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1. What is hypnosis?

It is a pleasant, voluntary, state of relaxed attentive concentration, an altered state of consciousness, during which the conscious, critical mind is relaxed and relatively inactive, and the doorway to the subconscious, inner mind is opened with a person's permission. In this comfortable state, suggestibility is heightened, mental absorption is increased, the senses are heightened, and the imagination is activated in a controlled manner. The inner mind is more receptive to acceptable, beneficial suggestions.

2. Can a person be hypnotized against his or he will?

No. You cannot be hypnotized against your will. You must be a willing subject. Your hypnotist must have your full cooperation.

3. Can a person in hypnosis be made to bark like a dog or cluck like a chicken?

No. This is not what happens in Therapeutic or Clinical Hypnosis. On the other hand, volunteers during Stage Hypnosis shows, which are for entertainment purposes only, will typically go along with the Stage Hypnotist's suggestions as long as it is all in good fun and for entertainment purposes. This is not the context of Clinical Hypnosis.

4. Will I be asleep?

No. When a person is in hypnosis, he or she is not asleep. You are very much aware of all that is going on. Often, in hypnosis, one's senses become more aware. Of course, if a person is tired, it is possible to fall asleep during hypnosis. However, then, the subject is asleep and no longer in hypnosis. In actuality, when this occurs, the state of sleep is a light but relaxing state of sleep. A simple suggestion to wake up given by the hypnotist is all that is required to rouse the subject.

5. Is it possible that a subject could not be brought out of hypnosis?

No, it is not possible. You cannot get stuck in hypnosis because you do not lose control when you are hypnotized. You retain full control over your mind and body. Sometimes people feel so relaxed and comfortable in hypnosis that they may wish to remain in that state for a little longer. However, a simple suggestion for awakening (or alerting) is all that is needed to bring a subject back into a Waking State even if the subject has fallen asleep. Most importantly, a subject can come out of hypnosis any time he or she wants.

6. Will I tell any secrets while in hypnosis?

No. Hypnosis is not a truth serum. You retain full control over what you say. You would not say anything in a Hypnotic State that you would not say in a Waking State.

7. Who can be hypnotized?

Anyone who can pay attention and follow instructions can be hypnotized if they want to be. People will vary, however, as to the extent and depth to which they can be hypnotized.

8. Is deep hypnosis necessary?

For most purposes, deep hypnosis is not necessary. Usually, in a therapeutic setting, a light degree of hypnosis is all that is necessary for experiencing the therapeutic benefits of hypnosis.

9. What is Self Hypnosis?

This is hypnosis that is induced by the person himself without the help of a hypnotist. Some experts say that all hypnosis is self hypnosis since the hypnotist, in actuality, is not doing anything to the subject, but rather guiding the subject into the hypnotic state of consciousness with the subject's permission. Because the subject permits it to happen, he or she is really hypnotizing himself or herself with the assistance of the hypnotist.

10. What are the benefits of Self Hypnosis?

The main benefit of learning and practicing Self Hypnosis is to begin and continue a process of positive self-change. The regular use of Self Hypnosis helps the continuation of healthy changes in behaviors, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes. Self Hypnosis builds your ability to control your mind and body.

11. How do I actually get into a hypnotic trance?

There a several ways of “inducing” hypnosis. Most clinicians who practice hypnosis have a preferred method. However, a skillful clinician will choose a method that fits the needs of the client or patient. The hypnosis professional gives you carefully worded instructions to follow with the goal of helping you enter a state of relaxation and focused attention. For this induction to be effective, you must cooperate as an active participant in the process.

12. How does hypnosis work?

Once the hypnotic state in induced and a doorway to the subconscious mind is opened, with you permission, the competent clinician can provide information, in a language and form that the subconscious can accept, to help you change the behaviors, feelings and thoughts that you want to change. We use the fact that the subconscious mind has the ability (actually the tendency) to accept what it imagines as real. This can greatly reduce the felt stress of changing unhealthy habits to healthy habits.

13. What role does the Subconscious Mind play?

The Subconscious Mind, or Inner Mind, controls all of our living functions that keep us alive, as well as all of our automatic behavior patterns. But the subconscious is not easily communicated with as is the Conscious Mind. Information is placed in the subconscious mind basically in three ways: through trauma, through repetition, and through the language of hypnosis. So, hypnosis is the quickest and most efficient way to access the subconscious and make changes in behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings. Sometimes making those changes creates some internal discomfort and stress. Old habits typically resist efforts to change them. Once the subconscious is informed that you want to change, and once it knows that it is in your best interest to be helped to change, it has no choice but to help you change. Then the two parts of the mind, the Conscious and the Subconscious, can work together in cooperation with little tension or stress. Remember, what you can conceive you can achieve, and the subconscious has a tendency to accept what it imagines as real.

14. What are some of the benefits of hypnosis?

*help relaxation *relieve tension *relieve pain *lessen anxiety *eliminate phobias *improve self confidence *change harmful habits *stop smoking *improve concentration *improve study habits *relieve insomnia *improve healing *preparation for surgery and other medical procedures.

15. What can hypnosis “cure”?

Hypnosis is not a “cure”. It is a tool to be used in therapy or treatment by a professional who is qualified to give that treatment.

A final word…

When choosing a qualified clinical hypnosis practitioner, it is best to make sure you'll be working with someone who is properly trained and with whom you feel comfortable. Consumer beware. The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH), the largest national organization of licensed health professionals who use hypnosis advises on its official web site ( ) that, just as in choosing any health professional, you use care in selecting a clinical hypnosis practitioner.

“Lay hypnotists” are people who are trained in hypnosis but lack formal professional health-care training and lack state licensure. There is no way to evaluate the nature, quality, or validity or their hypnosis training or previous academic background and schooling since their practice is not state regulated. A lay hypnotist may claim to be “certified in hypnotherapy”, and start a hypnotherapy or hypnosis practice after taking a three-day weekend course! Watch out!

Most licensed health-care professionals first attended college for four years and earned a bachelor's degree before continuing on to graduate school. Professionals in this category usually are Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs),Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs), Psychologists (Ph.D., Psy.D. or Ed.D). These are the people best trained to deal with psychological issues. Doctors, dentists, and nurses also are often well trained in hypnosis. Check for membership in the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis or the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. These are the only nationally recognized organizations in the United States for licensed health-care professionals using hypnosis. If you have any doubts about a person's qualifications, keep looking.