Hypnosis can be described in terms of a hypnotic response, which is a spontaneous, automatic response of the body and mind mind to a suggestion, situation or an event.
When you watch a movie, you may spontaneously experience profound sadness and tears may fill your eyes. You know that the movie is an illusion – that the people on the screen are actors playing their respective roles, and yet, you respond as if what you see was happening in real life.
Your sadness is real; your tears are real, and this is the whole point! Your body and mind responded in an authentic way to some external stimuli. Your hypnotic response, evoked in you a particular way of feeling and behaving.
What happened in your mind and body happened only because you believed what the movie was “suggesting” to you.
You were not in a hypnotic trance; you were perfectly awake and yet, you could not stop yourself from responding with sadness and tears. Such is the power of hypnotic response.
For a hypnotic response to happen, no trance is really necessary. The only thing that must be present is your total belief that what is suggested to you is real, valid, and that, it has the power to evoke changes in your mind and body.
Hypnotic response is based on our ability to believe and generate results according to what we believe in. The law of the hypnotic response is beautifully expressed in one of the most famous biblical phrases: “According to your faith it shall be given unto you.”
A lot of my clients initially think that I have to put them “under” if they are to benefit from the session.
Going “under” is a myth. Hypnosis in a form of trance is not absolutely necessary. The people who benefit from an altered state of consciousness, called a trance, are those whose conscious minds are highly critical.
There is no way that a critical and doubting conscious mind can accept and follow hypnotic suggestions. If the hypnotic response is to happen, the critical conscious mind must be suspended for a while. When the doubter is out of the way, the suggestions penetrate into the subconscious mind.
The subconscious mind has a much greater capacity for believing what is offered than the conscious mind could ever have.
This capacity of the subconscious mind to believe is what makes for the popular notion that hypnosis is about speaking to the subconscious mind.
I repeat: all hypnotic responses can be achieved without a trance. The only condition necessary is that a person believes!