What is hypnosis?
When the word "hypnosis" is mentioned in everyday conversation, it seems to stir many varied reactions in people. These responses range frm disbelief to terror or even laughter. On the other hand, some people believe that hypnosis can work miracles. All these reactions stem from ideas and information that are untrue.
There are many misconceptions about hypnosis. A simple definition of hypnosis is that it is a state of increased suggestibility and concentration. First of all, DO NOT EXPECT TO GO TO SLEEP or lose touch with reality. You will know everything that is going on around you. On awakening, some people express disappointment with the experience. They insist that they have heard everything that was going on or that they were unaffected by the hypnotist. This arises out of misconceptions they entertain concerning the nature of hypnosis. The lack of consciousness and amnesia which they possibly anticipate is not experienced by the vast majority of people. Nevertheless, although the individual may consciously believe that their trance was extremely light or that they had not been hypnotically affected, the suggestions which have been made to them in most cases will exercise influence, unless the person deliberately sets out to prove that the suggestions will not work.
Some people will, on waking, insist that they have not been hypnotized. This attitude may be maintained even though it may be demonstrated to the person that they cannot open their eyes or pull both hands apart, or whatever challenge is put to them. Even then, some people will insist that despite this evidence, they could have opened their eyes or pulled their hands apart, if they had wished to do so.
The majority of people who insist that they have only experienced a light trance or not at all should realize that it is perfectly normal that they should hear external noises and maintain rapport with the hypnotist and remember everything that went on. In other words, on awakening, you should feel no different than you did before being hypnotized, but the effects will be there. To quote the June 1977 issue of "Psychology Today":
People who are hypnotized for the first time are frequently disappointed to find that they experience nothing overwhelming. They feel mildly relaxed but they remain in touch with reality and in control of their thoughts. They may discover that the hypnotist's suggestions are quite resistable. Contrary to what most people believe, a person under hypnosis need not fall asleep, or lose contact with his surroundings or reinquish his will. He is often able to recall everything that happened during the trance and will act perfectly normal.
Physicians, Psychologists, and Hypnotherapists have used hypnosis as a valuable tool in solving such problems as sleep disturbance, concentration and memory, fears and phobias, stuttering and control of pain and asthma. Hypnosis has also been helpful in treating smoking, overeating, alcholism, bust development, skin conditions such as acne and warts, and so on.
Hypnosis is a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Remember, the hypnotherapist needs your cooperation, as all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. All the hypnotherapist does is guide you into it.