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FAQs about Hypnosis
The word hypnosis is can describe a state or a process.
In Greek, the word “hypnos” translates to sleep, however, when it comes to hypnosis, this can be misleading. A hypnotic “sleep” is an altered state unlike normal sleep because it actually requires a relaxed, yet focused, attention of the mind in order for the suggestions to be received in an effective manner. Consciousness is suspended in natural sleep, but must be present in hypnosis.
NLP Co-Creator Richard Bandler describes hypnosis as “the process of guiding a person into a state where they have more direct access to their unconscious mind, which is where powerful changes can be made, deliberately through the use of suggestion.”
Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis to promote positive change and development in a person’s thoughts and behavior. It’s most beneficial to people who are actively seeking to improve their quality of life. The role of the modern-day hypnotist for therapeutic purposes (versus a stage performer) is very similar to the role of a coach who is coaching you through customized, mind processes that facilitate behavioral change. In just one session you learn techniques that can benefit you for a lifetime.
While it’s considered complimentary to psychotherapy and psychiatric treatment and is sometimes used by medical and mental health professionals, it should be noted that hypnotherapy alone is not a substitute for the treatment of mental health conditions.
You are in control of your mind at all times during hypnosis, so in this sense, hypnosis is mind control, but is actually self-control.
The American Psychological Association (APA) describes hypnosis as a cooperative interaction in which the participants respond to the suggestions of the hypnotist. Essentially, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis and a hypnotist is merely a guide in the process. You cannot be made to do or say anything against your will by hypnosis. You are aware of what is happening and have the ability to choose to participate or not participate at any time during the process.
Some people develop an impression of a hypnotist as a person who is controlling the mind of someone else based on their experience as an audience member of a stage hypnosis comedy show. In reality, however, the idea of the hypnotist controlling people’s minds in a hypnosis show is part of the illusion that enhances the entertainment value. All stage hypnosis participants are willing volunteers who are aware of the actions they are performing at all times. If it seems they are acting an a silly way, contrary to the way thay might act under normal circumstances, this is because they are so deeply relaxed and focused on the hypnotist’s instructions that they actually experience a loss of critical, self-consciousness that might inhibit that behavior. A good stage hypnotist creates an experience for participants that allows them to be so relaxed and carefree they enjoy being silly and playful without self-judgment. Still, the illusion of the hypnotist having control over the behavior of a group of people lends to the humor and good fun of the event. Unfortunately, this illusion and erroneous depictions in Hollywood films or fiction books also lend support to common misconceptions about what hypnosis actually is.
No. Since hypnosis is a natural state that we access frequently in our daily lives, you will drift out of hypnosis with the same comfort and ease that you experienced as you entered into the relaxed state. Even if the hypnotist were to leave the room while you are in a hypnotic state you would eventually awaken yourself to full awareness or you would be so relaxed you would nap for a bit and awake refreshed.
Most people who possess the mental capability of concentration and are willing to be hypnotized can be hypnotized. Additionally, contrary to popular belief that only weak-minded individuals make the best candidates for hypnosis, it is actually true that the greater the intelligence, the better the hypnotic subject. It is difficult, if not impossible, to hypnotize someone who is intellectually challenged, psychotic, or severely detached.