Frequently Asked Questions about Hypnosis
Q. What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a process by which an individual is guided to an altered state of consciousness characterized by deep relaxation. Perceptions, such as the slowing down of time, and a shift from analytic to synesthetic thinking, wherein the mind shows less dependence on logic and a greater receptivity to sensations and feelings are the characteristics of a hypnotic state. The resulting change in perception and thinking is known as a trance state.
Q. How long has hypnosis been practiced?
Hypnosis is one of the world's oldest sciences. Amazingly, ancient hieroglyphics show that the Egyptians were using hypnosis as early as 3,000 B.C. There is evidence the Greeks and the Mayans understood it and used it as well. Like other sciences, hypnotism has had its experimenters, its pioneers, its lucky guessers, and its experts.
Q. Will I bark like a dog, or be told do something I don't want to do?
This is a myth perpetuated by stage shows where a hypnotist makes people do silly things for entertainment purposes. The participants will only follow the orders of a stage hypnosis if they wish to follow along. Perhaps you have ideas from Hollywood movies, most recently notable "Get Out," where hypnosis was used as mind control. Stage acts are just that acts, and movies alter reality for entertainment, as well. A hypnotized person always has control and can always hear what's going on.
Q. Will I lose control?
This, too, is a myth. You always have control, and you can always hear what's going on. Hypnosis is simply a state of relaxed deep focus. It is a natural state that you enter at least twice a day (while waking up and while falling asleep!), and probably much more often than that. If at any time you are in trance and you wish to be fully awake, you can simply open your eyes.
Q. My friend tried hypnosis to quit smoking and it didn't work. Why?
More is needed to change a serious habit like smoking than a few hypnotic suggestions. First, the person must want the change, and they must have a replacement for smoking, which a qualified hypnotherapist can assist a client with healthy, effective replacement behaviors that can be used to help shift the subconscious toward the new, healthy habits. Also, it is important to find a qualified practitioner that you have a rapport with, who can customize the approach, language and replacement suggestions to match your lifestyle and circumstances.
Q.What is the unconscious mind?
The unconscious mind represents that part of your life experience of which you are unaware. We typically operate within the conscious mind 10% of the time and in the unconscious mind 90% of the time. The unconscious holds patterns developed in childhood, memories, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Freud posited that the unconscious mind is the primary source of human behavior. When it comes to your health and healing, the unconscious dimension of your mind is as important as your conscious mind. Neuroscience confirms that much of what we experience as symptoms of the mind and body are related to processes and responses within us that occur at an unconscious level. In fact, neuroscientist Candace Pert believes that part of the unconscious mind may actually be in the body, at the level of cellular memory.
Q. What is a hypnotherapist, and how is hypnotherapy different from hypnosis?
A practitioner who utilizes hypnosis as a primary tool for assisting clients to achieve their goals, to increase motivation, or to alter behavioral patterns. A hypnotherapist often differs from other healing art practitioners by focusing on the role of subconscious/unconscious behaviors and influences on the client’s life.
In the hypnotic state, with the facilitation of a clinically trained hypnotherapist, a client can resolve long-standing issues. He or she can regress to actually re-experience early traumas, connect with the inner child, install resource states for continued healing, and complete unresolved developmental tasks by establishing an internal loving nurturing parent.
Q. What are the differences between hypnosis and hypnotherapy?
While hypnosis and hypnotherapy are in the same “family,” they are very different from each other. The core difference is that hypnotherapy is an internationally-recognized therapy technique for treating mental issues. Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis to break through to the subconscious to better understand the foundation of the issues a client is facing.
Q. What is the Inner Child?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the inner child is "the childlike usually hidden part of a person's personality that is characterized by playfulness, spontaneity, and creativity usually accompanied by anger, hurt, and fear attributable to childhood experiences." This is an important aspect of the self to tap during hypnosis to heal negative childhood experiences, and to bring forth deeply held desires and dreams.