What does it feel like to be hypnotized?
Let’s take a moment to talk about this because it often holds common misperceptions and leads people to prematurely truncate therapy. Some people discontinue hypnosis because they are disappointed in their reactions, believing they are not suitable subjects. Most people have the idea that they will go through something different, new and remarkable in the hypnotic state. Often they equate being hypnotized with being anaesthetized, being asleep, or being unconscious. Because of these misconceptions, when in hypnosis they find that their mind is active, that they can hear every sound in the room, that they can resist a suggestion if they so desire, that they attention wanders, their thoughts racing around, that they have not fallen asleep, and that they remember everything that has happened when they open their eyes, they believe they may have failed. They imagine that they were a poor subject or weren’t actually hypnotized at all, and they are then apt to abandon hypnotic treatment.
The experience of being hypnotized is no different from the experience of relaxing and of starting to fall asleep. Because this experience is so familiar to you, and because you expect something startlingly different in hypnosis, you may get discouraged when a trance-state is induced. Remember, you are not anaesthetized like in a surgical procedure, nor are you unconscious like with a concussion, nor are you asleep. Your mind is active, you are under your own control, you are able to perceive all stimuli, and you are in complete communication with the therapist. The only unique thing you may experience is a feeling of heaviness in your extremities and perhaps a bit tingly in your hands and fingers. If you typically are a deep sleeper, you may doze momentarily; if you are a light sleeper, you may have a feeling you are completely awake.
To truncate therapy because of the feeling of not being hypnotized or not being a good client is actually to do a disservice to yourself. A process has begun and like any process, you need to see to completion. If you don’t see/feel immediate results, don’t get discouraged–it took a long time for the negative patterns to develop and may take more than just one session to effectively notice change. This does not mean, however, that no change is occurring; restructuring is going on underneath; neuro-pathways are changing; you are different. It’s like a marathon: you wouldn’t want to get to mile 18 or 20 and then quit because you couldn’t see the finish line, would you? Stick with it and you will see results.No comments