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1. Will I lose control when under hypnosis?
No. This is a misconception about hypnosis. Nobody can be hypnotized against their will. Hypnosis is not about control by the hypnotist. It is about working together so that the client can be empowered to create change in his or her life. Hypnosis is about empowerment and peoples’ incredible capacity for change.

2. Will I be asleep when hypnotized?
You will not be asleep when hypnotized. The word hypnosis comes from the ancient Greek word 'hypnos' meaning sleep. It is a misnomer. Hypnosis is generally a very relaxed state but it is not sleep. Many people after a session of hypnosis don't believe that they were hypnotized at all but that comes from misconceptions about just what a 'trance' in fact is.

3. Will I be able to wake up and come out of the trance?
Hypnosis is not about control. If you want to come out of hypnosis you simply choose to do that. If the hypnotist disappeared or fell over and died you would simply come back to full consciousness in your own time. We go in and out of hypnosis and other altered states of consciousness (e.g. daydreaming) many times a day but we always come back out of them easily and naturally.

4. Will I blab out secret information under hypnosis?
No. You cannot be forced to say or do anything under hypnosis that you don't want to. Remember that you are completely in control and empowered.

5. Can anyone be hypnotized?
Some people find it easier to relax than others. By the same token, some people are able to go into hypnosis more quickly and more deeply than others. It is my belief that most people can go into at least a light trance and with most hypnosis goals that is enough. And once you're in the hypnotic state, the possibilities for positive physical and mental change are endless! Try this exercise.

6. How does hypnosis feel?
Since hypnosis is a natural state of mind, clients are often surprised that they hear every word. Unless one enters a deeper state, or at least a medium state, he or she may not "feel" any different than when relaxing in the favorite easy chair with a good book. One may feel quite mellow, and may feel light (or weightless), or very heavy as if sinking into the chair. If one enters a really deep state, the feeling may be euphoric for some, or almost like being intoxicated without the side effects. In a light state, it is entirely possible for a client to believe that he or she was not hypnotized.

There are certain abilities which are enhanced during the actual hypnotic process itself: (a) the ability to IMAGINE, (b) the ability to REMEMBER, (c) the CREATIVE abilities, and (d) RESPONSIVENESS TO SUGGESTIONS. Naturally, it is this last ability which creates the appeal of hypnosis to some and the fear of hypnosis to others.

7. How do we induce hypnosis?
After a discussion between hypnotist and client, the hypnotist begins to suggest deep relaxation to the client by either:

  1. Asking them to fix their eyes on a certain point until the eyes get heavy & close
  2. Suggesting progressive relaxation of all the body parts
  3. Using guided imagery (imagining you’re in a safe and peaceful place), or
  4. Mentally confusing the conscious mind so that it simply becomes easier to just relax and "let go" into hypnosis

During the pre-hypnosis discussion, the hypnotist will determine which method will work best for you.

8. What is self-hypnosis?
Self-hypnosis is simply relaxing yourself and repeating to yourself positive suggestions for change. You can do this by quietly affirming or visualizing to yourself, or by listening to an audiotape. I give each one of my clients an recording of our session, and request that they listen to it every night as they’re falling asleep for at least 21 days.

Every hypnotist should teach you self-hypnosis as part of your session.

There are many good self-help books on self-hypnosis and visualization. I recommend two: "The Power of Your Subconscious Mind" by Dr. Joseph Murphy and "Creative Visualization" by Shakti Gawain.

9. What makes hypnosis different than cognitive therapy?
Cognitive counseling deals with issues at a cognitive level; and many of life's problems require just that. When someone has to make difficult cognitive decisions, competent professional help is absolutely essential. For example, hypnosis is not a substitute for marriage counseling. But when it comes to changing habits or behaviors regulated by the subconscious, there is nothing faster than competent hypnosis to facilitate subconscious change. However, hypnosis is NOT A PANACEA for all life's problems, and it should not be advertised as such.

It's also important to realize that a competent hypnotist recognizes that he or she is NOT licensed to diagnose (unless trained and licensed to do so).

A diagnostician formulates a professional opinion on the cause of a problem. A competent hypnotist asks the client's subconscious mind to disclose the cause, and then either proceeds or refers accordingly, based on the information disclosed.

Here's a good analogy: psychologists and mental health counselors could be compared to the "hardware" experts, whereas hypnotists are only trained to improve the software.

10. How can hypnosis be used to eliminate anxious feelings?
I use a positive approach, based on the client identifying the benefits of change. Hypnosis is used to sell the benefits to the subconscious before any suggestions are given to reduce anxiety.

If there is subconscious resistance to the more positive approach for ANY type of goal, a client-centered approach would be to ask the subconscious to reveal what the cause is so that it may be released.

11. Is hypnosis dangerous?
Hypnosis of and by itself is not dangerous. If it were, we would all be in jeopardy every time we get engrossed in a good book, movie, or TV show.

What we say and how we say it creates images in the subconscious, which does not know the difference between fact and fantasy, and does not hear the word "no." You get what you focus on, whether positive or negative, so it’s important to couch suggestions for better health or elimination of a bad habit it positive terms. For example, before inducing hypnosis we’ll create positive affirmations such as "every day, in every way, I feel calmer and more in control" as opposed to "I do not feel anxious."

Hypnosis is a complementary tool, and should never be used in place of qualified medical advice. Never start or stop any medication, therapy or treatment simply because you are trying hypnosis. Read this important DISCLAIMER.

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