everything you ever wanted to know about hypnosis
but didn't know who to ask ...
WHAT IS HYPNOSIS? Hypnosis is a state of focused awareness everyone experiences naturally many times a day.
It’s the relaxed but alert state your mind reaches just before you fall asleep (called "hypnagogic"), and again just before you wake up (called "hypnopompic").
Similarly, when absorbed in a good book or great film, when day dreaming, or when you miss your highway turnoff deep in thought, you're in a light but focused hypnotic state.
It's that naturally occurring state a Hypnotherapist guides you to and then prolongs and deepens the state so you can make the beneficial changes and improvements you've chosen to your lifestyle and beliefs.
WHAT IS THE SUBCONSCIOUS? The subconscious Is your mental “Auto Pilot.”
It's the seat of all your emotions … it carries habitual conduct, it’s the home to the imagination and it remembers everything you’ve ever seen, done, heard, felt and learned.
The subconscious is also the home of your belief system, from where both negative and positive beliefs arise automatically.
Through hypnosis, we bypass the conscious mind and re-programme the negative beliefs you’ve chosen to change so the subconscious tells the conscious mind of your new reality, allowing both to believe the same thing for rapid change.
WHAT'S AN EXAMPLE? After setting your alarm clock at night and just before falling asleep, have you ever given yourself the last thought of, "I WILL wake up at 6:00 o'clock tomorrow ..." and surprised yourself by waking up minutes before your alarm went off?
You embedded a post-hypnotic suggestion in your subconscious when just before falling asleep, you’re in the Theta brain state vs. the fully conscious Beta state.
That's how easy it is.
That's how quick it is.
And that's how much YOU are in control of the process.
As a matter of fact, as all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, we teach you self-hypnosis from your very first session.
WILL I GIVE UP CONTROL OF MY MIND? No.
Hypnosis is safer than watching TV.
Television, movies and commercials throw subliminally masked messages at you in psychologically calculated short bursts for the duration of the show - about lifestyle, about products they want you to buy, about how you should think, act and dress.
Rather than bombarding you with directions like rapid burst commercials, a certified Consulting Hypnotist is a guide, and we fully discuss any life changes you want to make before any session.
You have complete control at all times.
WILL I BLURT OUT SECRETS? No.
Hypnosis is not a truth serum.
The misconception propogated by TV for drams is that one is incapable of lying when in a hypnotic state, and that it robs you of the ability to keep embarrassing secrets confidential.
On the contrary, while in hypnosis, you will not spontaneously begin talking nor reveal any intimate secrets you wouldn’t tell while in a waking state as you're always in control with the Consulting Hypnotist acting as your guide, not your interrogator.
No one in hypnosis can be compelled to blurt out things they don’t want to share. In fact, with a little effort, one can 'fib' while entrained.
Too, for sensitive life issues, an experienced practitioner doesn’t necessarily even need to know anything about them to guide you into state where the subconscious can be guided to adjust negatively arising thought.
CAN I GET "STUCK" IN HYPNOSIS? No.
Not any more than you can get “stuck” in concentration, or in a good book, or while watching an enthralling movie.
The uninformed fear is that in the unlikely event the Consulting Hypnotist becomes incapacitated during a session and goes unconscious for some reason or another, that the client will be “stuck” there until they’re “brought out.”
Hypnosis requires rapport and interaction to sustain and if the practitioner stopped communicating with you, you will simply drift off into a natural sleep and awaken naturally a short time later.
I'M TOO INTELLIGENT TO BE HYPNOTIZED Actually, hypnosis is more effective with intelligent people.
It’s proven there’s a positive correlation between intelligence and hypnotizability and as hypnosis requires concentration, the best clients are actually the more intelligent of the population.
Alternatively, even though all humans enter an entrained brain state at least twice a day (when going to sleep and waking up), it’s difficult and often impossible to hypnotize psychotics, people with an IQ under 70 or severely detached individuals as they aren’t able to concentrate for any substantive period of time.
DO I GO TO SLEEP WHILE HYPNOTIZED? No.
Not any more than when deeply absorbed in a good book or movie.
Hypnosis is a state of concentrated focus and although the path into hypnosis parallels the brainwave path into sleep, relaxation is not a requirement to reach an entrained state.
A marathon runner, for example, will reach a light hypnotic state within one mile or less.
Medical studies have also established that the EEG of a hypnotized person is indistinguishable from that of a person who is relaxed and alert with their eyes closed.
A sleeping person is unresponsive while a person in an entrained state, while deeply relaxed and appearing asleep, is very aware with their senses increasing 6-10 times more than normal.
After their first session, most clients remark about how clearly they can think while that relaxed..
I'VE HEARD ONE SESSION FIXES EVERYTHING I’ve heard that too, and can’t help smiling when someone says it.
I’m considered an expert in the field and I’d LOVE to offer “one session fixes” but that’s only happened five or six times over my years of practice.
For example, a smoker who’s cut down to 1 or 2 a day on their own can likely walk out of my office that day as a non-smoker, if smoking is even found to be the causitive issue at that point.
Unfortunately, to meet the “only one session” promise, some lesser experienced practitioners will try embed negative suggestions, like every time a client has a cigarette, someone in their family will die.
That approach pretty well guarantees the client will NEVER stop smoking.
Science knows so much about the hypnotic state of mind and there are so many ways to approach an issue that there is, in my opinion, NO reason to embed negative suggestions.
HOW MANY SESSIONS ARE AVERAGE? Some clients get what they need in two or three sessions. The professional as a whole has found the average to be four to six sessions per issue. For more complex issues, clients come as long as they need.
In my experience however, people often begin to feel some relief after the first session as it can be incredibly healing to finally have a safe space to talk openly about your concerns and feel genuinely heard.
As everyone is unique and has different goals, there is no prescribed time frame or number of sessions. It takes as long as it's going to take depending on how much you yourself want to dedicate yourself.
Bear in mind, what the conscious mind believes is the problem may not at all be what the subconscious mind knows to be the cause, and that is what makes hypnotherapy so incredibly healing.
IS EVERYTHING I SAY CONFIDENTIAL? Yes.
However, counsellors in Ontario can be bound to break confidentiality in 3 instances when we are required by law to report:
- If there is reason to believe a child is being harmed
- If you tell me, or if it becomes obvious, that you are going to harm yourself or another person
- If I am ordered by the courts to break confidentiality
WHAT ABOUT PSYCHOTHERAPY VS. HYPNOSIS? It is relatively uncommon to find a talk therapist who specializes in brief change techniques and some people go to talk therapy for months or more, and that may be exactly what they need.
However, as I specialize in brief change work, psychotherapists quite often refer clients to me to quickly overcome a “block” so they can continue their talk therapy.
As a matter of fact, one of the clinics from where I offer services has 17 psychothrapists, most of whom have come to me from time to time for a "tune up."
Another difference is that talk therapy focuses on the conscious mind logically understanding the problem and learning to live with the issue you went into therapy to resolve.
Most of my clients already understand they have a life issue they’d like to address, but as with overeating or smoking, no amount of talk has changed that.
The main goal of hypnosis it is to get the logical conscious mind and the emotional subconscious mind, which have different needs, to agree with each other, which is where the practitioner’s skill comes in..