Can I Be Hypnotized? How the Myths About Hypnosis are Stopping You From Feeling Better
by Heather Rodriguez
“I tried before, and I didn’t go under,” or “I was totally awake the whole time, so it didn’t work,” and even, “I could open my eyes at any time.” As a professional hypnotherapist, I hear these things all the time. Stage shows and entertainment-style hypnosis have made it difficult to know exactly when you are hypnotized, and what it feels like when you are. I am going to shine some light on hypnotism—what it is really like, who can be hypnotized, and why you would want to try hypnotism at all. The number one thing I hear after a session in my office is, “I wish I did this sooner.” Why is this? I have come to realize that many people don’t consider hypnotherapy as a possible solution to their struggles and pain because they are not convinced that they can be hypnotized.
Perhaps you have seen a hypnosis stage show, where the hypnotist had a volunteer from the audience but soon sent them back to their chair. Seeing this, you probably thought, “Oh, they can’t be hypnotized.” This is partly true. Not everyone can be hypnotized rapidly in front of an audience to do funny things. This is because there are different styles of hypnotism and the setting can be a factor. Every person over the age of seven with normal brain function can be hypnotized. Hypnosis is a natural state.
Even in the SGI driver training manual it says to use caution because, “Some drivers who have been driving for a number of hours may develop ‘highway hypnosis.’” Driving hypnosis happens on city roads, too. Have you ever driven home and not remembered the whole drive? Ultimately, the subconscious part of the mind has developed the habit of driving and of driving home. Your mind does it without even having to think about it—while the conscious thinking part of the mind can daydream or think about what to make for dinner once you get home.
Simply put, hypnosis is a slight shift of awareness. Yes, you are awake. Yes, you are conscious, and no, you do not have to try hard to relax to go into hypnosis. The only thing required to go into hypnosis is your participation. Just roll with it. When the hypnotherapist says open and close your eyes, you open and close your eyes. It is that simple. You will hear everything the hypnotist is saying, although you might drift off or daydream, too.
Stage hypnosis makes it seem that people are totally out of it. However, they are still choosing to participate. And yes, some people go deeper than others. Everyone goes deeper the more they participate in hypnosis. That is why stage hypnotists will ask if you have ever been hypnotized before coming up to the stage. For most of the work that I do as a hypnotherapist, I only need a light state of hypnosis. If I need a deeper state, then we will build that depth through concurrent sessions.
So what is hypnosis actually like? How does it actually feel to be hypnotized? First of all, it is more about sensations than a totally quiet mind. The mind can, and does, think during hypnosis. There can be times when the mind goes silent or drifts into a dreamlike consciousness state. That is just one aspect of hypnosis.
Physically, the body becomes very relaxed. In hypnosis, people sometimes recount feeling heavier or lighter. Sometimes they have a tendency to swallow more, and sometimes they may experience a tingling or numbing sensation. Some people see light or colours, too. Whatever you experience during hypnosis is perfect, and you will go as deep as you can go at that moment. If you tend to have a busy mind, your mind may slow down a bit. After more sessions of hypnosis, your mind will slow down a lot and you will experience more physical and mental signs that you are in a deeper state of hypnosis. I advise you to let the changes and shifts that you experience after you have been in hypnosis be the proof that you were in fact hypnotized and not what you may have “expected” hypnosis to be like.
A final question that I want to touch on is, hypnotherapy for what? It’s common knowledge to think of hypnotherapy for quitting smoking and weight loss. While hypnotherapy can be really effective in these areas, there are many other things that hypnosis helps with. The number one thing that I have been seeing lately is anxiety and panic attacks. There are all sorts of other treatable things, like depression, help with relationships, money issues, fears, and phobias to name a few. For a more comprehensive list, visit my website at hypnoheather.com.
There are so many things that can be resolved and assisted with hypnotherapy. If you are thinking about trying it, I say, “Go for it.” Even just the shear relaxation that you feel during and after a session is worth it. And really, what have you got to lose? Well, ok, you might lose… some weight, bad habits, and even some pain!
Hypnotherapist and instructor of hypnotism, Heather Rodriguez, aka Hypno Heather, has been passionately raising awareness and knowledge about hypnotism in Saskatchewan for over seven years. Through private sessions, group sessions, and the training certifications of hypnotherapists, she lives her heart’s purpose to assist others to tap into the power of their own minds and release, relieve, and create. She has a full-time practice in Regina, SK, and is the founder of the Hypnotherapy Institute of Saskatchewan and the President of the Regina Chapter of Hypnotherapists. You can check out more about her, the services and classes she offers, and her reviews at hypnoheather.com. Video and in-person sessions can also be booked there. Call (306) 596-2298 and/or email firstname.lastname@example.org.