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What Happens in Hypnosis

Updated: Jun 23, 2022

Are you curious about what to expect in your first session? Or perhaps you're still umming and ahhing about whether you should give it a go and just book it in. This article addresses some commonly asked questions and concerns about hypnosis.

Your hypnosis journey with me begins with a phone consult so I can find out what you need help with, whether you are suitable for hypnosis, and if we are a good fit to work together. It's also a great opportunity to ask me lots of questions about hypnosis. Some of the common questions people ask me are:

Will I remember everything when I come out of hypnosis?

Probably not. Now there are two reasons for this and the first is the easiest to explain. If you read a book for an hour, would you be able to then recall every word you read? You might get close if you have an exceptional memory, but it is more likely you will recall the details that were significant to you.

Likewise with the phenomena of hypnotic amnesia, sometimes a client will only be able to recall the information that is vitally important to them. I might even purposefully suggest hypnotic amnesia so that the client recalls the learnings from the session rather than the specific details, particularly if we have looked at past trauma. A long time might seem like a short time or vice versa. This hypnotic phenomenon is known as time distortion but not everyone will experience this and it's not necessary in order to have a successful session. I've had clients look at the time and tell me they thought they'd only been in my chair for 20 minutes when it had been closer to an hour.

When you enter a trance state, which is essentially just a deeper level of inner focus, your brain will sift out things that aren't important and just concentrate on the details that are. I had a client who had a new phone and thought he'd put it on silent but towards the end of the session, it started ringing. It was on the ground near him, so I canceled the call for him and reminded him of how loved he is, and kept going with the session. At the end of the session when he was about to go, he picked up his phone and keys and said "oh, I have a missed call." I laughed and said we'll have to figure out a way to put it on silent next session but it didn't seem to disturb you, so it doesn't matter. He had no memory of hearing his phone ring but his memory of everything else that happened in the session was wonderful.

Will I share secrets with you that I don't want to share?

No. You will be in complete control during hypnosis, and you will only share with me anything that you want to share. I am governed by the Privacy Act and will not share any information you give me with others, unless it is an exceptional circumstance where the safety of another person or yourself is at risk, in which case I will explain my legal responsibilities to you.

What will happen if I fall asleep during hypnosis?

Nothing. Literally. Hypnosis is not a sleep state, even though you may hear a lot of stage performers say 'sleep’ as a command. I need my clients to be awake. So, if you fall asleep, I will notice because I can see the shift in your face, body, and breathing and I would ask for a signal from you to make sure you're still awake and with me. When I don't get a signal, I just raise the energy of my voice and sometimes the volume until you respond. Then I will make the session more interactive, so you don't slip away from me again.

Can I get stuck in hypnosis?

You can't get stuck in hypnosis. Even if you are doing a Zoom session with me and your laptop battery dies mid-session, you won't get stuck in a trance. You will notice after a minute or so that there is too much silence and that will be enough to alert you to open your eyes and check what's happening. At which point you will look down at your phone and see that I'm calling you and we can finish your session over the phone. The only reason you wouldn't become alert in this scenario would be if you fell asleep and then your laptop shut down. You'd just have a nice but expensive nap and wake up when you're ready. So, keep your battery charged if you're doing telehealth hypnosis.

Can anyone be hypnotised?

There are some conditions, risk factors, and circumstances that may contraindicate your suitability for hypnosis. We usually go over this on the phone consult and I might ask you some questions that will help me to determine your suitability for hypnosis. If you experience hallucinations or delusions in your regular life (or have a history of this) then you can probably guess why hypnosis would be unsuitable for you. We are asking you to imagine different things, like entering a virtual world in your mind, so your ability to distinguish between what is real and what is imagined is of vital importance.

If you're curious to know if everyone has the ability to go into a deep hypnotic state then I will give you my opinion based on my professional experience. I've found that some people are definitely easier to get into a deeply relaxed state and others take a bit more time and I might need to try a few different techniques before I land one that does the trick. I find those who are able to meditate tend to be good subjects as well as those who can fall asleep quickly and easily (not that you will be asleep in hypnosis).

The good thing about hypnosis is that even though for some it comes easily, for those who initially find it more difficult (like me a decade ago), it is something that you can improve upon with repetition. And I can literally see my clients go deeper and deeper in their second and third sessions. Some of my ongoing clients that see me for larger blocks of time only need a minute or two to drift into a trance and we can start the work quickly because on a subconscious level they have already trained their minds to drift off into a trance when they hear my voice.

Some of the thought leaders in the field of hypnotherapy are starting to unpack the idea that trance isn’t necessary for hypnosis to work. I see this easily in the way my own daughter responds to my use of hypnosis techniques on her. She’s too young to do a traditional hypnotherapy session so I use things like metaphoric storytelling and direct suggestion to help her with certain areas in life she struggles with. No trance necessary. So, I don’t like my clients to get too caught up on the idea of trance as if it is the key to hypnosis. The key to change is within your own mind and if you can focus deeply enough within your own mind then in my books, you’ve entered hypnosis and the work can begin.

If I didn’t answer your specific questions and you’re interested in booking a session with me, then book your free 30-minute pre-consultation call and I’ll do my best to answer all of your questions.

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