Friday, December 4, 2015

What is Hypnosis

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If your only contact with hypnosis has been seeing a hypnotist perform on stage, then you might think hypnosis is simply a form of entertainment. While hypnosis can be used for entertainment (and some people have made a lot of money doing just that!) it´s only part of the story. Hypnosis is so much more than that.

Believe it or not, hypnosis is entirely natural. Any ideas you might have held about it being a mysterious art should be disposed of completely. The image of a caped demon forcing you to look into his eyes and subequently turning you into a zombie, incapable of doing anything other than what your 'master' commands, is a lot of nonsense. It might make for good television or stretch the special effects department working on a Hollywood blockbuster, but in truth these represntations are little more than exaggerations of certain aspects of hypnosis.

Real hypnosis is at work all around us. It´s there in the advertising, we read in newspapers and magazines or see on the television. You feel it when you´re driving your car from A to B down a stretch of road you know well, only to realize when you reacht point B that you have no memory of the actual journey itself. Or you might experience it if you´re an artist or musician, becoming so engrossed in your activitiy that you are oblivious what´s going on around you, even sometimes not hearing the telephone ring or a knock on the door.

When a person becomes hypnotized, the hypnotist frequently says things like 'deeper into sleep', or 'your eyes are getting heavier, you cannot keep them open, you´re going deeper and deeper to sleep'. The truth is, though, that when someone is hypnotized, he or she is not asleep but in an altered state of consciousness. This altered state has many names, but the best way to describe it is like being in a trance, where you are not quite awake but not quite asleep either.

It happens to everyone. When you come home after a hard day´s work and sit watching the television, sometimes you doze of. You´re not asleep because you can vaguely hear everything that´s going on around you. You might often wake up with a jolt, realizing that you drifted of for a moment. That time just before you get jolted back to reality is what feels like to be  hypnotized: vagualy aware of things but not fully conscious; not quite asleep but not completely awake.

So a hypnotized person may look asleep, but he or she is not. In order for hypnosis to work, the subject has to be awake. By bringing him or her into trance, the hypnotist makes it appear that the subject is sleeping, when in fact he or she is still conscious but in a state of increased relaxation.

Another thing to remember about hypnosis is that it requires focused concentration. Once a subject is in trance, the hypnotist can skillfully manipulate the thoughts of that person and make them focus on a single topic or idea. That´s when the hypnotist works with the subject to help him/her stop smoking, lose weight, overcome a phobia, etc. Or for a stage hypnotist that´s the time when the subject will be given suggestions about responding to a piece of music, an action or a series of word or phrases.

When you are asleep, your powers of concentration shut down and you are unable to respond to suggestions. So when a subject gets to relaxed that he/she falls asleep, the hypnotist must postpone the session or dismiss the subject until a later date.


We know know tha hypnosis is a natural state that can be entered into at almost any time of day. In fact, scientific evidence has shown that we go in and out of hypnosis many times throughout every single day. So there´s absolutely nothing for you to fear from this completely natural state of being.


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