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Clients sometimes feel somewhat apprehensive when they first come for hypnotherapy and have numerous questions when they consider the possibility of using hypnotherapy for their problems. The following are answers to some of the most common questions that clients ask about hypnotherapy.
Q. How does it feel to be hypnotised?
A. There is really no such thing as a specific feeling when in hypnosis. A number of different experiences are commonly associated with the hypnotic state. Typically a deep feeling of relaxation and heaviness is common.
Q. Will I lose consciousness?
A. Hypnotherapy does not involve sleep. You will be conscious of everything that goes on during the hypnotherapy session. Sometimes though, you may relax so much during the hypnotherapy session that you may drift off and lose track of time!
Q. Will I reveal deep secrets about myself?
A. During the hypnotherapy process it is sometimes useful to uncover memories that are related to the problem being treated. Memories or experiences which you have been ignoring or repressing from others and even from yourself. If you are uncomfortable about the possibility of uncovering repressed memories, you should discuss it with your hypnotherapist at the beginning of your treatment as there are other treatment options available.
Q. Will I do something embarrassing or silly?
A. Your clinical hypnotherapist will not make you cluck like a chicken or bark like a dog. Obviously that would not be professional and we would not have many clients if we indulged in such activities. You do, however, sometimes act differently under hypnosis than you do in the normal waking state. You may become more emotional or feel more childlike. Your therapist is used to such things, however, so there is no need to feel embarrassed.
Q. What if I do not want to lose control of myself?
A. Hypnosis does involve a certain amount of letting go of yourself and opening up to a new experience. However, you are not really losing control of yourself when you respond to what the hypnotherapist suggests. You are making the decision to go along with his or her guidance at every step. You can benefit from hypnosis as long as you are willing to go along with the instructions of the hypnotherapist. It may be helpful to think of the hypnotherapist as your personal coach – a person helping you to master new ways to use your own mind.
Q. What if I do not wake up again?
A. Do not worry. Only in movies and bad novels do people get stuck in the hypnotic state. In the real world, it never happens. Sometimes clients simply take a little longer to come to, or they slip into ordinary sleep and have a nap, and then wake up. In either case, there is no reason for concern.
Q. Can I be made to do things I do not want to do?
A. Contrary to a popular belief, people under hypnosis are not captive and spellbound. They can resist direct instructions that are at odds with their wishes or moral standards.
Q. What if I cannot be hypnotised?
A. Everyone is capable of entering the hypnotic state. While the degree to which people are receptive to hypnosis varies from individual to individual, we only need a very light state of trance to effect change and everyone can achieve this.
Q. Aren’t gullible or simple-minded people most easily hypnotisable?
A. Not at all. In fact, researchers have found that more intelligent people are slightly more hypnotisable. It seems that openness to new experiences, rather than gullability, is related to hypnotic ability.
Q. Are women more hypnotisable than men?
A. Research has conclusively shown that, on the average, there is no difference between men and women in their susceptibility to hypnosis.
Q. Can hypnosis be dangerous to my mental health?
A. The state of hypnosis is very safe and free from complications – probably no more disturbing to your mind than ordinary sleep. For most people, however, the experience of hypnosis is pleasantly relaxing and refreshing. The only after-effects you are likely to experience are possible drowsiness and disorientation for the first few minutes afterwards, and possibly stiff neck or (rarely) a minor headache. All these side effects are transient and harmless.
Q. Can people hypnotise themselves?
A. Yes, they can. Entering hypnosis is simply a mental skill, and hypnotherapists commonly believe that regular hypnosis is nothing more than assisted self-hypnosis. It is just more easily learned under the guidance of a skilled hypnotherapist. However, once you have mastered it, you can do it on your own. This is the goal in many applications of clinical hypnosis, such as for pain control, where the benefits of hypnosis need to be available at any time.
Individual results vary from person to person.