Hypnosis 101 – FAQ
Here we answer some of the most commonly asked questions about hypnosis.
How does hypnosis make people act crazy and do silly things?
What is Hypnosis?
There are as many ways to explain hypnosis as there are individuals offering the explanations. We prefer to define hypnosis as a natural state of mind combined with physical relaxation, during which your brain wave pattern changes, allowing you to access a larger percentage of your own brain power to make positive changes of your own choosing.
Metaphorically speaking, it’s like driving a car. During the beta brainwave pattern, the conscious mind (which is very limited) is in control and the more powerful subconscious mind is riding in the back seat. As you relax into an alpha brainwave pattern, they trade places and the subconscious mind takes over, although the conscious mind is still along for the ride.
This explains why, throughout hypnosis, you remain consciously aware of everything going on around you – to varying degrees.
It is commonly accepted that “all hypnosis is self-hypnosis” in that no one else can take control of your mind or force you to think, feel, or behave in a way that is unacceptable to you.
As professionals, we teach our clients how to use self-hypnosis if, and only if, they choose to. We act only as their guide along the pathway to self-improvement.
How does hypnosis make people act crazy and do silly things?
Stage hypnotists make hypnosis seem very spectacular. They use it to entertain people. The fact is, hypnosis doesn’t make anything happen. It doesn’tmake anyone do anything (or stop doing anything). Those people who are barking like dogs or clucking like chickens, have allowed their subconscious minds to become receptive to acceptable suggestions.
The subconscious mind automatically accepts suggestions (as long as they aren’t harmful in any way, or conflict with your personal values). This is the part of the mind that lets you do things easily, effortlessly, even automatically. So when the suggestion to bark or cluck (etc.) is given, the person who has accepted it automatically barks or clucks. They know they’re not a dog or chicken, however the response is automatic. It amuses people and everybody has a good time.
Who invented hypnosis?
No one invented it. Hypnosis is a natural phenomenon, developed by medical doctors several hundred years ago in Europe. Over many decades, they discovered the techniques that helped their patients remain more comfortable throughout treatment and recovery, and actually heal more quickly. They found that it’s possible to achieve total anesthesia using only hypnosis, and countless major surgeries have been done using no pain killing chemicals whatsoever, only hypnosis.
Secondarily, physicians discovered you can use these same techniques to help a person change the way they think, feel, and behave. Hypnosis in this application is often called hypnotherapy.
Entertainers have made our jobs as hypnotherapists a little difficult in that clients who’ve seen hypnosis on stage, TV, or in the movies, expect it to be dramatic. The illusions created by entertainers make it appear that during hypnosis, you go into a deep sleep, or some mysterious trance, losing all awareness, relinquishing control of your mind to someone else, and later forgetting everything that transpired. The fact is, no one else takes control of your mind during hypnosis. Hypnosis gives YOU more control; which is why it’s easier to change the way you think, feel, and behave using self-hypnosis rather then through conscious effort alone.
Can hypnosis be harmful?
In a word – yes. When it is used by someone who is untrained, poorly trained, or unethical. This is one reason we chose the name “Evergreen Professional Hypnotherapy” for our business. Sometimes we just call it EPH and we like to say that coincidentally, “E” stands for ethical, “P” stands for professional, and “H” for honest – because our goal is to be all these – and more.
We would caution you to avoid hypnotherapists who insist upon multiple sessions. With the passage of time and with regular and repetitive visits, a feeling of trust can be established to the extent that a client may become more vulnerable to unethical suggestions.
It is highly unusual for a client to feel or behave worse instead of better, following a session with a competent professional. If you have heard of this happening, the most commonly held explanation is that there are underlying psychodynamics at play that may require psychiatric or psychological attention.
What does it take to become a hypnotherapist?
This varies from state to state. Currently in California anyone can call themselves a hypnotherapist with little or no training. “Certification” means that some training has taken place, but – how much? From whom? With what standards? It only takes three minutes to learn how to hypnotize another person!What occurs during the hypnosis is what makes the difference.
There are hypnotherapists who’ve read a book or two, or attended a class or two, paid for an ad or two – and they’re in business… playing with people’s minds. There are hypnotherapists with another full time job, who do hypnosis “on the side” to earn extra income, or just for the fun of it. There are hypnotherapists who use hypnosis AND sell a product or products. There are hypnotherapists working without a business license, even without a business location. They invite themselves into your home, or invite you into theirs. This is actually illegal in some places, as well as unsafe!
There are hypnotherapists who’ve learned one technique and hypnotize everyone precisely the same way, even using predetermined scripts. Their success is limited because not everyone responds favorably to the same technique, or to the same suggestions.
These are all reasons to be certain that you are dealing with a professional who has a formal education in psychology, whose education in the field is ongoing rather than static, who has active professional affiliations, and who is in the business primarily to help people, rather then to just make money. (We always caution people to be leery of someone whose standard fee is very high OR very low, or who remains inflexible in considering your circumstances.)
We also suggest that you stay far away from any hypnotherapist who claims to “heal” others or “make” others lose weight or stop smoking or become more self-confident, etc. This is clear indication of a misguided ego. A good hypnotherapist will give you full credit for your own self-improvement, and will feel privileged that they’ve been allowed to guide you through the process of positive change.
What if I can’t be hypnotized?
Personally we find it amusing when someone says, “I can’t be hypnotized, I’m too strong-minded.” What we’re working with during hypnosis IS the mind – the more strong – minded you are, the better – as long as you are willing to cooperate and follow the hypnotherapist’s instructions, in order to use your mind for self improvement.
Anyone of normal or above normal intelligence can be hypnotized. We’ve even had success with mentally handicapped individuals, whose high motivation for change far outweighed their below normal IQ.
High intelligence can also work against you — if you are so comfortable using your intellect that you are unwilling to leave that comfort zone and use your mind in a different, more creative way … imagining and pretending rather then analyzing and criticizing. There are specific techniques that can be used very effectively with intellectuals, as long as they are willing to simply stay still and listen.
Some clients say, “I can’t relax! Guess I can’t be hypnotized…” We say, “Everyone can relax. We’re born knowing how to relax.” Sometimes it just slips our minds. So we re-mind you, and help you, by just using our voice and a few techniques that have never failed. Sometimes “uptight” clients are absolutely amazed at themselves, and thrilled to discover how good it feels when they do relax.
Understand, relaxation isn’t the only way to go from a beta brain wave pattern into alpha, but it’s by far the most pleasant way. It isn’t always necessary to spend a long period of time going through progressive relaxation. Relaxation can happen very quickly. And with some techniques, it isn’t even a prerequisite!
Deep relaxation isn’t an essential component of hypnosis, but because there are things that ONLY happen physiologically, neurologically and psychologically DURING total relaxation, there is a bonus — a benefit that is missed if other techniques are used instead of relaxation.
What if it doesn’t work?
Hypnosis doesn’t work – you do. If you have a job to do — stop smoking, stop biting your nails, start exercising, stay away from sweets, etc. — you are the one who does the job, not hypnosis. Hypnosis is a tool. Imagine trying to cut down a huge tree with a handsaw… slow, discouraging, difficult, perhaps impossible.
Now Imagine cutting down a huge tree using a power saw! This makes the job doable! You can get it done faster, easier and better! This is the difference between making changes with or without hypnotherapy. Either way, you’re the one who has to do the job.
When suggestions are based on information you’ve provided – as long as you are being honest with yourself and with the hypnotherapist – they are readily accepted by your subconscious mind during therapy and your new behavior will reflect the positive changes in your mind.
If changes don’t occur, it simply means that additional information is needed. Sometimes there’s more going on subconsciously then we realize. Smoking, for example, may be simply a wasteful, annoying habit; or there may be some underlying psychodynamics going on which need to be addressed. Hypothetically, a young boy whose father smoked, who has been abandoned (actually or emotionally) by that father, may have more than a habit. For him, smoking may be a way to feel connected to his absent father. This is an example of underlying issues.
Overeating may just be a matter of routinely making unhealthy choices, or there may be more to it. (A classic example is a women who gains weight to keep herself at a safe distance from men because of some sexual abuse in her past. Even though she may consciously want to loose the weight, the feelings held in her subconscious mind won’t let her until the abuse is addressed and resolved.)
When someone asks our success rate we say “100% – with clients who are honest, open, willing, cooperative, truly motivated to change, and willing to follow recommendations — including the use of a reinforcement CD, additional sessions if called for, or perhaps help from another professional.”
How long does it take to make a change?
We always encourage a client to expect to notice positive changes as a result of their first session. As long as they are happy with the results, they can “keep the change” and we never need to see them again!
Sometimes you make a change and you’re so comfortable with it, it becomes self-perpetuating. Other times, in time, you notice yourself picking up your old way of thinking, feeling, or behaving. (There is a scientific explanation for why this sometimes happens, which is no reflection on you or the hypnotherapist – sometimes it just happens. For more details, feel free to contact us.)
Some hypnotherapists will insist “up front” on seeing a client 4 times, or 10 times, or whatever. In our opinion, this is a way of generating more income, but it is unfair to those who only need one session. We also feel it’s important for a client to accept responsibility for their ongoing success, and to call the office if and when they decide they need more help. Another private session is always an option.
Additionally, we can make a personalized hypnosis CD for you to use as reinforcement.
We leave these options up to you, since everyone has their own financial concerns and preferences. Some can’t afford ongoing sessions. Some simply prefer a recorded CD to use on their own.
There is also always the option of attending our FREE peer support group that meets weekly to address problems and goals. (See Rising Tide page on this web site.)
How does it feel to be hypnotized?
Find out for yourself!
Do this: sit or lie down in a comfortable position with your arms and your legs uncrossed with your head and neck safely supported.
Close your eyes.
Take in a slow deep breath.
Exhale even more slowly.
Take longer to exhale then to inhale.
Become aware of the tension in your facial muscles.
Let it go.
Notice the tension in your neck and shoulder muscles.
Let it go.
Let the rest of your body relax.
Imagine someone talking to you in a soothing voice, offering positive and powerful suggestions for those changes that you want and deserve.
When you’re ready, open your eyes.
Become aware of the room around you.
That’s what it feels like.
Not so scary, was it?
Can you teach me how to hypnotize myself all by myself?
Yes. For years we have taught a workshop at various colleges statewide called “Hypnosis Helps.”
Our personal opinion is that some instructors overcomplicate a very natural phenomenon (and charge a higher fee), whereas we believe in keeping it simple, affordable, and effective.
It is easier to use “self-hypnosis” once you’ve been guided through the process by a professional. You simply recreate the steps you’ve already experienced (complete with proper structuring of suggestions).
Surprisingly, in some ways “self-hypnosis” is easier than what is called “hetero hypnosis.”
In other ways it’s just easier to relax and let someone else do the talking. It’s a little like scratching your own back. You know where it itches and you can find a way to scratch it, though this may require some maneuvering! However, if there’s someone else handy, and all you have to do is ask, why not ask? And it feels sooo goooood…
Remember: “All hypnosis is self-hypnosis.”
No one else takes control of your mind. We tell clients, “I’m happy to loan you my voice and a few years of training and experience, and if you choose to use these to help yourself improve yourself in ways of your own choosing, good!”
That’s what we’re here for – to help in any way we can.
What are your fees?
Private session $240
Private Group Rates (Shared Session):
Two people $220 each
Three people $200 each
Four people $180 each
Five or more people $140 each
Every visit includes a FREE consultation, an interview, guided self-hypnosis, and a FREE reinforcement CD.