Hypnosis FAQs

There are a lot of misconceptions about hypnosis. But in my experience, people are eager to learn more about hypnosis. After all, it’s interesting, it’s useful… and the mind is a very strange thing.

These are some of the questions I get. If you have a question that I haven’t answered, please get in touch.

Is Hypnosis Real?

It sure is.

Science is still exploring what it can do and how it works. But whether it does anything is an answered question. There’s no controversy around that, and there hasn’t been for decades.

If you doubt that hypnosis is a powerful tool for personal change, connecting with your body, resolving pain and unleashing your inner resources… then, sorry, science disagrees with you.

Businesses, too. For example, many dentists hire hypnotists to help their phobic patients or suppress gap reflexes. Why would they pay if it didn’t work?

Are Hypnotic Subjects Faking It?

I can’t speak for every hypnotist and every subject out there. Maybe some do fake it. But, no, generally speaking, what you see is real.

You know stage hypnosis?

Where the hypnotist says a word and – BAM – suddenly the subject is asleep? It’s called an instant induction.

They’re not faking. The subject could be an actor, sure. But that’s way harder (and more expensive) than learning real hypnosis.

I’ve both done instant inductions and had them done to me.

It’s a strange sensation. Relaxing to the point of liberating. The hypnotist made my arm so stiff that I couldn’t move it. I tried, really, but it was like iron.

Then, one simple sentence. Then I could move it again.

How can anyone do that with a single word? The truth is, they can’t. Remember – a stage hypnotist is a lot like a magician. It only looks like the magician says a word and the lovely assistant disappears. So much happens behind the scenes, though. And it’s the same with hypnosis – only there’s no trick.

Keep in mind that the hypnotist picks their volunteers. And it’s unusual, being up on stage. It’s a different context. A lot of pressure, a lot of energy. The volunteer is out of their comfort zone – one of the many things working in the hypnotist’s favour.

Is Hypnosis Anything Like the Movies?

Not even close.

According to (fictional) TV shows and movies, hypnotists can do impossible things. They can hypnotise people to rob banks, kill people… all sorts of terrible things.

It can’t happen in real life. It’s never happened in real life.

Here’s some truth: hypnotised people are less likely to rob a bank than unhypnotised people. Why? Because, for most people, robbing a bank violates their sense of identity. You’re a good, honest, hard-working person. You’re no hardened criminal – you have too much empathy for that. Too much respect for others. Too much awareness that the cops have better guns and better training.

In a fit of desperation, you might forget all of the above and rob a bank anyway. But a hypnotic trance is anything but a fit of desperation.

Your unconscious mind has one mission – to keep you safe. Anything that violates that – violence or, say, giving away your fortune to the hypnotist – is impossible to compel someone to do.

Are You Sure Hypnosis Isn’t Mind Control?

Ask yourself this:

Do we live in a world where the secrets of mind control are widely known…

… but evil governments and corporations don’t use them to enslave people?

If hypnosis were mind control, one great hypnotist would have conquered the world generations ago. It didn’t happen because it doesn’t work that way.

How about this: according to Sokanu, the average income for an experienced hypnotherapist in the US is about $55,000.

Not bad.

But a mind controller would earn (or steal) billions.

What If I Can’t Be Hypnotised?

You can.

Everyone can be hypnotised.

Doesn’t mean you always will be. Doesn’t mean that every hypnotist will succeed.

But you can.

Ever have a moment where you lose yourself in a task? Maybe you are driving a familiar route when, suddenly, you’re there. And you can’t remember anything from your commute.

Or have you ever lost yourself in a book, movie, TV show or video game?

How about while knitting, walking, doing the dishes, playing sport?

Or had a conversation with an old friend and walked away feeling like a million bucks?

These are all hypnotic trances. Most are deeper than what a hypnotist would put you in.

Hypnosis is a natural and common experience. It’s something your brain does to itself – yes, even when a hypnotist is working with you. The truth is, hypnotists don’t – and can’t – hypnotise someone. They can only guide people through hypnotising themselves.

Will I Remember Everything That Happens During Hypnosis?


Otherwise, what’s the point?

A common misconception is that hypnotists put people to sleep. That’s partly the fault of the hypnotic community – we use the term more than we should. And it often looks like the subject is asleep.

But a subject can’t hear the hypnotist while sleeping.

So they are no longer being hypnotised.

Now, it’s a lot like daydreaming. It can be hard to recall all the details of a long, deep daydreaming session. They can be fuzzy at times.

But anything important, interesting or… well, memorable happens…

… you will certainly remember it.

(Related myth: ‘what if I blurt out all my secrets?’ I’ve never heard of that happening. When was the last time you accidentally confessed to something while daydreaming?)

It’s ironic – I’ve had such memorable experiences with hypnosis. Imagine spending a day at the beach with your best friend. Imagine finally beating a difficult challenge. Imagine watching the sunset with nothing on your mind. Now, imagine doing all this at once… without leaving your living room. That’s what hypnosis can feel like.

As if I would ever forget that!

What is the trance state?

You’ve probably heard the term ‘trance state’ before. Especially if you’re familiar with hypnosis. A question you might ask is: what is the trance state?

Hypnosis activates the trance state. It’s a way the brain likes to operate sometimes. In this state, you think more creatively and are open to new ideas. You are more willing to accept things as true in a trance state.

Now, if that last line concerns you, then I can assure you that you can relax. You might be more open to suggestions but you’re still fully aware and in control. If someone says something wrong or harmful, you’ll consider the idea… then reject it. No one can make you do anything you don’t want to – whether or not you’re in a trance.

But if there’s something that you know is true – something like smoking is harmful and you should quit…

… then you’ll accept the idea more readily in a trance state.

What happens during a trance state?

How does a trance work? Why are you more open to new thoughts and ideas? It’s simple. There’s a part of your mind that rejects information. And it tends to be very busy. After all, there’s a lot of bad advice and poor reasoning in the world.

And it tends to be quick. If someone tells you to touch fire, you can’t feel yourself considering it. Straight away – or so it feels – your mind says ‘NO’. The truth is, your mind does consider the idea. After all, it has to know what it’s rejecting – the way it does that is by accepting the idea, then assessing it.

This system is effective at keeping you safe. At least, what some part of you thinks is safe. The bad news is that it also keeps you the same – even when you want to change. Back to the smoking example – someone tells you to quit, and your brain as assessed and rejected it before you even become aware of it. Even though you want to agree, some part of you has decided.

But in a trance, this system works differently. Because you are so relaxed, this assessing/rejecting system can slow down a little. After all, if you’re relaxed, then there can’t be any urgent danger. So the rejection slows down just enough for you to be aware of the idea.

If someone tells you to touch fire, you still reject the idea. Consciously and unconsciously, you know that’s a bad idea.

If someone tells you to quit smoking, you think ‘hang on, why shouldn’t I quit? I know it’s bad for me!’ There’s just enough time to accept the idea – if you want to, that is.

How do you go into a hypnotic trance state?

The good news is that you’re already an expert in going into trance. After all, you go into one dozens of times during a normal day. Have you ever been daydreaming and someone calls your name? There’s that moment of feeling disjointed or confused. Why? Because you were in a trance state, then suddenly pulled out of it. Same thing when you ‘zone out’ doing something simple, like driving your usual commute.

Going into a trance is easy. It’s what your mind does when it doesn’t need to focus. If you can relax while doing something – say, doing the dishes – your mind likes to wander. If it starts to wander then, perhaps quickly, maybe slowly, you’ll slide into a trance state.

The opposite is also true. Paying attention can also lead into trance. Think of an athlete in a pure state of focus. Like a tennis player whose eyes are locked on the ball. All other thoughts fade to the background. Even their sense of self fades as they focus on hitting the ball perfectly.

What does a trance feel like?

What a trance state feels like varies from person to person. And even from trance state to trance. But there are some common themes.

One is relaxation. Being in a trance state is like being open and connected to a world of possibilities. It’s not the sort of thing you can do while tense. If you see a tiger, you don’t need to consider the idea that it’s friendly – you need to run. But if there’s no threat, no stress and no tension, you can slip into a nice trance. Being relaxed makes you go into a trance state, and going into a trance feels relaxing. A virtuous cycle.

Another sensation is focus. Like the tennis player, your awareness of the world might sharpen. Or like a monk in prayer, awareness of your thoughts and feelings grows. Distracting thoughts often fade to the background.

Often it feels like falling asleep. Imagine yourself falling asleep. Your muscles relax, your breathing shifts, your thoughts soften, sometimes you twitch a little. If any of these happen while you’re awake, it’s a good sign that you’re in a trance.

Another common experience is strong, positive emotions. For me, it feels like pure joy rising from my stomach or chest. It’s difficult to resist – even if I want to.

There are other sensations, but I won’t list them all. In time, you will learn how you respond to being in a trance state. It’s a complex phenomenon with no set rules. Just like everything else in the human experience.

But above all, trance is a positive experience. It feels good because it’s your mind’s way of rewarding fresh thinking, openness and a new way of thinking. When you learn to recognise it, you’ll see the hallmarks of trance in all the best moments of your life. The trance state is many things, but it’s always fascinating.

And if you’re intrigued and want to know more, Unlock the Vault exists for people like you. Check it out right now.

What Happens to the Brain During Hypnosis?

It’s an excellent question.

And the answer is…

… we don’t know.

Hypnosis is complex. It’s kind of like asking ‘what happens in the brain during thinking?’ There probably is an answer to that question, but we certainly don’t know it yet.

Having said that, there is a lot we do know. Aside from all our unanswered questions, we have the results of research, measurement and experimentation. These all provide clues as to what happens, physically, during hypnosis. Continue reading “What Happens to the Brain During Hypnosis?”

How the Unconscious Mind Protects You… and How You Can Help It

Hypnosis is a powerful and mysterious process. We know a lot about what it can do and how to use it. What we don’t know is why – the underlying mechanisms behind trance and tapping into the unconscious mind.

But that comes later. Let’s start with what hypnosis is and why it has such incredible results. Continue reading “How the Unconscious Mind Protects You… and How You Can Help It”

Is Hypnosis Real?

You go to any stage hypnotism show and there’ll be a cynic in the audience. “They’re just faking,” they’ll say.

Or if you go to a hypnotist so you can quit smoking, lose a phobia, sleep through the night or unleash your motivation, the cynic will laugh. “Why waste your money?” they’ll ask.

I don’t blame the cynic for being… well, cynical. The world is full of people peddling mystical nonsense. But hypnosis is different from. It is neither mystical nor nonsense.

Other alternative therapies claim to heal the mind. Unlike these, hypnosis has proof. Rock-solid, unambiguous, scientific proof.

And, no, it’s not the placebo effect. Hypnosis works whether you accept it or not, doubt it or not, or are open minded about it. It gets results even if you think it won’t.

What’s with the doubt?

If hypnosis is real, how come so many people deny it? Continue reading “Is Hypnosis Real?”

Is Hypnosis Evil?

I’ve had people ask me if hypnosis is evil. Or flat-out accuse me of it. Never by someone who understands hypnosis though. Everyone I’ve met who understands hypnosis also understands that it’s a powerful tool for good.

If you’re confused about hypnosis, I understand. There’s a lot of misinformation out there. But rest easy and know that it’s a positive thing.

How can I be so sure?

When I studied science, ethics was a short, optional course. I dropped it when I realised I had to go the university library for research. (The other subjects used files on the, you know, internet…) A successful scientist can use their research for good or evil, so teaching ethics makes sense.

When I studied Buddhist meditation, morality was not a short, optional course. It was studied in-depth. It was the first and last subject taught. Everything linked back to morality.

To recap: the subject that created nuclear weaponry skimmed over ethics. It was a core part of the subject that involves sitting still for a while.


How does that work?

Continue reading “Is Hypnosis Evil?”

Learn How to Guide Your Mind

Everything that you find here:

contains everything you need.

Want to stay on top of my posts? Receive every new article in your inbox in full – no need to visit this site again! Simply sign up below: