When people who have never worked with hypnosis are trying to understand what will happen during their session, they ask many of the same questions. What will it feel like? Will my eyes be open or closed? What will I do? Will I be talking during the session? Will I look weird while I am in hypnosis? What if I get into hypnosis and I don’t come out? One of the reasons I offer a free consultation before a client experiences hypnosis is so prospective clients have a chance to ask their questions. Perhaps I can answer some of those questions for you here.
What will it feel like? Many people describe hypnosis as just a peaceful, relaxed state. In fact, over the years, a number of my clients have described the session as “mind massage”. But the interesting thing, hypnosis doesn’t have to be a relaxed stated. In fact in hypnosis, a client can be instructed to become tense or even stiff. Most people have seen the comedy club hypnotist instruct somebody to lie stiffly between two chairs. There would be little reason for such a suggestion in a hypnotherapy session. In such a session, a client can move but usually remains still. Hypnosis is a state of high concentration. As you pay more and more attention to the voice of the hypnotherapist, distractions just seem to fade away. So, for most clients, your mind tends to be focused and mentally alert while your body feels comfortably relaxed.
Will your eyes be open or closed? A person can be in hypnosis with eyes either open or closed. I usually ask the client to close his eyes right at the beginning of the session. In this way, he is not distracted by certificates on the wall and book titles in the book case.
What do I do during hypnosis? Some people are concerned about doing something embarrassing. Over the years, several people have told me they don’t want to bark like a dog or cluck like a chicken. These images of hypnosis come from stage show hypnotists who are there to entertain an audience. In a hypnotherapy session, my job is to help you to improve your life by dealing with a personal issue or changing a behavior. Your job is to get comfortable, focus on my voice and accept the suggestions which are in your best interest.
Will I be talking during the session? Maybe – Maybe not. Most of the sessions that I do include a clinical interview in which the client has a chance to talk about their issue, how it is affecting their lives and what they want to have happen because they came to see me. Because of the clinical interview, there isn’t much reason for the person to talk during the actual hypnosis. In some hypnotherapy sessions, however, the client will talk. I don’t know where she misplaced her diamond ring or what happened when he was twelve years old.
Will I look weird while I am in hypnosis? Most people in hypnosis simply look relaxed. Some people’s lips part or their mouth may be open. Don’t worry about how you look. Hypnotherapists look at people with their eyes closed and their mouths open all day. It’s part of the job.
Finally, some people are concerned that the therapist might lead them into hypnosis and then not be able to get them out. No one has ever gotten “down there” and not been able to return to alertness. The hypnotherapist will lead you out of hypnosis and back to an alert state at the end of your session. A client once asked me “What if you keeled over while I was in hypnosis?” I replied then you will open your eyes and call 911.” You are not unconscious or asleep and you will return to alertness through the guidance of your therapist or your own choice.
My advice for anyone seeking hypnotherapy – find someone you trust. It’s not unreasonable to have some kind of free consultation to make sure you feel the person you are working with is a professional with whom you feel comfortable. Do your research about hypnosis, ask your questions of any therapist you are considering and make an informed decision to use this valuable tool to help you in making the changes you seek.