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Frequently Asked Questions about Hypnosis

What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a heightened state of concentration in which the body and the conscious mind are relaxed, while the subconscious mind remains alert and receptive to positive suggestions for change.  People often refer to hypnosis as a “trance-like state” where one can concentrate intensely on a specific thought, memory, feeling, or sensation while blocking out distractions.  Hypnosis is a tool used to bypass the critical analysis of your mind so that suggestions can be accepted and then incorporated into a new “automatic” behavior. 

What does hypnosis feel like?
A common misconception is that hypnosis looks and feels like sleep. It’s not sleep. Instead it’s simply an extraordinary state of mental, physical and psychological relaxation where in that state you are more responsive to suggestion. You may discover a profound kind of relaxation like your sinking into the chair that you’re sitting in. Or you might also discover this kind of light and floating sensation as if you would if you were in water or even floating through air. Whatever you feel is what you’re supposed to feel. There is no one specific hypnotized feeling and it’s a very subjective experience.

Can anyone be hypnotized?
Yes, as long as you are willing to be hypnotized. Hypnosis is not mind control and a hypnotist can’t make you do anything that you don’t want to do. Hypnosis is a mutual process between the hypnotist and the client and the techniques and program will be customized for you. Our clients report they easily achieve the state and can use it for their continued success long after the sessions are over.

Are some of our everyday experiences hypnotic-like?
Yes, hypnosis is a natural state that people slip in and out of spontaneously many times a day often without being aware of it. Whenever you’re giving attention more to one thing to the exclusion of others, you are experiencing hypnosis. As strange as it may seem, we experience hypnosis every day behind the wheel of our cars. Perhaps you’re already familiar with the term “highway hypnosis?” While behind the wheel of your car, the conscious mind is occupied with thoughts about your everyday life. As the conscious mind is occupied with these details, the subconscious mind takes over and helps you arrive at your destination. It knows when to stop at the traffic lights, change lanes, and it gets you to your destination safely. In addition whenever you are engrossed in a good book or a movie, daydreaming or staring, you are also experiencing a form of hypnosis.

Will I experience a loss of control?
No, you will always be in full control and you will always be aware of what is going on. In fact, hypnosis is a process of taking back control of those parts of your life that may have seemed beyond control before. Hypnosis helps you let go of some of that ordinary restrictive control you may normally impose on yourself. In that sense, you will never accept any suggestion in hypnosis that you wouldn’t ordinarily approve of.

Is hypnosis dangerous?
Hypnosis is not dangerous and it doesn’t do anything to you. It produces no physiological changes other than those produced by relaxation. The use of hypnosis has been recognized by the American Medical Association since 1958.

How many sessions will I need? 
There are people that can make the necessary changes in one session however most people require repetition and reinforcement. Clients that see the best results commit to a program that goes beyond a single session. A hypnosis session will typically be an hour long.

Text by M Salerno Mid-Hudson Valley Hypnosis

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