How Does Hypnosis Work

If you are new to hypnotherapy, you most likely have questions about what it is, how it works, and how safe it is. There are many fears and misconceptions about what hypnosis is and confusion about how it can be used for therapy.  In the Questions and Answers below, I walk you through what I think you would like to know in order to understand the experience and to value its many benefits. The more you understand the process, the more comfortable you will feel about using it to create the changes you want.

Frequently Asked Questions

» What Is Hypnosis?
» How Does Hypnosis Work?
» Will It Work for Me?
» Will I Lose Control?
» What Does Hypnosis Feel Like?
» Does Everyone Have the Same Experience?
» How Long Will It Take?
» What Happens in a Session?

What Is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a very natural, normal state of mind. You go in and out of hypnosis at least twice a day when you fall asleep and when you awaken. It is simply the transitional state between conscious awareness and sleep, when the conscious mind is either starting to let go so that you can drop down into the sleep state or when you come up from sleep and the conscious mind is starting to re-engage. It’s that soft, relaxed, day-dreamy, not-all-the-way-awake, not-all-the-way-asleep state. The closer you are to being awake, the more alert and aware you feel. The closer you are to the sleep state, the less aware you are and the more relaxed you feel. And just like when you awaken in the morning, you can easily bring yourself out of this state whenever you want.

One of the wonderful things about this state, when the conscious mind is letting go, is that the subconscious mind is more open and accessible. There is a suspension of belief about old perceptions you want to change and you can use the ability of the subconscious mind to create new perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. ↑ Go to Top

How Does Hypnosis Work?

Here is a very simple example of how this works. Let’s say you really like ice cream. It was served at parties when you were a child where you were having lots of fun, being with friends and family, and feeling good about yourself. There are lots of feel-good emotions associated with ice cream. So a belief is formed that ice cream is good.

Now you want to stop eating ice cream for health and weight reasons. Your will power is going full tilt. Your purpose is clear. You do well for about two weeks. Then inside you start missing that good, fun, special feeling you get with ice cream. You want the feeling so you start craving ice cream without even knowing that the two states of mind are connected. And you end up seemingly sabotaging yourself because you give up on your goal when you eat it again. But part of you feels satisfied because you briefly got those good feelings.

This internal perception, coupled with the emotions associated with it, drives your behavior and choices. You know logically that ice cream adds pounds and raises cholesterol. But subconsciously it is associated with that feel-good state of mind. And that state of mind is what determines your choices and your behavior.

With hypnosis you change erroneous beliefs and emotions created in the past to ones that promote better choices and actions based on your present desires.

You change the belief that ice cream makes you feel special and happy to believing you can feel special and happy on your own. It was your mind all along that recreated that good-feeling state of mind, not the ice cream. It simply used ice cream as a cue to go there.

Isn’t it nice to know that you can be in charge of how you feel whenever you want, not through some external source? Now your behavior will match this new belief. Ice cream will no longer have an emotional hold over you, and your eating habits change accordingly. This is the effectiveness of hypnotherapy.

Maybe ice cream isn’t what you use. Maybe you use alcohol or drugs or cigarettes or television to feel good. Or maybe you use procrastination or self-sabotage to avoid feeling bad. Maybe because of abuse or trauma you have a negative self-image. It’s the same principle. With hypnotherapy you can create effective, powerful beliefs and states of mind to achieve the things you want and live a life of personal satisfaction. ↑ Go to Top

Will It Work for Me?

Hypnosis is a completely natural state. Because you fall asleep and awaken, you enter the hypnotic state. You go into a state of hypnosis when you watch movies or television, when you are engrossed in a book or music, even when you are driving. So everyone can enter the state!

But you can’t be forced into the state. Just like no one can force you to go to sleep, no one can force you into hypnosis. So we work together in a collaborative manner. When you are willing to allow yourself to be guided into the state, then it is successful. And I will spend plenty of time explaining hypnosis and the process to you so that you feel safe, comfortable, and eager to allow yourself to be guided into this wonderful, pleasant state.

When you are committed to moving forward, hypnosis and hypnotherapy are very effective methods of healing and change. It’s your desire that determines your success. And I am here to help you focus and target your desire to change. Even if you want to change but are frustrated by prior attempts and feel confused about how to move forward, if the desire is there, we can use hypnotherapy to help you find what it is that has been blocking your progress and then resolve it and create a new mental template. ↑ Go to Top

Will I Lose Control?

No. We are able to speak and communicate with each other while you are hypnotized. You are able to tell me what you are experiencing.

My function is to guide you into a state of mind that you go into naturally on your own. But you may not know how you do it or even when you do it. So I become your teacher and coach and guide you into the state, and then we use it to your benefit to create the changes you want.

Going into hypnosis is similar to watching a movie. You react to the movie as if it were real, with real emotions and physical reactions. That suspension of disbelief — that this isn’t real; it’s only a movie — is hypnosis.

You are in as much control in our sessions as you are when you get involved in the experience of a movie. In fact, sometimes we will actually be working with the internal movies in your mind and changing them to movies that work better for you. ↑ Go to Top

What Does Hypnosis Feel Like?

One of the most powerful and beneficial aspects of hypnosis is possibly the most profound state of relaxation you have ever felt. Even when you fall asleep, you can still carry physical and mental tension into the sleep state. With the profound relaxation you experience in hypnosis, you can enjoy what it feels like to have a completely relaxed body and quiet, still mind. This alone can be one of the greatest gifts of the hypnotic experience. Many times we don’t know how to let go of our racing thoughts and the tension this brings to everything we do. And we can become so accustomed to this state of mind that it begins to feel normal. But evidence of the toll it takes starts presenting itself in the form of inability to relax or sleep, loss of emotional control, lack of focus and concentration, and a myriad of physical complaints.

By practicing deep-state relaxation, you are retraining your body and mind how to let go of physical and mental tension and stress. You achieve the same benefits as meditation, sometimes even more powerfully, in terms of moving out of the fight-flight response and into the relaxation response. People that are frustrated by their inability to meditate will often find success letting go of thoughts with deep-trance hypnosis. And meditators will often find their meditation experience is enhanced by practicing deep-trance hypnosis as well. In many ways, deep-trance hypnosis and meditation achieve a common state of mind and body: a deep, profound stillness and sense of well-being with a totally relaxed body. When practiced consistently, this becomes a state you carry within you at all times, like a new internal core presence that you always return to. You will find your emotional responses more tempered as you become less reactive and more focused and resilient.

And when you do react to life’s challenges, this internal stillness is where you return more quickly and easily.When your mind and body completely let go of all physical and mental tension, the fear and worry you have built up around an issue begin to release as well. In this state of tranquility and peace, your mind can entertain new ways of perceiving things, and the rigid, narrow focus you held around an issue opens up to a more flexible, open perspective, where you have access to more of your internal resources. ↑ Go to Top

Does Everyone Have the Same Experience?

There are a variety of different experiences you may have during hypnosis depending on what we are working on. One type of experience is where you are totally absorbed in my words, a state of alert focus, a pinpointed attention with heightened awareness as all extraneous thoughts fade into the background. This leaves your mind free to focus and imagine as you listen to the suggestions that we have developed together.

Another common experience is where my words trigger images: inner movies complete with internal sounds, physical sensations, emotions. This is the language of your subconscious mind when it is processing information. It feels very much like a waking or lucid dream.

Another experience might be one where your conscious mind drifts off, not paying attention. There may even be a feeling of losing track completely of my words, like being in a state of reverie. Maybe you remember back in school getting so lost in a daydream that you completely stop hearing the teacher. This is also a way of experiencing hypnosis. In this state your subconscious is listening even though your conscious mind has drifted off, and this is the part of you with whom I communicate. ↑ Go to Top

How Long Will It Take?

Hypnosis is often a brief form of therapy. By enlisting your subconscious mind to take us to the root source of a problem, misperceptions are cleared away quickly. Emotions that are held in your body and mind are released. Trauma is healed and released. Old patterns from the past that block you from achieving your goals are transformed.

The results are effective behaviors and positive beliefs about yourself and your abilities. This allows you to live the life you want, to create a present and future based on who you are now and what you believe now.

What determines the number of sessions is the nature of what you want to work on, not the length of time it has existed. Often even seemingly complex issues are quickly resolved with hypnotherapy. A behavior that has been haunting you for a lifetime might be efficiently resolved in eight to twelve sessions, sometimes in as little as six. For many issues often six sessions will bring you the results you want.↑ Go to Top

What Happens in a Session?

The initial consultation is where we get to know each other. I gain a greater understanding of the reason you are choosing hypnotherapy and what the benefits are that you are seeking. I will ask you questions so I understand the nature of your issue, its source, and how it affects your life. I will use this information to structure our sessions together.

If there is a medical issue we will be working on, I will need to obtain a referral from your doctor. This is routine, and most doctors are happy to supply the referral in the interest of helping you.

In this first session, we will also spend time discussing hypnosis, what it is and isn’t, and how it works. There are many myths and confusing stories regarding hypnosis. You will come to understand that you are safe and in control at all times. A hypnotist can’t make you do or say anything that goes against your values or ethics or safety, which is often how it is portrayed in movies or stage shows. It might make for interesting entertainment, but hypnotherapy is very different.

We will address all your questions. In the process, you will come to understand that you are embarking on an amazing journey of discovering how your subconscious mind works and how to harness its ability to take you to your desired outcomes. This process will give you tools and skills that will last a lifetime, well beyond the time of our sessions together.

In following sessions, we will uncover and release the emotional blocks, erroneous beliefs, fears, and misperceptions that are preventing you from achieving your goals, both physically and mentally. Together we will create new mindsets and beliefs free from the limitations of your past conditioning. And then the journey into your future really begins! Your subconscious mind, the most powerful goal-achieving agency known to humankind, will now be set in motion to help you create YOUR future, the one YOU want now. ↑ Go to Top