Pamela Chilton, C.Ht.
Hypnosis is focused concentration. There are many levels of hypnosis. The deepest level may look like a sleep state, but it is not. In sleep, your brain waves are different than when in hypnosis. Nor is unconsciousness an indicator of the level of hypnosis you are in. You can be unconscious to your surroundings in the lightest levels of hypnosis. For instance, have you ever been so deep in thought that you became unaware of everything else going on around you until someone calls your name and asks: “Where were you just now?”
If you can recall what you were thinking about you are likely to say, “I was deep in thought”. You were in hypnosis; i.e. a state of focused concentration. The level of hypnosis you were in depends upon how deep in thought you were.
If you cannot recall what you were thinking you are likely to say, “I don’t know, I guess I checked out for a moment”. That is an unconscious state of hypnosis. It is an indication the conscious awareness “checked out” allowing the subconscious to be fully present.
Most clinical hypnosis is done in a light to medium hypnotic state. Recall of past memories can occur in even the lightest levels of hypnosis. Stage and party hypnosis depend much more on the power of suggestion than on hypnosis, although those participating may spontaneously enter hypnosis as they focus their attention on the hypnotist. A stage hypnotist is highly skilled at picking the people who will respond to the suggestions given and avoiding those who will not.
Hypnosis powerfully enhances the power of suggestion but the power of suggestion does not require hypnosis to work. You can put the power of suggestion to work in all that you do. Talk to your body when you exercise it, for example. You can do this by telling yourself how much you like the feeling of getting fit and being fit, how great it feels to feel comfortable in clothes. Or you can visualize or imagine yourself looking, feeling healthy, fit and comfortable in your body. Thinking defeating thoughts or thoughts that cause you worry, stress, or upset while exercising defeats the whole purpose. Use the power of suggestion for what you put into your body too. Thinking something is fattening or bad for your body can cause your body to process that substance in exactly that way. Conversely, you can’t fool your body by telling it something that is not good for it is good. Know why? Because your body knows what you are really thinking. It can’t be fooled because it can read your thoughts. Too much sugar is not good for anyone’s body, for example. Yet telling yourself the sugar is bad for you compounds the problem. Instead tell yourself when you intake sugar: “The slightest taste of sweet is more than enough for me.” Repetition can convince the subconscious something is true and once the subconscious is convinced something is true, it will make it happen. (Which can work both for you and against you. The “trick” is making certain your subconscious believes what you want it to believe.) By the way, when you take supplements of any kind, including medications, talk to yourself about the wonderful benefits you are getting from what you are taking. Do this every time. Research shows people who do this with medications can decrease the amount of medication needed. NOTE: ADJUST MEDICATION ONLY UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF YOUR MEDICAL DOCTOR. Hypnosis enhances the power of suggestion by focusing the attention of the subconscious on the desired message or goal.
All hypnosis is self hypnosis in that the one being hypnotized has the power to block or accept any suggestion given in hypnosis, including the suggestion to go into hypnosis! To alleviate fear of hypnosis, discuss with your hypnotist the suggestions you do and do not want while in hypnosis. Your subconscious will block any suggestion it knows you do not want.
The best ways to become hypnotized are: 1) Find a hypnotist you can trust. 2) Become clear on what hypnosis is and is not: You are neither awake nor asleep. You are in an in-between state you can be super aware and be in hypnosis. Daydreaming is a hypnotic state, as is being “lost” in thought or a movie or a book or music. 3) When being hypnotized, keep your mind on and follow what the hypnotist is saying. Listen, do not critique as analyzing keeps the conscious mind active. OR let your mind drift into a very pleasant day dream. You may hear the hypnotist’s voice from a distance or you may let go of it entirely. Your subconscious and body will hear-which are the parts the hypnotist is talking to. Having your hypnotist describe a pleasant place for your mind to drift to can be helpful or you can do this on your own. A safe place where you feel happy and content and peaceful.(Analyze later, not during. You’ll remember everything and you do have the tape to listen to later.) Research studies show that even the most hypnosis resistant people do become hypnotized when they pretend to themselves they are experiencing what they believe hypnotized people feel during hypnosis. Helpful hint: At the beginning of the hypnosis, fix your eyes on a focus point. This can be a spot on the ceiling if you start with your eyes open. It can be the tip or bridge of your nose when your eyes are closed or the back of your closed eyelids, or on the spot on your forehead popularly called the third eye. The eyes move when the mind is busy with thought. Fixating the eyes slows the busy thoughts. This is a helpful hint for meditation as well.
The reason you are much more likely to be in an unconscious state of hypnosis while listening to a tape is your conscious mind does not feel it has to be on guard with a tape when it knows what is on the tape. Odds are if you return to conscious awareness when the hypnotist on a tape tells you to, you were in hypnosis. If you are startled “awake” by the click of the tape or you wake up some time after the tape has finished, it is likely you were asleep. To avoid falling asleep when playing a hypnosis tape, avoid lying down. Sit up or lean back comfortably. If you are bedridden, prop yourself up with pillows as much as possible. If you prefer to lie down, listen to the tape when you are not sleepy. If you like falling asleep to a hypnosis tape or listening to one while asleep this is fine. To get the full benefit of hypnosis, however, also listen to the tape a number of times without going to sleep. “Hypno-sleep” is for stage shows, not for imprinting positive suggestion.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE HYPNOSIS
experience one, some, or all of the following in hypnosis:
Watering of the eyes. Blood shot eyes (due to relaxation of the
capillaries). Heavy feeling in all
or part of the body. Light feeling
in part or all of the body. Parts
or all of the body feel numb. A
mask like feeling on all or part of the face. Floating feeling.
Displacement of parts of the body, such as the hands or legs (or both)
feeling like they are in a different position than you know they are. Body feels as though it’s disappeared. Feeling like one is outside of the body.
Lethargic feeling. A pronounced mellow or euphoric feeling.
Helpful Hint: Every time you feel hypnosis coming on, move your little finger or thumb (same one each time) and think to yourself, “Every time I am entering hypnosis, this finger (or thumb) moves.” Eventually this will become an automatic signal and you will no longer need to think it each time, it will have become a good indicator of hypnosis for you. See Also: How To Use Hypnosis To Program Your Goals