FAQ’S ABOUT HYPNOSIS
Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions. If your question or concern is not listed or answered here, please feel free to contact Kevin. Kevin is happy to answer any and all questions concerning:
Common Questions Asked About Hypnosis
Hypnosis is a natural and normal state of the mind in which the body experiences a state of deep physical relaxation while the mind remains clear, alert, and focused. In this altered state of awareness, the subconscious mind becomes open and suggestible. A person naturally enters this state many times during a normal day – just most of us are not aware that it is happening. How many times have you been thinking about something while driving your car and suddenly realized that your exit was 3 miles back? Most of us go to the movies and get so caught up in the drama of the story we forget that we are only watching a movie. Most of us daydream from time to time. All of these are examples of a natural state of hypnosis called “environmental hypnosis.”
It depends on the individual. Some people are more aware of the changes felt in their bodies than others. It also depends on how deep into the hypnotic state the person has allowed himself to drift. You may experience sensations of feeling very light or floating, very heavy, tingling sensations, dry mouth, or just pleasantly relaxed.
It feels great! Most people will experience different bodily sensations ranging from a dry mouth, limbs feeling very heavy or light, or tingling sensations. Most people feel wonderfully relaxed and enjoy the hypnotic state very much.
Yes. Any person of at least average intelligence and ability to focus and concentrate can go into hypnosis. The better one is able to concentrate and focus and the more intelligent a person is, the easier it is for him to go into the hypnotic trance. Above all, the person must be willing. No one can hypnotize you if you don’t want to be hypnotized. Your natural defenses in your mind will prevent this from happening.
No, you are definitely not asleep, though, to an observer, your body appears to be sleeping because you are in a state of deep physical relaxation. You are completely awake and aware of your surroundings. You hear everything. Since all your senses are magnified 8 times, you are actually more alert and aware while you are in hypnosis than you are in your normal waking state.
All hypnosis is self-hypnosis, and the power comes from within the mind of the person being hypnotized. The hypnotist is merely the guide who directs and leads the person into the hypnotic state. The hypnotist induces the hypnotic trance by using certain words and phrases the subconscious mind understands, as well as using various techniques like deep breathing, imagery, and tone of voice.
No, hypnosis is not dangerous. It is just a natural state of the mind utilized by the hypnotist for purposes of entertainment (as in stage) or to help the individual change certain habits or patterns of behavior. The mind has natural defenses built in which will automatically reject any suggestions it deems harmful.
No, hypnosis is not mind control. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. The hypnotist can not make you do or say anything you ordinarily would not do unless you wanted to. You always remain in control and are awake and alert the whole time.
No, you will not lose control while you are in hypnosis. You are fully conscious and very aware of what is being suggested. You are always in control. The mind will reject any undesired suggestions automatically.
Quite the opposite! A gullible, unintelligent, or weak-minded person is incapable of maintaining the necessary focus and concentration necessary to go into the hypnotic state.
No, hypnosis is used often to boost a person’s concentration and willpower.
Most people remember everything that went on while they were in hypnosis, but sometimes, if they went into a particularly deep state, they may forget what happened. Sometimes the hypnotist will suggest that they will forget what happened, and they do. Other times people have the misconception that they are supposed to forget everything, so they do – because they gave themselves the suggestion to forget!
That depends entirely upon the individual himself as to how willing he is to enter into the hypnotic state and how far he is willing to let himself go. Some people are naturally able to enter a deeper hypnotic state (somnambulists), while others are capable of entering into deeper states because they have been hypnotized in the past, practice yoga or meditation. It is not important how deep you go, just that you are willing to give hypnosis a chance to work.
Absolutely not! A hypnotist is just an ordinary person like you or me. He has had special training to learn how to speak directly to your subconscious mind in a way it understands. There are no Svengalis or hypnotists like you see in the movies. The hypnotist has no mystical or supernatural powers. Anyone with the same training can learn to hypnotize.
No! A hypnotist can not make you do anything against your will, morality, or ethics. What you have seen in the movies is fantasy. A hypnotist can not call you up on the telephone and order you to rob a bank or murder someone (unless you already wanted to do that.) Your mind has natural defenses against harmful suggestions. It will always protect itself.
Yes, the majority of people who are hypnotized will come out of the state when brought out by the hypnotist. On occasion, someone will choose to remain in the hypnotic state because they either entered a particularly deep state or it feels so good they want to remain in hypnosis. They will drift into a natural sleep state and wake themselves up naturally.
Hypnosis can be utilized in many ways, though the hypnotic state not always called “hypnosis.” Hypnosis is used for entertainment purposes (stage shows) or in a clinical setting such as in hypnotherapy to make positive changes in a person’s life. It is used often in the medical and dental fields as well. It is used by psychologists and psychiatrists as an adjunct to their treatments. Self-hypnosis is an integral component in yoga, biofeedback, and meditation. Top athletes are using self- hypnosis when they focus during a competition to “get into the zone.”
Yes, definitely! Hypnosis can be used to make positive changes in your life.
Some examples are: stop smoking, lose weight, improve self-esteem and
confidence, improve sales ability, and memory retention. Practically any bad or destructive habits or behaviors can be removed via hypnosis. It can help ease fears and phobias, improve relationships and communication – the list goes on and on.
Yes, anyone can learn to do self-hypnosis since you naturally do it anyway.
Most of the time, however, we are giving ourselves negative suggestions (self-talk) instead of positive, uplifting ones. You can learn self-hypnosis from a trained hypnotherapist or you can purchase Kevin’s Self-Hypnosis CD.
Kevin offers a wide variety and selection of books and study materials available on hypnosis, hypnotherapy, and stage hypnosis. Contact Kevin to get the information you need.
HOW DOES HYPNOTHERAPY WORK?
The responsibility of a hypnotherapist is to explore a client’s past traumas, unconscious conflicts, and family history, in order to understand their current beliefs, feelings, and behaviors that may be blocking them in their current life.
Most great therapists do this work. Kevin Stone, C.Ht. is no exception; he simply accesses the subconscious belief system, especially the beliefs we live by which unknowingly limit us.
As a Board Certified Hypnotherapist Kevin has changed lives by treating stress, anxiety, addictions, chronic pain, and more.
Hypnosis is the technique a trained hypnotherapist utilizes to assist a person to rid themselves of a negative aspect in their life when they are ready to actively work at the process. Many times the hypnotherapist needs to delve deeper to ascertain the core issue or root cause in order to effectively remove the symptom. This is a therapeutic process that may take more than one session.
There are many misconceptions about hypnotherapy. Even today, some people think that hypnosis is some form of black magic and the hypnotist is possessed. In reality, hypnosis is a natural phenomenon that we use every day when we daydream, meditate, or concentrate on some subject or object. it is as a tool to help release people from pain and irrational lifestyles there is no danger to fear.
There are many similarities between the techniques of psychotherapy and hypnotherapy.
Hypnosis can be used to resolve physical, psychological, and social dysfunctions when used properly. The principal of this process is based on the theory that “What the mind has created the mind can cure.” Unlike faith healing, hypnosis is used to resolve the cause and not just the symptom. Once the myths of hypnosis have been dispelled and the person truly believes in the process and is willing and ready many wondrous miracles can begin to happen.
Do you know how hypnotherapy works? To a lot of people, what a hypnotherapist does is a bit of a mystery, so in order to cast a little light on what is involved in a successful hypnotherapy session/treatment plan please read the following article.
To begin with, a fundamental element of an effective hypnotherapy session is the consultation process. The information that a hypnotherapist gets from (and gives to) a client will significantly influence the resulting work. Beyond simply getting basic identifying information (name, address, medical history, lifestyle), taking a detailed ‘case history’ enables a full exploration of not just the problem, but also what the goals are for therapy. If you only focus on ‘getting rid of the problem’, you have no tangible direction. Hence, goals (desired direction), are really important to the hypnotherapy process. The hypnotherapist will also help the client to ensure that their therapy goals are realistic. Perhaps a client wants to lose enough weight to run a marathon. However, if they are 100 pounds overweight, a more realistic goal (initially) may be to be able to walk around the block. It is also common practice, during the consultation/client intake process, for the hypnotherapist to educate the client about their issue, about hypnosis (a ‘pre-talk’), and to determine their hypnotic suggestibility. This initial consultation process can set the resulting therapy on a more accurate path and will help the therapist choose the correct treatment approaches to meet the client’s own individual needs.
Obviously, a hypnotherapy session needs to include hypnosis (generally)…The hypnosis tends to happen before the ‘therapy’ part, and there are a vast number of methods that hypnotherapists use to create the hypnotic state. These methods are known as ‘inductions’. Hypnotic inductions can range from slow to fast, they can be indirect and conversational, or direct and commanding. Some involve elements of relaxation, others utilize movement, confusion, or cognitive overload. Once the client has entered into the state of hypnosis, the hypnotherapist then uses a ‘deepener’, which helps to intensify the state of hypnosis, allowing the client to settle and become accustomed to the hypnosis process.
Many professional hypnotherapists will work to a three-phase treatment plan throughout their session(s), working to ‘stabilize’ the client, building resources, and resilience to optimize their engagement and to ensure they’re ready for therapy. Once the client is stabilized, the next stage is ‘treatment’ where the majority of the therapy is conducted, prior to the final stage of ‘maintenance’ where the aim is to maintain and develop the new ways of responding and prevent relapsing to previous behaviors and responses.
One of the very first approaches a hypnotherapist may employ, once hypnosis has been established, can be to enhance relaxation in the client. This is often achieved by either ‘directly suggesting’ that the client relaxes, or creating an imagined ‘safe place’ or a ‘favorite place of relaxation’. Whilst relaxation is not essential for hypnotherapy (indeed it isn’t used commonly in some applications, such as sport), when used as an initial approach, it can help the client engage with the process and promotes a sense of positivity and wellbeing. Therefore, relaxation provides a favorable starting point for the client to then participate further within the hypnotherapy process.
Throughout the hypnotherapy process as a whole, and certainly, within the ‘treatment’ phase, the hypnotherapist will often use ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ suggestions to create change. Direct suggestions are more commanding and explicit, such as “let go of that tension… now…”, and are good for a person that appreciates a firmer approach. In contrast, indirect language is softer, often giving an illusion of choice, such as “I wonder whether your right shoulder is relaxing now… more deeply than your left… or whether your left shoulder is relaxing now… more deeply than your right…”. Indirect hypnotherapy suggestions tend to work well with those clients who prefer more ‘permissive’ instructions, those who don’t like being ‘told what to do’, and also those who want to be an active, part of the collaborative therapy process and have their therapy done with them rather than to them. Many hypnotherapists will use both direct and indirect suggestions within a session.
Talking of clients who want therapy ‘done to them’, an influencing factor that hypnotherapists look for when choosing to take a direct or indirect approach, is the client’s ‘locus of control.
This is a personality trait scale that identifies the extent to which a person believes they have control over their life. The scale goes from ‘internal’ through to ‘balanced’ and to ‘external’. Someone who is very external may believe they are ‘at the whim of fate’, taking little responsibility for their own health. Whereas, someone very internal, believes they are responsible for events that, in reality, are outside of their control. For successful therapeutic engagement, it helps if the client’s locus of control is more ‘balanced’ so that they will accept appropriate responsibility for their therapy process. Locus of control can be addressed using ‘ego-strengthening’.
Ego-strengthening within the hypnotherapy process not only can enhance and balance the client’s locus of control, but also positively benefits their self-esteem, self-confidence, and sense of self, empowering them, together with working on developing resources and building resilience. This helps facilitate the therapeutic process and can result in more effective and lasting change. Ego-strengthening approaches can either be direct or, popularly, metaphorical.
Metaphorical’ work (one aspect of the ‘Ericksonian Hypnotherapy’ approach) is very effective within hypnosis. We use metaphors in everyday language, such as ‘he was boiling mad’, and ‘her memory of the event was foggy’. Beyond simple phrases, we also are familiar with metaphorical stories. As children, we are told stories (such as at bedtime) and these stories generally have meanings that we absorb without even having to make an effort. As adults, when we are told a story, we tend to relax and even forget we are engaged in a therapeutic process. Thus, there is less likelihood of ‘unpicking’ or resisting therapy. Therapeutic metaphors indirectly identify the issue (drawing parallels within the metaphor itself) and tend to explore what has been tried previously, then suggests an alternative way of responding to the issue, and what the benefits this approach might have. For example, with a client who would benefit from looking at their work or lifestyle for the source of their issue, a metaphor could be:
“One of my clients had sore shoulders recently… [issue] He had regular massages, did more exercise, and even changed his mattress… but nothing seemed to help him… [attempt to resolve] …and then he was sitting at work one day and noticed his posture when using his new laptop was rather hunched… so, he changed his posture, sitting better whilst working… [possible solution] …and from then onwards, he has been so much more comfortable, and in a better mood all around… [benefits]”
These ‘therapeutic metaphors’ can be dropped into everyday conversation and each person will draw their own meaning from them. For some, they will take it literally, and think about their posture, for others it will be about considering things from a different perspective, such as that by considering different perspectives they can influence their own circumstances.
Although suggestion work is a fundamental aspect of hypnotherapy (closely followed by the use of metaphors), most professional, effective hypnotherapists tend to have a good working knowledge of a broader range of Hypno-psychotherapeutic approaches. ‘Behavioral hypnotherapy’ approaches aim to identify and change repeated unhelpful behaviors, considering ‘what, where, and how’ the client does what they do. These behaviors are often in the form of established habits and responses, both where the individual is consciously aware (such as sitting in a poor posture working on a laptop whilst on the sofa), and where they are not consciously aware (such as thumb sucking or nail-biting).
Together with direct and indirect suggestions, a behavioral approach is often a therapist first line of response to many issues, working to establish or change a clients’ automatic or ‘conditioned’ response (this is where the client has learned to respond a certain way to a stimulus or trigger). For example, if a client is stressed at work, as soon as they sit down at their desk, they may start to tense their muscles. With hypnotherapy, this can be identified and a different response developed (cognitively) and reinforced (using hypnotic suggestion) to create a new behavior or ‘habitual response’.
Behavioral hypnotherapy approaches can often be supported by ‘cognitive hypnotherapy’ work, considering, challenging, and changing unhelpful and limiting beliefs, thus ‘what, how and why’ they believe the things they do. Here, unhelpful beliefs are explored, considering the emotional and physical consequences of those beliefs, together with identifying and developing new, desired beliefs and becoming aware of the positive consequences that accompany them. For example, a client may hold the belief or attitude that they should always be able to relax as soon as they get into bed. So, when at times, they are tense in bed, this can lead to disturbance, with unwanted physical tension at bedtime as well as psychological stress. The cognitive hypnotherapy approach might be to help the client develop a healthier (more realistic) belief or attitude that whilst they would prefer to relax instantly, they accept that at times, they may need to focus on relaxing each part of themselves until they are fully relaxed. This transition from an ‘absolute’ belief to a ‘preference’ promotes psychological flexibility and reduces stress. A blend of approaches, such as ‘cognitive-behavioral’ work, can also help, particularly with intrusive thoughts, where you are able to address both the habit of the thinking pattern, as well as resolve the underlying unhelpful thoughts/beliefs.
Moving on from behavioral and cognitive hypnotherapy approaches, ‘analytical hypnotherapy’ approaches help clients consider ‘why’ they do what they do, working to gain insight and to discover and adjust unconscious drivers and patterns.
Together with exploring why they do what they do, it can help to identify a particular purpose (a ‘positive intention’) for the original behavior and they can then negotiate a change to something more desirable or relevant. For example, a client may always be tense when traveling as a passenger in any car (even with perceived ‘safe’ drivers), and they find this distracting and unsettling, as they don’t ‘consciously’ understand why they are tense. An analytical approach may discover a reason, such as a long-forgotten car accident (potentially ‘repressed’ where the mind was trying to protect the client). However, this ‘protective response’ is no longer helpful, indeed it is now unhelpful, and thus the client would benefit from understanding the reasons and being able to change their response.
Most hypnotherapists select their therapeutic approaches from the least intrusive to the most intrusive perspective, often working in the present, with current behaviors and beliefs. If the behavioral and cognitive approaches are insufficient to fully address the issue, then a therapist may engage in analytical work, in order for the client to gain beneficial change. Finally, and often thought of as a last resort, is ‘regression hypnotherapy’. This approach helps identify ‘when’ initial events/responses occurred. By engaging the imagination and memory processes, to ‘go back’ to that time, there are opportunities to change how the memory is presented or engaged with by the client. For example, ‘going back’ to the first time a client had an anxious response on a fairground ride as a child, and gaining a new adult perspective (with their adult knowledge and understanding), the client can then more easily change how they respond to similar situations in the future.
Hypnotherapy tends to be considered a ‘brief, strategic, solution, and goal-focused’ approach to change work. Unlike some other ‘talking therapies’, it isn’t something that is done to a client, rather, it is a collaborative approach. The benefits and gains of the hypnotherapy work are enhanced by clients engaging in activities and tasks (‘homework’), beyond the therapy session. Therapeutic homework tasks reinforce the new thoughts and behaviors and can help a client move from ‘knowing’ into ‘doing’. In addition to real-world activities, such as going to an airport (for someone who had a phobia of flying) or keeping a food diary (for a weight management client), many hypnotherapists will also teach their clients ‘self-hypnosis’. This can help a client become more settled in the hypnosis process and provides opportunities for reinforcing relaxation, ego strengthening, or engaging in other therapeutic techniques for specific purposes.
Homework is a key part of the ‘maintenance’ phase and helps empower the client to keep the therapeutic gains and changes, whilst developing the skills and attitude to be self-managing and self-supporting in not just keeping these positive changes, but fully integrating them into their everyday life, thus developing lasting effectiveness.
When the work in hypnosis has been completed, the hypnotherapist will re-alert or ‘wake up’ the client (although, they weren’t actually asleep), Whilst the hypnotherapist (usually) won’t quiz the client about their experience during hypnosis (nor ask for performance feedback!), they will usually check in with how the client is feeling about the presenting issue and may book them in for another session, if appropriate. Alternatively, they may schedule a telephone catch up to check in with the client at a later time. This enables the hypnotherapist to ensure that the client is on track to achieve their therapy goal.
Different clients (and issues) respond to hypnotherapy at different speeds. So, a hypnotherapy approach might involve just one session, or a number of sessions in order to reach a satisfactory conclusion. Furthermore, as therapy progresses, further issues (or ‘deeper’ issues) may arise, which the client may not have been consciously aware of initially. This is why professional, effective hypnotherapists will check at the start of each session, what the client’s overall goals are, and establish the goals for that session.
Many hypnotherapists will keep records regarding the effectiveness of their approaches and the impact therapy has had on their clients. This may be at the end of the therapy process, or can even include a follow-up, weeks, or months after therapy has concluded.
It might seem that the work of a hypnotherapist is limited to the time spent working with clients. However, there is much more to it than that. It starts by getting high-quality initial training in hypnotherapy, including how to build and manage a successful therapy practice. This naturally includes all the administrative work and other tasks of a self-employed person, such as marketing, networking, and business development. In addition, a professional hypnotherapist will engage in ongoing learning and development (‘continuing professional development’ or CPD) and clinical supervision. They might get involved in research, present at conferences, or write (whether blogs, articles, or even books). All of this knowledge, experience, and more comes together in the therapy room, to ensure the hypnotherapy client gets the best possible experience and outcome.
We hope that this in-depth information on how hypnotherapy works has been helpful to you. If you have any more questions about this topic or anything else for that matter, do please get in touch, because we’re always happy to help!