Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis FAQ
What is an altered state of consciousness?
An altered state of consciousness is any state of being, which differs from our ordinary “rational” state of mind
How does an altered state of consciousness differ from a hypnotic state?
The hypnotic states form a large part of the spectrum of altered states of consciousness, the latter being a more inclusive term. As an example, meditation is another form of an altered state of consciousness
Are people able to self-induce a state of hypnosis?
Yes. Spontaneous self-induced hypnotic states are quite common and you have probably experienced those many times yourself without knowing it. Whenever you become absorbed in anything, as in daydreaming, reading a book, or watching a television program, you may slip into hypnosis to varying degrees. During such times you are usually very relaxed and oblivious of outside distractions. Self-induced states of hypnosis are very common among artists and creative people.
What are preparations necessary to learn self-hypnosis?
No preparations are necessary on your part for your first session of self-hypnosis. Just wear comfortable clothing. Also, do not take tranquilizers or relaxants within three hours of the session.
What is the difference between self-hypnosis and meditation?
Self-hypnosis is a condition in which your coach will teach you how to “program” your own subconscious mind. With the use of self-hypnosis, you will be able to continue programming yourself for the results you want, and the results will come much more quickly.
Self-hypnosis differs from meditation in that during self-hypnosis the subconscious mind is in a state of focused concentration and receptivity — alert, accepting and digesting the specific suggestions that are being fed into it. Although meditation provides a very comfortable and relaxed state, generally, the subconscious mind is in a state of relative inactivity and is too passive to digest the suggestions one might give himself.
Self-hypnosis is very effective and for all practical purposes completely safe. A word of caution at this point: Because it is so effective, people may attempt to alleviate pain without first checking with their doctor to determine the cause of the pain. Pain is a signal that something may be wrong and cause ultimate damage unless properly diagnosed by someone with a proper medical background.
Self-hypnosis can be done quickly and easily, and the hypnotic state can be terminated at any time.
How does the subconscious mind differ from the ordinary consciousness?
The subconscious tends to accept as fact any idea that is presented to it. It is capable of thinking and reasoning but it does so in a different way from the conscious mind, in accordance with a different set of rules. It also can remember in complete and un-selective detail, everything that has happened to the person, including events which the conscious mind has totally forgotten.
What is the relationship of hypnosis to the unconscious?
Hypnosis is a condition, which allows the subject to reach his subconscious, unconscious, or “inner mind” and influence it. Some feel that it provides an opening into a wider psychological or spiritual dimension, transcending the limits of the individual’s unconscious.
How does the hypnotic state feel?
Hypnotic states can be broadly classified as light, medium, and deep. In the first two there may be few specific sensations other than feelings of great relaxation. In their early practice sessions with self-hypnosis, subjects may be surprised or disappointed because, other than this great sense of relaxation, they don’t feel any different. This is normal, and the best advice is to enjoy your sense of relaxation. Later, as you reach deeper states of hypnosis, you will learn to determine and experience the depths of this feeling.
Does a person in hypnosis lose self-control?
Just as many people think that a hypnotized person will carry out any suggestion given to him, people also fear that they may lose control of themselves in self-hypnosis. This is totally untrue. One will do nothing in hypnosis that she/he would not do under the most normal circumstances. Suggestions are given to a person in hypnosis, whether by himself or by someone else must be acceptable to both the conscious and the unconscious parts of the mind.
Can hypnosis totally block out all attention to things that happen in normal life?
Yes – if the subject specifically wants to. However, people in hypnosis usually are aware of everything that goes on around them; they are merely so relaxed that they do not pay attention to anything except the matter they are focusing on.
HOW does hypnosis differ from altered states of consciousness induced by such drugs as LSD, mescaline, or other hallucinogenic drugs? The key word here is self-determination:
Subject Matter – Usually no one can predict the trip on which an LSD subject will be taken. The outcome or effects of the trip may be good or bad – no one really knows beforehand. The subject of self-induced hypnosis can determine, sometimes in minute detail, the route of his trip.
Duration – The person under the influence of LSD normally remains in that state for many hours. A self-induced state of hypnosis lasts just as long as the subject wishes it to last. This may mean anything from five minutes to five hours.
What kinds of people make good subjects for hypnosis?
It is the consensus of professional hypnotists that more than 90% of the population can achieve varying depths of hypnosis during their first experience, and with continued practice can enter deeper states of hypnosis with greater ease. Within the set of good subjects for hypnosis there are many variants, but each can, with practice, achieves greater results through experience.
Who should use self-hypnosis?
The exercises in any of our programs are perfectly safe – and decidedly helpful for the vast majority of people. People who are very disturbed, emotionally unsettled, or deeply depressed should not use any self-help techniques that deal with the subconscious, especially in trying to solve their problems, without first consulting with and seeking professional of a well-qualified hypnotherapist, psychological or psychiatric help.
Does a person in a state of hypnosis lose consciousness?
A subject in a hypnotic state never loses consciousness, even in the deeper stages. He knows what is happening around him at all times. He can talk and even walk while still remaining in the hypnotic state. However, there are very deep states in which the person experiences such intense bliss or ecstasy that it would be unwise for a person in such a state to attempt, for example, to drive a car.
Can you awaken yourself from a self-induced state of hypnosis?
As was stated before, subjects in a self-induced state of hypnosis are perfectly aware of what is happening around them and can awaken themselves at any time. Exercises given in our coaching and hypnosis programs always suggest a short routine bring you back to normal consciousness. The purpose of this routine is twofold:
(1) to provide a normal patterned passage back into ordinary consciousness, which eventually becomes natural and habitual, and
(2) to ensure that you return to ordinary consciousness in an alert and happy state. Thus, the passage back into ordinary consciousness involves bringing along some of the positive feelings experienced in hypnosis.
Is it better to self-induce a state of hypnosis than to have someone else hypnotize you?
Yes, especially and only if the hypnotist is not a professionally qualified person. In fact, you should never let anyone except reliable and competent professionals induce hypnosis in you. Self-induced states, however, tend to be entirely safe.
Is it easier to return to a state of hypnosis once you have been there?
Unquestionably, yes. Passing from ordinary states of consciousness into hypnosis is a technique which, with some practice, can be employed almost automatically, like a habit. Just as a musician finds it easier to play a difficult piece after much practice, so the person who practices reaching hypnosis finds it easier to enter that state each time he practices it.
How can I learn to self-induce the state of hypnosis?
By following the step-by-step directions of our well-qualified coaches who will guide you through each exercise.
How can a person practice the exercises without a coach? For example, how can I read the hypnotic suggestions if my eyes are supposed to be closed?
It is suggested that you read through the exercise completely, becoming familiar with the details, before actually practicing it. In the beginning, practice a section at a time, until you can do each step without reviewing the guide. However, if in the beginning, you forget some details while in hypnosis, you can include those the next time you practice the exercise. You will find that in a very short time you will be able to go from start to finish and will be well on your way to achieving your goal. Once you have gained some facility, you can also open your eyes while in hypnosis, and reread the exercise in that state.
How long will it take me to learn to self-induce a state of hypnosis?
Conscientious use of the techniques given in any of our programs will bring excellent results. Don’t be discouraged if your response seems somewhat slow at first. Keep practicing and you will improve with each session. The subconscious likes repetition and routine. By continued repetition, you will eventually reach deeper and deeper stages of hypnosis.
Can you explain the value of the various stages of hypnosis?
Because each individual is exactly that, an “individual”, your first experiences with hypnosis may take you into a light or medium state, after which you will reach successively deeper states during the next five or six successful sessions with your coach. Then you will probably have arrived at your plateau of hypnotic depth, which tends to remain stationary for a short period of time. If you are deeply involved and dedicated, you will continue to experience further breakthroughs into still deeper levels by continued practice.
For general guidance, a very deep state of hypnosis is not required to achieve your purposes.
For many purposes, in fact, the light and medium conditions are distinctly preferable since, inexperienced subjects, very deep states tend to be satisfying in themselves and may detract from the purpose for which the hypnotic state was intended.
Is sleep an altered state of consciousness?
Yes. Sleep is a different type of altered consciousness than that used in hypnosis. In the altered states utilized in hypnosis, you are emphatically not asleep and are completely aware of yourself and your surroundings.
What if I am pessimistic about my ability to self-induce hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a skill that can be quickly learned through training and practice. Doubts can slow your response. They can cause you to put off your practice and may be the results of the conscious mind trying to resist learning a new habit, or they can make us try too hard, thereby working counter to the necessary relaxation. Set aside your doubts and focus on the idea of success. Also, forget all strain and effort, and simply allow yourself to relax.
Does time pass quickly while in a state of hypnosis?
Usually, yes. Your inner mind has its own sense of time. In fact, a half hour can seem like a few moments in hypnosis. Conversely, you can take all the time you need to really learn how to experience your various responses in that special hypnotic time where every moment in hypnosis can be equivalent to minutes, hours, days, or even weeks of regular time.
Won’t the preparation for entering the hypnotic state simply put me to sleep?
Normally not; however, if you are very tired, you may pass from hypnosis directly into normal sleep. Suggesting to yourself that you will remain alerted in the state of hypnosis, however, can usually prevent this.
Will I ever be able simply to slip into a state of hypnosis in a few minutes?
After continuous practice one becomes proficient at self-induction. You can accelerate the process by suggesting to yourself, at each session, and then you will remember the pathway to the state of hypnosis and will be able to find it more easily the next time. Experts in self-hypnosis can enter these states almost instantaneously – frequently by means of key suggestions, which will be explained and taught during your program.
What is the best preparation for reaching a state of hypnosis?
Your coach will give specific directions for each exercise. In addition, these general suggestions will prove helpful:
(1) It makes no difference whether you sit up or lie down, but be sure you are comfortable, and that your clothing does not hamper or confine you.
(2) Learn to relax. Deep breathing helps to relax. The more you relax, the more comfortable you are, the easier it is for you to move into a state of hypnosis. It will not do any harm to practice throughout the day.
How does self-suggestion work?
Repetition is the golden key for successful suggestion and self-suggestion. In addition, keep the following points in mind:
(1) Always word your suggestions positively. Don’t say “I will not hate that person,” but “I will love that person.”
(2) As you become proficient, you can address your subconscious in either the first or the second person, or you can switch from one to the other; but make suggestions – don’t issue orders. Commands tend to set up some resistance, even when given by yourself to yourself.
(3) Give your mind time to respond. Don’t say, “When I open my eyes, my headache will be gone”; say, “When I open my eyes, my headache will have begun to recede, and will continue to recede until it is gone.”
(4) Use short, simple, declarative sentences, and avoid ambiguities; the unconscious tends to be very literal-minded and child-like. Simple phrases will also be easier to remember from one session to the next, enabling you to repeat them, as far as possible, verbatim.
How will the inner mind carry out my suggestions?
Your inner mind knows the best way, so let it take the initiative. In fact, you may find it worthwhile to encourage such initiative, by suggesting that your mind will approach or solve a problem in an unexpected way. This will lend your suggestion the additional spur of anticipation.
Is it best to schedule regular times for practicing the exercises taught in this course? Yes. Set yourself a schedule for your exercises and stick to it. You may find yourself putting sessions off or deciding that it’s too much trouble. This is really resistance coming from your inner mind, which is not used to working in this way and naturally resists it.
What has a state of hypnosis to do with better health?
It is the unconscious mind that holds the ideas and attitudes that erupt in psychologically caused illnesses. In hypnosis, we can
(1) learn what these ideas and attitudes are and
(2) influence our minds to accept new ideas and attitudes leading to better mental and physical health.
What is a psychosomatic illness?
In general, illness springs from one of two causes. It may be entirely physical in origin or it may be psychosomatic, that is, a physical illness with psychological or emotional causes.
This latter type of illness is the one that suggestion while in a state of hypnosis can help us to overcome. (Many physicians now claim that over half of all illnesses fall into a category of psychosomatic.)
What are suggestions?
Suggestions are the phrases you say while in a state of hypnosis to influence your inner mind. Usually, these suggestions are repeated a number of times. Also, it is not necessary to verbalize or vocalize your suggestions. It is more important to visualize or sense the results of your suggestions as an accomplished fact. There will be more discussion about this during your coaching and hypnosis sessions.
Can hypnosis be used to remove pain?
As stated before, suggestions given in hypnosis are not magic or panacea but they can be effective tools in preserving and restoring your physical and mental health. An aspirin, for example, can relieve a headache but it doesn’t remove the cause of a headache. Similarly, hypnosis can be utilized to remove the pain but does not cure the cause of the pain.
Can hypnosis help me reduce tensions in my life?
Yes. Merely being in a state of hypnosis can make you feel more relaxed than you ever were before. While in hypnosis you can suggest to yourself that the relaxed feeling will carry over into your ordinary consciousness. Suggest to yourself that you will be able to see your problems and challenges in a more productive way. Confidence in yourself and in solving problems also helps, naturally, to decrease tension.
Can hypnosis reduce chronic fatigue?
Yes. Fatigue is often linked with tension; while in hypnosis you can suggest to yourself that the cause of fatigue in your life – tension, fear, conflict, worry, lack of proper motivation need not influence you any longer.
Can self-hypnosis help me overcome habits I want to get rid of?
Yes. Specific exercises are designed to train you for this very purpose.
Is hypnosis merely a practical tool, for example, for overcoming pain, relieving tension, losing weight?
As you use the exercises in your training you are learning to think in a new way, learning to explore and discover many latent powers. Gradually looking at yourself while in an altered state of consciousness will become an important part of your life, by enhancing the quality of your life experiences.
Do the exercises follow a pattern or structure?
Yes. The exercises are designed to teach you a skill and in that respect, they are somewhat like learning any new skill, for example, if you were learning to play the piano you wouldn’t attempt to play Mozart or Beethoven without first learning to read notes and play the scale. Each exercise of, for the matter, each portion of the exercise is designed for a particular and practical purpose. And, the learning is cumulative.
Psychologically, how does hypnosis work?
In general, the exercises help all of your body and its powers work together with your entire mind. Right now, possibly, because of tension, conflict, and fears, your body is working under emergency conditions utilizing only a fraction of your strength, and perhaps even operating against the conscious wishes of your mind.
Right now, too, because of mental stagnation, boredom, loneliness, unhappiness, or lack of self-confidence, your mind is working under extreme pressure conditions and utilizing only a fraction of its powers.
The exercises and the training provide a practical and psychological way, without drugs or other artificial aids, of reaching a state of’ hypnosis. In this state, you begin to see things in a new way.
One by one, you can remove the causes keeping you from living a fully integrated life, with all the powers of mind-body working in harmony and to their fullest capacities.