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What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a state of focused awareness. It is
something everyone has experienced countless
times. The characteristics of the state vary and the experience is different for everyone though there are commonelements. The process is intended to create that state of focused awareness.
Hypnosis can be thought of as a game that is binding. The rules are initially defined by the expectations of the subject that encompasses all their experiences with it and what the subject has been told about hypnosis. These rules dictate what will and will not be effective; which inductions will and will not work; and the conduct of the subject while in the state of hypnosis. The rules are mutable. Debunking misconceptions, demonstrations, and
providing more information - accurate or not - will affect the rules of the game.
In hypnosis the subject calls the shots. Their expectations outline the manner in which the game is to be played. The hypnotist wields no mystical power; she and the subject have an agreement that the process of hypnosis is conducted in a certain manner and each player behaves in a particular way. The level at which the game is played is defined by the rules and the degree of trust the subject feels for the hypnotist. A mistrustful subject will be paying far more attention to what you are doing and what you might be scheming than to what you are saying.
What is Hypnosis Not?
It is not sleep. The participant is thoroughly aware of their surroundings. They may choose to ignore them. The hypnotist may ask the subject to ignore things or to focus all attention on one idea. You cannot get stuck in hypnosis. Either you will awaken on your own or the state will become one of natural sleep. Sometimes a subject requires a few more moments to return. Sometimes the subject refuses to return. This is particularly true of stage
hypnosis; if a subject feels angry at the hypnotist it can be mightily gratifying to unnerve said offending hypnotist by not responding. Even if this is the case the subject will still either return on their own or fall asleep. A hypnotized person will not knowingly violate their code of ethics.
What is the Process of Hypnosis?
The process and the applications of hypnosis are what make it fun and useful. The function of the hypnotist is to provide a focal point and talk their partner through evoking the intended result. The process usually begins with a discussion of hypnosis. This is to determine the purpose of a session, debunk misconceptions, get
a sense of the subject's expectations, and generally make things go easier later. The induction consists of bringing the subject's awareness to something and keeping it focused. The hypnotist gives suggestions to bring about the determined purpose
including any post-hypnotic suggestions. Then she guides the subject back to a normal state of awareness.