Q: Is hypnosis sleep?
A: No. It is a naturally occurring state of deep relaxation and focused awareness in which you can still hear the hypnotist's voice and even surrounding sounds (although probably to a lesser extent). It is very relaxing and enjoyable. You may hear a hypnotist say "Sleep!" to help induce the hypnotic state, but this is because that word is so associated with hypnosis (hypnos is the Greek word for sleep) and it just works really well.
Q: Is hypnosis safe?
A: Yes. Some people worry that they may get stuck in a trance (like in the movie 'Office Space'), but even if a hypnotist left you in a trance you would snap back into normal conscious awareness in a minute or two or just drift off into regular sleep. In more than 200 years of recorded hypnosis history, there has never been a documented case of anyone being harmed by hypnosis.
Q: What does it feel like to be hypnotized?
A: It's a wonderful, relaxing feeling. As you become more and more physically relaxed, it is easier to relax mentally as well, and as you listen to the hypnotist's soothing voice, you wil find your focus turning inward. Some people describe it as a feeling of floating gently or feeling a pleasant kind of "melting" sensation. You will still hear the hypnotist's voice, and you might hear some other sounds around you, but your focus on the hypnotist's voice will the be the most important thing. Your thoughts may drift and that is perfectly natural
You may not remember everything that was said during a hypnotic trance, but that's okay. The most important thing is that your subconscious mind heard the suggestions while you were in the trance state.
Q: Can I be made to do something I don't want to do?
A: No. Some people think a hypnotist could make them rob a bank or something like that, but if such a suggestion were made, your core values, morals and ethics would cause it to be rejected.
Q: Is it true that only weak-minded people can be hypnotized?
A: Absolutely not. In fact, the more intelligent and imaginative you are, the easier it will be for you to be hypnotized.
Q: I'd rather not cluck like a chicken...
A: Neither would I! This is one of the oldest and most pervasive cliches about stage hypnosis and I have vowed that even when performing onstage I will never do this.
In impromptu one-on-one hypnosis I would prefer to show you something unusual or amazing, like (temporarily) sticking your hand to the table by the power of suggestion alone!
And, of course, in private sessions we will be entirely focused on solving your problems.
Q: Do you have to be in a quiet, non-distracting environment to be hypnotized?
A: It helps, but the truth is I've hypnotized people in noisy bars, house parties with loud music and other distracting situations.
Q: I'm skeptical of the process. Can I still be hypnotized?
A: Everyone is capable of being hypnotized, even the skeptic and even the "control freak." It's a natural process of the human mind and we would not be able to learn without it. This is not to say being hypnotized is a bit more difficult for some people--it can be. But a skilled hypnotist can quickly work past these difficulties and achieve good results.
Q: What is the relationship between hypnosis and willpower?
A: One of the first things a hypnotist learns is that in the battle between imagination and willpower, imagi-nation always wins. We resolve not to eat that Twinkie, but then our imagi-nation kicks in and we think about how good it's going to taste and then, well, you know the rest. It's a very similar situation for smoking. We have all sorts of ways of sabotaging our willpower with rationalizations ("It's just a Twinkie." or "I will stop smoking tomorrow.") that make the process of changing our habits even more difficult. The good news is that hypnosis uses that same power of imagination in positive ways to circum-vent the need for willpower, creating change much more quickly and effectively.
Q: Is hypnosis a battle of wills?
A: Some people think this is true, and purposely try to resist the hypnotic process. But the truth is that all hypnosis is really self-hypnosis, and the hypnotist is more of a facilitator or guide to help the process along. It's a cooperative process between you and the hypnotist. If you are really resistant to the idea, that's cool--no one is going to try to force you to go into hypnosis, especially not me. But you are missing out on some amazing stuff if this is the case.
Q: I've seen hypnosis in movies and on TV shows. How accurately is it portrayed?
A: Not very, I'm afraid. Writers for movies and TV have to exaggerate and fictionalize things like hypnosis to satisfy the need for drama or comedy. Hypnosis is very different than it is portrayed in movies and TV shows.
Q: Is hypnosis anything like meditation?
A: Quite a bit. Both are very relaxing and enjoyable states. But the focus in hypnosis is much more specific and goal-oriented than that in meditation.