What Is Hypnosis

What Is Hypnosis?

Common Questions About Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy

Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not a state of deep sleep. It does however involve the induction of a relaxing ‘trance-like’ state, but when in it, the patient is actually in a heightened state of awareness (HSA), concentrating entirely on the hypnotherapist’s voice. In this state, the conscious mind is in neutral and the sub-conscious mind is revealed.

The hypnotherapist is able to suggest ideas, concepts and lifestyle adaptations to the patient, the seeds of which can become firmly planted.

How Does Hypnosis Work?

Hypnosis is thought to work by altering our state of consciousness in such a way that the analytical left-hand side of the brain is turned off, while the non-analytical right-hand creative side is made more alert.

The conscious control of the mind is relaxed (day dreaming), and the subconscious / unconscious mind awoken. Since the subconscious mind is a deeper-seated, more instinctive force than the conscious mind, this is the part which has to change for the patient’s habits, behaviours and physical state to alter. For example, a patient who consciously wants to overcome their fear of spiders may try everything they consciously can to do it, but will still fail as long as their sub-conscious mind retains this terror – thus preventing the patient from succeeding.

Progress can only be made by re-programming the subconscious / unconscious landscape of the mind so that deep-seated instincts and beliefs are challenged, abolished, dissolved, altered or even re-routed to something healthier.

What Form Might The Treatment Take?

Firstly, any misconceptions a potential patient may have about hypnosis should be dispelled. There is no loss of control. This idea is a complete myth. The therapy process does not involve the patient being put into a deep sleep, and the patient cannot be made to do anything they would not ordinarily do.

They remain fully awake and aware of their surroundings and situation, and are not vulnerable to every or any given command of the therapist. The important thing is that the patient wants to change some behavioural habit or addiction and is highly motivated to do so. They have to WANT the treatment to work and must establish a good clinical rapport with the therapist in order for it to do so.

How Does Hypnosis Work?

The readiness and ability of patients to be hypnotised varies considerably and hypnotherapy sometimes requires a number of sessions in order to achieve meaningful results. However combined with the science of NLP, stopping smoking for example is usually achieved in just one single session. Walk in a smoker, walk out a non-smoker. It is useful to know that the patient can also learn self-hypnosis techniques which can also be practiced at home, to reinforce the usefulness of formal sessions with the therapist. This can particularly help to counter the affects of stress and anxiety related conditions.

Hypnosis or the state of trance is a natural state of the mind. When ‘under’ or in hypnosis you will often feel very relaxed, just like that wonderful feeling when you are tired lying in your bed and you are so overcome with comfort that you wish the moment could last forever.

By using simple hypnotic relaxation techniques you can easily attain this state at which time it becomes easy, with the help of a trained hypnotherapist to visualise yourself becoming healthier, happier, and more confident.

Learning how to practice self-hypnosis regularly can not only reduce levels of hidden stress, but can help to reduce levels of physical pain, and program you to be better at anything you focus your goals on.

How Well Does Hypnosis Work?

A Comparative Study

  • Psychoanalysis: 38% recovery after 600 sessions
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: 72% recovery after 22 sessions
  • Hypnotherapy: 93% recovery after 6 sessions” American Health Magazine


Hypnosis is a completely natural state of mind - for most patients/clients, it is extremely beneficial and relaxing. However, there are some possible contraindications, and patients who fall into these categories should not be referred or recommended for hypnotherapy.
  • Epilepsy - completely contraindicated
  • Serious/current heart condition - contraindicated, care needed
  • Blood pressure (extremely high or low) - contraindicated - much care needed
  • Depression - contraindicated. Clients with depression would benefit more from counselling
  • Elderly or frail - contraindicated - much care needed
  • Persistent alcohol or drug abuse - usually contraindicated without evaluation.
  • Psychosis - completely contraindicated
  • Pregnancy - first trimester is actually beneficial, 2nd trimester on GP's authority, 3rd trimester fine but still with GP's authority
  • Medication - dependant on medication involved, but those that cause drowsiness, have an hypnotic effect, alter the state of mind, are likely to be contraindicated.

Hypnosis History

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849-1936), who won the Nobel prize for physiology and medicine in 1904, studied the physiology of hypnosis exhaustively and concluded that hypnosis involves a temporary inhibition of the cerebral cortex, the conscious, intelligent, uniquely human part of our brain.

Since then scientists with modern instruments have confirmed that cortical inhibition does indeed occur under hypnosis. Many scientists believe this cortical inhibition explains why, in a state of hypnosis, suggestions are able to reach the lower brain centers and initiate desired changes in habits and perception.

Fortunately, subjects respond only to post-hypnotic suggestions to which they want to respond, and do not respond to undesired suggestions.  After hypnosis, people generally report a relaxed, peaceful feeling, and a general feeling of well-being.

There are many theories as to why evolution (and/or God) has given us this faculty, but clearly it serves a beneficial purpose or natural selection would not have preserved it so universally. Forms of hypnosis are found in almost every culture in the world from the most advanced to the most primitive.

Hypnotism is the same thing as hypnosis. The word hypnotism was used more in the days of the early hypnotists and is used less by modern scientists.

One who is skilled in the induction of hypnosis for any of numerous purposes, some of which are mentioned below.

A hypnotist who uses hypnosis for therapeutic purposes.

The use of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes such as dealing with addictions, habit disorders, eating disorders, anxiety neuroses, memory enhancement, pain, et al.

Hypnosis conducted in a clinical setting.

The use of hypnosis to help witnesses or defendants recall details. This technique has been used to help solve many famous crimes and was used in such high profile cases as  those of Ted Bundy, Sam Sheppard, and Albert DeSalvo, a.k.a. The Boston Strangler. It should be used only by knowledgeable practitioners who understand its limits.

GROUP HYPNOSIS:             
Group hypnosis was all the rage among the fashionable set in eighteenth century Paris and Vienna when Viennese physician and hypnotist Franz Anton Mesmer was "mesmerizing" groups there. His circle included the composers Haydn and Mozart, whose first operetta, Bastien et Bastienne, was first performed in Messmer's private garden.



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