How Does Hypnosis Work?

Recent scientific breakthroughs have broken myths and misconceptions about hypnotism as this supernatural act of getting people to do a hypnotist’s commands. In fact, with the popularity of Sigmund Freud’s studies on the subconscious, more and more people in the academe have come to accept hypnotism as a theory within the field of medicine and hypno-therapy as an authentic branch of therapy.

Most practitioners of hypnosis believe that the delicate state of deep relaxation one enters when hypnotized is very similar to everyday experiences that people go through, such as daydreaming or reading a book. The key difference, however, in a formal session is that a hypno-therapist leads the session to a determined and definite end, depending on the goal. These targets range from the mundane such as relaxation and pure recreation to the highly complex and crucial such as recuperation from surgery or quitting a destructive habit.

Before Doing The Act

Today, there is a proliferation of information available online on how to hypnotize. After searching through them, however, you will find out that a vast majority stop short just as you go to the actual hypnotism part. What usually follow are products, video tutorials, and what-have-you’s intended to sell you something.

But before we go to the actual act of hypnotism, let’s understand how the whole thing works, as this will be pivotal in doing the steps correctly. Essentially, the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis defines hypnosis as a wakeful state of “focused attention” and “heightened suggestibility.” These descriptions render hypnotism susceptible to misconceptions, such as a tool to deceive and trick people into doing something outside their own will.

There are other don’ts that you need to keep in mind when you decide to try hypnotism. For one, don’t say anything to a person that might be detrimental to his or her self or well-being. Remember that he or she is in a state of being highly receptive to information of any kind.

Second, some people might report that they don’t feel hypnotized. To repeat, this is expected as some people often undergo a similar kind of trance.

Last, hypnosis is not something to fear. If anything, it can be beneficial if used appropriately and for good reasons.

Relax, Relax, Relax

The most common and easiest way to hypnotize someone is called the progressive relaxation technique. Essentially, you have your subject sit or lie down and be as comfortable as possible. Talk to the subject in a relaxing voice. Repeatedly tell the subject to relax and let go of everything. For instance, you may say "Take a deep breath and as you let it out, close your eyes and begin to feel yourself relaxing."

Zoom in to different and specific body parts and go over them. Tell your subject to relax his or her left arm, then the right, and so on. Be graphic with your descriptions. For instance, you may say “Let the muscle in your arm feel limp and loose.”

 Usually, you just have to do this for 10 to 15 minutes, although you would need more time with some people. Don’t forget to consistently guide the subject through the process, egging on accordingly.

 Once you’re done, just advise the subject that you’ll be breaking the trance. You can count to a certain number, and as you go on, make your voice less and less soothing until the subject reverts to normal state. 

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