What Is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a psychological experience that induces a trance or trance-like state. Hypnosis can be induced by one individual speaking to another, or a group (group hypnosis), or it can be induced by oneself on oneself (self-hypnosis).

Trance is a natural state that can occur whenever your attention is narrowly focused and relatively free of distractions. Your attention may be focused either internally (on internal self-talk, visual images, or both) or externally (on a task, a book, a movie, etc.). The focus of attention is so narrow that other stimuli in the environment are ignored or blocked out of conscious awareness for a time. During trance, habitual behaviors may be performed without conscious awareness (i.e., behavior performed without mental effort). Examples of common trance states are daydreaming, meditation, or being involved in a really good book or movie.

As an adjunct to psychotherapy, hypnosis can help you enter a relaxed and comfortable mental state for the purpose of obtaining specific therapeutic outcomes. Using hypnosis, your therapist can make suggestions designed to help you formulate specific internal processes (feelings, memories, images and internal self-talk) that will lead to worthwhile outcomes you mutually agree upon.

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