Paul McGlone, BSc(Hons)Soc, DipCD, FETC, CertED, MTSH.Dip.(Hyp), HPD, GQHP, Cert NLP, Cert.PLR., GHR Reg
Until you have experienced hypnosis it is very difficult to give an adequate description in words. It is certainly not like sleep. While being taken into hypnosis your eyes will begin to feel more tired and you will close them like you do when you sleep, but you will remain awake and alert. The vast majority of people remain very aware of everything going on in the room and they will also be aware of any outside noises, but in the hypnotic state there is a sense of being deeply relaxed and not bothered by or interested in these distractions. A daydream state, rather than sleep, is a closer analogy to the hypnotic state.
Yes, generally you will remember everything. A minority of people can go into a deeper degree of trance and they may lose awareness for a time. I sometimes do when I am put into hypnosis. Even in this state you are very much in control of yourself.
This view can arise through a misunderstanding of both what hypnotism involves and the role of the hypnotist. In actual fact it is generally easier to hypnotise strong-willed people. This is because such people are generally more able to concentrate and focus their attention more easily - two of the pre-requisites of hypnosis. Hypnosis is not about becoming subservient to the hypnotist. if anyone really does not want to go into hypnosis there is nothing the hypnotist can do about that - both people would be wasting their time and energy. The hypnotist is merely the facilitor helping the person into the hypnotic state.
Hypnosis is unsuitable for people with severe mental health problems, people with severe learning disabilities or people with epileptic conditions (unless this latter condition is under control and hypnotherapy has been suggested by the person's doctor). This is in part because people with these conditions are usually unable to meet the fundamental requirements of hypnosis ie: being able to concentrate and relax. For similar reasons hypnosis would be unsuitable for people who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is also unsuitable for very young children.
People do vary in their ability as to the depth of the hypnotic state that they are able to enter. For the purposes of hypnotherapy this does not matter greatly as significant results can be obtained even when you are in a light trance. People sometimes feel that they have not even been in hypnosis, but this is due to a mistaken belief that hypnosis involves loss of conscious awareness.
It has been found that "hypnotic ability" does vary somewhat with age. Hypnosis is generally unsuccessful with very young children. Adolescents generally score highest for hypnotisability. Scores are generally lower for middle-aged and elderly people. However, these variations are not generally significant for hypnotherapy.
There is no possiblity of losing control while in hypnosis, over your thoughts, words or behaviour. You stay in control. Indeed the whole purpose of hypnotherapy is to give you increased control over your thoughts and behaviour. There is no possibility of revealing anything about yourself that you do not wish to disclose or of doing anything that is against your beliefs or moral code. Anxieties over such issues generally arise as a result of misconceptions about hypnosis due to watching the performances of stage hypnotists. People who have volunteered to take part in such performances frequently report that they are well aware of playing a role and are quite happy to play it out.
There is no chance of getting "stuck" in hypnosis. Hypnotherapists are experienced in bringing people out of hypnosis, but you would come around to the full waking state just by being left quietly to yourself.
The most useful thing you can do is to simply to come relaxed. Especially on the first occasion it might be useful to do something just before hand that helps you to relax eg: listen to some music. If you can plan things it is obviously better not to plan your first visit when you know you are likely for instance to have had a heavy morning or a difficult business meeting which may put you into an agitated frame of mind. Once you have experienced hypnosis it will soon become routine and you will look forward to the relaxation it provides in its own right.
Once the session begins there is nothing additional that you can do to help yourself to enter hypnosis apart from passively listening to the voice of the hypnotherapist. People can block the experience if they are too actively wanting it to happen, or if they are consciously monitoring their thoughts/emotions/sensations. This is because the conscious mind is then too active and prevents the mind relaxing and drifting into an even deeper state of relaxation. You can't force yourself into a daydream or sleep, nor would you be likely to enter either if you were monitoring with internal thoughts like "Is it happening yet?" While hypnosis differs to sleep and a daydream state this principle holds true. So the best approach is to arrive at a hypnotherapy relaxed and looking forward to an even deeper more enjoyable period of relaxation with no pressure or demands.
A further question which can occasionally crop up is:
The cost of hypnotherapy varies considerably. At Tranquil Spirit we try to keep fees/costs moderate in order to make the benefits of hypnotherapy as widely accessible as possible.
There are however unavoidable overheads which have to be met by any professional hypnotherapist. These include: