Definition of Hypnosis
Hypnosis is defined in Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary as a "state that resembles sleep that is induced by a hypnotizer whose suggestions are easily and readily accepted by the person".
The problem here is that hypnosis is really not sleep. It is a state of awareness in which the subject's state of awareness undergoes a definite change.
During this altered state which can be induced by the hypnotherapist or can be self induced with self hypnosis, the mind is capable of accepting helpful suggestions in a manner far exceeding normal capacity.
Some call the state a trance like state and others refer to it as a state of super-awareness. The real truth is that hypnosis is not trance or deep sleep. Hypnosis utilizes the subconscious mind through suggestions and imagery to effect changes.
Hypnosis is a very misunderstood concept in many ways.
Most people have many preconceptions as to what exactly hypnosis is. Most are influenced by "stage hypnotists" who seem to have magical powers to get people to do the strangest and "funniest" things on stage. Others are affected by movies where the hypnotist again has "magical" powers to have their subject do their will. Neither of these examples are even close to how therapeutic hypnosis is and can be.
Clarifying some misconceptions
1. In hypnosis, you will not be aware of what is going on.
The truth is that when you are in a light "trance" it will feel no different than relaxation. The "trance" state is a normal, natural state. It is a state we experience frequently in life. There's "road hypnosis" that occurs on the expressway when you are driving and all of a sudden realize you missed your exit. You can observe people in elevators as they watch the floor numbers go into a "trance".
"Trance" like feelings occur when you are in a movie and when the movie ends, you feel the presence of the movie occupying your mind. The same goes with reading a novel.
2. In hypnosis, you give over control to the Hypnotherapist.
The truth is that Hypnosis is not power over another person, but rather a complex interaction between the Hypnotherapist and the patient. It is the means to establish better communication with the Unconscious mind. You are always in control of the hypnosis. In fact, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis.
3. Under hypnosis, you will do things that are against your values or beliefs.
The truth is that you only accept suggestions that are consistent with their values and beliefs. A person cannot be made to do something in hypnosis that they would not normally do. And...a person will not follow a post-hypnotic suggestion to do something in conflict with their values and beliefs.
4. A person has to be placed in a "deep trance" before he or she
can be helped.
Not true! You do not need to be in a deep trance to benefit from hypnosis. Many very helpful and excellent results are obtained when you are in a "light" trance state.
5. People who are easily hypnotized are "weak" people.
Absolutely not true. The more intelligent and imaginative you are , the easier it is for you to experience hypnosis.
6. People lose consciousness when under hypnosis.
Absolutely not true. In fact, this misconception impairs the individual's confidence and makes it more difficult for the individual to obtain the necessary or desired results. In fact at all levels of hypnosis, the individual being hypnotized is always completely aware of all of his surrounding circumstances. At no time is the individual unaware. Further, the greater the depth, the more awareness, and the better the results.The deeper the state, the more awareness, and the better the results.
Important to note: one of the greatest difficulties that the hypnotist will encounter is to convince the client that he/she has been hypnotized. The stats show that over 90% of all people hypnotized for the first time will deny they have been hypnotized and the reason for that is that they felt aware of everything that was said and done during the session.