What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is when the mind pays attention to things in a different way. In hypnosis, you are more open to acceptable suggestions and more likely to follow them whether the suggestion is to achieve something, to think about something or to imagine something more vividly, which you may find difficult in your normal state of waking consciousness. There is nothing unnatural about suggestibility, and hypnosis is a perfectly normal ability.
Can anyone be hypnotised?
Responding to suggestions is a natural ability found in most people, and going into hypnosis is something that everyone can do to varying degrees. To enter hypnosis requires the ability to focus your attention closely, and the willingness to do so. It is likely that you will be able to go into hypnosis if you co-operate and concentrate on what the therapist is saying.
What is hypnosis like?
Most people who have been in hypnosis describe it as very relaxing and very pleasant. They may be initially surprised that they were aware of where they were and that they remember most, if not all, of what happened.
Hypnosis is similar, in some ways, to occasions when you have been completely involved in some activity such as watching television, reading or day dreaming. At that time, you were aware of and knew where you were, and may even have heard someone talking to you, but all the time your attention was exclusively absorbed in what you were doing.
In addition to relaxing, which is desirable for all of us, hypnosis enables many people to learn to reduce or to get rid of pain, such as headaches, dental pain or the pain of labour and delivery. Others are able to use hypnosis to change habits such as smoking and overeating, and others use it to overcome fears and sexual problems, or to deal with general anxiety or depression. A hypnotic or trance state is also used by some sports men and women to focus their mind in order to enhance their performance.
Is hypnosis dangerous?
Hypnosis is a natural state and there is nothing dangerous about it. You cannot be ‘put’ into hypnosis against your will and you cannot get ‘stuck’ in hypnosis. Neither is it likely that you can be persuaded to do something which you think is wrong or immoral.