Hypnotic Tranceformations 

Hypnotic Tranceformations

           Bryan D. Cassidy, MS, CHt


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Rev Up Your Love Life with Hypnosis!

FREE Webinar:  9 Ways Hypnosis Can Rev Up Your Sex Life

On May 20th, I recorded a live webinar:  9 Ways Hypnosis Can Rev Up Your Sex Life, in which I teach you how hypnosis can enhance intimacy, increase prowess, and boost your pleasure to unimagined levels.  And you can watch the replay for free!

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What Is(n’t) Hypnosis?

There are a great many mistaken impressions about hypnosis these days.  Whenever I tell someone I'm a Certified Master Hypnotherapist and stage hypnotist, I encounter reactions ranging from "Wow, awesome!  Hypnosis cured my uncle's cancer!" to "That stuff doesn't work--it's total BS." to "Uhoh...I'd better not look you in the eye!"  And then they don't.  (Which is strange, since all they really have to do is focus on my words, take a deep breath, and find themselves starting to relax...but I digress.)

But what many people don't realize is that trance is a perfectly natural state of mind each of us enters and leaves every day of our lives:  When we're performing routine tasks or driving familiar routes, when we're absorbed in an immersive book or movie, while we're watching television.  In fact, any time you're taking in new information, you're in at least a mild trance.  And yes, that includes surfing the Internet.  Formally induced  hypnosis is merely a more intense, more useful extension of those states of consciousness already familiar to us.

So what is hypnosis?  I have been teaching hypnosis for many years, and in dealing with the question of what hypnosis is, I've often found it more valuable to start with what it isn’t--in other words, to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding this pervasive and powerful, yet elusive, phenomenon.

Hypnosis Is Not Sleep

It's true many hypnotists use the shortcut “Sleep!” to re-induce hypnosis.  This works because most of us have unconsciously absorbed the idea that when a hypnotist says that word, he/she doesn’t mean regular, night-time sleep.  And it’s not!  Although quite often a hypnotized person looks superficially as if he/she is sleeping—passive, eyes closed, deeper breathing, muscular relaxation—the internal experience is often quite different.  Brainwave monitors show waves consistent with a person who's awake but very relaxed.

But the idea of sleep or even relaxation are not necessary to produce hypnosis.  A person can be guided into trance by suggestions of increased focus and awareness, even excitement.  (And you only have to attend my stage show to witness that a deeply hypnotized person might be walking, talking, eyes-open, and being quite active.)

You Retain Awareness

Since many people erroneously equate hypnosis with nighttime sleep, there is a tendency to assume that, as during sleep, a hypnotized person loses awareness of his/her surroundings when in trance.  The subject's relative lack of response to the outside world seems to support this theory.  However, the vast majority of hypnotic subjects retain full awareness of what’s going on around them—they just feel too good to care!  Most report that the experience of being under hypnosis is so wonderfully pleasant that there is a strong inclination not to move or speak:  Everything feels just perfect.  They are aware and focused, but they are simply focused only on the hypnotist.  And when they emerge, they remember everything that occurred.

Some people, however, are so good at being hypnotized they spontaneously enter a more profound hypnotic state, one where the conscious mind relaxes to the point it doesn't bother to retain full awareness.  These super-deep trance subjects still respond to the hypnotist (in fact, extremely well) but may report afterward that they “lost the hypnotist’s voice” and/or don’t remember anything that happened during trance.  This is perfectly normal and safe.

Hypnosis Is Not for the Weak-Minded

“I’m too strong-willed to be hypnotized” is another outdated but persistent idea.  It stems from the mistaken notion that an ability to be easily hypnotized corresponds with having a feeble mind, a weak will, or a gullible personality.  In fact, studies show quite the opposite.  The people with greater hypnotizability tend to be those with higher intelligence, enhanced focus, and superior imagination and creativity.  Far from being a detriment, the so-called “gullible” person’s ability to immerse oneself in other’s ideas gives rise to greater empathy, allows them to enjoy fantasy more, and often makes them better out-of-the-box problem-solvers.

“Will” has very little to do with hypnotic ability.  (If you think about it, shouldn't a “strong-willed” person who's determined to experience hypnosis be better at it?)  Anyone who possesses the concentration required to read a book can enter a hypnotic state simply by listening and cooperating with the hypnotist.

Hypnosis Is Not Mind Control

The concern that one can be forced to do things against one's will is probably the biggest fear and misconception surrounding hypnosis.  In each of us is a core set of beliefs, values, and judgment; a “core self,” if you will.  It has been demonstrated time and again that no amount of hypnosis can cause someone to violate that core self.  When push truly comes to shove, a hypnotic suggestion that goes against this innermost self will cause the subject to refuse, to emerge from trance, and/or simply to ignore the request.

Hypnosis temporarily relaxes the conscious mind, the part of us with which we’re most familiar and the part that thinks it’s running the whole show.  Hypnotic suggestions act mainly at the level of the subconscious, that powerful storehouse of data that comprises our perceptions and beliefs about the world, other people, and ourselves.  The subconscious has enormous influence over us—in fact, in a true sense, it is us—but the vast majority of the time, its influence is subtle and the conscious mind goes on believing all its thoughts, feelings, impulses, and behaviors are its own idea.  In those instances the subconscious has direct influence, such as when responding to a hypnotic suggestion, it can seem like an outside force or an irresistible compulsion.  In reality, it’s just the subconscious mind doing something on its own with less conscious intervention.  So, is hypnosis mind control?  Yes!  But it’s merely one part of your mind controlling another part.  It’s still all you.

And let’s face it:  If hypnosis truly worked as it does in most movies and TV shows, you’d find hypnotists at every level of every government.  And I’d be a billionaire…

You Cannot Get Stuck

One contributor to this myth might be that as late as the last century, some of the more theatrical stage hypnotists would generate buzz for their shows by performing a “window sleep,” where an attractive young woman would be placed into trance in a store window and left there for days at a time.  However, these ladies were all deep, somnambulistic subjects, highly trained, and knew going in that prolonged trance was expected.

But there may be a simpler explanation.  Many report that going into hypnosis is one of the most pleasurable experiences ever.  For some, experiencing all one’s cares and worries fading away and melting into a state of pure comfort is the most relaxed and content they’ve ever been in their lives.  So what happens when the hypnotist suddenly says, “Okay, it’s time to wake up and come back to your usual state of mind?”  Well, since we’ve already established that hypnosis is not mind control (see above), some folks simply tell themselves “Nope, I want to stay here a while longer” and they ignore the suggestion to emerge.

This happens from time to time, that someone takes a little longer to awaken.  It’s completely harmless, and with patience and repeition, a hypnotist can always bring these people out of trance.  But how does that look to an audience of laypeople who might not realize this?  It’s easy to see how the rumor could start:  “Gosh, that guy looks stuck!  It’s a good thing Bryan doesn’t have a heart attack right now, or he’d be in trance forever!”

Nobody in history has ever gotten truly “stuck” in hypnosis.  Even if I were to place someone into the deepest of hypnotic states and then just walk away, without reinforcement of the state and my voice on which to focus, the subject would either emerge on his/her own after a short while (probably wondering why I stopped talking) or simply drift into a natural, ordinary sleep from which they would awaken normally in due course.

Hypnosis Does Not Involve the Occult

I admit it seems like magic!  I just talk to a person in a special way, they go into a receptive, sleep-like state, and presto, suddenly they're free from chronic pain, banishing phobias, overcoming problems that have plagued them for years, feeling powerful sensations without physical stimulation, etc.  It really looks like I'm casting a spell.

But it's all brain science.  Brain scans can show shifts in patterns of neuronal processing and activity.  Neurochemical studies have found cascades of endorphins and enkephalins--some of the brain's own feel-good chemicals--being released during hypnosis.  Although researchers are still unraveling the mysteries of hypnosis, a great many studies lead us to one inevitable conclusion:  The mind-body connection is real, and it's far more powerful than most people imagine.

 

Still have questions about hypnosis, my practice, or me?  I love chatting with people!
Call me anytime Monday through Friday, 9am to 7pm Eastern.  No charge.