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Q: Can anyone be hypnotized?
The answer is yes and no. The majority of people are able to be hypnotized to some degree or another. It's commonly recognized that some people are more suggestible than others. According to Stanford University Researchers, about 10% of the population fall under the category of "highly susceptible" (or highly suggestible), while less than 5% fall on the "extremely low on the scale of susceptibility." Everyone else falls somewhere in the middle.
There is a minute percentage of the population that cannot be hypnotized at all - generally those of exceptionally low IQ and/or those who are incapable of imagining. Also among that minority of people are those who are incapable of dreaming, or of enjoying any plot that involves fantasy - for example, you might hear them say, "Pfuhh! That's preposterous! There's no such thing as flying monkeys!" (while watching the Wizard of Oz).
In the case of those who are adamant that they can’t be hypnotized and are convinced that hypnosis will never work for them, that's most likely going to be the case. Remember, no one can make you do anything you don't want to do using hypnosis - and that includes being hypnotized!
The true answer is that everyone can be hypnotised, theoretically. There’s no physical reason why everyone can’t be put into a hypnotic state (excluding brain damaged states, anesthesia, excessive analgesia, etc.). However there may be psychological reasons that someone is resistant to being hypnotized, which in turn might make it very difficult for that person to relax enough to enter a true hypnotic state.
Sometimes those people who are certain that they can’t be hypnotised have a deep seated need for control, or issues with feelings of vulnerability. They think that by allowing themselves to be hypnotised they'll be giving up control, so it becomes difficult for them to relax enough to get to the hypnotic state.
Working with someone you feel comfortable with and confident in is essential. For hypnosis to be successful, one must meet two chief prerequisites: firstly, they must have a deep, authentic desire for the change they're seeking to make (not purely motivated by another's desire for them to make the change); and secondly, they must possess a willingness to suspend disbelief, at least temporarily while trance work is being done. The latter requirement can be easily met when there is a strong degree of trust in the hypnotist.
Oddly enough, the higher a person's IQ is, the better hypnotic subject they are ... provided they are able to temporarily suspend disbelief.
Q: What does hypnosis feel like? How will I know if I'm hypnotized?
Hypnosis feels great. It doesn't feel like anything out of the ordinary, and yet, clients sometimes report having very extraordinary experiences while in hypnosis. Most would describe hypnosis as feeling like being in a state of profound relaxation (or savasana, for the yogi reader). Others say it's much like the state you're in just before you fall asleep - and in fact this is most commonly the brainwave state (Theta brainwaves) you're in during hypnosis. When one goes well into trance, it feels much like getting completely lost in a book or movie.
So, how will you know you are hypnotized? If you find yourself feeling very deeply relaxed, are deeply focused on the hypnotist's words to the exclusion of other stimuli around you, and are responding internally with an agreeable attitude, you're in hypnosis.
Q: Is hypnosis safe?
Yes, hypnosis is safe for anyone of sound mind. The only real recognizable risk is that of "false memories" being created, so it is important that such matters are put in proper context and addressed accordingly (discussed in the educational portion of your 1st session, regarding the language of the subconscious mind).
Q: Will I remember everything I experience in hypnosis?
Generally speaking, yes you will remember everything. On occasion some people go so deeply into trance that they may temporarily dip down from Theta into Delta brainwaves. Spontaneous recall becomes more difficult when one enters Delta state. This results in what's commonly referred to as hypno-amnesia. It is temporary, in that when a client reports that they can't remember anything after I said "......," as soon as I tell them what I was saying, they respond with something akin to, "Oh yeah, I remember you saying that now."
Your subconscious mind is always listening, and it will always alert you to something it deems to be a threat. For example, most people can sleep right through loud sounds that they are used to, but they will be awakened by the unusual sound. Your unconscious mind makes certain that your conscious mind is awake when it's important for you to be - the rest is optional.
Q: Will I lose control during hypnosis?
It's a common misconception that being hypnotized will make a person lose control of themselves, surrender their will, or that it could result in domination. Some of these misconceptions come from seeing stage hypnosis shows, or movies, failing to take into account that stage hypnotists screen their volunteers to select those who are cooperative, with possible exhibitionist tendencies, as well as responsiveness to hypnosis. Those participants want to be in on the act, and so the hypnosis works. Willingness to participate is key to the success of hypnosis, whether on stage or in therapeutic practice. You always have your free will at your disposal.
Q: Can I get stuck in hypnosis?
It is, quite simply, not possible to become "stuck in hypnosis." You remain in completely control of yourself at all times. Remember, hypnotic trance is a normal state of consciousness that we move in and out of quite naturally.