Hypnosis – Weird or Wonderful?

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be hypnotized? You might be surprised by how normal it feels. Hypnotic trance is a normal human state – in fact we go into trance several times a day. Our brain is not only attracted to the restful state of trance – it’s wired for it. Here are some examples:

  • You are driving your car, but you’re not concentrating on driving – your mind is focused on a storyline running through your head. When you arrive at your destination, you barely remember anything about the ride.
  • You are making a meal but thinking about something else – to the extent that you don’t consciously see what is in front of you. Your mind is caught up in other thoughts, and yet you are able to cook.
  • Someone is talking to you, but your mind is intensely concentrating on other thoughts. You don’t even hear what the person is saying.

These examples illustrate how natural it is to go into a trance – there’s nothing weird about it! During hypnosis, you are invited to deeply relax into this trance state, but contrary to what some people think, you are not ‘under the control’ of the hypnotist. Hypnosis is a two-person job and it takes a willing participant for it to work. So what about those staged events where a hypnotist gets someone to cluck like a chicken? When hypnosis is used for entertainment, there are always people in the audience who want to go on stage and be part of the show – even if it means they will do silly things. They agree in their minds to go along with the experience, and the results can be quite entertaining!

Hypnotherapy is different, although it involves a similar partnership between hypnotist and willing participant. A typical session looks like this: the client relaxes in a comfortable position with eyes closed, and listens as the hypnotherapist uses words and mental imagery to guide the person toward an agreed-upon, therapeutic goal. It’s a calm, peaceful and positive experience, and can even be done using on-line platforms such as FaceTime and Zoom.

As a certified hypnotherapist, people often ask me: can anyone be hypnotized? The answer is yes…and no. You cannot be hypnotized if you don’t want to be, but if you want me to hypnotize you, it’s very likely that I can. Hypnosis is not a suitable option for a person who suffers from certain disorders. Another common question is: does hypnotherapy work? I have found that it does work for most of my clients, but just like any therapy, there’s no guarantee it will work every time with every person.

–Karen Torgerson

Want to give it a try? Click here to sign up for a free Relaxation Through Hypnosis workshop with AMI.
(For family caregivers only.)