This article was originally written for the Hypnosis Network and is featured on their website the link is at the bottom of this article.
I believe this is a very accurate and comprehensive account of Hypnosis one which I share in most part so rather than spending hours recreating the wheel I am sharing this. Please understand it is only one interpretation of Hypnotherapy and I am sure not everyone will agree so take what you need from this so that if and when you decide to have a hypnosis session or buy a product online you will have a better idea of what to expect and the questions to ask before you commit your time and hard earned cash to that person or product.
Are the Results of Hypnosis Permanent?
Suggestions stay with some individuals indefinitely, while others need reinforcement. The effects of hypnosis are cumulative: The more the techniques are practiced and post-hypnotic suggestions are brought into play, the more permanent the results become. Self-hypnosis training and reinforcement tapes for home use also provide additional help.
Can Any Person Be Hypnotized?
People of average intelligence (unless there is some form of organic brain damage) can be hypnotized in most cases if they are willing and do not resist. The depth of hypnosis varies with a person’s ability to respond. If you are not a naturally responsive subject, you can improve your receptivity to hypnosis with practice.
Can I Be Controlled?
No. You are in control the entire time while experiencing hypnosis. The power lies in your mind, because while under hypnosis you have greater awareness than when you are fully awake and you retain all the power to select what you want to say or do. You won’t do anything in a hypnotic state that you would not find acceptable in your normal awake state.
Does a Person Become Unconscious or Lose Control During Hypnosis?
Actually, the opposite is true, as you are gaining control over mental functions most other people are scarcely aware of. Contrary to popular myth, you will never tell secrets you want to keep to yourself or accept suggestions that are not in your best interests. Also, you will be awake the entire session and will be able to recall all that took place. You are always in control.
How Does Hypnosis Help People?
The ability to reprogram emotional attitudes and reactions is a latent talent within every human being. Hypnosis is the most functional and reasonable way to train life-long attitudes, rather than suffer a lifetime of emotional accidents the conscious mind is unable to change.
How Does the Subconscious Accept Hypnotic Suggestions?
Hypnotic suggestions bypass the intellectual mind, called the “conscious,” and zero in on the subconscious. When given a new suggestion that is within the bounds of a person’s belief system and moral orientation, the subconscious mind accepts it literally as a new reality.
How Effective Is Hypnosis Counseling?
A survey of psychotherapy literature by noted psychologist Alfred A. Barrios, Ph.D. revealed the following recovery rates:
Psychoanalysis: 38% recovery after 600 sessions.
Behavior Therapy: 72% recovery after 22 sessions.
Hypnotherapy: 93% recovery after 6 sessions.
Source: American Health Magazine
In What Areas Is Hypnosis Helpful?
Some areas where hypnosis is helpful include:
Anxiety, panic, phobias, unwanted habits and addictions, disrupted sleep patterns, lack of confidence and low self-esteem, fear of examinations and public speaking, allergies and skin disorders, migraine and irritable bowel syndrome.
Additionally, it has proved of value within surgery, and in the wider sphere of pain management and in the areas of both sporting and artistic performance enhancement.
Is Hypnosis Dangerous?
No. The induction of hypnosis is never dangerous to the subject, although personal disappointments may arise because of unrealistic expectations or preconceived information.
Is Hypnosis Medically Approved?
Yes. The American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association have approved hypnotherapy for use by professionally responsible individuals. The British Medical Association also adopted hypnosis as a viable therapeutic tool in 1958.
Isn’t Hypnosis Just Relaxation?
Contrary to popular belief, you do not necessarily even have to be relaxed during hypnosis. It is easier (and more pleasant) to experience hypnosis while relaxed, but hypnosis can be accomplished while you are tense. Hypnosis has to do with concentration far more than relaxation.
What Are Common Hypnosis “Scams”?
Because hypnosis has the power to alter important aspects of your life, it is vital for you to protect yourself from the “quacks” that are unfortunately so abundant in the field of hypnosis.
The best thing you can do is educate yourself on hypnosis and its legitimate uses so no one can mislead for a sale.
Here are a few tips to start with:
Scam #1: Audio Products that Seem Impossible
You might have seen products promising to do things which seem almost impossible. We have seen products claiming to:
Grow Your Penis
Make you Taller (no kidding!)
Give you luck
Make you financially successful
Increase your psychic ability
Some of these products have some theoretical basis. For example penis growth might be theoretically possible, but there has been no research supporting such a claim. Furthermore, it is doubtful that the actual hypnotist’s program has ever been researched in any analytical manner. Other products, such as promises of getting lucky, rely on New Age beliefs in order to convince you that hypnosis can open you up to Universal energies.
Scam #2: Certified Hypnotherapists
A Certified Hypnotherapist is really a misnomer. Most states do not even have licensing in hypnotherapy – this is why the importance of the therapist being licensed in another regulated therapy is paramount. A “CHT” may be certified and claim to have received 200 or more hours of training from an institution (roughly 5 weeks of full time work), but licensed health care professionals typically have seven to nine years of university coursework, plus additional supervised training in internship and residency programs. Their hypnosis training is in addition to their medical, psychological, dental or social work training.
Scam #3: Hypnotherapists with Questionable Educations
There are many “institutions” that provide students with PhDs, MAs, etc. that may be registered as a school in their state, but that are not accredited by any governing body in regards to what standards their graduates must meet to be licensed mental health professionals. While this might be acceptable for many trades, medical and mental health professions need strict regulation to ensure the quality of care you are receiving!
Scam #4: Subliminal Messages
According to The Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, two double-blind studies have tested subliminal message self-help audiotapes claiming to improve memory, increase self-esteem, or induce weight loss. Actual content and labeled content were independently varied; some subjects believed they were using memory tapes but were actually using weight loss or self-esteem tapes, and so on. After a month of use (per manufacturers’ recommendations) by volunteer subjects, there were no effects of subliminal content in the claimed direction on any of the three dimensions.
In the face of all evidence to the contrary, there are many hypnosis programs on the market that claim to use subliminal messages to bolster the effectiveness of the content. Although it is true that we can perceive things below our conscious awareness, there is no evidence of anyone hearing a message which is buried beneath layers of other sounds to the point where the message does not distinctly stand out. Of course, if the message distinctly stood out, it would not be subliminal. This is definitely a scam.
There are many ways that unethical people will try to take advantage of someone’s desire to better himself or herself. The Hypnosis Network encourages you to be aware of these common tricks and thoroughly research any choices for hypnosis.
What Do You Mean by “Hypnosis Is a Tool?”
Hypnosis and selection of a therapist can be analogous to a surgeon and scalpel . . .
A scalpel is a blade used in surgery by qualified surgeons. However, without the proper training, the tool is useless, and possibly dangerous. If you were going into heart surgery, you would make sure that the surgeon using this tool had spent years at a legitimate institution learning everything that he/she needed to know about heart surgery. This requires a complete education and training until demonstrating his/her competence. The same goes for someone using hypnosis. A hypnotherapist should have years of training in mental health before even attempting to use hypnosis as a tool for helping people make life changes.
What Does Being Hypnotized Feel Like?
Most clients report pleasant feelings of mental and physical relaxation, similar to those moments before we fall asleep at night. You will be relaxed, yet still aware and able to respond if you need to.
A good description of how hypnosis feels, from a hypnosis client:
“At the end of my first hypnosis session, my hypnotherapist said, ‘When we’re through here you’ll be . . . you’ll be yourself!’ This was prophetic. I would describe all of my subsequent experiences with hypnosis as remembering or discovering parts of me that were characteristic, and following their lead.
Therapeutic hypnosis has not involved suppressing or discarding any part of me. It has not meant using willpower to force behavior changes. Rather, it is a way to allow change to arise inevitably, even joyfully, out of the unique person who has always been present. It is a tool for utilizing what is already there.”
Ruth Dart, Oakland California
What if I Don’t Wake Up?
No one has ever gotten stuck in a terminal state of hypnosis. It simply cannot happen. If the hypnotist left the room, or if you were listening to a tape and the power went out, you would either fall asleep and wake up naturally, or your subconscious mind would detect that there is no voice guiding you and bring you to conscious awareness.
What Is Hypnosis?
Finding a definition of hypnosis that everyone agrees with is virtually impossible. Because they come from diverse backgrounds, the different therapists in The Hypnosis Network probably would not agree on a single definition. Therefore we are going to provide multiple definitions:
From William Broom, Chief Executive & Registrar, The General Hypnotherapy Standards Council:
Hypnosis is a state of mind, enhanced by mental and physical relaxation, in which our subconscious is able to communicate with our conscious mind. It is widely accepted as a most excellent method by which we may access our inner potential. The state of mind referred to may be brought about either by oneself, unaided (self-hypnosis) or with the help of another person.
From Eric Greenleaf Ph.D.:
The notion of hypnosis is to help a person, by focusing and searching inwardly, to utilize all his learning and skills to resolve his problems, and to do so with the aid of unconscious learning and understanding. What scientists do when they “dream up” inventions and theories, what statesmen do when they “sleep on it” before solving problems of state, what athletes do preparing for a match by “visualizing” the flight of the ball�this is the sort of thing hypnotized persons do to apply themselves to difficult problems of living.
Hypnosis is based on respect for us as a whole organism, in all that complexity and unique experience that has made us who we are. It may be thought of as a state of mind which can imitate many of the original and useful actions of the mind, body and spirit. In hypnotic trance a person may experience reduced pain, heightened sensation, strong emotion, remembering and forgetting, imaginings and creativity and an enhanced sense of self. Hypnosis points people toward those capacities within themselves and the learning they contain.
From Krasner, A.M. The Wizard Within: ABH PRESS, 1990/1991:
Hypnosis is “a process which produces relaxation, distraction of the conscious mind, heightened suggestibility and increased awareness, allowing access to the subconscious mind through imagination. It also produces the ability to experience thoughts and images as real.”
Healing by trance state (hypnosis) is one of the oldest phenomena known to man and is found, in one form or another, in virtually every culture throughout the world. The hypnotic state is, in most respects, entirely dissimilar to sleep.
What Is the Difference Between Hypnosis and Psychotherapy?
Hypnosis uses trance, suggestion and instruction in self-hypnosis to adjust and correct unwanted habits of thought, feeling and behavior. Psychotherapy is the diagnosis and conversational treatment of mental disease. In other words, a psychotherapist treats people who have been diagnosed with some type of mental illness while hypnosis addresses the habits of normal people wishing to improve their lives. The term “hypnotherapy”, in most cases, is reserved for psychotherapists who integrate hypnotic techniques into the work they do with people who have emotional and mental disorders. Quite often this can decrease the time a person needs to spend in therapy.
Although every therapist who creates hypnosis programs for The Hypnosis Network is qualified to perform psychotherapy, the CDs on this site are “hypnosis” and not “hypnotherapy” meaning that they are not a substitute for therapy.
What Is the Difference Between Meditation and Hypnosis?
Both techniques will take you into the meditative state. However, in meditation the goal is to remain there, while in hypnosis you use this state to change thought, ideas, and behaviors.
Will I Forget Everything During the Session?
It occasionally happens that there is amnesia for the session. Sometimes the hypnotist will suggest that you forget what transpired, and occasionally this may have that effect. Most hypnotists want you to be aware of the session. You will be aware of everything around you, and remember most, if not all, that happened in the session. Usually, you will remember it better than a conversation we had, because your mind is in such a focused state.