What is Hypnosis: Frequently Asked Questions

In nature, energy moves in waves.  Light moves in waves.  Sounds moves in waves.  And the brain transmits waves.  Hypnosis is a phrase used to describe a natural, yet altered, brain wave state we all go through daily.  These are the alpha to theta brain waves.  It’s a natural trance state.  (The words hypnosis and trance are used interchangeably.) These are the states we enter when our mind wanders.  When we meditate.  Pray.  Daydream.  When we are “in the zone.”  When we study.  Exercise.  Make love.  Have a massage.  Or when we are feeling strong emotion, including joy, anger, grief or fear.  Brain waves are like a shark; they have to keep moving.  Healthy brains can only stay in one brain wave state so long.  Your brain won’t let you sleep forever, unless it’s injured.  It won’t let you stay in the beta state forever either, which is our logical and rational conscious mind.  The only time the human brain doesn’t move into through all four waves daily is when it’s injured, like being in a coma..  Which brings us to a common statement made by hypnotherapy clients.

1. “I don’t know if I can be hypnotized.  I have a very dominant personality. I’m not gullible.”
That question has merit, especially if the only knowledge a person has about hypnosis has come from movies and media.  The only people that can not be hypnotized are folks with brain injury.  If you’re sitting in front of me, and not in a coma in the hospital, I know that you can be hypnotized.  Secondly, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis.  A person can not be hypnotized if they don’t allow themselves to be.  Period.  The hypnotherapist is a facilitator, guiding a client into their own subconscious mind to find the answers they seek.  If you’re the sort of person that does have a dominant personality, then you are a wonderful candidate for hypnosis.  It means you have control of your mind and thoughts, and therefore, can change behavior or tap into your own resources easily.  In short, you know your own mind.  The more creative and intelligent a mind, the more often it moves into the alpha brain wave state.  Dominance or submissive personality traits have nothing to do with it.  It all comes down to one thing.  You have to understand that hypnosis is not something being “done” to you.  You’re hypnotizing yourself with the guidance of your therapist.  “Gullibility” has nothing to do with it, either.  Your hypnotherapist is not trying to “trick” you or “pull one over” on you.  You’re not being shined on, so you don’t have to be “gullible” to relax your own mind.    It is your own natural ability.  The ability to guide yourself into relaxation is hard-wired into the mind by design.  (Think about meditation, for instance, which accesses the same brain wave states.)  And without knowing it, you hypnotize yourself every day.  Every time you drive home and realize that you got there without being conscious of traffic lights and stop signs.  Any time you are on “auto-pilot.”  Any time someone calls your name, and though you hear them, you don’t answer.  When people say, “Earth to __________.  You were a million miles away.  What were you thinking of?”  You are already a natural, and hypnosis is just a natural, yet altered state of awareness.

2.  “Will I remember anything?” or  “I don’t know if I was in hypnosis because I remember everything we talked about.”  
Here again, many people think hypnosis turns you into a puppet.  Or a zombie.  I don’t have that kind of power.  No hypnotist does.   (As I often say, if I did have that kind of power, you wouldn’t be here reading this blog right now.  I wouldn’t have to work for a living where that sort of thing possible.  I could just wave my magic hypno-wand and have all the money I needed.)  You’re not going to be “unconscious” while in hypnosis, either.  Being unconscious in that way is a medical condition.  You’re going to be deeply involved with your subconscious, which is an active and imaginative place.  You will most likely remember everything you said in a session.  Some people go somnambulistic while in hypnosis. Somnambulism is a deep state of trance where you hear the hypnotist speaking, but you’re so relaxed, you don’t care to answer.  This is a powerful healing state, because your thoughts have slowed, allowing a deep relaxation of body and mind.  Sometimes people come out of hypnosis questioning whether they were in trance or not.  Your hypnotherapist is not going to ask you to cluck like a chicken or other such silly things.  They might use other techniques to show you that you’re entranced, such as raising a hand or finger.

3. “Can I get stuck in hypnosis?” or “I don’t know if I should do my hypnosis session today, because I have an event later.”  
No, you can not get “stuck” in hypnosis.  Your brain will only you to be in the alpha brain wave state about two hours, then it’s back to your regularly scheduled mental program.  Remember, the brain waves have to keep moving.  You can’t stay asleep forever; your brain wakes you up.  You can’t daydream forever; your brain wakes you up.  Hypnotherapists are trained to make sure you are out of hypnosis before you leave their office.  There is no problem with going to your hypnosis session, and then doing something else after.  In fact, it will just serve to enhance the rest of your day.  It will feel as if you’ve had a two-hour nap and a massage.  You’ll be relaxed, clear-headed, and feel great.

4.  “I’m afraid of what will come out of my mind.  What if something bad has happened to me that I don’t remember?”
Many people feel they will reveal their deepest secrets to their hypnotherapist.  That is not so.  You are in control of your session.  You only do what you want.  The mind only does what the mind wants to do.  Period.  You can lie.  Hypnosis is not a truth serum.  You can also merely say, “I don’t want to talk about that”.  As for remembering something negative, most people have the opposite experience.  They often remember GOOD and POSITIVE things that they had “forgotten.”  If the work you’re doing on yourself requires you to remember something for the sake of healing, you will.  If it comes up, it comes up for a reason.  When you seek hypnotherapy, you are saying, “I want to improve myself.”  Improving yourself means knowing yourself.  It also means being responsible for what emerges, and taking action on what you learn.  You are much stronger KNOWING what is stored in your mind, and acting on it.  And healing from it, if that’s the case.  There is no safer or better time for something to “come up” then during any type of therapy session with a trained professional.

If you have any more questions about hypnosis or hypnotherapy, feel free to contact me at:  sheilahypno@gmail.com  Or phone me at:  512.755.9158

Warm regards,
Sheila Dudley
Certified Medical Support Clinical Hypnotherapist and Neuro-Linguistic Programmer

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