What does a hypnotist really do?
What are the signs of trance?
What Is Hypnosis?
Can Hypnosis Increase My Willpower?
"How do I know if I was hypnotized?" actually means, "How do I know “it” (the hypnosis) is going to work?" Understandably a person considering seeing a hypnotist for a first time will need “proof” that they have been hypnotized which means that there is a good chance the hypnosis will work.
However, keep in mind that in trance, a person cannot be made to do anything. That interesting misperception is what I call the “Magic Hypno-Wand” fallacy. This occurs when someone thinks that all I have to do is hit you on the head with the magic hypno-wand and “Hey Presto! You’re cured!”
Also keep in mind that even though I am a hypnotist, I have no power over you or anyone else. But, I do have a deep and highly effective skill with words that can definitely help you harness and use the clinically documented, life-altering power of your mind to make positive changes.”
Have I seen seemingly miraculous changes happen to my clients? Yes. Is that sort of result one that doctors have documented? Yes again.
What is Hypnosis? Hypnosis is a person’s ability to change their fundamental, habitual, thoughts that powerfully influence their behavior and their body.
This means that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis because again, no hypnotist has any power over anyone. We are just regular people helping regular people who want to get better in some way.
I tell my clients that I am a “hypno-crite” because I am not a perfect person. Am I better today because of hypnosis? Absolutely yes. And so are countless numbers of my clients that I have helped in the last 30 years.
Internationally and nationally I teach many different applications of hypnosis and everywhere I go I tell my students that they don’t need to be perfect to help others; they just need to care and learn their craft as well as possible.
Hypnosis is NOT the sort of woo-woo nonsense that many people seem to think it is. It is the God-given power of a person's mind to make truly astonishing and often impossible-seeming, changes for the better.
Beliefs drive behavior. Beliefs operate at an unconscious level much like the programs on your computer.
Hypnosis is a person's ability to change fundamental beliefs if they are truly willing.
I once had a smoker who volunteered to be hypnotized in front of my students. She went into trance and displayed all the signs of being in deep trance which should equal success. When she came back to class for a follow up session, she said: "Well, I'm still smoking!"
"Great!" I said. "Tell me more please. Where do you mostly smoke, that sort of thing."
It turns out that she smokes mostly where she lives. No surprise there. She lives in the finished basement of the house that she and her ex-husband used to own jointly. He lives upstairs…..with the woman he was sleeping with when he was married to the woman in the basement.
The ex and the new wife hate cigarette smoke. The woman in the basement showed my class how she would gleefully blow smoke in the vents in order to drive the two upstairs crazy.
She literally did not see the connection. She was not truly willing to quit because it was more valuable for her to harm the people upstairs (and herself) than it was to stop smoking.
"So, if hypnosis is my ability to change my beliefs then what does a hypnotist really do?"
A hypnotist does many things.
A hypnotist is a highly skilled belief change coach who can absolutely help you utilize your ability to change your beliefs even when you believe you are unwilling to change.
(Keep in mind that the students I train to be hypnotists are helping people after their first weekend of training because I have distilled my 30 years of research and experience into a very comprehensive yet concise program that produces results.)
What does a hypnotist really do? A hypnotist performs several functions within the following definitions of what a hypnotist really is (hence does)
A Hypnotist Is:
An inner relationship consultant who helps you to get along better with yourself
A self-talk coach who can coach you to change your self-talk in a very positive way
A motivational coach
A Self Control Coach. (More on this later)
A stress reduction specialist
A perceptual change advisor
An imagination coach (more on this later)
A Theta State Coach (more on this later)
A belief change coach
And much more.
In March a student of mine had double knee replacement surgery. Double knee replacement at the same time! That is a tall order for anybody. Prior to the surgery she came to see me for pain reduction. She walked out free of pain. And with a big smile on her face because she was amazed at what she could accomplish.
We also did hypnosis coaching for a very successful surgery and recovery. She exceeded all expectations of her totally amazed doctor and nurses. Seriously she is a walking miracle. Virtually no medications after the surgery and none after she left the hospital. she is walking much better and much faster than anyone expected. Her knee flexibility is already beyond what she was told she could expect. She was supposed to require a blood transfusion but did not.
By the way, keep in mind that I did not do the above - my student did. I got to coach her.
So what a hypnotist really does is coach you to talk to yourself in a very deep, influential way that can absolutely improve your happiness, health and well-being.
What are the signs of trance? Here's the problem: Trance is an every day experience. Everybody goes in and out of trance several times a day. We have to because it is a health necessity.
The problem occurs because people expect something 'different' to happen even though they don't know what that 'different' experience would be. And because most people don't know what to expect that makes it even harder for them to know if they've been in trance. "I'll know I was in trance when it happens" is simply not true because if you don't know what you're looking for you won't be able to recognize it even when it is in front of you.
I've had clients who swear they did not go into trance even though they displayed many signs of deep trance. How on earth does someone with no knowledge of hypnosis and no experience know more than someone who has decades of experience? I still haven't found an answer for that.
Oh wait, yes I have. Some people don't want to change - yet. So they will 'manufacture' reasons for failure. Seriously. No…..it's not self-sabotage either. See my article on self-sabotage for more information on that silly notion. Click 'NLP For Eliminating Self-Sabotage'.
Now, before we get to the signs of trance, you need to know what trance is (vs. hypnosis).
For our purposes, there are 4 levels of brain rhythm activity. You could say the brain has 4 speeds. And listen you science perfectionists, I am keeping this simple so it doesn't get boring.
4 Brain Wave Rhythms:
Beta is high gear. It is when the conscious mind is fully engaged and working hard.
Alpha is like day dreaming.
Theta is trance. More on that in a minute.
Delta is sleep. (And no, you can't learn in your sleep. Think for a moment: If someone sat beside you and talked at you all night long, how well would you sleep? The only thing you would learn is that you don't like that person very much. And that's what sleep learning (the speaker under the pillow) is like.)
Theta is trance. Your brain is moving along nice and peacefully. And in the theta state you have full, voluntary access to your imagination.
"Reality leaves a of a lot of room to the imagination." In truth, a lot of our reality (whatever that is….) is determined by our imagination. People can 'imagine' themselves into a very real skin rash. The documentation on this is clear. (1)
People can 'imagine' themselves into a full-blown asthma attack. Wait, wait, don't get mad at me because you're thinking that I'm saying that "asthma is all in your head and therefore it's not real."
Asthma is very, very real. When we were kids, my brother used to scare the 'shaving cream' out of me because sometimes, in the middle of the night, he would wake both of us up because he was gasping very loudly for any air he could get in his lungs.
I am simply saying that some people can and do imagine themselves into a very real breathing problem. And it's a very good thing that "it's all in their head" because that means it can be fixed without drugs! In other words, they can (and do) "imagine" themselves out of having asthma. I have devoted an entire chapter to this in my book, 21st Century Medicine: Clinical Evidence For The Healing Power of The Mind.
So, the trance state is actually the theta state and in the theta state whatever we voluntarily, vividly imagine becomes very real to our psyche and our physiology.
I have had clients easily get rid of warts by using the trance (deep imagination) state.
Okay, brain wave science lesson over.
What Are The Signs of Trance?
Trance (theta state) exhibits many signs and often, clients experience unique indications of trance. Following are some of the more common signs of trance.
Time Distortion: This means time gets funky; it bends and wraps around itself. Sometimes, in trance, time gets shorter and, sometimes it is longer than it feels. Sometimes time disappears when a person is in the theta state.
I have had clients swear they were in the chair maybe 5 or 10 minutes and yet they've been in trance over an hour.
Following are some ways that let you know you were definitely in trance:
Spontaneous Anesthesia: Many of my clients simply lose touch with their bodies. They feel very free and light when this happens.
By the way, surgery without anaesthesia is one fairly frequent application of hypnosis. (2)
Significant Change In Sensations: Clients who show up very stressed quickly go from very tense to a very deep, beautiful heavy feeling after being in the 'healing chair' for a short period of time. And this wonderful feeling can last for days. And, I teach them an NLP technique on how to recall/remember/re-feel those healing sensations at will.
Weird Sensations: One time, after emerging from trance, a client asked me how I got the healing chair to go up on the wall. They swore they were hanging sideways from the wall!
Blood Shot/Glazed Eyes: A cop pulled a hippy over and said: "Son, your eyes are red. You been smoking pot?" The hippy replied: "Officer, your eyes are glazed. Have you been eating donuts?"
Almost always, clients emerge from a beautiful state of trance with 'altered eyes'. They look so peaceful. For some, it is the first time in years when they have felt such peace and quiet inside their heads.
Facial Symmetry: In trance, a client's face becomes very peaceful and balanced. I once had a client with a bad case of facial tics (Tourette's). When she went into trance, the facial tics disappeared completely.
A Renewed Sense of Self: Most of us get worn out at some point. Bone tired. Exhausted. Wounded beyond words. A deep trance seems to literally renew a person's sense of self. They feel stronger. More flexible. Much more able to handle Life's Challenges.
Can Hypnosis Increase Your Will Power?
Earlier I said that a hypnotist is a Self Control (will power) Coach. We don't control people. We coach people to have better control over themselves.
By the way, what is will power? Seriously, think about it because it is such an abused idea that many equate lack of will power with poor self-worth.
Will power is a conscious mind function because in order to 'exercise' one's will power, you have to make a conscious decision.
Here's the problem: Your conscious, logical mind is a wimp. Weak. It's a sissy. I can hear your conscious mind right now: "I am not a sissy. You're a sissy, you sissy man!"
When is the last time your emotional mind and logical mind got into a fight? Who won? Who wins almost every single time? Who wins in the end? Yep, your emotional mind.
If you have tried to lose weight, stop smoking, etc. and you have "failed" - you haven't.
Seriously. You can get rid of the guilt of failure right now because it's not a lack of will power. The real problem is inappropriately directed "want power".
Once you sufficiently reduce the emotional force driving the dysfunctional behavior then will power will be able to successfully assist in changing your behavior(s).
So, yes hypnosis can absolutely add some power to your will power and, more importantly, it can definitely help reduce harmful forces that will power simply cannot overcome.
Hypnosis has been proven time and again, to help people change their lives for the better. Just before finishing this article, I had a session with a client who, in two brief sessions, has already made some big, big changes.
What did she do? She stopped nail biting, she stopped drinking pop (soda) and, she has been feeling better in general. This is after years of depression and the two bad habits.
And keep in mind that it took no will power on her part to make those changes. It took properly harnessed "want power".
I recently had another client who beat a 22-year smoking habit - in one session. In her words: "I lost the urge. The cravings are gone!"
So remember these words: "That's just the way you are, you can change!"
Be well and thanks for reading this article.
(2) Scientific American: The Truth and the Hype of Hypnosis
Though often denigrated as fakery or wishful thinking, hypnosis has been shown to be a real phenomenon with a variety of therapeutic uses -- especially in controlling pain
Devin Hastings has written 4 books and created over 30 audio/visual products on the applications of hypnosis and behavioral change methods and he is an international speaker on these subjects. He has given presentations to AT&T, the Better Business Bureau, Law enforcement agencies and many others.
He has also created the following websites with many self-help articles addressing issues such as anxiety, diabetes, depression, OCD, resentment and more: