The Nature of Hypnosis
Hypnotic states and experiences are, in fact, commonplace in every day life and often occur without recognition as such. It is a different frame of mind, a different kind of awareness, from normal waking life – it could be described as dreaming sleep but it is different because of continuing consciousness.
It is about going inside ourselves. We experience it when driving a car – going into “auto-pilot mode”. While driving one may suddenly realize that one has traveled several miles and been detached from the outside world. In the hypnotic state, no matter how absorbing or compelling the images filling the awareness we remain alert to the outside world and it is possible to extract oneself instantly from the hypnotic experience at will.
The Hypnotic State
The hypnotic state allows for acceptance of imagery in place of sensory experience with suspension of everyday thinking and logic. It is a narrowing of attention, or focused attention on the content of the hypnotic exercise – suggested by the therapist or created by your own imagination or memory.
Anxiety with its associated physical manifestations can be brought under control in response to suggestions made by the therapist and then by the individual’s own volition. Most of us may approach the first experience of hypnosis with a variety of expectations and often with feelings of apprehension and anxiety.
These anxieties may interfere with the entire experience and may even prevent entering the hypnotic state. Even with an account of what will happen, often we are surprised that we remain alert, able to speak and are fully aware. You, and not the therapist, is in control of what happens and you will remember all that happens while in the trance state and the usefulness of the trance depends on your willingness to participate and continue to maintain the process.
It is a wonderfully calming, healing state that allows you to be in touch with your inner self.