Hypnosis is one of those subjects that most people know a little about but have difficulty pinning it down. That’s partly because your conscious mind is deliberately put to one side during a hypnosis session and partly because the actual hypnotic experience varies from time to time.
Here are a few things you can expect whilst you’re hypnotised:
Most sessions will start with a period of relaxation.
This is because the actual ideas presented to your subconscious mind work best whilst you’re nicely relaxed.
The method is called a hypnotic induction and anyone who has studied the subject will tell you that there are a lot of different methods.
If you’ve watched a hypnotist on television, you’ll see them tap people on their head or hand or somewhere else, say the word “sleep” and the subject is hypnotised almost instantly.
That kind of instant induction works well on stage or television – it’s captivating for the audience and they don’t have to sit through a long, complex induction.
But it’s one that doesn’t necessarily work on everyone – there’s normally a selection process that takes place before the hypnotist utters the word “sleep”.
If you’re having a personal session, it’s unlikely that the hypnotherapist will use that kind of induction ro get you into the most relaxed state possible.
Instead, you’ll be gradually taken into a deeper and deeper hypnotic trance.
For instance, I’ll normally get you to take a few deep breaths and tell you to let your eyes close as soon as you’re ready.
Then you’ll continue taking deep breaths – they’re a good way of relaxing anyway – and I’ll get you to imagine that you’re in a clearing in a forest. You’ll be guided through a visualisation that some people say is as close as actually being there.
Then you’ll be taken down a series of ten steps that just happen to be at the edge of the clearing. With each step downwards, you’ll go deeper into trance until by the time you’ve reached the final tenth step you’ll be more relaxed than you’ve been for years.
Other hypnotherapists use similar visualisation induction methods. Some may also get you to count backwards and do other things to help shift your conscious mind out of the way.
That’s why a lot of pre-recorded sessions start the same – the process of getting you into a deeply relaxed state is near enough the same every time.
Once you’re in that state, your hypnotist will begin the actual session.
During this session – which might last anything from a handful of minutes upwards – you’ll be given a series of commands that your subconscious mind will work with.
These are often in the form of post hypnotic suggestions – things that are suggested will happen in the coming weeks and months.
Often you’ll also be taken forward in time to visualise a situation where the problem you used to have is no longer a part of your life.
This future pacing can make a big difference to the effectiveness of the session and helps your mind come to terms with the idea that whatever problem it was has vanished or at least been minimised.
Then at the end of the session you’ll be brought back from your relaxed state into a fully awakened state.
You may remember some of the hypnosis session or most of it or almost none of it. That doesn’t matter as your subconscious mind will already be processing the instructions it’s been given and (even if you don’t immediately realise it) you’ll be on your way to making the problem you arrived with a thing of the past.