suggestibility that allows you to reframe past experiences, promote learning and encourage new ideas. When in hypnosis, your subconscious mind is given suggestions that will make positive change to your life.
I Was Told We Experience Hypnosis All the Time, Can You Give an Example?
Yes. One example is something we know as, “Highway Hypnosis”. Have you ever driven your vehicle along the highway and realized that somewhere along that route you just, “Zoned Out”? This is an example of hypnosis and how your subconscious mind actually works to take care of you. Even though you may have drifted off in thought, your subconscious mind remembers all the actions necessary to drive the vehicle and keep you from driving off the road.
Here’s another example: Have you ever read a book or saw a movie and found yourself becoming emotionally involved with the story? You know that it’s just a book or movie yet, you find yourself becoming happy or sad or even angry at some character? This also is an example of hypnosis. As you become engaged in the story, you actually go into a light state of hypnosis and the storyline presents suggestions about what is happening. Your subconscious mind accepts those suggestions and causes you to respond.
So, What is the Subconscious Mind?
To answer this question, we need to look at both the Subconscious Mind and compare it with the Conscious Mind.
The SUBCONSCIOUS MIND is a virtual‚ ”Super Computer”. It operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week taking in millions of bits of information. This is where all of your thoughts, experiences and memories are stored throughout your entire life up to the present day. The subconscious mind is a non discriminating, non-judgmental computer that takes in bits of data and responds accordingly.
The CONSCIOUS MIND on the other hand only takes in small bits of information at a time and it is judgmental. This is the part of the mind we use everyday in our waking state as we interact with others and make decisions. As an example, while you’re reading this, your conscious mind is absorbing the text and at the same time determining whether you believe what you’re reading or not.
In hypnosis, we bypass the‚ “Critical Factor” (Conscious Mind) and present positive suggestions to your Subconscious mind which will just accept them and bring change in your life.
Will I be Asleep or Unconscious When in Hypnosis?
No. Even though the Greek word, “Hypnosis” is translated to mean, “Sleep”, you are fully awake and aware. Throughout each day our brain wave frequency varies depending upon what we’re doing, either awake, asleep, or somewhere in between. In hypnosis, your actual brain wave frequency is referred to as an Alpha wave or Theta wave state. These relaxed brain frequencies are very helpful for allowing positive suggestion into your subconscious mind. While you may physically appear to be asleep, you are actually very alert and have a heightened sense of awareness. In fact, sometimes during hypnosis you might even conduct a conversation with the hypnotist.
What Can I Do (or Should I Do) to Make Sure I go into Hypnosis?
That’s actually a GREAT question. Our hypnosis session is really in a sense, a partnership. We need to work together. It’s important that you do a few simple things:
- Want to go into hypnosis.
- Be willing to follow my suggestions to help you succeed.
- Don’t analyze or try to think yourself through the process.
- Just be open-minded, relax and go with it.
- Expect good results.
Studies have shown that clients that do these simple things are much more successful. Just know that my goal is to help you. In a sense, I am like a tour guide, who shows you the best parts of yourself that we can work with. Another thing that is very helpful is for you to give me feedback at the end of the session. Let me know what worked the best for you or what might not have. This is very important as that helps me to adjust and develop a customized approach for YOU in our subsequent sessions.
Can a Hypnotist Make Me Do Something I Don’t Want to Do?
No. One way to think about hypnosis is like this: Any suggestion that you would reject in a normal waking state, you would also reject while in hypnosis. In other words, you are in control at all times. Neither me, nor anyone else can get you to rob a bank or any other crime while in hypnosis. Additionally, you would not give up any secrets that you want to keep close to you…YOU are in control.
Can a Hypnotist Make Me Quack Like a Duck?
This question was actually answered elsewhere where I say that YOU are in control. But since this question is constantly asked of me, I’ll just say: YES. I can make you quack like a duck if you really want me to. But since I don’t do stage hypnosis and my purpose is to help people be better, I can make you quack, but that will be an extra charge.
Can I get “Stuck” and Not Wake Up?
No. This is a misconception of Hollywood movies. At any time that you are in hypnosis, you can simply open your eyes and fully emerge from hypnosis. As an example, If I hypnotized you and for some reason if I had a heart attack, you would either do one of two things: You’d open your eyes and become fully awake (and hopefully call 911 for me) or, you’d fall into a normal sleep. After a few moments, your brain wave frequency would revert to a normal Beta wave state (Waking state). Sometimes people become so relaxed that they are comfortable and want to stay there. In those instances, I simply ask that you open your eyes when ready. In a few seconds, people stretch and open their eyes, feeling fully refreshed and energized.
Can Anyone be Hypnotized?
Generally around 90-percent of the normal population can be effectively hypnotized. If a person has at least a normal intelligence level and wants to be hypnotized, then their hypnosis session will go well and they will be hypnotized.
Some people will go into hypnosis easier than others. This does not mean that a person is not hypnotizable. This generally means that it’s important to determine through discussions with the hypnotist and possibly some suggestibility exercises, which approach will work best. It’s important to remember that an effective hypnosis session is a partnership between the client and the hypnotist to find the best approach for your benefit.
With that said, a hypnotist should not attempt to hypnotize very young children, individuals with age-related limitations, medically diagnosed or severe psychological disorders without a doctor’s referral.
Can Children be Hypnotized?
Yes. Although it’s my opinion that very young children shouldn’t be hypnotized without a doctor’s referral. What’s “Very Young”? I would be hesitant to attempt to hypnotize a child below the age of five, but even then I might ask for a referral. With that said, children respond very well to hypnosis, especially for issues like nail-biting, bed-wetting, stuttering, etc.
The reason that children respond so well to hypnosis is because up to the age of seven (and often into their early teens), their brain waves operate in a constant waking Alpha or Theta wave state of hypnosis. Note that earlier in another question, I noted that a waking state is at the Beta wave frequency. That’s for adults. Children generally stay in the Alpha / Theta state. This makes them VERY suggestible.
What does this mean? It means: “Don’t Waste this Opportunity to Help Your Children Become Successful in Life During these Years.” This time period is an opportunity to help them develop self-confidence, learn to build positive, loving relationships and defines their outlook on life and those around them. Since they are suggestible, we should build upon that and help them be happy, healthy and successful contributors to our world around us. Unfortunately, how many children of this age do we see that are left alone with a video game, lacking positive reinforcement?
Can You Help People Under the Care of a Physician?
It depends upon the issue. If a person calls and tells me they are clinically depressed or some other psychological disorder and they are seeing a doctor, that type of work is outside the scope of my practice. If they tell me that they have not been seen by an appropriate licensed professional addressing that area of practice, then I will be happy to refer them to a licensed professional which I am connected with. My interest is to help ensure each client receives the best care. If that is outside my scope of practice, then they should be referred to someone who can help them appropriately. As a Certified member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, I have a responsibility to operate within ethical guidelines. I’m not a doctor or a licensed therapist; I’m a clinically trained, Certified Consulting Hypnotist (CCH).
With that said, there are times when a medical or mental health professional may feel that hypnosis will help support their patient with complementary care. For example, they may have a patient with a variety of issues and if I take care of their smoking, weight, stress or worries via hypnosis, it will benefit their patient and assist the medical professional. Doctors have patients. I have clients and I will provide services to these clients with a medical referral. Doctors are beginning to discover the many ways that hypnosis helps. Hypnotists get referrals from medical doctors and mental health professionals all the time.
Will Health Insurance Cover Hypnosis?
Generally not. I suggest that you think of hypnosis as a service that you will pay for yourself. This will also mean that when you sign up for a course of hypnosis you are highly committed and value the services you will receive.
With that said, insurance companies are beginning to realize that hypnosis has been very helpful when used for pre-surgery issues. When a hypnotist has the opportunity to have two or three sessions before surgery, the client can recover faster with little or no nausea and vomiting following anesthesia. They can also heal faster as a result of the presurgery suggestions. What does this mean? It means they leave the hospital sooner and that saves insurance companies money. I don’t know for sure but it’s my guess that more insurance companies will consider hypnosis care much like the way they eventually accepted chiropractic care years ago.
If you have a Health Spending Account (HSA), check with your provider as some are beginning to accept hypnosis for reimbursement. In fact, recently some of my cigarette cessation clients have been given a Debit Card from their insurance company or employer to reimburse the costs of quitting smoking. It’s important to know that debit cards generally don’t work in standard credit card readers. So, you should probably expect to use your credit card for the cost of the sessions and then utilize the debit card to reimburse yourself.
Can Christians Use Hypnosis?
Yes. I am a Christian and this was a concern of mine before entering this profession. Once I spent a great amount of time researching the facts, I became convinced that it is a safe method to help people bring change to their lives. I conduct professional hypnosis service based upon physiology and the mind and body that we have to work with. There is nothing wrong or “un-Christian” about helping a person into a state of relaxation and then suggesting affirming changes to make their life better. As a Christian, I am comfortable knowing (after seeing the good changes) that this is a positive thing for people.
What’s the Difference Between Stage Hypnosis and What You Do?
Stage hypnosis is for entertainment purposes. What I do is work with a client to help them with stress management, break unhealthy habits, prepare them for surgery to recover faster, address pain management issues and more. Basically, my goal is to help you live a happier, healthier life.
Stage hypnotists do in fact hypnotize people. Yet, the person being hypnotized understands that it is for fun and will go along with the suggestions for entertainment purposes.