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What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness. There are arguments for and against it being a ‘special’ state but having hypnotized thousands of people in one to one situations I know this ‘special’ state exists. It is true that suggestions can be given and acted upon in normal waking consciousness but suggestions are far more effective when delivered to a person in an altered state brought on by a hypnotic induction.

In reality hypnosis works very simply. In a professional one to one situation hypnosis is achieved by using various techniques to guide the client in to deeper levels of relaxation. It is often a gentle progression from waking consciousness into a deep level of mental and physical relaxation, rather than a flashy click of the fingers that you might see on TV or in stage shows.

When you are in a hypnotic state you will still be aware of your surroundings even as you drift into deeper states. It can sometimes feel as though very little is happening and that you can open your eyes at any time and be wide-awake. This is because being under hypnosis doesn’t feel unusual. It doesn’t create a special feeling and so people often don’t realize when they are under hypnosis.

Being in an altered state of consciousness or in a hypnotic trance is actually something you will experience naturally many times in your life. For example, just before you fall asleep each night and before you are fully awake in the morning you are in a trance state that everyone on the planet experiences. These morning and evening trance states are called the hypnogogic and hypnopompic states.

Daydreaming is another naturally occurring trance state that is familiar to all of us and one that is similar to being in a light state of hypnosis. When you are in a deep level of mental and physical relaxation you become receptive to suggestions and accepting suggestions is the key to using hypnosis as a therapeutic tool. A post hypnotic suggestion is a suggestion given that will be acted upon at a later time. For example if a post-hypnotic suggestion is given that “as soon as your head touches the pillow each night, you will find it easy to go into a deep relaxing sleep.” When a suggestion like this is accepted by your unconscious mind the next time you go to bed and your head touches the pillow you will indeed find it easy to go to sleep.

We spend most of our time in our conscious thoughts and only sporadically tap into our unconscious mind when we daydream or get creative ideas. The only other time we spend in our unconscious thoughts is when we are sleeping, when our conscious mind has switched off. Learning to connect with your deep unconscious mind through hypnosis can help you in so many different ways to achieve goals, find your creativity, or overcome difficulties.