What comes to mind when you hear the word hypnosis?

Many people are suspicious and frightened of hypnosis until they discover what it really is. Because of their fear, they choose not to experience hypnosis. In doing so, they are missing out on benefiting from one of the most effective processes for personal change and enhanced well-being there is.

Hypnosis - so many misunderstandings

There are so many misunderstandings related to what hypnosis is, how hypnosis works and how hypnosis feels. Much of the confusion surrounding hypnosis is perpetuated by movies and stories whose portrayal of hypnosis is not scientifically correct. These unhelpful views have become exaggerated.

I'm on a mission

I’m on a mission to demystify hypnosis, to help more people understand what it is, and so let go of their fear of hypnosis and experience for themselves the life changing benefits.

Hypnosis is supported by science

The simple fact is, hypnosis has been, and continues to be, the subject of much scientific research. Research findings support the effectiveness of hypnosis in enhancing outcomes in the fields of coaching, self-improvement, and therapy. In wellbeing, hypnosis can create positive outcomes where all other treatments have failed. Gut Directed Hypnotherapy being a case in point where success rates of 60-80% for reduction in symptoms are common.

What Is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is simply a communication process that involves the use of language to direct and absorb your attention. When you fully absorb (focus) your attention on a thing, a thought, or an idea, your mind automatically shifts into its natural learning state

Why Hypnosis?

The goal of hypnosis is to enable you to create a permanent and beneficial change in the way you think, feel, and behave.

Here are some examples of what hypnosis can help you achieve:

increased confidence
increased motivation
increased focus and concentration
reduced stress
freedom from anxiety
enhanced performance – at work, sports, on stage
improved relationships
improved physical health
enhanced memory
enhanced memory

In fact, hypnosis can help improve or enhance so many areas of your life and its effectiveness in reducing stress and anxiety has been validated by dozens of studies.

What Is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is the therapeutic use of hypnosis. Today, hypnotherapy is a widely accepted adjunct to conventional treatment for a range of problems, including IBS, pain, stress, low self-esteem, anxiety.

The Hypnotic Mindset

Because hypnosis is a conscious communication process, it’s something you actively engage in, as you would with any communication between two or more people. Hypnosis is not something that is done to you and that you passively respond to.

By adopting what I call the ‘hypnotic mindset’, you are acknowledging to yourself that:

hypnosis is something you’re motivated and willing to engage in
you are going to adopt an open mind, and a sense of curiosity, about what you are going to experience
you expect to experience hypnosis trance and to benefit from the process.

Adopting this hypnotic mindset primes your mind for fully engaging in the hypnosis to follow.

What Is Everyday Trance?

Everyday trance is a naturally occurring, beneficial, positive state of awareness that we all experience many times on a day-to-day basis. If you have ever been reading, watching TV, or totally engrossed in some other activity, and not been aware of somebody saying something like: “Hey! Would you like a cup of coffee?”– then you were experiencing an everyday trance.

Have you ever driven from point A to point B and wondered whatever happened on the way, because you didn’t register the journey? If you have, then you were in an everyday trance, during which time your attention was focused not on the act of driving, but on some past or future event.

Think about what happens when you daydream, when you read a compelling book, when you become enthralled by a story, become totally absorbed in a movie or listen to a piece of music that transports you. This is you experiencing ‘trance’ in action in your everyday life.

What Is Hypnosis Trance?

Hypnosis enables us to engage intentionally in a goal directed everyday trance. We are utilizing our ability to engage in an everyday trance for a specific purpose.

So, Hypnosis Trance is simply a state of focused awareness we experience during hypnosis. Like everyday trance, hypnosis trance is neither sleep nor unconsciousness.

Just like an everyday trance, you create experience hypnosis trance by focusing your attention completely on one idea and allowing everything else that was in your awareness to move into the background.

As you engage your imagination (and it doesn’t matter whether you think you have a good or bad imagination) during hypnosis, you are going to notice that your body and mind believe what you’re imagining. This is because your brain doesn’t differentiate between the information it receives from the environment around you and the information your mind and body present it with.

During hypnosis trance, because you're in your natural learning state, the analytical (or critical part) of your mind takes a back seat, allowing you to accept new information that you might otherwise reject because it doesn’t match what you already know.

What Does Hypnosis Trance Feel Like?

People often wonder what hypnosis trance feels like, but there is no such thing as a ‘hypnotized feeling.’ Neither are there any flashing lights to let you know you're experiencing hypnosis trance. There won’t be a point where you suddenly think, “Yeah, I’m there now, I can tell.” However, you may notice some of the following sensations:

deep physical relaxation in some or all areas of the body.
a feeling of heaviness, or for some people, a feeling of lightness.
breathing becomes slower, steadier, and shallower.
you may notice a tingling sensation in your fingers or some other area of your body.
time distortion: time somehow seems to pass more quickly or slowly.

Everyone has their own unique experience of hypnosis trance, so what one person experiences may be entirely different from the next. What you experience may be different from one hypnosis session to the next.

What Is 'Depth Of Trance'?

The term ‘depth of trance’ refers to the level of internal focus you are achieving during hypnosis. The good news is that you do not need to reach a deep state of hypnosis trance to benefit from the hypnosis suggestions (see below) you receive.

Everyday Suggestions

We give and receive suggestions hundreds of times a day. We respond to most of these everyday suggestions automatically, with no conscious thought. Sometimes we’ll reject a suggestion or decide not to comply with the suggestion. For instance, in a café, a member of staff might ask us to wait to be seated (a suggestion). We can either accept this suggestion or leave and find a café where we can get a table right away.

Everyday suggestions can come from members of our family, our friends, our work colleagues, people on TV, the staff in shops or cafes. We’re constantly receiving suggestions from everywhere and giving them too.

Hypnosis Suggestions

Hypnosis communication takes the form of instructions and suggestions. The suggestions given during hypnosis are specific and targeted. Your hypnotist designs hypnosis suggestions to help you create the specific change in thinking, feeling and behaviour that you want.

Some suggestions may be given to help you access inner resources you already possess that can help you more easily achieve the change you want. These inner resources include your beliefs, your values, habits, and your imagination.

The hypnotist gives suggestions once you’re experiencing hypnosis trance. Like all the suggestions you receive in life, you can choose to accept or reject any or all the hypnosis suggestions you receive.

How Do Hypnosis Suggestions Create Change?

Key point: hypnosis suggestions facilitate conscious and unconscious learning.

All the information you’ve learned throughout your life is stored in your brain in neural networks. We call these networks our ‘memories’. Your overall memory network is vast. Your brain uses it to interpret, and give meaning to, your moment-to-moment experiences.

Our memory network contains our beliefs about ourselves, the world and others, our values, our lived experiences, how to perform habitual behaviors, our capabilities, and skills, and much more.

Every day, we automatically create new memories and update existing ones. We do this every time we talk to people, watch TV, go to the movies, read a book, listen to the radio, etc. We can also consciously choose to create new memories or update existing ones, such as when we choose to learn a new language or a new skill like operating our new mobile phone.

Hypnosis suggestions enable us to change memories that are no longer serving us. For instance, when someone was a teenager, it made sense to smoke, as all their friends were smoking. Now in middle age with asthma, it no longer makes sense for them to smoke.

By using specific, targeted hypnosis suggestions, a hypnotist can help us intentionally and precisely change those memory networks that represent thoughts, feelings, behaviors that no longer serve us and are causing us problems. So, for example, say you have a limiting belief, e.g. “I’m hopeless at public speaking.” Hypnosis suggestions can help you change that limiting belief into an empowering belief, e.g. “I’m a confident public speaker.” Imagine the impact that change could have on your life.

This updating of memories is what neuroscience refers to as ‘memory reconsolidation.’ In the media and self-help books it's more commonly referred to as ‘reprograming the brain,’ ‘rewiring the brain,’ or ‘recoding the brain.’


Hypnosis is simply a communication process whose aim is to guide you into your natural learning state. Once in this learning state, the hypnotist gives goal-directed suggestions which help you update what you already know (in the form of a memory) and or create a new memory.

The reason you are choosing to update a memory is because the thinking, feeling or behavior associated with that memory is no longer serving you. It is no longer useful or healthy. Once you update a memory your thinking, feeling and behavior changes.

This memory updating is not unique to hypnosis, it’s happening naturally every day as we move in and out of everyday trance. It’s how we learn. Hypnosis simply utilizes this natural ability. Once a memory is updated, the way we think, feel, and behave changes and our life changes.

If you haven't considered experiencing hypnosis until now, I encourage you to do so. It could prove to be a life-changing experience for you!