Hypnosis FAQ

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions (and answers) about Hypnosis

What is hypnosis?

  • This is a hotly debated question, and although scientists still cannot agree a precise definition, it is generally agreed that hypnosis is a process during which people experience an enhanced responsiveness to suggestion.
  • The latest thinking is that we do not enter a special state of mind when hypnotised; however, it is hard to describe the state of inner absorption in any other way. So, the easiest answer is that, “Hypnosis is a state of mind in which there is an altered state of conscious awareness” (For a scholarly article on this subject by a leading psychologist, click here).
  • The state of inner absorption characteristic of hypnosis is one that we might experience when we are intently focused on a sporting activity, or when we are driving and we forget to take a turning because our mind was ‘elsewhere’. In the clinical setting most therapists encourage a hypnotic state through helping the client to relax.

What does this mean?

  • When you experience hypnosis you are not asleep just extremely relaxed (as mentioned above, it isn’t actually necessary to be relaxed, but most people experience hypnosis as relaxation).
  • You remain in control throughout.
  • You cannot be made to do anything against your will, and the therapist has no control over you.
  • You can only be hypnotised if you wish to be.
  • It is not a truth drug – you won’t suddenly reveal all your secrets.
  • You can come out of hypnosis whenever you wish: You are in control.
  • You are aware of everything during hypnosis and, although you may decide to allow your mind to drift off and daydream, you can remember anything you consider important that occurs during hypnosis.
  • Hypnosis is totally non-addictive.
  • No drugs or medications are used. As a result there are no side-effects (other than a sense of calm and wellbeing).

Will it be suitable for me?

  • Almost everyone (roughly 90%) can be hypnotised, but to varying degrees. A very light state is sufficient for most therapy.
  • You may think you are an ‘anxious’ person, or that you can’t relax: in this case learning how to relax by using hypnosis is likely to be of great benefit to you.
  • In addition to the benefits of pure relaxation, hypnosis is a very effective way of enhancing the skills and insights you gain during your CBT therapy – for rehearsing new ways of thinking and behaving, and for embracing new beliefs and attitudes.
  • From a CBT perspective hypnosis is a useful addition to therapy but it’s not essential. So if you don’t fancy the idea of using hypnosis this is fine… your CBT will still work!

What does it feel like / How will I know if I am hypnotised?

  • Most people report that being in hypnosis feels just like dozing in front of the television – you can hear the television in the background, and you know you can get up and switch it off, but you are just too relaxed to be bothered to do so.