One of the things my clients often ask me is “what does hypnosis feel like?”. There’s actually no right or wrong answer to this as we all experience hypnosis in different ways. It’s also not the same each time we go into trance. Just like sometimes we might sleep well and at other times feel more restless, trance can be experienced quite differently on different occasions. One thing is for sure, just like anything, the more we do it the better we get at it.
The word “trance” can itself be misleading and can imply a zombie-like state, perhaps like a sleepwalker wandering about the house in the dark with his arms outstretched. It’s actually nothing like this. Instead, it’s a very natural state that we access quite regularly during our normal day-to-day activities. Think of times when you’ve been absorbed in a really good book or a film on television. Part of your mind will still be aware that you’re sitting down relaxing in the chair but the other part of your mind will be engrossed by the unfolding events on the page or screen. We can daydream and still be alert if required. This is the kind of relaxed focus that’s aimed for when using hypnotherapy.
Changes might be observed in the body as the breathing slows down and the relaxation response takes place. Sometimes parts of the body can feel heavier or lighter. There may be different sensations or feelings of floating. It’s quite common to drift in and out of awareness too, at times listening to my voice and at other times engaged in the wandering imaginings of the creative mind.
Explorers of the Mind
I imagine that when we access our deeper mind we become explorers of a strange new land. There are no rules; time and distance are meaningless on this infinite journey of inner-space. We are often not prepared for looking so deeply within. We often think that the answers are all “out there” instead of inside ourselves.
We can think of our subconscious as an unfathomable, deep ocean. There will be hidden treasures and sometimes sea-monsters to battle. It’s the greatest of adventures to explore these unchartered depths because when we do, we learn so much more about ourselves. We can access our own inner resources to help us through life’s challenges.
If you’ve ever taken a dip in the sea, you will know that the waves can sometimes knock us off our feet with their intensity. Sometimes our conscious thoughts feel like this. If we dive below the surface we find our balance and those waves don’t affect us anymore. We can see with greater clarity in the calmness of the vast ocean of our minds, beneath the waves of our thoughts that can sometimes feel inescapable.
When we become more in-tune with what’s going on inside, we find our solutions.
When hypnosis is combined with therapy we get hypnotherapy
. This delivers all the qualities of trance combined with positive suggestions and embedded commands for the change work that is required. Here, there is no limit to what can be achieved as hypnotherapy is as versatile as the minds it seeks to change.
When working in the therapy room it’s not necessary to be in a very deep trance. This is because suggestions can be taken on board during any part of the process, including the pre-trance conversations. It’s definitely not mind control or magic. It’s more like an awakening or understanding that forms in the deeper part of the mind and which then filters through to consciousness. This is a process that can happen very quickly, or slowly through a period of time. Subconscious patterns of behaviour are modified in the ways that are needed, affecting our future reactions, feelings and habits. The way we see the world and all of our reactions and behaviours are fuelled by our thoughts. If our thoughts are unhelpful or negative in some way then this may seriously impact on what we do or don’t do in our lives.
Many of my clients tell me that hypnosis is a deeply nourishing and relaxing experience. Anxious clients, in particular, can feel some trepidation prior to their first session but once they feel comfortable on the couch (or in the chair) it’s always a pleasant and rewarding experience.
It therefore stands to reason that if we can change our thinking processes – which govern absolutely everything – then we can also experience some major shifts within our lives too.
The power of hypnosis is present and real, often creating change in a myriad of different ways and in a variety of circumstances.
People can be pleasantly surprised with just how many conditions hypnotherapy can assist with. Quite simply, it’s able to do this because it communicates directly with the subconscious mind, which controls just about everything.