HYPNOSIS:  Questions and Answers

Laurie Eddie

(Investigator 119, 2008 March)

What is Hypnosis?

While there are many different theories which seek to explain what hypnosis actually is, they all tend to agree on at least one point, that hypnosis is in some way, an "altered state of consciousness".

Hypnosis is effectively a process of "dissociation" where the individual by moving from a conscious level to a subconscious level is able to dissociate themselves from their awareness of things around them. In hypnosis your attention becomes more concentrated, and you are more receptive to suggestions.

However, this does not mean that you are no longer in control of your mind! On the contrary, if you disagree with anything the hypnotherapist might suggest, you can choose to completely ignore what they say!

This ability to gain access to your subconscious is a very important skill. Because the subconscious level of your mind operates independently, completely separate from the conscious level, this is normally very difficult.

However, all of our habits, good and bad, and our fears are also located in the subconscious. If you smoke, drink excessively, have a phobia, or some obsessive behaviour, the source of all of these behaviours are located in the subconscious, out of reach of the conscious mind.

If you have ever tried to stop smoking or to overcome a phobia by using the conscious level of your mind, you would understand. Dealing with these problems by telling yourself your behaviour is stupid, or bad for your health, does not make any difference. Because the behaviours are located in the subconscious mind, all your   arguments   and    rationalizations   which    are    within    the conscious level of your mind, are an utter waste of time. The subconscious, which works at a different level, simply ignores all of your conscious reasoning.

The only way to break these habits is to deal with them on a subconscious level. The ability to access your subconscious mind, using hypnosis, makes it possible to produce many positive changes in your life. You can stop smoking, overcome your phobias, it can help you to create a more positive self image; improve your ability to study as well as improve sports performances.

Who Can Use Hypnosis?

Everyone can, to some degree. However, because everyone is different, it is usual to try several types of hypnosis in order to determine which is the best and most effective method for you. The people who are best with hypnosis are those who are strongly motivated to change, and who have identified a specific need.

Hypnosis has nothing to do with "power", provided the individual is prepared to cooperate they can be hypnotized. However if they are determined to prove that "no one can hypnotize me" then it is extremely difficult to produce hypnosis with that person.

Are There Different Forms of Hypnosis?

Yes, hypnosis exists in many forms, most of which are not usually recognized as hypnosis. Some of the most basic forms of hypnosis are things like meditation, yoga, or relaxation. While you may never have used such techniques, you would certainly be aware of having at some time or another, become so engrossed in a book a movie, that you lost touch with the real world around you, for a short period of time.

How often have you driven home and upon arrival realized that although you know you must have travelled down a certain road or highway to reach your home, you have no recollection of travelling along that route.

These experiences are all forms of hypnosis, and the fact that you had already had these experiences suggests that you already possess the basic skills required to be successfully hypnotized.

What is Self Hypnosis?

Self hypnosis, or as it is sometimes called, Autohypnosis, is simply a means of entering a hypnotic state without the assistance of another person. It is a simple and easy technique to learn, and once you learn the process you can use it any time and anywhere.

With many areas of treatment you will be taught simple self hypnotic techniques in order for you to be able to work on your problem between treatment sessions. However, should you wish to develop your own self hypnotic skills to a higher level, the therapist will assist you by teaching and demonstrating various more advanced self hypnotic techniques.

Some Uses of Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a particularly valuable form of therapy because of its ease of use, its safety, the fact that it does not require any medication, and because of the extensive range of problems which it can be used to treat.

For instance it is widely used in the following areas: 

How Will I know I have Been Hypnotized?

This is a very common question. Most people, especially if they have never been hypnotized before, do not go very deep into hypnosis the very first time, and, they often think that they have not been hypnotized. This is partly due to their unfamiliarity with hypnosis, and, especially during the first session they often try to check on what is happening. This tends to keep them at a very shallow level of hypnosis.

With practice and experience your confidence in hypnosis increases, and you are able to go to a deep level and remain there. With experience you will find that you can recognize the level of your hypnosis and you will be able to move upwards or downwards, experiencing the various hypnotic levels at will.

What Forms of Therapy are Used?

There are many different forms of hypnosis, some of them use various forms of relaxation, or else they may use other techniques to distract the conscious mind. The therapist may even use several types of hypnosis or non hypnosis simply to determine which method is best suited to your individual needs.

Mr. and Mrs. Eddie are trained in the use of a wide range of hypnotic and non-hypnotic techniques.

As an individual with your own specific and unique requirements, they will select techniques best suited to deal with your particular needs. Your therapy is designed to be the most appropriate to deal with your individual needs.

How Many Sessions Will Be Required?

The ability to learn new skills always depends upon a number of individual factors. The same applies with hypnosis. Nearly everyone can attain a moderately deep level of hypnosis after one or two sessions. From that point onwards you will find that your rate of progress will depend upon how often you practice the hypnosis.

Obtaining the Best Results.

Hypnosis is used in many areas of therapy because it is extremely safe and, more importantly, it is a quick way of producing effective results.

So that we can produce the best results for you the patient it is important that you tell us what you want to achieve. We then need a full background history from you The therapist will need details of your background, this is done to enable them to gain details of how and when the problem commenced. Often the patient may not be aware of the origins of a problem, so the therapist will look for vital information which will enable them to start looking for a solution to your problems.

This history is usually taken during the first session, and it may involve some written assessments in order to provide the therapist with specific information.

Some Popular Fallacies About Hypnosis?

Even though hypnosis has been used in medicine for over two centuries, it still remains somewhat of a mystery. During the 19th century when medicine was still emerging from the mysticism of the past, hypnosis became a powerful medical tool, it was widely used as a substitute for anesthetics, and to control severe pain. It was demonstrated to be a safe and very effective form of treatment. It was gradually replaced as chemical anesthetics, developed in the mid-19th century, started to be more widely used.

However, many had noted its strange powers and hypnosis remained a mystery and led to the rise of many popular misconceptions, many of which have continued into the present.

Unfortunately, the popular image of hypnosis comes from what people have awn on the television and in the cinema. We have seen stage hypnotists use it to ridicule people; or else even worse, we have seen hypnosis being used in Hollywood movies where the villains are able to control the minds of their subjects using hypnotic powers.

Such representations of hypnosis are completely false. They have absolutely no reality. No one can use hypnosis to control someone else's mind! Unfortunately, these are the images of hypnosis that people tend to remember.

Real hypnosis is much more ordinary and down to earth. Let us briefly look at some of the most common misconceptions about hypnosis, and examine the facts:  


Wrong! This is the most common misconception about hypnosis, and the thing most people worry about. It comes direct form our exposure to stage hypnotists and movie villains.

A hypnotist cannot just take over your mind and control you. You are always in control; always free to do and say whatever you want even when under hypnosis. If the hypnotist suggests something to you, you are still able to think about what you are doing and if you don't want to listen to them, you can ignore what they say.

"But," you might say, "What about the crazy things that subjects do when they are on the stage, apparently under the control of a stage hypnotist?"

The truth is, these subjects are willingly participating in the performance. The fact that they are volunteered indicates they want to participate in the performance. More importantly they are not random subjects; the hypnotist carefully selects these subjects from the audience. They will usually start the show by giving the audience a simple test to "demonstrate hypnosis" – in fact he uses this to identify those people who will make good subjects. These are the people he wants. When people come forward he looks for those who performed well in the audience. He again tests the volunteers and selects five or six of the best subjects, and sends the remainder back into the audience.

You can see exactly the same behavior on many television quiz shows, especially those that encourage bizarre or outrageous behaviour The performance of participants in these shows are often little different to the behaviour you will see at a hypnosis show. Even worse is the type of "hypnosis" in the movies where hypnosis is used as a form of mind control, where unwilling subjects are forced to kill and steal. Such things are totally impossible!


No, it is actually quite the opposite. When you are asleep you are unaware of things happening around you. In hypnosis you are in a condition of relaxed attentiveness.

Have you ever sat listening to a tune, closed your eyes and become part of the melody. You were certainly relaxed, but you were not asleep, you heard every note, and in that relaxed condition you were able to appreciate the music far better than if you had your eyes open. The closed eyes shut out external distractions and allow you to concentrate more fully on the details of the music. That was actually a form of hypnosis.


No. It is just as easy to awaken a subject as it is to hypnotize them. This mistaken idea dates from the 1950's when hypnosis was a popular parlour game. Many amateur hypnotists were keen to show off their skills at parties. Unfortunately, most were so keen to start hypnotizing people that they did not bother to read the chapters that explained how they should awaken their subjects. Despite this omission there were no problems. After a short period of time the subjects would awaken normally. With professional training, the techniques necessary to awaken subjects are amongst the earliest instructions received by therapists.


No problem. Even if the therapist had a heart attack and there was no one to waken you, after a while you would either decide it was time to awaken, and you would return to normal consciousness, or else you would fall into a light steep, and awaken shortly afterwards.


Yes, normally you will be able to recall everything that happened and was said. The idea that you will experience amnesia after hypnosis is a common misconception. Originating in the 19th century, it is completely false. Although a therapist can produce amnesia, they would only do this with your permission. Sometimes, while in therapy, you may recall some traumatic life experience, and you may not yet be at a stage where you can handle that memory on a conscious level. This is where the therapist would use amnesia to "forget" that memory until you con deal with it.


Yes. In fact strong willed people often make very good subjects. Because hypnosis is a form of communication, between the therapist and the client, if the client is strong willed they are better able to work with the therapist in making changes occur. The success of hypnosis has nothing to do with being strong or weak willed.


Wrong! In fact children are usually good subjects, often better than adults. There are several reasons for this. Firstly their powers of imagination are much greater than adults, secondly they are less likely to be analytical about the material being presented, and finally they tend to readily follow instructions given to them by therapists.


No. The only limitations to the use of hypnosis are related to a patient's ability to listen to the instructions, and cooperate with the therapist.