Frequently Asked Questions about Hypnosis
People who have never been fortunate enough to experience the benefits of hypnosis typically have similar questions when considering it for the first time:
Can I be forced into trance or be made to do things against my will?
No. Hypnosis is a 100% consent state. Your subconscious mind is always in complete control when you are in the theta state and it can only take suggestions that it is given in the best way. You cannot be forced to do or say anything while in trance that you would not do outside of hypnosis.
But what about those stage shows I’ve seen with people acting foolishly?
It is true that people will follow commands under hypnosis, but those participants volunteer to get up on the stage and agree to do what the hypnotist tells them. Listen carefully to see how the hypnotist asks for this agreement. If he doesn’t think someone will be cooperative, he will ask them to leave the stage. People are asked to do silly things, but if the requests went against someone’s true values, they would not cooperate – and remember, the show is meant to be funny. It is also quite common that there are “plants” in the audience that will help the comedian/hypnotist look good, and there are people who will fake being in trance in order to make the show, or themselves, more entertaining.
Does it really work and is it guaranteed?
There are thousands of documented cases where hypnosis has been successfully used for pain management, used to ease stress, in dental issues and childbirth, in helping the underlying conditions of irritable bowel syndrome, sleep problems, losing weight, smoking cessation and more. A hypnotist can provide no guarantees. Because you are a participant in the process, your desire for a solution to the problem and your willingness to participate in the process are critically important to its success. You are the one who is in control and the hypnotist is there to guide you. As with any professional from whom you seek assistance, you should seek a trusting relationship and have confidence in the person’s ability to assist you in meeting your goals.
Can everyone be hypnotized and how does it work?
Everyone can be hypnotized if they are willing. Contrary to what you’ve seen in the movies, no one can hypnotize someone against their will or ‘make’ them do anything. If this was possible we’d really be able to make the world a better place! We simply help you physically relax and become mentally alert, and through words and tone of voice guide you into the theta or trance state, called somnambulism, where your subconscious mind is able to eliminate negative thoughts and habits and receive positive suggestions that will assist you in achieving your desired goals.
Am I asleep and will I remember anything?
You are not asleep. Sometimes hypnotists use the word sleep, but in hypnosis it means a deep state of physical and mental relaxation with a heightened sense of awareness. You will hear things going on around you, they just won’t seem very important. Everyone is different with what they remember. Some may choose to take a break from my voice and do their own thing for awhile, but the subconscious mind is always listening. Some people may emerge, or ‘awaken’ from hypnosis thinking that it didn’t work because they remember so much – and of course, this is exactly what is supposed to happen! We may even have you open your eyes and talk, and all the while you will still be in trance. All of this is perfectly normal.
Will it work the first time?
For some people and some issues the answer is yes. But like some headaches, one aspirin isn’t always enough. For most, it takes multiple sessions to fully achieve their goal. We use a process that typically requires 6 sessions, for some more.
Do you practice medicine or psychotherapy?
No. We are not doctors or psychological counselors, and do not diagnose or treat any physical or mental health problems. We will never suggest that you discontinue any prescribed treatment or medications, as that is for a medical doctor to determine. If you are being treated for a diagnosed condition, we require that you get a referral from your doctor or therapist. We may coordinate with doctors or therapists concerning issues such as pain management, reducing stress, changing habitual patterns such as smoking and overeating, and other habitual or behavioral issues. To clarify even further: Psychotherapy means the diagnosis and conversational treatment of mental disease. Hypnosis (or some use the word hypnotherapy) or hypnotism means the use of trance and suggestion to adjust habits of thought, feelings and behavior.