What really happens in the mind during hypnosis?

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Let’s take the mystery out of hypnosis. Hypnosis is a completely natural state of mind. Although you may not have been formally hypnotized before, you have experienced this state of mind on a daily basis.

In reality, we are all already hypnotized. Aren’t we all programmed from childhood, our environment, our parents, schools, culture, ourselves–our perceptions and misperceptions?

For the moment, imagine dividing your mind into two parts. One is the conscious mind, those things you are fully aware of and focusing on at any given moment. The second is the subconscious mind that works much like a giant tape recorder. Of course it would be too much trivia to be constantly aware of, so you can think of it as a filing system that is accessible to us with hypnosis and other methods. (The mind is like a sieve.)

The subconscious mind controls those bodily functions over which we do not need to exercise conscious control like heart rate, breathing, digestion and so forth. As you will learn, you can gain the ability to bring many of these “involuntary” bodily functions under your voluntary control and this will be valuable in your dealing with specific physical issues.

Habits are controlled in the subconscious mind and this is of major importance to us. The subconscious mind is also the seat of emotions and since certain emotional connections trigger mental, behavioral, and physical responses, you need to be able to gain access to the subconscious mind in order to effectively change those responses.

Imagine, if you will, a filter, screen, or network that lies over the subconscious mind. It is often referred to as the “critical factor.” You can think of it as a kind of protective mechanism so that every single thing we are exposed to does not become accepted as truth by the subconscious mind and become acted upon.

In hypnosis we are purposely bypassing the critical factor of the mind so that ideas that are beneficial to us can make a deep and lasting impression on the subconscious mind. The critical factor of the mind merely becomes less active through a variety of methods but it never disappears.

The critical factor is simply less active and it will return to full activity should any suggestion be presented which your mind did not deem to be in its best interest. You are not a blank slate in hypnosis and you will not accept just any suggestion presented.

Think about sometime when you were watching a sad movie and maybe you were crying or at least feeling some emotions coming up. The critical factor was still active enough that you knew it was just a movie and yet it wasn’t bombarding you with interfering thoughts like, “Why are you crying? This lady is not dead. You saw her live on TV this morning.” And yet, if your partner asks you if you want some popcorn, you can turn and respond and then instantly return to the movie and be right back into it again. We go into and out of our subconscious mind all day long. Every time we are involved in some creative endeavor, every time we daydream, every time we get wrapped up in our emotions, every time we drive along in our car and suddenly realize we don’t remember the last mile we drive, every time we are feeling our emotions or acting out of some previously formed habit, we are in our subconscious mind.

It is estimated that we spend between 50% and 80% of our waking hours in our subconscious mind. I like to remind people that when we enter into that state of mind we call hypnosis that we are not going into uncharted territory where no human has ever set foot before. It is a common and completely natural state of mind that we have all experienced countless times before we just didn’t call it hypnosis.


Since hypnosis is a completely natural state of mind there is no such thing as a person who can not be hypnotized, except: if a person is unable or incapable of following instructions and if a person is unwilling to follow instructions.

A thorough explanation of hypnosis
A solid rapport with client
Clarity of Goal


Absolutely! Hypnosis has nothing to do with being asleep or unconscious in any way. You hear everything, remember everything and know exactly what’s going on the entire time. You are always in control.


Actually, everyone has a different subjective experience, so I can only give you some of the common reports. Some persons liken hypnosis to the peaceful feeling they have just upon awakening on a morning when they don’t have to get up right away. They are fully aware of where they are and what’s going on, but it’s just very peaceful and relaxing to lie there; sort of a gray area between waking and sleeping.

Most individuals think that hypnosis should be just like the state of sleep itself where we are not consciously aware of anything. They expect to “wake up” from hypnosis as from a sound sleep. Since we are never “asleep” in hypnosis we don’t need to “wake up” from it. It is simply a very comfortable and natural state of mind we enter into and then back out of.

Some individuals will experience a sensation of heaviness in the limbs while others may report a light floating sensation. Breathing tends to slow down in hypnosis somewhat like it does when we sleep at night. There are a number of externally visible signs of hypnosis.

Think of it this way. If we gathered a group of individuals around a swimming pool and asked them to enter into the pool, we would see a wide variety of methods. Some would dive in and some would head down the steps at the edge of the pool, while others would test the waters gently with their foot. The same is true with a group of people entering into hypnosis. Some will dive right in and enjoy a deeper quality of relaxation than they have ever had before in their entire lives and they will love it. Others will just gently test the shallow waters.

The point is… it doesn’t matter what you do. You need only a light to medium state of hypnosis to bring about positive behavioral change. Those individuals who enter into a deeper state of hypnosis will not necessarily “do better.” You are not in competition with anyone.

It is the nature of the subconscious mind to respond more easily and more rapidly with each repetition of response. Before you know it, you will be able to enter into hypnosis “just like that” whenever you so desire.
Soon you will cease to ask yourself the question, “Was I hypnotized?” and instead just ask yourself the right question. “What does hypnosis feel like to me?”

The use of clinical hypnotherapy dramatically reduces the average number of sessions necessary in order to bring about positive change. It is one of the most dynamic tools available for releasing the underlying causes of emotional suffering, dysfunctional relationship patterns and psychosomatic illnesses thus allowing the individual to be free to act according to current conditions rather than react in the response to previous emotional trauma.


Absolutely not! When a person goes up on the stage to participate in an entertainment show of hypnosis, they have a certain unspoken contract in mind. They know that they are going to be asked to do a lot of silly things and they agree to that as some level of their mind.

If we were to bring the “star” of the show to my office for some purposeful work, they would not respond to any of the suggestions that they had responded to when they were in the entertainment setting.

The context in which the hypnosis is taking place and the understood purpose of the hypnosis in the individual’s mind always determines the type of responses that can be elicited.

You cannot be caused to do anything in hypnosis that you would not choose to do. And of course, in an office setting all suggestions would pertain precisely to the goal of your becoming more and more competent in your desired purposes.

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