What is hypnosis?
The definition of hypnosis is a relaxed, focused state of concentration. To some, the concept of being relaxed and focused at the same time seems an oxymoron, but hypnosis allows you to enter such a state of mind. It was presumed until recently that it was a sleep-like state, or that the mind was unconscious. Actually, there is a state which the brain enters into. It has been discovered on scans during hypnosis that in this state, the mind is highly receptive to suggestion. It is not an unusual or unpleasant state of mind; most people simply feel relaxed. There is an alteration in brain wave activity, called the alpha state. This is a very pleasant, relaxing state, but during which the mind is alert, responsive, and open to a rich sensory experience.
Is hypnosis dangerous?
In the hands of a properly trained individual, hypnosis is not dangerous. There may be some circumstances which would be undesirable with an untrained hypnotist, but nothing serious could happen. If you are seeking hypnotherapy, always ensure that the practitioner is registered with a professional body with a code of conduct that you can review.
Can hypnosis make me do something against my will?
This is one of the biggest myths surrounding hypnosis. Stage hypnotists choose their subjects carefully so that they will have participants who would be willing to act outrageously. You will never do anything, or accept any suggestion that violates your morals or values. If that was possible, hypnotists could make you rob banks and bring back the money. The hypnotists would be rich and rule the world. Clearly, this is not the case. If you visit a hypnotherapist wanting to seek help with a phobia, and approach your session with an open mind and a willingness for the therapy to work, these is a good chance that your session will have a positive outcome.
Can anybody be hypnotised?
Almost everyone can be hypnotised. There are a few exceptions, however. Some examples are educationally subnormal individuals, people suffering from senility, very young children, hard drug addicts and individuals under the influence of alcohol.