H y p n o s i s is a guided trance state of focused attention and heightened suggestibility.
You will know the feeling of it well because we slip in and out of it throughout our day…and access a similar state when we dream at night. Trance has a really important function too - it allows our brain to process and sift through the huge amount of data we encounter and absorb, matching this data to existing templates and patterns of behaviour and creating new ones. When we can’t/don’t process we can become overwhelmed, stressed and depressed.
Being in a trance state is that feeling when you are completely absorbed in something and lose track of time…. when you have driven somewhere familiar on auto pilot and have no recollection of the journey (but get there safely!)… when you hear a familiar piece of music and start reminiscing back to a particular memory it evokes, when you find yourself daydreaming whilst doing a repetitive task like the washing or on the train to work….these are all trance states, the space in our mind where we zoom out from the present moment.
'Losing our temper' is an example of a negative trance state, our attention is narrowed and we are entirely focused on the thing or person we are angry about.
H y p n o t h e r a p y is a safe and effective modality that utilises language patterns such as metaphors and the natural human state of trance to work with the subconscious, bypassing the logical conscious mind. It is deeply relaxing for the physical body as it is still and resting whilst the subconscious mind is focused and receptive.
In hypnosis your brain can be ‘rewired’ to enable the changes you desire, help facilitate the breaking down of unhelpful neural pathways and established templates in the brain and establish positive new ones.
Hypnosis can happen with the eyes open or closed and you can do it by yourself too.
And the really wonderful thing about trance is that whilst your conscious mind is resting and isn't required to do anything, your unconscious mind is listening, adapting and processing. It is in this dream like state that patterns are created and added to and can be changed, solutions may present themselves, loops can be completed, ideas can land, inspiration can drop in, it is a relaxing state of possibility and process.
We have been utilising the trance state to learn and evolve since we were growing in the womb which is why it feels so natural to us.
However it is also important to note that you can easily come out of a trance state if you hear something that you disagree with and this is also true during a hypnosis session - you remain in control the whole time.
Hypnotists & Swinging Watches
Stage hypnotists and characters in films are often portrayed using a swinging watch to draw a subject into hypnosis .....
and the act of swinging a watch, or a necklace like I am in this photo, is indeed a way of narrowing someone's attention through a repetitive moving visual to bring about a trance state.
However most hypnotists use hypnotic language patterns and counting down through numbers or imagined steps going down and breathing patterns rather than watches.
Some Common Questions
Can anyone be hypnotised?
Yes - as long as you are open to it happening and follow the direction of the Hypnotist (to start counting down whilst breathing slowly for example) . Some people go deeper into hypnosis and more quickly than others. You will become accustomed to the voice of the person taking you into hypnosis if you listen to them/work them more than once and may find that you go into the trance state more quickly each time.
Is there proof that it works?
Yes, there are brain scans of people under hypnosis which show the change in brain wave states.
What does it feel like?
Hypnosis is deeply relaxing, some people report it as feeling like they are detached from the everyday but still having an awareness of where they are and what is going on, others experience more like an extended day dream and feeling completely immersed in the experience, as if they were 'miles away'.
Can I be made to act against my will under Hypnosis? Reveal secrets?
No, you are in control the whole time. Any suggestions that you do not agree with can actually lift you out of trance and you would not say or do anything that you didn't want to.