Frequently asked questions
What is hypnosis?
The first thing is to explain what it isn’t: my type of hypnosis is not for party tricks where
you are persuaded to perform some act against your will, to the amusement of others.
In fact, there is nothing unusual or mysterious about hypnosis, it is simply a state of mind
that occurs naturally and spontaneously in each of us. It is a natural phenomenon that
you have probably already experienced yourself, for example when absorbed watching a
TV program or even when reading a book. It is similar to the relaxed state that you might
experience between waking and sleeping, like being in a trance, fully engrossed in your
own little world. Does that resonate? Well, those are all forms of hypnosis.
Is hypnosis safe?
Hypnosis is safe, because you are not unconscious or asleep. You can speak, answer
questions and recall events. You cannot get stuck in it. Essentially, all hypnosis is a form
of self hypnosis and does not cause you to lose control. You cannot be made to say or do
anything against your own better judgment. If your subconscious mind feels it is in conflict,
it will awaken you from hypnosis.
How does hypnosis work?
Hypnosis is a state of relaxation which allows the conscious critical faculty to be bypassed,
allowing a gateway to the subconscious mind and thereby establishing selective thinking.
It is a state of mind where the subconscious and conscious parts of the mind begin to work
on the same concept in unison without conflict.
There is no scientifically measurable change in brain wave patterns during hypnosis,
compared with normal consciousness. An individual in the hypnotised state usually feels
very relaxed. They will often feel as they are half asleep and at the moment they open their
eyes at the end of a session there is sometimes an awareness, for a split second, that
something had been different.
Can I get stuck in it?
No, you cannot get stuck in a hypnotic state. You will always be able to bring yourself out of
a hypnotic state anytime you want, whether you are practicing self hypnosis or when being
guided by a hypnotherapist.
Can anyone be hypnotised?
Almost everyone can enter the hypnotic state easily, with the exception of very small children
and those under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is not advisable for people with
psychological disorders meaning they have a psychosis as opposed to a neurosis to go under
hypnosis. Psychological disorders are medical in nature and stem from a neurological problem.
What does it feel like to be hypnotised?
Actually, it doesn't. For the vast majority of people there is actually no such thing as a
hypnotised feeling. Most would insist afterwards that they had not “gone under”.
After a few sessions, though, most people start to become aware of how the state feels to
them. It may be that they feel excessively heavy or light. Their arms and legs may feel rigid,
as if they have been moved into a different position, or even absent. They can sometimes
feel other strange phenomena, too - sensations of floating, whirling and/or spinning are
not unusual, or of some part of the body being distorted in some way or as if they have
become very small/big. Most people suffer some form of time distortion, usually in the
ratio of around 2.5:1, so that after the session there is a feeling that it was much shorter
than it actually was. Typically, a 50 minute session may feel like 20 minutes.
Is hypnosis dangerous?
Not at all, in the hands of a properly trained and registered hypnotherapist. There are some
circumstances that would be undesirable with a non-trained or poorly-trained operator,
but nothing serious could happen, in any event.
How does hypnotherapy differ from stage hypnosis?
The hypnosis is the same but it is the 'therapy' part that is different - the stage or theatrical
hypnotist is out to entertain others. The hypnotherapist is out to make somebody's
life more enjoyable to live.
What's the difference between hypnotherapy and psychotherapy?
Usually, psychotherapy makes changes to the subconscious by using the understanding and
imagery of the conscious mind. Hypnotherapy attempts to bypass the conscious mind to a
large extent, working directly with the subconscious. For this reason, hypnotherapy is often
quicker than psychotherapy. But it's 'horses for courses' - there are some clients who will
respond better to psychotherapy and for them, this may be a better form of treatment.
How long does a cure produced by hypnosis actually last?
It depends on how much subconscious change was brought about. If a change has been
made to a flawed fundamental belief system, then the cure will be permanent and last for
a life-time. If only superficial changes have been made, then it might be only a few days or
weeks. This is why direct suggestion therapy sometimes fails. The best therapy is where the
underlying cause has been resolved before any suggestion work is carried out at all.
Does it always work?
No, no more than any other form of medicine, complimentary or orthodox does. A responsible
therapist will soon detect when it is not going to and discharges that client so that they may
seek the help they need elsewhere. Another hypnotherapist might produce the desired result
where the first one could not, because of the different client/therapist 'mix'.
How long does it take to produce a result?
It depends on far too many factors to make a bald statement about this. It can be as few as one
session for a simple problem, to as many as... well, that depends on the ethics and skills of the
therapist involved. A responsible, properly trained, therapist will not keep a client in therapy
longer than necessary.
Do you really go into a trance? If so, how deep? Are you in any way unconscious?
The word 'trance' is easily misunderstood; a hypnotised individual is, technically, in a trance.
You are not aware of this trance state, any more than you are aware of it when you intently
watch something on TV or immerse yourself in a book or newspaper to the point where you
don't hear someone calling you.
It is MOST DEFINITELY NOT the trance you see on TV, where somebody is staring glassy-eyed
with no idea of where they are or what they are doing. The depth of trance varies from one
individual to another and it is often considered to be relatively unimportant from a therapy
point of view. You are not unconscious in any way, sometimes you may even fall asleep,
which is not unknown! Then, you would simply awake when asked to by the therapist.
Can somebody's mind be too strong?
The stronger the mind the better the ability to focus and concentrate, which makes the hypnotised
state easier to achieve. The statement 'My mind is too strong to be hypnotised' is usually based
on fear and the individuals who say this are often the best subjects of all! It is not difficult to resist
being hypnotised and needs no specific strength of mind at all. It is getting into hypnosis that takes
the mental work!
Where can I find out more?
There is much information available on this site and throughout the Internet. Key in the words
hypnosis, hypnotherapy, hypnotism, etc. on any search engine will give you enough reading material
to keep you busy for weeks. Much of it, however, is of poor quality; the links on this site point to
some useful pages.
What about legislation or regulation on hypnosis?
All professionally qualified hypnotherapists undertake to abide by a Code of Ethics of the
professional guiding body they are members of. They have to maintain strict confidentiality
within the therapeutic relationship, consistent with the good care of the client and the law.
Should you wish to see the Code of Ethics, these can be provided upon request. Should the
government decide to legislate hypnotherapy, my governing bodies (APHP and NRPC) would
fully comply to these requests and are ready to be regulated.