Hypnosis is a naturally occurring state that everyone experiences every day. It is simply a state of being very focused on something.
When you are watching a great movie and you really get into it, you are in a heightened state of focus. When you read a good book and lose yourself in the plot, you are in a heightened state of focus When your kids play a video game and they are so engrossed they don't hear you tell them to come for dinner, they are in a heightened state of focus.
In other words, when you focus so intently on something that the "real" world fades into the background and you're not aware of it anymore, you could be said to be in a trance or hypnosis. This is a state of high suggestibility. Whatever you focus on goes directly into your subconscious.
This is a naturally occurring mental state similar to hypnosis that we all move in and out of at various times during the day. Some of these times might include:
*meditation and prayer
*reading a good book
*watching a good movie
*playing video games
*exercising intently/in the Zone
*participating in sports
*listening to a good speaker
*getting lost in thoughts
*laughing with our friends
*and many more.
We easily and comfortably shift in and out of the hypnotic-like state whenever we do something we truly enjoy, we focus closely on a task, or we move into "the zone". A good tennis player, it can be said, is in a state of self-hypnosis when she focuses closely on her game, her opponent, and the ball. The same can be said for the basketball player standing at the free throw line. He needs to narrow his focus to the ball and the basket. And when he does this, he is in a state of self-hypnosis.
In fact, some people say that "all hypnosis is self-hypnosis".
Can I be hypnotized? Everyone is born with a natural talent for hypnosis. The process of focusing is an innate ability. It is one of the traits of being human. Watch young children as they are learning and playing. They focus so clearly on what they are doing that often times the rest of the world disappears. They can go into their own minds and imagine the world exactly as they want it to be, and be completely unaware of their surroundings. Ever wonder why they can't hear you when you call?
There are some things, however, that block our natural ability. As we grow up, we develop certain ideas and beliefs from our parents, teachers, friends, culture... These beliefs may or may not be true, but if we believe them, they are true for us. Before the 1400's, people believed the world was flat. They made decisions based on that belief. Because they feared that they would sail off the ends of the earth, they didn't explore the world as they might have until someone was ready to challenge that belief.
We have personal beliefs that function the same way. One belief might be that you cannot be hypnotized, and if you believed that, you are right. It would be very difficult to hypnotize you until we worked through the fears and erroneous thoughts about what hypnosis is. But that doesn't change the fact that the potential for hypnosis and all the wonderful benefits of being in the hypnotic state lies still within you. It is simply a matter of tapping into your talents.
You may also have tried hypnosis before and been told by the person trying to hypnotize you, that you can't be hypnotized. When someone tells you this, it indicates that they are not very competent as a hypnotist, not that you can't be hypnotized. Everyone has the potential for hypnosis; there may be unconscious blocks or an unwillingness to allow the relaxation. Some people are so used to being stressed and tense that when they begin to relax they feel threatened and uncomfortable. This can successfully block the process.
Once again, hypnosis-like states are natural to everyone, and each person can choose to allow hypnosis to happen or not. If someone is resistant to hypnosis, it usually indicates that they do not have a clear understanding of hypnosis, or they don't trust the hypnotist, or they are uncomfortable with the situation... there are as many reasons as there are people. We've all had experiences that make us reluctant to try something as different as hypnosis. But that doesn't matter because we can always learn and change. That's what hypnosis is all about, after all... the ability to change and grow.
What does Hypnosis feel like? Have you ever meditated? Been deeply relaxed? Of course you have. And this is exactly what it feels like. It is very similar to that deep feeling of relaxation you get as you are drifting off to sleep. When your body relaxes deeply, it can feel like you are floating on a cloud. You might get a pleasant tingle sensation in your body which is simply a result of the relaxation as your muscles release their stress. Your blood pressure drops and you feel like you are just drifting along. It is the same feeling you get when you are slowly waking in the morning, and your mind is drifting on pleasant images, and your body is so calm and relaxed.
Many people get the same benefits through prayer. When we are focused on love and appreciation, when we allow the love from our Creator to flow through us, we can experience tranquility and healing.
In our modern world, it can be very challenging to find tranquility and peace. Hypnosis, and eventually self-hypnosis, is an excellent way to take yourself out of the hustle and stress. And it has an added benefit: you can make changes in the problem areas in your life while you relax and release the stress. It is life enhancing and for some it can be life saving.
TRY THIS EXERCISE: Take a deep breath, a really deep breath, all the way down into your abdominal cavity. Breath slowly in to a count of 4, then hold the breath for another count of 4, then slowly release the breath to a count 4. Count as slowly as you are comfortable with your breath. Visualize the stress leaving your body as you exhale, and imagine tranquility entering your body with each breath you take in. Do this for 5 breaths, allowing yourself to relax more deeply with each breath. You have taken the first step towards self-hypnosis. And doesn't it feel GREAT?
The hypnotist made me do it! We are all aware of the fun and merriment evoked by stage hypnotists. It's all good fun, but it seems like they are able to "make" people do things that they wouldn't normally do. Nobody wants to be made a fool of in front of a huge audience, Right? Well, not really. Many people really enjoy having a good excuse to act "the fool" and entertain others. It's fun, and they like being the center of attention.
The stage hypnotist is an expert at spotting those people who are highly suggestible (easily hypnotized) and want to be the center of attention. Being able to pretend that they are not in control, they can do silly things and entertain others without being held responsible, and this makes some folks very happy.
An example might be a post hypnotic suggestion. While in hypnosis, the hypnotist tells the volunteer that when he hears the word, "yesterday", he will have an irresistible urge to waddle across the stage and quack like a duck. After bringing everyone out of hypnosis, the word "yesterday" is worked into the stage patter and all of sudden our volunteer jumps up and starts waddling like a duck, quacking over and over, while he struts around the stage. Our volunteer is having a great time.
However, the volunteer will not continue to do this when he is no longer on the stage, as it would not be appropriate. The post hypnotic suggestion is NOT stronger than the volunteer's good sense.
There is a down side to stage hypnosis. Many people come away thinking that all hypnosis is stage hypnosis. This couldn't be further from the truth.
When you go to see a reputable hypnotist, you will discover that she wants the best for you, not to make a fool of you. The well-trained hypnotist will be looking for ways to help you help yourself. Properly used in a therapeutic setting, the post hypnotic suggestion can carry a big impact on the process. Instead of grabbing a cigarette, for example, the client may find herself grabbing a tooth pick, or taking a walk. What an awesome change!
Will I give up my self control? Some folks have a concern that when they are "asleep" the hypnotist can make them do things they wouldn't want to do. They are concerned about being taken advantage of.
First of all, let's get rid of the notion that being in hypnosis is like "being asleep". Nothing is further from the truth. Just as if you were focused on a great book or movie, you are awake and alert.
Even though the hypnotist has contact with your deep subconscious, your conscious mind always remains awake and vigilant, like an overseer of your experience. You are always in control of what you say or do. All hypnosis is really self hypnosis, with the trained hypnotist acting as the guide to help you resolve your issues. The client is ALWAYS IN CHARGE, the hypnotist simply guides and shows the way to the issue's resolution.
An example might be someone who wants to quit smoking. At least that's what they say to family and friends. But if they truly enjoy smoking and are not ready to give it up, no amount of coercion will make them stop. A hypnotist can make suggestions and work on the deep seated reasons for smoking, but if the smoker wants to smoke, she will.
What about secrets, you ask. Will I be forced while hypnotized to tell my deepest, darkest secrets? Of course not. Hypnosis is not a truth serum, it can't make you say or do anything you don't want to do regardless of the bad movies out of Hollywood. Most of the time, the client will simply not respond to the hypnotist if she doesn't want to share.
However, what I've found is that most people truly desire to cooperate and release the issue that brought them in. So as long as the client understands why the hypnotist is asking certain questions, she is usually more than happy to cooperate. But if signals get crossed, the client can and will become unresponsive. Hypnosis is a cooperative venture, after all, not something that someone "does" to someone else. To work together as a team requires trust and cooperation from both participants.
How does hypnosis work? When you are relaxed and in a focused state, a trained hypnotist can bypass the conscious mind and talk directly to the subconscious. This is where deep, lasting work can be achieved, for the unconscious is where almost all of our thoughts, actions and beliefs originate. So, for example, if you want to quit smoking, the hypnotist will make suggestions directly to the subconscious, letting the subconscious know what is needed and why. This information comes from the pre-hypnotic discussions between the client and the hypnotist. The client will have agreed on the goals and the language used will be a reflection of the client's words.
Back to our smoker: if the reason for desiring to quit is because she is pregnant and she is thinking of the health and wellbeing of her baby, this is a very powerful motivation. The hypnotist will include this in discussions with the subconscious and will endeavor to change the motivations arising from this part of the client's consciousness. Often, after these types of experiences, the subconscious will totally shut down any desire or need for a smoke, since the reasons for quitting far outweigh the reasons for continuing.
But why doesn't this happen without hypnosis? It does. However some people need a bit more help than others. Some people have a strong will, but even they may find that they are always struggling with the issue. Whereas someone who has sought help through hypnosis, may not have any lasting issues to struggle with. Their concerns and desires have been eliminated. With a well-trained hypnotist, the client can deal with these issues once and be done with them.
So how does this work? The hypnotist relaxes the client into a deep state of hypnosis or trance, and with the help of the client's conscious mind, suggestions are planted deep into the subconscious. The subconscious evaluates the worth of these suggestions and the reasons they are made, and accepts them. The behavior that flows from the subconscious to the conscious mind is now altered, and the behavior can be easily changed. Our smoker no longer feels the need or desire to smoke. This may take several sessions to reinforce the changes in the subconscious, but once accomplished, it is done.
What can hypnosis help me with? Hypnosis can help with just about anything you need help with, depending on the training of the hypnotist. Hypnosis is excellent at changing limiting beliefs such as fears. These might include fear of flying; fear of spiders, snakes, etc.; fear of public speaking; fear of heights; fear of water; and many more fears that can be crippling for an individual.
Life requires that we face our fears everyday, and for most of us it isn't a problem. But for that businessman who has to fly for his company, a fear of flying can be catastrophic. And the woman who is afraid to leave her house, will not be able to live a normal life. If a promotion depends on public speaking, it could be tragic for the executive who is afraid to be on a stage. Too many of us live with fear every day and we keep silent about it for fear of ridicule. Why should we live this way, when there is relief in just a few sessions?
So what else besides fears can hypnosis help with?
As we have already mentioned, behavioral issues such as smoking. It c an also be used for:
Some hypnotists work with doctors to provide their clients with relief for chronic pain. Others focus on natural birthing without pain or drugs, and dental phobias. These providers have received special training in these areas, so be sure to ask your doctor about pain free dentistry, childbirth, chronic pain relief or other medical concerns.
And finally, hypnosis can be used for help with anger and rage issues.
Can hypnosis help my golf game? Anything that requires focused attention can benefit from hypnosis training. Just imagine how much better you could be if you learned how to focus in on a task, and then allowed yourself to follow through. In any sport, once you have trained your body to do the work, the next step is letting go. By that I mean allowing your conscious mind to get out of the way. This is wonderful for the student who has studied and now must pass a test, and for the athlete who has trained her body and now must get out of her way and allow it to do the job right.
When the golfer is preparing for the putt, when the basketball player prepares for the free throw, when the soccer goalie sees the game coming to him, these are the times when we need to be able to turn off the self-sabotaging talk in our minds and just let our instincts and training take over.
Is this difficult to do? For some, most definitely. Have you ever done something and just have it flow? ...like "being in the zone"? Another time you might try to do the exact same thing, but it gets fumbled. No zone there.
Through hypnosis you can learn to shut off the inner chatter and get with the NOW moment. This makes all the difference when it comes to success, whether in the sports arena, academic fields or the business world. Often we are our own worst enemies.
For the individual in sales, or running a business, being able to get your inner chatter out of the way will allow you to do what instinctively you know is needed. This is a boon beyond imagining.
Hypnosis can give you the edge over the competition. When its one on one, and the outcome is entirely up to you, you need to be able to focus on the task at hand and see it through. Whether a free throw or a run down the soccer field, a tough sales call or a meeting with the banker, preparing for the SAT or taking a history test, it is important to be on target and focused. Through hypnosis and other techniques, you can learn to quiet the chattering mind and allow your physical and mental training to shine. THE STAR WITHIN YOU CAN SHINE AT IT'S BRIGHTEST.
What are some of the benefits of Hypnosis? Every day we face stress, in our jobs, with road rage, finances... Stress doesn't just disappear because we ignore it. Stress tends to build up in our bodies and create more stress with physical and emotional ailments.
One of the greatest gifts that hypnosis offers is the ability to take mini vacations. By learning and using self-hypnosis every day, you can learn to relax and release the stresses that we experience. 15 minutes set aside once or twice a day just for some deep relaxation, can do more for your health and well-being than just about anything else you can do. Just like petting your dog or cat, taking a few minutes to yourself and letting go of the stress in your muscles and mind can be very healthy.
For the budding young genius who is stressed with those exams several times a year, learning to relax while studying and before the test can be a huge boon both for success in school as well as personal and emotional well-being.
Self hypnosis allows you to take charge of your life in a new way. Sleep better, retain what you learn, feel more comfortable with yourself, take the edge off the stress of living in our modern world. There are many benefits to hypnosis, but perhaps none so powerful as for our young people who can learn to take control of stress BEFORE it becomes established in their bodies. School issues can carry over into the future and keep our children from being all they can be. Our children deserve the BEST, so give them the tools they need to build a more successful, powerful life for themselves and their future families. HELP THEM BE THE BEST OF THE BEST FOR ALL OUR TOMORROWS!
What should I look for in a hypnotist? One of the first things to look for is a hypnotherapist who is certified. This means that they have completed a training program that has been certified by one or more of the major hypnosis organizations, such as the National Guild of Hypnotists, American Board of Hypnotherapy, International Association of Counselors and Therapists, among others.
It is important to make sure that the person you choose to see has appropriate credentials and has been appropriately trained. Don't be afraid to ask where she was trained and what organizations she belongs to. You can look these organizations up on the internet and verify the requirements to join.
While there is a requirement for certification through one of these boards, an excellent therapist may not necessarily have a college degree. A good hypnotherapist does not pretend to be a psychologist or psychiatrist although a psychologist or psychiatrist may also use hypnosis. The hypnotist should understand her limitations and be willing to work with your therapist or medical doctor, if necessary, to achieve the benefits you seek.
Many hypnotists work with medical doctors and dentists on many issues. Chronic pain, childbirth, anesthesia, fear of the dentist, are just a few. Some hypnotists train specifically for the medical arena.
The hypnotist's qualifications for the work you are seeking is the #1 priority when selecting a hypnotist. Some hypnotists have large offices and wellness centers, while others have home offices. Again, this has little bearing on the hypnotist's qualifications. Their training, certification and experience are what tell the story about their qualifications to be of assistance to you. And remember, the work you do with a hypnotist remains absolutely confidential.
Current Research Findings about hypnosis:
According to: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
*As of December 2004, there are more than 5,000 clinical research studies having to do with hypnosis and its benefits currently being conducted worldwide.
*As of December 15, 2004 results from more than 3,000 clinical research studies are available showing positive benefits from hypnosis.
In an ongoing pilot study being done by the University of Florida counseling psychologist, Paul Schauble, preliminary results show hypnotized patients with hypertension are more easily able to make lifestyle improvements that can lower blood pressure.
18 separate studies found that patients who received cognitive behavioral therapy plus hypnosis for disorders such as obesity, insomnia, anxiety and hypertension showed greater improvements than 70 percent of the patients who received psychotherapy alone.