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First Hypnosis Experience: Expectations and Misconceptions

When the word hypnosis is mentioned in conversation, the reactions are usually varied.  Responses range from disbelief to mortal terror and even laughter.  On the other hand, some people believe that hypnosis can work miracles!  These are all based in misconception and misunderstanding.

A simple definition of hypnosis is ‘a state of increased suggestibility and concentration’.  First of all, You WILL NOT GO TO SLEEP or lose touch with reality.  Quite the contrary, in most cases you will be quite aware of what is being said and what is happening around you.  On awakening, some people even will say that they were not hypnotized, since they were aware of everything or felt unaffected by the hypnotist.  The lack of consciousness or amnesia that some people anticipate is not experience by most people.  Even if the perception is that the trance state was very light, the suggestions which have been made to them in most cases will have an influence, unless the subject deliberately sets out to block or prove that they will not work.

It is perfectly normal to hear external noises, maintain a rapport with your hypnotist and be able to recall everything that went on during your session.  You may feel no differently than you did before your session (though most people report being very relaxed), but the effects will be there.  To quote the June 1977 issue of Psychology Today:

People who are hypnotized for the first time are frequently disappointed to find that they experience nothing overwhelming.  They feel mildly relaxed, but they remain in touch with reality and in control of their thoughts.  They may discover that the hypnotists’ suggestions are quite resistable.  Contrary to what most people believe, a person under hypnosis need not fall asleep, or lose contact with his surroundings or relinquish his will.  He is often able to recall everything that happened during the trance and will act perfectly normal.

Physicians, Psychologists and Hypnotherapists have used hypnosis as a valuable tool in solving such problems as sleep disturbance, concentration and memory, fears and phobias, as well as control of pain and asthma.  It has also been helpful in changing habits and addictions as smoking, overeating, alcohol and substance abuse and much more.

You will find hypnosis to be a very relaxing and enjoyable experience.  Keep in mind that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, you are in control, your hypnotist is just a guide! Without your cooperation, it may very well be ineffective.  During your initial interview with your hypnotist be sure and ask any questions and express any concerns.

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