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What is Hypnosis?

By Brandon Sprout, C.Ht, CLC



Hypnosis can be explained as a state of human consciousness involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness with an enhanced capacity to respond to suggestion. A simpler way to put this is that it is a state of hyper-suggestibility. The term may also refer to an art, skill, or act of inducing hypnosis. During hypnosis, a person is said to have heightened focus and concentration. The person can concentrate intensely on a specific thought or memory, while blocking out sources of distraction. Hypnotized subjects are said to show an increased response to suggestions. Hypnosis is usually induced by a procedure known as a hypnotic induction involving a series of preliminary instructions and suggestion. The use of hypnotism for therapeutic purposes is referred to as “hypnotherapy”. Another way one can define Hypnosis: an overload of message units which disorganizes the critical mind and triggers the fight or flight responses creating hyper suggestibility which then allows access to the subconscious mind.

How does hypnotherapy work? 

Hypnotherapy is the process of using the power of suggestion to create a state of suggestibility in the subconscious mind. Suggestibility simply means open to suggestion. Hypnotic suggestions are used during hypnosis to create the desired changes in your life. A hypnotherapy session is typically an hour in duration with 40 to 50 minutes spent discussing the issue or challenge as well as goals to be achieved in hypnotherapy. The hypnosis part of the session is usually 10 to 20 minutes.

Is hypnosis real? 

Yes, hypnosis is real and scientifically validated. Hypnotic suggestions can be used to alter the sensations and perceptions of hypnotic subjects. Studies in which brain activity is measured show that the way the brain processes information can be altered with hypnosis.

Can anyone be hypnotized? 

Yes, anyone can be hypnotized if they are of average intelligence and have the ability to focus. All that is required is a willingness to be guided into hypnosis. Some people are more easily hypnotized than others. Researchers have developed a hypnotic susceptibility scale to measure susceptibility to hypnosis. On this scale, people are classified as “highs”, “mediums”, or “lows”. The majority of people, (about 80%) are in the “medium” group. They are able to experience many of the effects of hypnotic suggestion and are likely to benefit from its use. About 10% of the population is considered very hypnotizable and roughly 10% are classified as “low”, which means that they don’t respond strongly to hypnosis. However, this low ability to respond to hypnosis can be increased by a skilled hypnotherapist.

What does hypnosis feel like? 

The experience or “feeling” of hypnosis is different for everybody. Most people associate a feeling of relaxation with hypnosis because most hypnotherapists use relaxation techniques in therapy. Physically, people will have different responses to relaxation instructions – some feel heaviness in the body, others, a feeling of lightness or floating. Mentally, responses vary from a feeling of extreme focus or awareness to a profound sense of calm.

Why is it an important resource for therapists and other professionals to know about? 

Hypnotherapy can be a great addition to one who may already be seeing a Therapist, Doctor, Nutritionist, Life Coach, etc. Hypnotherapy can help the client propel faster towards whatever goal or change they may currently be working on with any other practitioner. Sometimes it takes a village. 

How do we know when someone would benefit from seeing a hypnotherapist?

Hypnotherapy can be an effective tool for a variety of things. Some of these include: Any type of Vocational and Avocational self-improvement as well as, smoking cessation, stress reduction, anxiety, building confidence, improving self-esteem, remembering the past, desensitizing fears or phobias and so much more.

How does hypnotherapy help someone’s mental health? 

Disclaimer: please consult with your psychotherapist or doctor before seeing a hypnotherapist as a resource to work on things other than vocational or avocational improvement.

With that said, the truth is there are many ways to improve our mental health like, eating healthy foods, exercising, having goals, getting sunshine, having a healthy space to talk with others about what’s going with you. Hypnotherapy is just another tool we can all use to improve our quality of life. It can help us live less stressed, less anxious life and start living the way we want to experience. Hypnotherapy helps change our perspective. In hypnotherapy, the client chooses how they want to feel and see the world and the Hypnotherapist helps condition that to the subconscious using hypnosis.