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What Is Hypnosis & How Does It Work?

Updated on March 8, 2015

How Does Hypnosis Work?

Despite what many people believe, hypnosis is not some magical state of mind whereby a hypnotist has some sort of control over their subject.

In fact, when under hypnosis the subject is in full control and can wake up at any time they wish to do so.

The suggestion of being able to wake up at any time is usually given during the induction.

The subject does not go into any kind of magical sleep whereby they cannot open their eyes either, unless they specifically believe this to be the case, as a result of that suggestion being given.

The word hypnosis is actually a very misleading title, as the word is derived from Hypnos, the greek God of sleep.

A more accurate description of hypnosis would be to call it a state of heightened receptiveness brought about by the use of suggestive techniques, or simply put, the power of suggestion (which should never ever be underestimated).

It's true that a person can only hear something so many times before they actually start believing it to be true and this is the case with hypnosis.

However, repetition alone isn't sufficient enough so a state of heightened suggestibility must be brought about which can be achieved in many ways.

Suggestions are then basically just being repeated until they become embedded in the subconscious. The suggestions themselves must also be well constructed and artfully vague, as linguistics is an important aspect of hypnosis.

Another misconception about hypnosis is that a persons suggestibility is the same thing as their gullibility. This isn't true either.

Gullibility is whereby a person can be fooled easily whereas suggestibility is a natural human trait required for the learning process. Without suggestibility we would be unable to learn anything and would become dysfunctional.

Therefore to say that you believe that only weak minded or vulnerable people can be hypnotized, as many people believe, you are thereby saying that you believe that only mentally dysfunctional people can be hypnotized.

Usually the opposite is the case, strong minded and highly intelligent people are actually easier to hypnotize because they are simply better at following orders.

However, generally a hypnotist cannot force a subject to do anything that goes against their morals.

Whenever we go into a daydream or our mind wanders and we continue to do what we are doing on autopilot we have gone into a trance. A trance is basically whenever someone is focusing their attention internally.

In other words, a trance is when we are thinking about something and focusing on it in our mind, the same as when we are dreaming.

To say that hypnosis only works on weak minded people is effectively the same as saying that you believe only weak minded people can have dreams.

Hypnosis can also be scientifically proven to work by means of EEG (ElectroEncephaloGraphy) by measuring our brainwaves.

We have brainwaves which cycle at different speeds measured in Hertz (Hz). When we go into a state of deep relaxation such as being asleep or being hypnotized these brainwaves slow right down.

While we are in this state the critical faculty part of our mind, which acts as an information filter, also becomes relaxed.

The critical faculty is the part of our conscious which filters out input that we are not willing to accept.

When in a relaxed state, it is much easy to bypass a subjects critical faculty and by using artfully vague and indirect linguistics to perform hypnosis, the critical faculty can be completely bypassed without the awareness of the subject and suggestions can be implanted into the subconscious.

By Sparkster

© 2011 Marc Hubs


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    • hypnose profile image


      3 years ago from Nice

      I agree, hypnosis works !

    • sparkster profile imageAUTHOR

      Marc Hubs 

      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for stopping by FashionFever!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great article sparkster, I came to this article after reading your posts in bubblews.

    • sparkster profile imageAUTHOR

      Marc Hubs 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hypnosis is a marvelous tool but it can also be misused.

    • Insane Mundane profile image

      Insane Mundane 

      7 years ago from Earth

      Well, it sounds like we agree on this more than I originally thought, due to your initial reply.

      Yeah, hypnosis and alien abductions, to me, were the most common known uses for hypnosis - back in the day, as my last question was actually talking about all of the crazy medical excuses that it is supposedly used for today; cheers!

    • sparkster profile imageAUTHOR

      Marc Hubs 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      My father swears he cannot be hypnotized and has tried.

      I know it's used in alien abduction cases which is very very bad in my opinion. I also watched Derren Brown use the power of suggestion in an experiment whereby he basically hypnotized someone into becoming an assassin without them even realizing they were the assassin and with no memory of the event afterwards.

      If you really want to see hypnosis in action I suggest checking out Derren Brown's Trick Or Treat series (preferably the 1st one).

    • Insane Mundane profile image

      Insane Mundane 

      7 years ago from Earth

      I'd probably be in that 33% group, then. Some people, in my opinion, require other ways to open up their subconsciousness along with their doorway to the unity found within the universe, without being in a trance state that was induced by someone else. Some people use meditation, drugs, deep thoughts, and other methods that encourage relaxation and imagination, etc.

      I think that Hypnosis can work for many folks, but not everybody is the same and many folks are simply on different levels.

      Oh, on a slightly different aspect of this subject: Have you ever read about all the stuff that Hypnosis claims to be used for? If you haven't, it is crazy; you should check it out!

    • sparkster profile imageAUTHOR

      Marc Hubs 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      I beg to differ, I believe everyone can be hypnotized but not against their will. It's just that some people are less suggestible than others, generally hypnosis works effectively on approximately 67% of people.

    • Insane Mundane profile image

      Insane Mundane 

      7 years ago from Earth

      Some people can't be hypnotized, as I would pay greatly if somebody could do such things to me; ha-ha!

      In less words, central nervous systems vary... :/

    • sparkster profile imageAUTHOR

      Marc Hubs 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for the comments.

    • jennzie profile image


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Great article about an interesting topic. Voted up!

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 

      7 years ago from Pune, India

      Thanks for sharing this great information.

    • hawaiihypnosis profile image


      7 years ago

      Any time I hypnotize people I always try to use a really interesting convincer. Most people don't recognize a Hypnotic Trance because it feels completely normal. Good article by the way.


    • TroyM profile image


      7 years ago

      Today I know that "How Does Hypnosis Work?" exactly. Great information!


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