Hypnosis is a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention.  It  can be done as self-hypnosis or under the guidance of a trained professional.   Most of us have experienced spontaneous trances whereby we become deeply engrossed in something and lose awareness of events around us.   For example, at a movie, we may feel absorbed by the emotions and actions in the film and need to briefly reorient to “real life” when we leave the theater.   Or we are driving and suddenly find ourselves at home.  We were on automatic pilot, and don’t remember the drive home because we were focused on an inner experience.

How is hypnosis used clinically?

Hypnosis can be used to rehearse for an event; for example to prepare for a surgery that is making you anxious.  It can be used for healing purposes; for example using the power of your imagination to encourage the body to repair tissue damage or to reduce pain.  It can also be used to explore inner obstacles and strengths to help you achieve your potential and goals.

What does a hypnotic trance feel like?

Most people report a pleasant relaxed state.  They remain aware of events around them but are more in touch with their inner experience.

Stage hypnotists make people do silly things.   Will the therapist have control over me in hypnosis?

No.  Stage-hypnotists use hypnosis as a form of entertainment and select participants who volunteer and want to be on stage.  Even though the stage-hypnotist would like you to believe that the participant is under their control, this is not true.  All hypnosis is in reality, self-hypnosis.   Hypnosis used as a clinical tool is respectful and paced to your needs.  If you have any concerns about being in control, tell your therapist who will make it a priority to ensure that you feel in control of the experience.