Hypnosis FAQ

Say the word “hypnosis,” and many people immediately think of stage shows and of people doing unusual things. Other people think of pocket watches, or spirals twirling. But it is now much more common for hypnotists simply to ask a subject to stare at a small, stationary object, such as a colored thumbtack on the wall, during the “induction patter,” which usually consists of soothing words about relaxation and suggestions to focus and concentrate.

Whenever the subject of hypnosis is brought up, questions seem to arise with it. The following questions are asked repeatedly, by clients, of prospective clients, and of those who are simply curious. With answers to these questions, fears are put to rest, myths dispelled, and more people are able to allow themselves to experience the wonderful benefits of hypnosis to enhance their lives.

New Client Frequently Asked Questions:

Whether you have experienced hypnosis in a professional setting or not, many people have questions about hypnosis, what the sessions consist of and what to expect. Following are the most commonly asked questions and answers so that you can feel informed and comfortable during your hypnosis sessions.

Can I be hypnotized?

Undoubtedly yes, you can be hypnotized so long as you want to be. You can’t be hypnotized against your will. The method for hypnotizing people varies according to how their brain processes information, and we do some simple and fun exercises to determine that in your consultation or first appointment. Because you will be hypnotized by professionals who specialize in hypnotizing people individually, you need have no concern about getting into hypnosis. Many people get concerned because they’ve seen stage shows, or been in a stage show as an audience member or participant and were not hypnotized. Stage hypnotists operate differently. They have to hypnotize everyone the same way, because they’re hypnotizing a lot of people at once. So if the method they’re using isn’t right for you, you won’t be hypnotized in that situation. That does not mean that you are not hypnotizable, and working with someone who understands how to work with you as an individual ensures you the best possible experience.

How will I know that I’m hypnotized?

At ChangeWorks we incorporate methods into our sessions that let us, and you, realize that you’re in hypnosis. In the hypnosis field, these are often called “challenges,” and many hypnotists and hypnotherapists do not use them because they are afraid their client won’t respond the way they want them to, and they’ll feel like they failed. Here at ChangeWorks, we are confident in our processes and completely comfortable incorporating practices that let you know beyond a doubt that you are in fact, in hypnosis.

What does hypnosis feel like?

The feelings of hypnosis vary from individual to individual, but fall into a range of what is typical. Some people feel very weighed-down in hypnosis, like their arms and legs are too heavy to move. Some people feel very light, almost as if they are floating. One woman described it by saying she felt that she was “hanging onto a cloud.” Occassionally people get what is called “dissociation” from parts or all of their body, and it feels like, for instance, they can’t find their hands or feet. Some people don’t feel particularly heavy or light, but they do feel very, very relaxed. Many people have come out of their sessions saying, “that is the most relaxed I’ve been in my whole life.” Most people feel a sense of time distortion, and they find that time goes much faster in hypnosis. A 30 minute session can feel like 5 or 10 minutes. Whatever you feel in hypnosis is right for you.

Will I be able to drive, go back to work/school/etc. after my session?

Yes. Hypnosis is a natural state that you’re in and out of on a daily basis without knowing it. It’s normal for your mind and body to drift into hypnosis and then return to a normal state of consciousness. After a session you may feel euphoric, or you may feel very relaxed, but any feelings of sluggishness fade away as soon as you get up and start moving around, engaging in your usual activities.

What happens in a typical session?

The typical session follows a flow. First we meet and discuss on a conscious basis what is happening in your life, what you would like to change and how that change will look, sound and feel to you. If it’s your first session, you’ll then be given an overview of what hypnosis is, how the mind works, and how hypnosis works to create the changes you desire. You’ll be given plenty of opportunity to have all of your questions answered. You’ll then be led through a series of exercises that give us information on how your brain likes to process information, which tells us how to best hypnotize you, and what types of suggestions your mind will respond to best, to give you the fastest and most effective results. Then you will be hypnotized and led through your session. Every session is different, even for the same issues. We don’t rely on scripts and we have a broad and deep resource of skills and techniques to draw upon in doing this work. So every session will address your needs specifically, incorporate suggestions designed to appeal to how your mind processes information, and will be unique to you.

What should I do to get the most out of my session?

We’re glad you asked! The best thing you can do is to follow your hypnotherapist’s instructions, both during your session and between sessions. Following directions is part of the process of getting into hypnosis and if you choose not to follow directions you may not get the best results. If at any time you have questions about why you’re asked to do something, by all means ask. Similarly, any “homework” that is given to you, such as listening to a session recording, practicing self hypnosis or journaling, is designed to reinforce the work done in the hypnosis session itself. So, doing these things is the best thing you can do to both speed up your results and make the work you’re doing most effective.

What is your philosophy in doing this work?

Our philosophy and mission at ChangeWorks Hypnosis Center is to provide you with the knowledge, tools and experience to continue to improve your life. In other words, we teach you to fish! Rather than a model of dependency on the therapist, our goal is for you to have the ability to live the life you choose both now and in the future, without dependence on outside help to create those changes you desire.

Does ChangeWorks offer any programs to help me continue with my self-improvement?

Yes, we have a number of offerings that help you to continue with your current change, or any other change or positive improvement you want to make. There is a flyer included in this packet with details, but briefly, as a client of ChangeWorks you are eligible to participate in “Tune Up” sessions, which are half-hour sessions priced at $75; full sessions at a reduced rate; and The Hypnosis Club, which offers free monthly hypnosis teleseminars on a variety of topics designed to enrich your life and enhance your ability to make changes and be the driving and deciding force in your life! ChangeWorks also has a Referral Rewards program so that you can benefit by helping others make the changes they want in their lives!

Common Questions & Answers:

Is hypnosis real? If so, how does it work?

Yes, it’s real. Exactly how it works is still under investigation. Over the past few years, researchers have found that when someone is hypnotized, they actively respond to suggestions, even though they sometimes might perceive the dramatic changes in thought and behavior they experience as happening “by themselves.” During hypnosis, it is as if the brain temporarily suspends its efforts to validate incoming sensory information, allowing new behaviors and thoughts to occur. And, some people are more hypnotizable than others, although scientists still don’t know why.

Is hypnosis medically approved?

Hypnosis was first officially recognized as a viable therapeutic tool by the British Government through the Hypnotism Act in 1952. Then, in 1958 both the British and the American Medical Associations (AMA) sanctioned the official use of hypnosis by physicians. In 1958, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) also approved hypnotherapy for use by professionally responsible individuals.

Prestigious hospitals in the U.S. now use and teach hypnosis, such as Stanford University School of Medicine in San Francisco, the Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston, and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Since the AMA sanctioned the use of hypnosis, many insurance companies cover hypnosis for medical and dental uses, including major surgeries. Now, more and more people are choosing hypnosis over anesthesia for surgery. Some choose hypnosis simply because they fear not waking up from anesthesia. The fear-factor aside, however, there are definite medical advantages offered by hypnosis; less bleeding, faster recovery time, and the need for fewer post-operative medications.

Does hypnosis really stop pain during surgery?

Patients who have used it say yes. During operations, they report that they can hear and see everything that is going on, but they feel no discomfort.[/learn_more]

How is hypnosis thought of today, generally?

Myths still abound regarding hypnosis, although it is becoming more widely accepted and trusted. Hypnosis cannot be used to control someone’s else’s mind, or their actions. By using hypnosis, people gain greater control over their own minds and their own actions.

What is hypnosis like?

Hypnosis is not a state of deep sleep but one of altered consciousness. There is a feeling of well-being, an ability to recall past events and the acceptance of new ideas that are not in conflict with personal values. There is also a higher threshold to pain. The hypnotic state is like meditation, where the body is relaxed but the mind has heightened awareness. The ability to vocalize is limited, and the limbs feel leaden or light, tingly or somewhat numb. The perception of time is also distorted where an hour might seem like just a few minutes.

Who can be hypnotized?

Most people can be hypnotized, and different people go into hypnosis in different ways. Part of the hypnotist’s job is to identify what approach will work best for which subject. Those who have trouble trusting the hypnotist or the process, may take more time to go into a hypnotic state, and may not enjoy as many benefits.

There is a common idea that those with ‘a strong will’ cannot be hypnotized. It has been shown that intelligent people can be hypnotized faster because they have greater access to their imagination, and can follow instructions. In fact, those with an extremely low intelligence cannot be hypnotized at all. The biggest prerequisite to someone being able to be hypnotized is their willingness.

What about stage shows?

Sometimes hypnosis is feared, because often the view of the subject surrendering their ‘will’ is reinforced by stage hypnotism. It is helpful to remember that stage hypnotists design their shows for entertainment purposes, which include participants doing strange things. What people don’t realize is that the stage hypnotist chooses only those who are highly suggestible, and may have a desire to have a “different” or less inhibited experience of themselves. In a hypnotic state, people can give themselves permission to do many things that they may not otherwise be able to do.

In getting more comfortable with the subject of hypnosis, it is often helpful to know what hypnosis is NOT, to know better what it IS, and can do. Solid research findings can help dispel even the most popular of myths.

What can hypnosis help with?

Hypnosis helps change attitudes, which is the key to changing behavior. With hypnosis, a person is empowered, and made independent enough to solve his/her own problems. With hypnosis a person can change behaviors that would otherwise seem difficult, if not impossible, to change.

Hypnosis can also improve your essential experience of life, in all its circumstances. Only within the past 40 years have scientists become equipped with instruments, techniques and methods for accurately separating the facts of hypnosis from exaggerated claims. The study of hypnotic phenomena is now properly held within the domain of normal cognitive science, with papers on hypnosis published in many major scientific and medical journals. Newest clinical research findings reveal, however, that hypnosis and hypnotic suggestion, when used properly, can powerfully alter cognitive processes as diverse as memory and pain perception.

Hypnosis is not talk therapy, and does not include advising, diagnosing or prescribing. That would be the domain of other professionals, usually licensed to counsel. The primary aim of hypnosis itself is self-healing, and self change. The hypnotist’s job is to assist the subject to achieve those natural states of mind where healing and change best happen. Used correctly, hypnosis is especially useful for tapping into that awesome power of the human mind.

Points of Interest and Research

  • Research shows that physiological responses indicate that hypnotized subjects are not lying.
  • Hypnotic procedures are natural and safe and no more distressing than history lectures in high school.
  • Hypnotized subjects may be relaxed, but they are fully awake; and a person can be in hypnosis while running, or dancing, or driving.
  • Many research tests show placebo responsiveness and hypnotizability are not correlated.
  • Hypnotized subjects are perfectly capable of saying no, or terminating hypnosis, all by themselves. And there is research available to show that as well.

If you can think it, and believe it, hypnosis can help make it so.


Hypnosis cannot, and should not, stand alone as the sole medical or psychological
intervention for any disorder. Hypnosis should not be used instead of appropriate medical, dental, or psychological treatment, and any individual with a medical or psychological problem should first consult a qualified health care provider for diagnosis and professional advice. Hypnosis should only be practiced by those who have been appropriately trained, who practice appropriately, and within the scope of their training.

*Disclaimer: Everyone’s different, and of course your results may vary.  It is unethical to guarantee changes in human behavior and much depends on your motivation. We do require a consultation during which the program will be explained, and your motivation will be evaluated. We do not accept everyone who approaches us to do this work because we believe that your success is our success and we work to set you up to succeed.

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