Hypnosis Explained: Myths & Facts
by Ken Goodman, LCSW
Hypnosis is a safe, relaxing, enjoyable, and proven-effective way to make positive, lasting changes in your life. However, most people have a misguided understanding of what hypnosis is—and what it isn’t—thanks primarily to its sensationalistic and often fanciful depiction in movies and on television.
That’s why I’d like to take a few moments to explain to you how hypnosis works and why it can be such a powerful force for helping you change your behavior and, as a result, your life.
Hypnosis isn’t Magic… It’s natural
As a hypnotherapist, I’ve met many people who think hypnosis is magic—some strange power that allows the hypnotist to take control of a person’s mind and alter their behavior at will. That’s the Hollywood version of hypnosis. And it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Hypnosis is actually something that we experience on a daily basis. For example, if you’ve ever been so absorbed in a task that you become oblivious to everything happening around you, you’ve been in a hypnotic state.
If you’ve ever been driving and gotten lost in thought, and then suddenly realize, “Oh, my gosh! I haven’t been paying attention,” you’ve been in a hypnotic state.
If you’ve gotten lost in a daydream, you’ve been in a hypnotic state.
As these examples show, the hypnotic state, also known as a trance, is a natural state of mind. It’s something we’ve all experienced. So what’s the difference between these “everyday” hypnotic experiences and those you experience during hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy harnesses and focuses this natural state of mind to help you make positive changes in your life, so you can achieve your dreams and goals.
How hypnosis works
During a hypnosis session, the hypnotherapist guides you into a very relaxed state, commonly known as a trance, where your brain wave activity is very low. In this very relaxed state, your subconscious mind is more open to new ideas, new ways of thinking, and new ways of being, and suggestions become very powerful. For example, remember when you were a child and you fell and hurt your knee? Your mother would kiss the boo-boo and say, “All better.” And like magic, you would feel better.
Hypnosis works in much the same way. When you are in a hypnotic trance, the analytic conscious mind is bypassed, and the hypnotherapist can speak directly to the subconscious mind. This is why hypnosis is so powerful.
Let me explain the difference between the conscious and subconscious mind. Your conscious mind is what you are aware of. Your subconscious mind is what you are unaware of, or what is below the surface.
Think of an iceberg. Only a small fraction of an iceberg is above the surface and easily seen. The majority of the iceberg is hidden under the water, out of sight. Much of what happens to an iceberg occurs because of what happens below the surface.
Our minds are much the same. We behave in ways we do not understand. We lack insight and awareness. We do things without thinking. We do things even though they are not good for us. Often, we’re not sure why. It’s because of what is going on in our subconscious, outside of our awareness.
Hypnosis puts you in such a relaxed state that the hypnotherapist can bypass the analytic conscious mind and speak directly to the subconscious mind, where the problem lies, and influence it in positive ways.
The truth about hypnosis
Although hypnosis has been around for over two centuries, many people have misconceptions about it, mainly due to the way hypnotism is often portrayed in movies and television and by stage hypnotists. If you’ve ever seen a live hypnosis show, it may seem like the hypnotist has power and control over his subjects on stage. But he doesn’t.
Let me make this crystal clear: You are never under the power
or control of the hypnotist or the hypnotic trance.
You will never do anything you do not want to do. You will always be aware of what’s happening to you. And if, while in a trance, there is an unexpected, urgent need you must attend to, you will be able to do so. Simply open your eyes, stretch your body, and stand up.
Some of my clients have expressed concern that they will get stuck in a deep trance. This, again, is Hollywood fiction. You cannot get stuck in a trance anymore than you can get stuck in a daydream. You will either open your eyes, or fall asleep and wake up later. But you will always wake up.
Are there any risks to hypnosis?
Hypnotherapy is based on a foundation of helping you make positive changes, so you can feel better and improve your life. It’s safe, powerful, effective, natural, and it feels good.
Most people find hypnotherapy very relaxing and very helpful. But in some cases, hypnosis may trigger an intense emotional reaction. It’s similar to the reaction you may have after a powerful dream. Don’t worry. It’s a natural experience that can occur any time you undertake a new endeavor. It will usually not continue to happen.
However, if you repeatedly experience an intense emotional reaction while listening to a QuietMindSolutions.com hypnosis session, stop listening to it.
There may be something deep in your subconscious mind that is triggering the reaction. I recommend you seek the help of a psychotherapist or a hypnotherapist for individual guidance and treatment.
Four advantages of hypnotherapy cd’s and downloads
Some of my clients have asked me if you can really be hypnotized by a hypnosis CD or download. The answer is an emphatic YES!
Being hypnotized depends more on you and your willingness to be hypnotized, rather than how you are hypnotized. Hypnosis is not something that is done to you. It is something that you do together with a hypnotherapist, like dancing. The hypnotherapist simply guides you. But it is up to you to follow the lead.
I’m also frequently asked if a CD or download is as effective as being hypnotized in person, in a hypnotherapist’s office.
In-person hypnotherapy can be more effective than a CD or download because the hypnotherapist has a chance to get to know you and can tailor hypnotherapy sessions to your unique needs.
But there are four major advantages to using hypnotherapy CDs or downloads:
- It’s very affordable. In-person hypnotherapy can be quite expensive.
- You can listen as often as you like, when you need help most.
- It’s like having a hypnotherapist on call 24/7, 365 days a year.
- The more you listen, the deeper you will absorb the positive message.
How to get the most benefit from your hypnotherapy sessions
Here are a few things to keep in mind when listening to any Quiet Mind Solutions hypnosis session:
- After listening to a hypnosis session, it’s not uncommon to remember everything that happened while in a trance. This may leave you wondering if you were really hypnotized at all.
- Being in a deep trance is not necessarily a predictor of success. You can be in a low level trance and benefit a great deal. Even if you don’t seem to go into a trance, just keep practicing every day and be patient with yourself. You will benefit whether you go into a deep trance or not.
- If at the end of the session you are more relaxed than when you began, you feel better, you learned something, and you found it useful, then you are on your way.
- As with anything in life, practice makes perfect. The more often you listen to the hypnosis sessions, the more relaxed you’ll become, and the more likely you’ll go into a deeper trance. That’s why I strongly recommend you listen to one hypnosis program every day. Just like learning a new skill, if you practice on a regular basis, you’ll become better, at a faster pace, and experience the full benefits sooner. Listening just once or twice will not give you the results you desire. Listening repeatedly will.
- When listening to a hypnosis session, your mind will That’s okay; it’s normal. Don’t get frustrated. Simply refocus your mind each time it drifts off.
- I highly recommend listening with headphones. It will not only block out distracting noises, but it will also help you experience the full effects of the sessions.
- I also recommend that you do not lie down while listening. Hypnosis is so relaxing that you may fall asleep. Our hypnosis sessions will notbe effective if you’re sleeping.
- Finally, do not listen to any hypnosis or relaxation session while driving, as they will tire your eyes and possibly make you drowsy.
Now you should have a better idea of what hypnosis is and what it can do for you. If you should have questions, please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected].