People go to hypnotists for different reasons. Some want help with a problem. Some have heard that hypnosis is a good tool for developing and refining skills. A few probably are simply curious to see what hypnosis feels like. If you are thinking about giving hypnosis a try, here are some things to know.
For starters, hypnosis is a powerful technique, but not all people who call themselves hypnotists know how to use it effectively and safely. That takes training and experience, which means you are best advised to go to a qualified professional. In Australia, you won’t go wrong if you see someone who is an active member of the Australian Hypnotherapy Association.
Given that, here are some other things you might want to know:
First off, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. The hypnotist does not put you into a trance, but instead acts as a guide and partner to help you find your way into the hypnotic state. The hypnotist will make suggestions and offer images, and will observe your responses to help fine tune things, but you are in charge. You decide when and how you will go into a trance, and what you will do there.
Also, you will choose your own way to enter a trance. What works to help one person go into an altered state won’t necessarily work for someone else. There are lots of tapes and CD’s out there that might be able to induce a trance for you, but if that particular approach doesn’t fit your personal style, you have wasted your time and money. That is why it is better to see a trained clinical hypnotist who will work with you as the unique individual you are.
Although just about anyone can go into a trance, it is easier for some than for others. How quickly and easily you enter a trance is a function of your own mental makeup. Some people can go into a hypnotic state by just thinking about it. Other people have to work at it. Once again, a skilled hypnotist or hypnotherapist will help you maximize your ability to achieve a useful trance.
Once you are in an altered state, just how you use it will depend in part on what you can think of as your trance talents. In everyday life, different people have different abilities they are born with. Some are highly athletic, and some are not. Some people are great at mathematics, and some can hardly add two numbers together. Some of us sing like angels, and some of us can hardly carry a tune. Trance talents are also innate. For instance, some people have an ability, which the hypnotist can help them develop, to numb out physical pain. Other people may be better at distracting themselves to avoid pain. Once again, a skilled hypnotist or hypnotherapist will help a person identify and use their trance talents.
Because you are in charge, you will also be safe. Even in a deep trance, there will be a part of you that stays aware of what is happening, and if anything makes you too uncomfortable, you will pop right out of the trance.
Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness. It is not just suggestibility. In the trance state your brain waves are different. You are much more focused, much more able to concentrate on specific thoughts, or feelings, or memories, and you are open to the inner levels of your mind. However, just how that will feel is not something you can predict beforehand, except that it will feel pretty good. You may find yourself extremely alert, or kind of fuzzy. You may hear every word the hypnotist says, or hardly anything. Your body may feel half asleep, or wide awake.
Next, a hypnotic state is not permanent. You can’t get trapped in one. Even without the hypnotist’s assistance, you will always come back to a normal waking state. However, it is also true that, just as some people go into a trance more easily, and deeper, some people come out more slowly. Once the hypnotic session is over, give yourself a little time to be sure that you are all the way back. If you are going to be driving, take a walk around the block before you get into your car.
Also, the work you do in a hypnotic session does not end as soon as the session is over. Usually, there will be a period of consolidation, of your mind, rearranging things, re-ordering experiences, and looking at your life in a new way. So whether it is your first hypnotic session or a later one, it can be beneficial to give yourself some quiet time afterwards to let things settle.