Frequently Un-asked Questions about Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy

-         What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is the process of using hypnosis to interact with the subconscious mind in an open-reflective way to create positive changes in your life.

There are many techniques, styles and applications of hypnotherapy yet they all have several things in common: (1) the person’s strong desire to change, (2) a state of deeply relaxed focus, and (3) language and visualization.

-         What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is simply a natural state of relaxed focus.  Each of us enters such a state (sometimes called a trance) at least twice a day: once when we are falling asleep, and once when we are waking up.  That timeless state between dreaming and awake is a trance state.  When a few minutes on your snooze-button seems to give you enough time to have an-hour long dream, that's a trance state.

There are other times that people enter a natural state of trance. Driving, watching TV, listening to music, exercising, working on a favorite hobby or activity when feeling in the "flow."  These are all "altered states of consciousness," and are various levels of trance since it’s a normal, natural and common state.

Some people leave their first hypnotherapy session saying, "I wasn't hypnotized - I knew what was going on the whole time!"  Hypnosis is not a state of amnesia or of non-awareness.  In fact, hypnosis is a state of very heightened awareness and focus.

-         Is hypnosis different than meditation or prayer?

Hypnosis, meditation, prayer and guided imagery are basically the same states with different labels.  Hypnosis is often more “active” than some forms of meditation since it involves relaying input into the subconscious mind as well as having someone guiding the session.   

 -         Why should I be hypnotized?

There are as many reasons to be hypnotized as there are people on this planet.  However, the basic answer is this:  If you want to feel different in any way or about anything, especially about yourself. 

Maybe you’re noticing anxiety in some social situations.  Or you can’t seem to enjoy your job.  Or your kids are driving you crazy.  Or you can’t let go of something from your past.  Anything that’s bothering you, large or small, superficial or profound, can be addressed with hypnosis.

Hypnosis can help with such things as habits you don't like, something you’re embarrassed about, something you want to do better, obtain, improve, stop or even just alter slightly.           -         Why shouldn’t I be hypnotized?

Serious psychiatric or mental health problems should be referred to a qualified psychotherapist or psychiatrist.  Medical problems should be treated by a physician, who can, at their own discretion, prescribe hypnotherapy for pain control, hypnoanesthesia, relaxation or helping deal with emotions and fears.

All clients can benefit from hypnosis as an adjunctive therapy or a way to do additional inner work along with therapy.  Doctors and psychiatrists can, at their discretion, prescribe hypnotherapy as a supplementary treatment.

Keep in mind that people suffering from psychosis, suicidal depression, or are on medications for psychological stability should always be referred to a qualified hypnotherapist with psychiatric experience by their doctor or psychiatrist.

 -         Is it true that a hypnotist can make you do things against your will?

Hollywood has perpetuated many myths and false impressions about hypnosis, leaving confusion and misinformed attitudes.  Unlike stage shows where a hypnotist makes people do wacky things, hypnosis cannot make you do something that goes against your morals or ethics.

All hypnosis is actually self-hypnosis, so no hypnotist has the power to have you do things you really don't want to do. That's why some people can be hypnotized to stop smoking and yet they are not able to quit.   

When you want to change and agree with the change, hypnosis is a powerful instrument for helping make that change better, faster, and more permanent.

-         Will I lose control when I get hypnotized?

This is another Hollywood myth.  You always have control, and can always hear what's going on. Hypnosis is nothing but a state of relaxed deep focus just like when waking up and falling asleep.  At any time you are under hypnosis and want to be fully awake, you can and open your eyes volitionally and come back.

-         Will I remember the session?

Not remembering anything from the hypnosis session is another myth that rarely occurs.   Actually, much more can be accomplished from a hypnosis session when the person remembers everything.

-         Is hypnosis dangerous?

Since the ongoing job of the subconscious mind is to protect you, it’s not true that you can go into hypnosis and not wake up, or that the hypnotist can make you do things you don't want to do. You are always in control.

-         Are there different levels of hypnosis?

Yes, there are deep as well as light states of hypnosis, and all are valid and useful.  The beauty of hypnosis is you can do it anywhere, whether waiting in line at the bank, in a stressful situation, or sitting on a park bench. 

By taking three deep breaths and closing your eyes, you can drop into a meditative state and center yourself, release stress and gain clarity.  Even a few minutes of doing this can shift your attitude, your energy and your confidence.

-         Can hypnosis make me change my life in ways I don’t want?

The intention of hypnosis is to assist you in confidently making changes you are ready to make in your life.  An ethical hypnotherapist will never encourage you to divorce your mate, change religions or insist that you make a drastic life alteration. 

Hypnosis is about becoming aware of how you want to change, resolving conscious or subconscious fears and blocks getting in the way, and then determining when and how you will do that.

-         Will hypnosis go against my religious beliefs?

Hypnosis can be viewed as a gift from God that can help people experience a more loving, spiritual existence.  It is neither anti-religious nor pro-religious. Most religious groups now accept the ethical use of hypnosis for helping people.

From as far back as the 1800’s, the Catholic Church has issued statements approving the use of hypnosis. The late Pope Pius give his approval of hypnosis in 1956 when he stated that the use of hypnosis by health care professionals for diagnosis and treatment is permitted with these guidelines:

(1) Hypnotism is a serious matter, and not something to be dabbled in.
(2) In its scientific use, the precautions dictated by both science and morality are to be used.
(3) Under the aspect of anesthesia, it is governed by the same principles as other forms of anesthesia.

This is to say that the rules of good medicine apply to the use of hypnosis.

No other Protestant or Orthodox Churches or Jewish or Islamic faiths have any laws against the proper, ethical use of hypnosis for the benefit of mankind. Many Eastern faiths, such as Buddhism, Shintoism, Hinduism and others, approve the use of hypnosis and often use forms of hypnosis (meditation) in their worship.

-      Is hypnosis spiritual?

Spiritual refers to the true essence of a person, the core energy within that goes beyond the physical body.  Although this can vary between hypnotherapists as well as a client’s desire, hypnosis can address all parts of a person which may include the spiritual aspect.

-      How do I choose a hypnotherapist? 

Hypnosis is a safe and beneficial procedure when facilitated by an ethical, highly trained and experienced professional.  When choosing a hypnotherapist, make sure you resonate with their personality and feel comfortable with them. 

You deserve to have a hypnotherapist that is accepting, with a loving and caring attitude.  Trust your instincts as to whether this is the right person to guide your inner journey.