Before moving to the hypnosis portion of the session, first, we’ll talk for a while about all the things you want to work on. Then, we’ll do some simple testing to find out how your unique subconscious mind receives and processes information. This information helps me deliver suggestions to you in the most effective style for you.
Q: What does it feel like?
Most people feel deep relaxation and tension release during hypnosis. Sometimes, even in deeper states, your mind will wander and you’ll think about your grocery list. You might even wonder if you’re really hypnotized. It’s a common misconception that your brain goes on vacation entirely. In fact, your thinking brain is always present, supervising the proceedings, like a good parent. You might be surprised and think, “Wow! I can still think!” You will always be in control. You could stand up and walk away under hypnosis, and it would naturally wear off in a short time. But you won’t, because hypnosis feels amazing. Afterward, you’ll be calm and refreshed and in a great mood.
Q: What if I can’t be hypnotized?
Don’t worry! It’s a common misconception that some people can’t be hypnotized. The truth is this: you’re in hypnosis each day 30 minutes or so before falling asleep. Hypnosis simply means a heightened and focused state of awareness. For example, before sleeping, you pass through a phase where you’re alert watching television, yet you don’t have the energy or motivation to speak to anyone or get up and turn the lights off. (This is the same brain-wave state as hypnosis.) You’re in hypnosis when your mind wanders, yet you still drive your car home. That’s called “environmental hypnosis.” You’re hypnotized reading a good book or watching a movie. You know this because you respond from the “feeling” part of your mind.
People receive information and learn differently, and each individual must be tested for suggestibility and hypnotized according to their individual learning patterns. I’ve met a lot of people who thought they couldn’t be hypnotized; I’ve hypnotized all of them. Remember, you will always be in control, and hypnosis can only happen with your permission.
Q: What if I went to a hypnotist before and it didn’t work…?
Three possibilities exist here. One, your hypnotist might not have been trained beyond a weekend course. It’s actually quite simple to learn hypnotic inductions. But one size does not fit all. It fits only some. To reach all people, an effective hypnotherapist needs full training approaching and perhaps exceeding one thousand hours, including suggestibility testing, diagnostic tools, therapeutic behavior modification techniques, specialty certifications, and a supervised internship program of at least six months. We graduates of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute have hundreds if not thousands of hours, based on our specialties, of training, including a full senior staff of mentors and continuing education through the American Hypnosis Association. With this background we can effectively hypnotize just about anybody, including the family dog.
The second possibility is lack of follow-through. Reinforcement exercises and follow-up sessions are important in the beginning, until new positive behaviors and thinking patterns have been engrained.
The third possibility is that you were there because somebody else, a spouse, a parent, or a boss told you to go. When your desire is to please another person, the results suffer. For example, your friend wants to quit smoking. He is motivated. He asks you to quit along with him. You know you probably should; he wants to see a hypnotherapist, and you think, “Sure, why not? I’ll go with you and give it a try.” The results for an individual like that are only about 50%. However, if you are motivated to quit, the results shoot up to 75%. If you are motivated to quit and you do your assigned homework and follow-up sessions, the results skyrocket up to 85% or higher.
Q: I’m on a budget and very busy. How many sessions will I need?
It’s very individual, and depends on your motivation. It is entirely up to you. Therapy is shorter if you are good about doing your homework. Some people decide to address more than one issue. Since hypnotherapy addresses subconscious root behaviors, it is a very fast therapy, compared to traditional psychotherapy. Hypnotherapy is primarily used for vocational and avocational self-improvement. Hypnotherapists are not licensed by the state of California as healing arts practitioners. Some issues may require medical or psychological referral.
Q: Will I bark like a dog and quack like a duck? Cluck like a chicken?
No. I would never tell you to do those things. You won’t do anything you don’t want to do. You are always in control. Put this into the context of how you feel before you fall asleep at night. You are in hypnosis, an relaxed brainwave state. You are watching TV, but lethargic. You are perfectly able to muster the energy to turn the TV off, but you don’t really want to. You can muster the will to speak back to someone, but you’re sleepy and not really up for a conversation. Still, if there was a fire, you’d jump up, shake off the state, and leave the house. You would be in complete control, and you would always do what you wanted to do.
Q: Then how come they do crazy things on stage at those Vegas shows?
Those people are carefully selected by the stage hypnotist because they exhibit qualities above and beyond normal suggestibility. We call these individuals “somnambulists.” They “go under” easily. Second, the hypnotist only picks people who are very motivated to be on the stage. Notice, not everyone in the audience is jockeying for a position up there. This combo of somnambulistic tendencies and motivation are the two ingredients that tell the stage hypnotist that that person would probably be willing to do just about anything. Notice: they elbow each other out of the way to get up there.
Occasionally, the stage hypnotist makes a mistake in selection, and he asks somebody to go back in the audience. The short answer: The subjects are all closet extroverts! They’re the same types of people who do outrageous things when they drink, but not when they’re sober. Deep down, they like to be the center of attention, and the hypnosis show gives them an opportunity to do just that.
Remember, people come to a hypnotherapist to gain control over their lives, not to lose it.
Q: My friend was hypnotized and she can’t remember anything. I got hypnotized and I remember the whole session. Does this mean it didn’t work for me?
No! You have different suggestibility than your friend, and you were at a different hypnotic depth. Under hypnosis, you will remember a range of anywhere from 80% down to just 20% of what was said. However, don’t fall for the myth that deeper is better. Depth is important for some therapies, like pain management. Lighter is better for behavior modification therapies, like weight loss. A good hypnotherapist will be able to understand how deep you are and help you attain a level that is appropriate to the therapy you are receiving.