Frequently Asked Questions

What is Hypnosis?

You have essentially, two minds; two ways of thinking. You have both a conscious mind and a subconscious mind. Your conscious mind is the mind that you are using right now to determine whether or not the information I am giving to you is correct or not. It passes immediate judgment. Your subconscious mind on the other hand, is merely a computer. It is non-critical and does not pass judgment. It’s the part of your mind that tells your heart to beat, your lungs to breathe, what actions you take on a natural and regular basis, and about whom you are and are not. Learning to set aside the critical factor of the conscious mind so you can now non-critically accept information into your subconscious mind is fundamentally Hypnosis!

Hypnosis can be likened simply unto walking down a garden path. There are a variety of ways in which you are able to get from Point A to Point B on this unmapped path. You can walk it yourself and along the way, discover which way/s to go. If on your journey you find that you’ve perhaps been down any of these trodden paths before, it may be a little easier this time around. If however, this is all uncharted territory, you might find yourself doing a bit of twisting and turning. This is merely a learning curve about how to get through the garden path and to your destination. Self-discovery is really Self-Hypnosis. The other alternative to reaching your destination would be to have someone tie you up, gag you, and drag you down this garden path from Point A to Point B. Does that work? Well yes, you did get from Point A to Point B, but learned absolutely nothing along the way! I would be so bold as to label this as brainwashing because you arrived by pure force, and not on your own accord. It involved no freedom of choice or self-will.

This type of ‘brainwashing’ does not work! Why you ask? Because once you release this person from their bounds and gags they will likely not stay very long, if at all! It is a very short term resolution. Even though they were taken to where they perhaps wanted to be, it was by force. They gained nothing. That old adage, “Life is about the journey, and not the destination,” has more depth to it that we at first glance imagined. On the very unfortunate flipside, it also has the potential to work on a long-term basis! If a person was forced from Point A to Point B (and didn’t necessarily want to be there), but believed that Point B was the only place to go, and that they no longer had any other options, they would more than likely stay. Yet, the moment they learn there is in fact another choice, and that they do indeed have options, they will almost instantly run away.

Now that we’ve examined the somewhat liberal garden path, let’s see what the Hypnotist does

A Hypnotist has gone through the garden path, and is very familiar with the twists, turns, and suitable stepping stones. They know which flowers to smell and which ones have thorns! If the subject decides that they’d like to go down a certain path that they have not yet been down, the Hypnotist will accompany them. They will guide their steps, direct their actions, assist them in relaxing by helping the subject control his/her breathing and just give them the overall assurance that all is well. The Hypnotist is simply holding out their hand, offering the guidance for this person to walk the garden path by themselves ultimately. By definition of this explanation, all Hypnosis is Self-Hypnosis. The subject is really walking down this ‘garden path’ called Hypnosis on their own. I cannot stress enough that a Hypnotist is a guide, and for all intensive purposes, a teacher.

If I was to go to a street Downtown, and just randomly pull a stranger out of the crowd and say, “Hey, do an Elvis impersonation”, what are the chances of that individual fulfilling my request? I’d say slim to none!! Wouldn’t you agree? Yet, what if I was to completely alter my approach? If I chose to perhaps go to a park, examine the beauty of the alluring water fountain, and sit next to somebody and say, “Wow, isn’t it a beautiful day in the park?” If this person responds, and we begin to engage in a conversation, I immediately start to build rapport! I could find out why they are here. Chances are they are here for many of the same reasons I am, to relax and to have some well-deserved fun! I can them engage them further by letting them know that I have a lot fun here at the park and can show them how to do the same. Again, I’m continuing to build and gain rapport. Through conversation I will gain a clearer and more detailed understanding of what is that they were hoping to get out of their visit at the park. Once I know this, I will be able to guide them accordingly.

So, back to The King of Rock….. Once I’ve built rapport, the next step is to start to show them how to move their bodies like Elvis, or perhaps teach them the lyrics to JailhouseRock, Hound Dogor HeartbreakHotel! Take your pick! I also teach them to say things like, “Thank you very much”. Now that this person has the body movements, the lyrics, and the words, they have the intonations. They know how to sing the songs. What are the chances of this individual doing the Elvis impersonation then? Far, far more! Why? Because I took them through a process of first finding out what they wanted and then by letting them know I could give it to them. Showing and guiding them through a step-by-step process and then watching as they did it themselves.

For a more practical example, it would be much like telling someone how to become a nonsmoker. I find out what they want. Do they want to quit smoking? If so, what are their reasons in doing so? Once I’ve gained a clear perspective on their desired outcome, I would tell them that I can help the, and that I’ve helped many people just like them. I can give them what they want! The very first thing that they will need to do is think differently. They need to think about the things that a nonsmoker thinks of. They need to learn the ‘moves’ that are nonsmoker moves. They need to be able to walk the walk and talk the talk of a nonsmoker. Now that I’ve successfully taught them these new habits, they will feel compelled to practice and incorporate them. Their chances of becoming a non-smoker increase dramatically. And then when we do it at a subconscious level, it becomes just who they are.

Since Hypnosis is a learning process, everyone can learn the art of Hypnosis. Instead of the word Hypnotist, replace this word with one that you have become quite familiar within the preceding pages – teacher!!Instead of the word subject, replace this with the word student. Thus the Hypnotist is the Teacher, and the Subject the Student!

 

How does Hypnosis work?

We’ve already covered in detail The Two Mind Explanation. Perhaps the most important theme of this explanation is in learning to set aside the critical factor of the conscious mind so that you are now able to non-critically accept information into your subconscious mind – remember, that is essentially what Hypnosis is all about! It is also important to note that Hypnosis focuses largely on the emotional charge to a situation, circumstance or belief. By changing the emotional charge associated with the circumstances or beliefs, it allows the emotional part of our mind to make changes. So why does it look like someone is just conked out into some zombie state? Well hopefully by now you realize they are not in some kind of altered state after all, but are experiencing a very deep relaxation that puts their inhibitions aside and allows them to talk directly to their subconscious mind.

It would also be quite fitting to readdress The Elvis Explanation to adequately understand how Hypnosis works. Teaching someone new habits creates a sense of obligation within the individual to where they now feel compelled to explore these new habits, thus increasingly dramatically the desired outcome to change. When we begin to repeat this on a subconscious level, it becomes an inherent part of who they are.

A common theme with both the aforementioned explanations is simply this: We take people through these processes because small commitments eventually lead to large commitments. To tell someone right off the bat that they are a nonsmoker after they’ve been smoking for 30 years may not work every single time. However, by getting them to follow small actionable instructions, allows us to get them to accept larger suggestions until we reach the ultimate suggestion of making that desired change.

 

Can anybody be Hypnotized?

Yes indeed!!! Even our greatest critics can be hypnotized! Everyone can be hypnotized! Since Hypnosis is fundamentally both a relaxation and learning process, as long as someone has the ability to go to sleep for example, or the capacity to learn an academic subject such as Math or English, they can be hypnotized. Please note that Hypnosis is a learning process. Some people may learn it right away, and others may take a little longer, but the bottom line is that everyone can learn! Therefore anyone can learn Hypnosis. It is worth mentioning that a student can learn Math from one teacher rather easily and from another teacher may not have a clue of what to do. A large part of successful Hypnosis is really dependent upon the student and teacher relationship.

 

How can I help in the hypnosis process?

Asking this question is much like asking, “How can I be a better student?” The answer is simply this. Take what you get; don’t take what you don’t get. In other words, own what you understand, and if you don’t understand it, don’t rack your brain trying to understand it. Allow the teacher to explain it to you. The best way for you to ‘help’ is to relax, trust, and do exactly as what the teacher says, and participate as best you can! It’s up to your teacher or Hypnotist to make sure that you learn.

 

What is the value in Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a tool that when used correctly can give us valuable insight into who we really are and of course, who we are not. It can also produce powerful results in stripping away years and years of ‘programming’ from the outside world that we may falsely relate to in terms of who we are. The majority of this programming is complete by the time we are just 8 years old, and as a result, our habits and belief systems are pretty absolute by then.

 

To expand on this idea a little further, let’s exam that old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Well, I have news!!! You can certainly teach an old dog new tricks, yet there’s still some truth to that statement. The neuro pathways of certain habits are so carved into the way we look at life that it can make it difficult to change. Certain beliefs and habits may have even served us well at some point in our lives. If for example you were a child who was excessively picked on in school, who then spent much of the time shying away from others, you may view seclusion as an appropriate survival response. Although it may have been appropriate when you were being attacked as a child, it will no longer serve you well as an adult in the business world! This distant behavior that has over the years become a personality trait that you have adopted, may make being sociable with people more difficult.

In order for the world to change you must change! Life is not happening to you, but it is happening through you! I’ve often heard people describe a miracle as a shift in perception and you too can shift your perception of the world and/or life so that it creates a miracle in your own life. When someone perceives, and thus ultimately believes the world to be a certain way, getting them to shift this perception is in and of itself, a bona-fide miracle!

Again nothing changes if nothing changes! For a person to change, perception must change. So, whether the desired result is to gain more confidence, to stop bad habits, to get over a phobia, or develop new and more healthy habits such as being more affective, managing their time more effectively, being better overall, exercising more etc. In closing, think of Hypnosis as the great catalyst. By itself it does nothing and yet when combined with definitive strategies and affective tools it too can become a powerful tool. It takes whatever you want to do and makes it faster, better, easier, and more effective.

 

Who can do Hypnosis?

Since hypnosis is a learning process, we are all already engaging in, and doing some form of Hypnosis, the only difference is the depth of our participation. Are we teachers, students, hypnotists or subjects? While some people leave learning totally up to chance, others study a subject to learn. Some teachers go out there and they just start teaching, either by accident, on purpose, or they learn a skill to teach on an even higher level. By both learning and experiencing the hypnosis process, you are gaining the greatest benefit because you are learning and/or teaching the new perception and habit.

 

What does it feel like to be Hypnotized?

The feeling of being hypnotized is different for everyone, and is differs each and every time. Some of the more common sensations someone in Hypnosis would feel is deep relaxation, an experience that is often described as being on the border between awake and asleep. The truth is, the feeling doesn’t really matter, and is quite insignificant on the grand scheme of things. You may be very conscious of what’s going on, or you may not. As long as your body is relaxed, your subconscious will be opening as much as possible at that moment to receive new information. Since everybody experiences something different, there is no right or wrong answer to this. What does it feel like? It feels like whatever it feels like when you experience it. And that’s what it’s supposed to feel like for you at that time.

 

Why do many people have doubts about Hypnosis?

What we know and believe about the world and life is all learned. Up to this point there has been very little education about what Hypnosis really is and a lot of false information and speculation that for the most part defines what Hypnosis is not! Through television and movies, and unfortunately even within the industry of Hypnosis, much myth and misinformation surrounds this art. Live entertainment shows often promote the propaganda that Hypnosis is a means of control over others. Please understand that ‘stage hypnotists’ are entertaining others, this is their purpose. Although it appears that the stage hypnotist has control over the subject, the reality is that he has persuaded them to take the action he directed. Hypnosis is not a means to exercise control over anyone. It’s not like the garden path where we grab the subject and drag them down pathways that they did not want or intend to go. It’s merely finding out where people already want to go and then guiding them through that process. It is more of an elegant persuasion process (or sales process) that employs specific scientific techniques, theories and formulas. The subjects are therefore always in control, they have just surrendered to a Hypnotist who has a more knowledgeable understanding in a certain area.

 

Can Hypnosis be dangerous?

Since Hypnosis is a learning process one can only teach as much as the subject is willing to both learn and confront what is in the conscious and subconscious mind, therefore making it intrinsically harmless, or at the very least no more harmful than a danger that is already present. I do think that it is noteworthy here to discuss that the apparent danger really depends on the teacher and student, the hypnotist and the subject’s value systems and morals, and not necessarily the skill or the process of hypnosis itself. Just as a parent or a leader can teach someone a value system that is not necessarily good for them, when choosing a hypnotist you, take caution in ensuring that they can teach you within the realms of a belief system that is not only consistent with your own, but that will work for you to effectively change your life and enhance it dramatically. Asking the questions about whether or not hypnosis can be dangerous would be like asking if an automobile is dangerous. It depends on who’s driving!! It’s not the car itself that’s dangerous but more often than not the intent or carelessness of the person behind the wheel. Since the driver of ‘this automobile’ would in essence be the Hypnotist, then the subject or student would be the passenger who needs to decide whether or not it is in their best interest to get into the car. They are not forced into the car; but rather the passenger door is opened and left ajar, awaiting the decision of the student/subject.

 

How deep do I need to go to benefit from Hypnosis?

I have a rather unusual way of explaining this. First of all, let me start off by making the statement that that depth of trance is a complete and utter fallacy, and that there are no varying degrees or different levels of trance. What I have just said is false. It is not true. Yet why would I tell you something that is false? Let me explain.

It can be scientifically proven that people have different brain waves and depending on the type of brain waves they have, they will either be in an alpha, beta, theta or delta level of awareness, with theta being the optimal level of awareness for Hypnosis. Let me ask you a few questions. How do you know what level of awareness you are at or your subject is at? Is it alpha, beta, theta or delta? There are signs that you can recognize to determine what state your subject is in. Yet the question arises about whether or not they’re in the state that you want them to be in. Then what? Does that mean your subject isn’t benefiting from the hypnosis process? Absolutely not! Since hypnosis is a learning process, we can learn at any level, whether we are consciously aware or not. There may be optimal scenarios and circumstances where one can learn better. If you’re not there, looking to achieve a state and believing that you can only learn in a certain state will prevent you and your subjects from receiving the benefits they are already receiving. It’s like focusing on an opportunity that you just missed so much that you miss another opportunity that was right in front of you. So although depth of trance can be proven, you are better off as a hypnotist to believe that depth of trance is a fallacy to keep you effective and making the very most of what’s already in front of you.

 

What about Self- Hypnosis?

Before we delve into the art of Self-Hypnosis, it is important to point out the importance of having someone else hypnotize you. It gives you the benefit of being able to let go of your conscious mind completely as you go through the process. As I explained earlier, all hypnosis is in fact self-hypnosis! Perhaps this question is best left to choice. (Hint: Revisit The Garden Path Explanation).

 

I afraid I can’t be Hypnotized?

Typically when I hear that phrase it is an obvious indication that the person asking the question or making the statement does not understand what Hypnosis is. To address this, I will usually go back to explaining what Hypnosis is by employing the four different explanations we covered earlier. This usually makes it easier for the person to understand that yes, they too can be hypnotized. After explaining what Hypnosis is, “I am afraid I cannot be hypnotized” generally means that the subject is afraid that they will either not understand or cannot learn. I assure you (and them), that if they can learn anything like Math or English, then they too can learn this process as well. You may learn it quickly or it may take some time. Some people think they cannot be hypnotized because they are either far too intelligent or not intelligent enough, always one extreme or the other, when the truth is that individual intelligence does not reflect one’s ability to learn this process. So neither being intelligent or unintelligent will directly affect their ability to be hypnotized. Others think they are too strong willed. What that really means is they are afraid of change or to surrender to control, which is an entirely different statement than being afraid that they can’t be Hypnotized. Again, explaining to them what hypnosis truly is will make it easier for people to understand that they can be hypnotized. I find the more confident a person is, the more willing they are to give up control for a brief moment, knowing that they can get control back at any time. So the more confident a person is, the easier of a subject they are. Students in the military are always in the ‘taking- instruction- mode’, and as a result tend to tend to be some of the best and easiest subjects.