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Frequently Asked Questions about Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy

  1. Can anyone be hypnotized?
  2. What are the benefits of hypnosis?
  3. Should I learn self-hypnosis?
  4. What IS hypnosis?
  5. Does a hypnotized person give up control?
  6. Can I be made to do things against my will?
  7. What makes hypnotherapy different than traditional therapy?
  8. Can hypnosis be used to reduce pain and/or suffering from illness?
  9. Do I need to see a hypnosis professional, or can I use hypnotic CD's and/or mp3's instead? .

Answer 1:

Anyone who can daydream, pay attention and follow instructions can be hypnotized – if they want to be. People will vary however, as to the extent or depth to which they can be hypnotized. Even people who do not believe they can be hypnotized are often in a state of hypnosis while engrossed in a good movie or TV show, although they may easily resist a formal hypnotic induction if they wish.

Answer 2:

There are many benefits and uses for Hypnosis. Here are some of the more common uses:

  • relieve stress
  • stop smoking
  • lose weight
  • overcoming other undesired habits
  • control pain, both acute and chronic (physician referral advised)
  • personal and/or professional motivation
  • preparation for surgery or other medical procedures
  • ease pregnancy, childbirth and labor
  • diminish and control anxiety
  • eliminate phobias
  • treat depression
  • improve self-confidence
  • control mood swings
  • improve sports performance
  • manage anger and impulsivity
  • modify or change harmful habits and addictions
  • improve concentration, memory and study habits.

Answer 3:

Many people have found it very helpful to learn self-hypnosis. Although it may not be sufficient with all goals, self-hypnosis can be very helpful to supplement a professional hypnotherapy program and/or many self-help programs to achieve goals or manage stress. The book I wrote, Mastering the Power of Self-Hypnosis (2nd Ed., 2011, Crown House Publishing) has received high reviews. Most ethical hypnosis professionals will offer to teach you self-hypnosis if you are seeing them for habit control, motivation or stress management. They may offer it with other programs, depending on your presenting problem. If you wish to learn it, be sure to ask.

Answer 4:

Even as we enter the 21st Century, opinions still vary on the exact definition of this natural state of mind. There are a number of definitions of hypnosis. It a natural, though altered, state of mind. We all enter some form of hypnosis several times a day, like when we are driving and pass a turn-off because our mind is wandering. We can also go into the state of hypnosis when engrossed in a movie or TV show. Additionally, everyone goes through natural, altered states before falling asleep, and while awakening. Therefore, most people can enter hypnotic relaxation easily, provided they want to, and provided they feel comfortable with the hypnotic process AND the hypnotist.

Answer 5:

Even NOW this question is still debated; but consider...

If this were true, then all hypnotherapists would have a 100% success rate after only one session for every client who enters hypnosis. Many thousands of ex-smokers have successfully used hypnosis to quit; but there are thousands more who still smoke, even after being successfully hypnotized several times. (The same can be said for people wishing to use hypnosis to overcome improper eating habits and/or other undesirable habits.) The ethical hypnotherapist endeavors to help clients become more self-empowered to achieve their desired goals, and helps clients take more control over their own lives.

Also, the client must CHOOSE to change, otherwise long-term success is very unlikely. This is further evidence that the power is in the client rather than the hypnotist. However, a skilled hypnotherapist has mastered the art of hypnosis, and can provide valuable assistance to most clients who choose to change.

Answer 6:

This question goes hand-in-hand with the previous question. You can resist suggestions that are against your will or contrary to your value system. You can also resist suggestions if you have an emotional desire to resist...which is why many smokers trying a 1-session approach backslide within days or weeks.

On a different note, you would not unknowingly reveal your deepest secrets either, because it is even possible to lie in hypnosis. This is why testimony while in hypnosis is not permissible evidence in a court of law. Most people develop these misperceptions from Hollywood , and/or seeing or hearing about a Stage Hypnosis show, which, you must understand, is done for entertainment purposes only.

Answer 7:

Cognitive counseling (or traditional therapy) deals with issues at a cognitive level; and many of life's problems require just that. When someone has to make difficult cognitive decisions, competent professional help is absolutely essential! For example, hypnotherapy is not a substitute for marriage counseling. When it comes to changing habits or behaviors regulated by the subconscious, hypnotherapy shines. Hypnosis is NOT A PANACEA for all life's problems, however, and should not be advertised as such.

If you have tough decisions to make, you need a skilled professional to help you understand your options (such as a marriage counselor for marriage problems). If your problem is due to the subconscious refusing to allow you to accomplish what you consciously wish, you may wish to consider hypnotherapy. Our job is to help your subconscious mind to accept the conscious decisions you choose.

It's also important to realize that a competent hypnotherapist recognizes that he or she is NOT licensed to diagnose (unless trained and licensed to do so). If your prospective hypnotherapist tries to tell you the cause of your problem, ask him/her whether he/she is qualified to diagnose. While a physician, psychologist, or licensed mental health practitioner may be qualified to diagnose or "label" the cause of someone's problem, the hypnotherapist does not make that determination. However, if your subconscious mind stops you from accepting positive suggestions or responding to positive imagery, the competent hypnotherapist can help your subconscious mind to discover and release the cause(s).

Answer 8:

Pain is a warning that something is wrong with the body, and the cause should be diagnosed by someone qualified to do so. You should only seek hypnotherapy for pain management after receiving the appropriate referral from your primary health care professional. With appropriate referral, hypnosis to reduce pain has a good track record. Note: it is also called hypnotic pain management.

Answer 9:

That depends on several factors, including the nature and depth of your problem. General self-hypnosis tapes will give you only general results, but most clients make better progress when they are treated as individuals. The competent hypnotherapist listens to you and endeavors to understand your needs and customize the session appropriately. You must also feel comfortable with your Hypnotherapist's techniques, level of experience, and professionalism. You must also like the sound of his or her voice, otherwise that could be a distraction to successfully entering hypnosis.

Last updated: July 11, 2015