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What is hypnosis?
Sure, go ahead. Ask the hardest question first!
You would not have thought that, would you? Surely a hypnotist must know what hypnosis is! Just ask at the big names in the field!
The problem is that we do not all agree on what hypnosis is. Considering that hypnosis involves our rational thinking process, our feelings, our memories, our experiences, and our beliefs, we will probably never agree on a single definition. Each hypnotist will reach their own belief, and that will also determine how they practice.This, then, is how I practice. I began with the definition proposed by Dave Elman. Elman's own father was a hypnotist, and he observed a young girl's stutter disappear while she was in hypnosis. Then a stage performer helped relieve his father of chronic pain due to cancer. After a lifetime of study and application, Elman began to teach doctors, dentists, and other professionals how to use hypnosis to accomplish amazing feats such as analgesia (feeling without pain) and anesthesia (no feeling whatsoever) to complete removal of a wide range of conditions including stuttering, obesity, phobias, allergies, and depression. In time, his students begged him to record what he knew for future generations; originally published in 1964 as Findings In Hypnosis, Elman's Hypnotherapy is a true gem.
Here is Elman's defintion: "Hypnosis is a state of mind in which the critical faculty of the human is bypassed, and selective thinking established." (Hypnotherapy, p. 26)
Since I began working with Elman's definition, my experiences have led me to a slightly different understanding of hypnosis. Today I work from this definition of hypnosis:
Hypnosis is the stimulation of the imagination to the point that opens a tunnel through the conscious mind via which the subconscious may be accessed.
But where is the relaxation? The eye fixation? The eye closure? The pocketwatch? The spiral? The sleepiness? The trance? It is all on the television and movie screens, but none of it is required for hypnosis!Back to question list
What is trance?
The hypnotic trance is like an extended daydream. The mind is focused, and the senses can be much more aware than normal. Other physical characteristics such as body temperature changes, eye dilation, or eyelid fluttering may be present. Very deep physical relaxation is possible during trance, but relaxation is by no means required. For instance, many exceptional athletes are able to enter trance while performing vigorous physical activity. Here they perform at a higher level, even ignoring excruciating pain and discomfort.Back to question list
Is hypnosis mind control?
No. Remember the definition, the client is thinking selectively. The client gets to choose what suggestions to accept and what suggestions to reject. That means the client is always in control.Back to question list
Is hypnosis brainwashing?
No. To twist the definition a bit, brainwashing would be the bypassing of the critical factor and the establishment of uncritical acceptance. Someone who is brainwashed is not in control and cannot choose what to accept or reject.Back to question list
Why do people do such strange things in hypnosis?
Because they chose to. In stage shows, for instance, the volunteers know they are in a show. They are expected to behave strangely and do silly things, so they are willing to accept suggestions to do these things. Since they accept the suggestions, they carry them out.
Other strange things can happen in hypnosis. In hypnosis, feelings rise to the surface, including repressed emotions. One such tale involves Sigmund Freud. It is said that he was working with a female patient in hypnosis. Without any such prompting, the woman sat up, kissed Freud, and laid back down. (Freud, himself repressing strong feelings regarding intimacy, subsequently refused to conduct any more hypnosis sessions.)Back to question list
What can I be made to do in hypnosis?
No one can be made to do anything in hypnosis. A suggestion must be accepted in order to have any effect, and acceptance is selectively determined by the one receiving the suggestion.Back to question list
With what can hypnosis help me?
Nearly anything, perhaps everything. No list will ever be complete, however hypnosis has been shown to help with the following: appetite control, smoking cessation, fear, stuttering, pain control, allergies, arthritis, cancer, depression, pain control, giving birth, habits, attention deficit, memory, test taking, sports improvement, heart disease, forensics, and (of course) weight loss.
Even though hypnosis can do amazing things with medical conditions, that does not change the law. Legally, only a properly licensed medical practitioner may diagnose or treat a medical condition. In such a case, a hypnotist would require a referral for treatment from someone duly licensed.Back to question list
What is self-hypnosis?
You may have heard it before: "All hypnosis is self-hypnosis." In fact, the definition says nothing about who is doing the hypnotizing or who is being hypnotized. Self-hypnosis, also called auto-hypnosis, is best described as entering the hypnotic state at one's own direction.Back to question list
Can I just help myself?
It is possible to do many things with self-hypnosis, such as improving memory, changing habits, sports improvement, and both analgesia and anesthesia. Note that to do these you would need to learn self-hypnosis first. However, much like a surgeon, there are some things you just cannot do to yourself.
The hypnotist uses many tools to unlock the root of their client's problems. Among those tools are the hypnotist's own conscious and analytical mind, used to match cause to effect. These are tools that someone in hypnosis cannot use, because they are part and parcel of the critical factor which, by definition, must be bypassed in order to be in hypnosis. That is when someone else is needed.Back to question list
What is waking hypnosis?
Waking hypnosis is hypnosis without the trance. Remember that the definition does not include trance! For example, imagine what happens when you see someone yawn. You become overcome with the need to yawn yourself. Sometimes just the thought is enough; you might even be yawning now! Have you noticed how a yawn seems to be infectious, passing from person to person? We are all victims of this waking hypnotic suggestion.
Other examples could include when a song gets stuck in your head, or when someone suggests something to eat which suddenly sounds amazingly appetizing. No trance. Never was required. Simply suggestions that got past the critical factor and accepted into the subconscious mind.Back to question list
What are your qualifications?
I have been hypnotizing for many years, practicing early on with friends. I received formal training at the Omni Hypnosis Training Center from Jerry Kein, himself a student of Dave Elman's. I am also certified with the National Guild of Hypnotists. I have recently begun the effort towards professionally marketing myself, hence this website, my brochures, and other materials.Back to question list
Do you do regression?
Absolutely! Elman discovered that regression is the most powerful and effective tool for the hypnotist. The results are simply amazing!Back to question list
Do you go into past lives?
I go where the client goes. If that is where they perceive their problem lies, then that is where we address it.Back to question list
What does it mean to be be certified?
That depends on who offers the certification. There are many organizations out there who will certify a hypnotist for little more than a fee. I have been a Certified Hypnotist with the National Guild of Hypnotists which means I have taken a certain amount of quality hypnosis training according to the Guild. Guild members abide by a Code of Ethics.
At this time, to my knowledge, no state in the United States licenses hypnotists. Some states do regulate hypnosis, though how they do so varies widely. Many in the medical, psychological, and psychiatric fields argue that only someone licensed in these fields should be allowed to perform hypnosis. Given what hypnosis is, this would put an end to marketers, advertisements, salesmen, politicians, and televangelists. Not bad for a day's work, but a rather chilling prsopect for freedom of speech!Back to question list
What else do you do?
Singing, songwriting, public speaking, computer programming, web design, tae kwon do, husband, and father. Most certainly NOT in that order!Back to question list
Do you do groups?
Let's see, greater return for me, lower cost for you. Sounds like a good deal to me! I love to work with groups, so tell me what you had in mind!Back to question list
Do you do shows?
Some tend to look down on the stage hypnotist as demeaning or degrading hypnosis. The fact of the matter is, stage hypnotists were all that kept hypnosis alive through a long period in history. Stage hypnotists discovered how to hypnotize instantly. Stage hypnotists put hypnosis in public view. Stage hypnotists get to have lots of fun!
If you are looking for an evening of fun, I will be happy to provide! Let's talk!Back to question list
What are your rates?
Per my Client Bill of Rights, there will be a 30-day notice before rates change.
Group rates are determined on a case-by-case basis. Just ask!Back to question list
Do you hypnotize over the phone?
Yes, I do work over the phone. This will require you to find a reasonably quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Oh yes, and you will also need a phone!Back to question list
Do you hypnotize online?
I have successfully hypnotized online with voice chat and with text chat. If that seems curious to you, I refer you back to the definition. There is nothing about talking or listening involved. Between you and me, all we need is communication.Back to question list
Who can be hypnotized?
If you are able to read this, you are capable of being hypnotized. From the definition (again!), what you need is
If you have those qualities, you are ready to go! In fact, you probably do so already, frequently!Back to question list
What does hypnosis feel like?
To me, hypnosis feels like daydreaming, like relaxing in a hammock on a beautiful afternoon with the lightest of breezes, listening to the sounds of birds, pets, and children, and just rocking back and forth while my mind flits from thought to thought.
It is possible you will feel the same, and just as likely that you will feel differently. The experience is one of inner focus. Only one thing I have heard from everybody who has been hypnotized: It feels good!Back to question list
How will I feel after my hypnosis session?
I like to leave you alert, calm, relaxed, and energized. We review what has happened, what you will be doing next, and what suggestions you have accepted.
Some say that hypnosis for an hour is like sleeping for 8 hours. I do not subscribe to this myself. In fact, when an emotional release has occurred, you may need to sleep more to give your mind and body time to adjust. Once the adjustment is made to a healthy state of mind, sleeping becomes very easy and invigorating!Back to question list
Is hypnosis safe?
Have you ever been driving down the road and realized you did not remember driving the last several miles?
Did you crash your car?
Hypnosis is a natural state of mind, and one we each enter on our own frequently, often several times a day. This is not to say that an unscrupulous hypnotist is not dangerous, quite the contrary. Hypnosis itself, however, is part of the human experience, as are love, hate, elation, jealousy, and excitement. Each may be used; each can be useful. It all depends on how!Back to question list
© 2003-2011, Steven Morgan