In the most basic form hypnosis is simply an altered state of mind. While you may be completely unaware of it, you may have found yourself in a hypnotic trance more than few times. For example, intense concentration where everything else drowns out, day dreaming, and even driving home and forgetting how you go home are all altered states of mind. However, in the clinical sense, hypnosis is a state that is directed either by the practitioner or the self in self hypnosis sessions.
People regularly argue back and forth on several points centered around hypnosis; how effective is hypnosis, is hypnosis real, is it mind control? The truth, to all those questions, is that it depends on the person. Hypnosis isn’t really mind control as the movies and TV shows will have you believe, it’s more of an opening a person’s mind to suggestion but the subject will no do anything they wouldn’t normally do while NOT under hypnosis. You can’t force someone to compromise their own safety or the safety of others unless they were already predisposed to things of that nature. With that said, it’s important to be responsible and know your subject’s disposition prior to any attempts to hypnosis. Never attempt anything against the subject’s will and always exercise responsibility in any and all hypnotic suggestions.
Hypnosis, as experienced by many, is a bit like approaching yourself with suggestions that you know you want to follow but otherwise have trouble following; like not smoking, working out more, and calming down in anxious situations. Hypnosis, when done correctly and thoroughly, puts away the conscious mind; the part that says “no, i can’t” and “maybe next week” and reaches your subconscious mind to reinforce your strengths. Most hypnotists employ a variety of methods to implant responses to situations, colors, words, etc. For example, if during a session suggested to you that “Every time you enter your vehicle you will notice how nice it smells without smoke and when you notice how nice it smells you feel strong, fresh, and confident.” This “trigger” as it’s called is the “every time you enter your vehicle” and the suggestion is hooked to that to make the smoker more confident to quit while driving. This however could have adverse effects because what if the car does NOT smell good; you haven’t implanted a trigger for that so the smoker could smoke after all. It’s a delicate balance and suggestions and triggers need to be well thought out and cover as many bases as possible for adverse effects.
A good hypnosis session is one that leaves the subject eager, energetic, and ready. Good triggers and suggestions will become a normal pattern for the subject and success rates can be very high if a pre-interview is done thoroughly to uncover potential preexisting triggers (like smoking while driving, or waking, or eating).