Were we to ask a number of experts for an accurate definition of hypnosis we would likely get as many different definitions as the number of expert themselves. Their answers would be correct but different and would never tell the complete story.
Here are two examples:
“Hypnosis is largely a question of your willingness to be receptive and responsive to ideas and to allow these ideas to act upon you without interference. These ideas we call suggestions.” — Weitzenhoffer and Hilgard
“Hypnosis is a state of intensified attention and receptiveness to an idea or set of ideas.” — Erickson
Hypnosis is a wonderful tool for breaking old habits or patterns of behavior, such as smoking, overeating, snacking, nail biting and much more.
It can also be used very effectively for creating positive changes, such as building self esteem, improving performance (sports, exams, public speaking), as well as eliminating fears, phobias, anxiety, stress and lowering blood pressure.
Generally speaking most people can be hypnotized. Anyone who is of average intelligence, capable of concentrating and who has a good imagination will make an excellent hypnotic subject. Researchers estimate that 10 to 15 percent of adults are highly hypnotizable, 20 percent are completely resistant to hypnosis, and the rest of the population falls somewhere in the middle. Children are almost all highly hypnotizable.
Most people commonly experience hypnosis on a regular basis. Have you ever been so engrossed in a movie that you became less aware of your actual surroundings? Have you ever been driving down a highway and arriving at your destination you suddenly realize that you can’t recall most of your trip? These are daily examples of hypnosis.
Is hypnotherapy a suitable replacement for psychiatric or medical treatment?
Hypnotherapy is NOT a replacement for psychiatric or medical treatment. It is, however, a good complimentary treatment modality and has been known to produce excellent results in a very short period of time. In 1958 hypnosis was recognized by the American Medical Association as a legitimate, safe approach to medical and psychological problems. Both the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and the British Medical Association (BMA), have recognized hypnosis as a viable therapeutic tool. Canadian medical practitioners, as well, commonly support the use of hypnosis for a number of health related purposes.
In your first session you will explore with your hypnotist your own unique needs and particular circumstances, and together determine if hypnotherapy can accomplish what you want to achieve. The number of sessions will be determined as a result of this discussion.
You will also learn about hypnosis, and care will be taken to insure that you are well informed and feeling safe and comfortable with the process.
All clients also learn self-hypnosis to insure that the benefits of their sessions can be maintained and enhanced, even when away from the treatment office.
No. Hypnosis can reveal some inner truths about yourself or your situation that may not have occurred to you in a fully conscious state. It is, however, always within your control as to whether you want to divulge that information or not.
Is hypnosis dangerous or are there any side effects?
No, there is no evidence whatsoever that hypnosis harms people. The only side effects are positive! Hypnosis is a wonderfully relaxing experience, and people will generally remark that they feel rested, calm, alert, and very aware of their surroundings and in complete control.
Can hypnosis make me do something against my will?
Absolutely not! If you have ever seen a stage hypnotist, he or she appears to make people do strange things while hypnotized. Stage hypnosis, however, is entertainment and showmanship is a major factor. The truth is that participating subjects are volunteers who desire to be part of the show. A hypnotist cannot make anyone act in a way that is contrary to the person’s own values, beliefs or moral standards.
No one has ever been stuck in a terminal state of hypnosis. It simply cannot happen. Although hypnosis may resemble sleep, it is a completely different state, psychologically and physically. If the hypnotist left the room, the subject would eventually either fall asleep or break the hypnotic state naturally. In fact, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis.