by Shawn Gallagher
Have you ever driven a familiar route and, upon arrival, not been able to remember much about the journey?
Perhaps you’ve been so absorbed in a book or a movie that you had a reduced awareness of what was happening around you?
Or, maybe you’ve had the experience of receiving a massage or an acupuncture treatment only to feel that the time passed quickly?
If you have, you’ve been in light hypnosis.
Whenever you find yourself “in the zone” (i.e. meditation or yoga), your brain’s electrical patterns have slowed from beta to alpha, entering the state that hypnotists call trance, which is neither awake, nor is it sleep.
What makes hypnosis different than other states is that you are more receptive to positive suggestion.
Dr. David Speigel, a respected psychiatrist at Stanford University, and a lead researcher in the field of hypnosis says: “It’s like you’re entering the imagined world. There’s less judgment, there’s less contrasting and comparing, you’re just in the flow of the experience. What you are experiencing seems very vivid and real.” [i]
Can anybody be hypnotized?
We are all capable of experiencing hypnosis, because trance is a natural state. In fact, children are highly hypnotizable; after seven years old we start to spend less time in trance as our cognitive abilities develop more.
What does hypnosis feel like?
Everyone is a bit different, but most people remark about how relaxing the experience is. For many, it is like daydreaming. For some, it feels more like a pleasant nap. For me, my body gets heavy while my mind drifts far away. Most people are surprised to realize that they heard everything the hypnotist said—hypnosis is not sleep nor is it being unconscious.
What if…? “I get stuck in hypnosis?” or “I reveal something personal?” or “I am told to act silly?”
I have been a hypnotist since 1998 and I’ve never, ever, had a problem with any of the above. And with confidence, I can say that I never will. There is a part of the mind that researchers call the “Hidden Observer” and this part is paying attention all the time. It has to pay attention because the job of your unconscious mind is Safety and Survival. This part is always working to make sure that you are ok.
You can’t get stuck in hypnosis any more than you can get stuck in sleep. From time to time, a person may not want to emerge from hypnosis (because it feels so good), but when it is time to emerge, you just do.
If you’ve ever seen a stage hypnosis show, you may have come away thinking that the hypnotist is in control and can make you act in ways that are entertaining for the audience. For starters, when a client is in my office or couples are taking the hypnosis childbirth classes, we are there to work; not be silly. If, for some reason, you want to emerge from hypnosis, you can always bring yourself out by simply opening your eyes.
Hypnotists can’t make someone to reveal something any more than a non-hypnotist could. People can lie while in hypnosis, which is why hypnosis is not admissible in a court of law.
The only person in control of you, is you.
Are there any benefits to hypnosis?
Yes, there are many…in fact, to numerous to list here.
Click this link for a brief discussion of hypnosis to boost fertility outcomes. https://aliveholistichealth.ca/2016/10/12/hypnosis-may-boost-ivf-success/
For childbirth preparation, my clients experience significant reductions in length of labour, medication use and surgery. http://www.childbirthjoy.com/Childbirth_Hypnosis_Research.html
How does hypnosis work?
To understand how hypnosis works, think back to Dr. Spiegel’s comment about hypnosis being an internal, focused state. The reason to use hypnosis is to reprogram the “lines of code” in your internal hard drive to make changes at the unconscious level. These changes will allow you to feel calmer in medical settings, to encourage fertility success, reduce stress and the many other ways your mind can help you feel better.
Can I try hypnosis to see if it will work for me?
Join me, Shawn Gallagher, for a free Relaxation Evening. To find out more, go to: http://www.shawngallagher.com/free-relaxation-evenings.html
[i] Cure: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body, Jo Marchant. Crown Publishers, New York: 2016.