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How To: Hypnosis

Updated on July 18, 2012

How Does Hypnosis Work?

Hypnosis affects the brain by inducing a relaxed yet alert state of mind.
Hypnosis affects the brain by inducing a relaxed yet alert state of mind.

Have you ever wondered how to hypnotize someone? Hypnotherapy is a treatment for phobias and other psychological issues. But does hypnotherapy work, and how can a person be encouraged to enter a hypnotized state?

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is the practice of encouraging someone to enter a mental state in which they are highly suggestible. Contrary to popular belief, a hypnotized state is not a trance: in fact, people undergoing hypnosis are hyper-alert, with heightened awareness. However, the awareness during hypnosis is focused intently on a subject.

A hypnotic state is similar to a meditative state in that both involve being relaxed, alert and aware. So what is the difference between hypnosis and meditation? The difference between hypnosis and meditation is that in meditation, the attention is unfocused, whereas hypnosis focuses the attention on a particular stimulus, such as the voice of the hypnotherapist.

How to Enter Hypnotic State

The most effective hypnosis technique is the progressive relaxation method. The hypnosis technique of progressive relaxation puts the hypnotized person in a relaxed state by gently asking them to relax the muscles, starting at the head and traveling down through the shoulders, abdomen, right the way down to the feet.

You can relax your muscles by bringing your focus to the muscle you want to relax. Make the muscle tighten for a few seconds, then relax. Any strain will flow away from the muscle when you consciously let go of muscle tension.

How to Hypnotize Someone

If you are trying to learn how to hypnotize someone, you will need their cooperation. Many people think that you can hypnotize someone without their knowledge or consent, but this is a myth. It is not possible to force someone into hypnosis.

The role of the hypnotherapist is to encourage the patient to relax by speaking in a soothing voice. You can help someone to practice progressive relaxation by guiding them through the progressive muscle relaxation process with words such as "relax your shoulders... feel your shoulders relaxing... feel tension draining away."

When practicing hypnosis, talk in a soothing voice and give the person plenty time to relax each part of the body before moving on. Quick hypnosis is not the goal: hypnosis is a process that cannot be rushed.

How Does Hypnotherapy Work?

Once a person has entered a relaxed, hypnotized state, they are highly suggestible to the hypnotherapist's words. This is how a hypnotherapist can help a patient to overcome a phobia: by talking about the feared object or situation while the patient is in a relaxed state and suggesting in a soothing voice that the patient need not be afraid. The highly suggestible hypnotic state helps the patient to let go of their fear as instructed by the hypnotherapist.

Can Anyone Be Hypnotized?

Research shows that some people are much more susceptible to hypnosis than others. People who can easily be hypnotized are those who believe that hypnosis works. People who are cynical about hypnosis are unlikely to benefit from hypnotherapy, as they will resist hypnosis.

Hypnotherapy for Anxiety, IBS, and phobias

Hypnotherapy for anxiety is highly successful.
Hypnotherapy for anxiety is highly successful.

What Illnesses does Hypnotherapy Treat?

Hypnotherapy can be used to treat phobias, such as social phobia. Stress-related conditions such as IBS can be treated by hypnotherapy. Post-traumatic stress disorder can also be treated through hypnosis.

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