Frequently Asked Questions
3. Can everyone be hypnotized?
What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a state of very focused attention. It is a normal state that we go in and out of it throughout the day. An example might be when you go to a movie and you get immersed in it, not paying attention to anything else around you. You’re in a very focused state. Another example might be when you drive home from work and arrive at your home unaware of how you got there and without a specific memory of the drive yet you were in complete control the entire time. During times of relaxation and very focused attention we’re at our most suggestible. Thus in hypnosis we accept suggestions that are congruent with our beliefs much more easily than we do at other times.
Does hypnosis really work?
Yes, hypnosis has been used for hundreds of years. There are many articles from all different sources proving how effective it can be. The New York Times is just one of those sources!
Is everyone hypnotizable?
Yes, everyone can be hypnotized and we all go through states of hypnosis throughout the day. For example, when falling asleep we go through the “hypnoidal phase”.
If you've ever been immersed in a movie or a TV show and feel your emotions as you intently watch it, this is a state of very focused attention - hypnosis. During those times you are often unaware of sounds around us unless they are jarring. It is simply a state of relaxation and focused attention. Many people will not "allow" themselves to become totally immersed in the relaxation state and resistance such as this is what we see most commonly. It's so important that hypnosis be explained and that clients understand the benefits of it before undergoing it.
How will I feel after hypnosis?
You’ll feel relaxed, almost as if you’ve gotten several hours of sleep in 20 minutes. It’s a pleasant, calm, relaxed, sensation – a very positive experience.
What is a "negative association"?
A negative association is something our subconscious creates to protect us. It can be healthy (not being careful and cutting ourselves) or not (driving a car – this is not something bad under most circumstances). See the video for further explanation.
Is hypnosis good for stress related conditions?
Hypnosis can be very helpful in many types of anxieties and stresses. It’s geared toward addressing the condition that “triggers” the stress so that stress doesn’t have to follow. It also offers a replacement to be used as soon as that “trigger” is identified.
Can hypnosis be used for PTSD?
For many types of PTSD hypnosis may well aid in the recovery as well as address some of the symptoms such as anger, resentment, even nightmares. However, hypnosis won’t address many issues on a deep enough level especially if the PTSD is severe.
Does hypnosis really work for smoking?
Hypnosis is very helpful for people who want to stop smoking. I am very selective about the people I treat for smoking. It’s critical that they be very motivated to stop and that they’re willing to do the steps needed prior to the hypnosis session.
Is Hypnosis helpful for habits such as jaw clenching, nail biting, and others?
Yes, it can be extremely helpful for habits such as jaw clenching and nail biting for example. We try to identify the cause of the habit (almost always an anxiety that began years before) and then give suggestions to “replace” the habit with a healthier one such as deep breathing or mental imagery among others.
Is hypnosis effective for weight loss?
Hypnosis can be very effective for weight loss when used with a full program of nutritional and exercise counseling. By itself, while it may be somewhat effective, it may not be enough.
Can hypnosis help with fears and phobias such as public speaking, flying, claustrophobia, and others?
Yes, hypnosis can be very effective for these conditions. Fears are rooted in a prior experience (negative experience) whereas phobias are fears with no prior negative experience. Treatments of these two are a bit different and the ease with which they’re treated depends upon how deeply rooted they are, but hypnosis along with desensitization can be extremely effective for these conditions. In fact, it is often the most effective therapy available.
How is hypnosis different than Mindfulness or Meditation?
Hypnosis is guided and suggestions are given as opposed to Mindfulness which is more a "state of being" as is Meditation. Hypnosis is the receiving of information and sensory input whereas the other two are often the lack thereof other than experiencing the "present in the present".
Can Hypnosis help me in my sports performance?
Yes, it can. Hypnosis can improve focus, confidence and create a sense of accomplishment – all of which are needed for optimal performance. Ultimately, it reduces stress that the athlete may not even be aware of. See the video for some examples.
Can Hypnosis be used for relationship issues?
Watch the video for an explanation however relationship issues are out of the scope of hypnotherapy. We can focus on behaviors that contribute to relationship problems but a therapist trained in relationship or couples therapy is the most qualified to deal with a couple.
Can Hypnosis be used to give me an aversion to something? Such as certain foods?
Aversive therapy alone typically doesn’t work in the long-term. It can be used with other suggestions that address the same problem but there can be problems with aversion therapy (such as times it might be good to want something yet aversive therapy was used).
What training is necessary to do hypnosis?
The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis only allows certification for trained professionals – they must hold at least a Master’s degree in a health care discipline and have licensure or certification in their state, they must have membership in a professional society within their field, and they must meet requirements of significant training. Unfortunately, there is no standard or specific training required by most organizations and that’s why hypnosis has had a bad name. There are schools that train students in hypnosis and those graduates are generally well trained and very skilled.
Can hypnosis be used to treat medical conditions?
That depends upon the medical condition. There has been good evidence, for example, that hypnosis is extremely helpful in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. There is also evidence that it may be helpful for nausea caused by chemotherapy. And it’s often used for chronic pain. But before hypnosis is used, one should always see their medical doctor. Watch the video for an example of this.