The first thing people ask me when they hear what I do for a living, after all the inevitable chicken gags, is "What does hypnosis feel like? .
It isn't an easy question to answer as everyone's experiences are different however most people comment on how relaxed they feel and I do have clients who come to see me or listen to my tracks for no other reason than to just quieten their minds and de-stress.
The thing that surprises people the most is that you are often fully aware of your surroundings and you will still hear background noises. It is not like you see on TV shows or in movies, your are not trapped in some strange trance where your mind is being controlled and you are unable to do anything.
To start with you normally feel a little lethargic, your limbs might feel heavy, not unlike when you are falling asleep. You may also find your eyelids will start fluttering and your breathing will slow down.
In a light trance you may have a feeling of partial detachment and you will notice your thoughts slowing down. Often clients describe feeling that their whole body feels heavy and like it is sinking into the chair whilst others feel like they are floating. At this point most clients will report feeling their fingers or arms tingle whilst others will describe it as pins and needles.
As the trance deepens you can often have tactile, gustatory (taste) or olfactory (smell) illusions, for example when describing your favourite meal you may be able to smell and taste it. You might also feel completely detached from your body, almost like it is not there. As strange as it sounds it is not scary at all, in fact it almost feels normal. In a deeper trance, one thing I always experience is a variety of colours floating around, most often a light blue that fills my vision.
In a deep trance you may experience hallucinations, you can hear, see and feel events as if they are happening now. You may notice the voice of the therapist cuts in and out like a radio station fading in and out and your limbs may feel rigid. Some clients report sensations of lightness, floating or even swinging. Whilst this all sounds strange it is not scary or alarming and most people enjoy the feeling.
I have never had a client tell me they did not like the feeling of being hypnotised, most clients will say they feel deeply relaxed and more at peace afterwards. Some clients find it strange as they felt like their eyes were closed and they were just relaxing and will question if this is a hypnotic state, I always answer in the same way, if you were able to visualise, feel or hear the the things I was asking you to then you were in a hypnotic state.
What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy isn't standing on a stage having your mind controlled by a hypnotist and it's not being made to walk around a stage pretending to be something you are not. Whilst this may be amusing and if I am being honest I have laughed myself, Stage Hypnosis has no real relation to Hypnotherapy.
When I first started to tell people I was interested in becoming a Hypnotherapist, I was surprised by the amount of people who said they would not do it as they don't want to cluck like a chicken. I find it strange after seeing all the bizarre things Stage Hypnotists make people do, that it is the chicken act that people remember. Stage Hypnosis is fun to watch and if you are like me you feel relieved you aren't the one chosen, however the key thing to remember is that the person on the stage wanted to be chosen and is happy to behave in this manner.
The biggest misconception surrounding Hypnotherapy is that it is a form of mind control. Trust me, if that was the case my husband's life would involve all the housework and less playing on his phone. The truth is, under hypnosis you are still fully in control, I can't make you tell me your secrets or make you do anything you do not wish to do.
There are many different interpretations of what a hypnotic trance is and whether it really can be described as a trance. It is a topic that has been debated for century's by many of the worlds lead Psychiatrists and medical professionals. I believe Hypnosis is a natural state of focused concentration where your conscious mind is relaxed and your subconscious is engaged.
Many people tell me they don't believe they can be hypnotised, yet hypnosis is a natural state that we all experience every single day. For example, how often do you find yourself day dreaming, or driving your car somewhere and realising that you can't remember parts of the journey? How often do you get engrossed in a TV show or a book so that when someone talks to you, you don't hear them?
These are examples of a light hypnotic state and if you do this, you can certainly be hypnotised. The depth of hypnosis a person can achieve varies however most therapy can be completed in a light state.
Hypnotherapy is a powerful therapy that can truly help people to change their lives in a short space of time, however it isn't magic and requires the client to be motivated and willing to work hard.