The most Frequently Asked Questions about hypnosis, answered by Allen Chips of the Eastern Institute of Hypnotherapy.

Q.  What is Hypnosis?

A.  A state of relaxation and/or level of concentration that the average individual reaches daily.  Self-hypnosis is accomplished most often when you are “absorbed” in a TV program, experiencing repetition (highway driving) or daydreaming.  However, “Hypnotherapy” is guided relaxation and/or concentration where the ideas expressed (suggestions) by the therapist are generally remembered more readily which, in turn, creates a new awareness.

The only requirement for getting therapeutic results is that you must have a conscious desire to change or be in agreement with the suggestions.  Depending on your motivations, there may be a shift in attitude about specific matters (habits and stresses).

Q.  Do people do things under hypnosis that are against their morals or values?

A.  No.  You will not do anything against your own morals and judgement.  In stage hypnosis, volunteers are often under the influence of alcohol and have come to the show for the purpose of relaxing, acting silly and having a good time; therefore, they are easily encouraged to do so.  If you were told to do something out of character or against your morals while under hypnosis, you would simply refuse, laugh at it, or awaken (i.e., regain normal awareness).

Q.   Can everyone be hypnotized?

A.  Yes.  As long as you are willing and have the ability to concentrate and/or relax.  There is a positive correlation between the ability to concentrate and the depth of hypnosis.

Q.  Can a person’s memory be erased?

A.  No.  If you are undergoing hypnosis and want to remember, you will.  In some cases, amnesia can be produced with a post-hypnotic suggestion, but it wears off as quickly as you wish it to.  However, a Certified Hypnotherapist can help a person transform a memory that may be causing problems.  The mind contains unconscious memories, which generally are responsible for our decisions, attitudes, feelings and behaviors.

Q.  Do people under hypnosis go to sleep or become unconscious?

A.  No.  You should not expect to go to sleep!  Hypnosis is a hyper-state of awareness that feels very relaxing.  You will be aware of everything that is occurring in the surrounding environment, as well as what is happening in your inner mind.  Some people may go out of hypnosis by falling into natural sleep, but if you do, you will be told to awaken.

Q.  What can be treated with hypnotherapy?

A.  A qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist has the capabilities to help alleviate or transform a multitude of symptoms and problems.  Many hypnotherapists carry credentials in other professional fields and, therefore, utilize hypnosis within the context of their specialty areas.  The more qualifying information you request about your therapist (such as educational background, specialization, and the content of the treatment program) – the better possibility that the benefits of hypnotherapy will match your needs appropriately.

Donna Nowak, CH, CRT

Donna is a Consulting Hypnotist and certified in regression therapy. She helps clients achieve their goals related to attitude, behavior, motivation, performance, relationships, self-control, self-esteem, stress management, and much more. She has been in private practice since January 2000.