Lifting the veil of hypnosis – who is really in control?
So what is hypnosis? Many clients enter my room for the first time with a quizzical and sometime fearful look, as if to say, ‘What are you going to do to me?’. These responses are totally normal, natural even. How can we know what we don’t understand? We have been periodically introduced to hypnosis by the media and are surprised how people can be ‘manipulated’ by a hypnotist on stage, but the truth about the actual experience of hypnosis couldn’t be further apart.
Hypnosis can only be created by self alone; it can only be experienced within the self. In other words, others cannot create your own hypnotic states. You either enter the state or you don’t. So what does it mean? Hypnosis takes place when shared emotional interest is being thought about and talked about. A state of emotional connection to a present moment, to self or to other people, hypnosis always relates to the moment itself, a recalled memory or to an image of the future. It is a natural state for the brain, and if the moment itself presents an emotionally valuable experience, you are very likely to enter into hypnosis.
Let’s say I want to talk to you about how the brain works and you have a passion for neuroscience, this could be start of a most pleasurable interaction. We may get lost in ideas, experiences and personal opinions. We’d certainly learn new things from one another and we would enjoy spending time together, because we have a shared interest. Our imagination process would become very creative and we’d understand information on much deeper emotional level. We’d lose the sense of time and stop noticing the world around us – we would both experience being in a state of hypnosis.
However, if you have no interest in learning more about the brain’s function and the science behind it, then my words would be totally lost on you. You may be polite, try to listen and nod your head in agreement, but your internal process would be either neutral or even negative. There would be no deeper connection and no opportunity for hypnosis.
It is very important to remember that you are always in control of your own hypnotic state.
“Our unconscious learning is retained much longer. And it’s not so available as our conscious thoughts. And our unconscious knowledge comes forth when it’s needed.”M H Erickson