I give regular public talks on hypnosis and sometimes during my talks I field a question from someone who claims they can not be hypnotized. When I inquire into why they believe they are unable to be hypnotized they usually respond by saying that they are too “controlling” and just unable to let go. I find this a contradiction, because if the person is truly “controlling” why are they unable to put themselves into a relaxed trance-like state. In truth all hypnosis is self-hypnosis; you internalize suggestions and create your own experience. As I talk to these people I find out that they are the type of person who is unable to relax and this is unfortunate because typically this is the type of person who could really benefit from learning a few simple relaxation techniques.
Many people misunderstand trances and associate it with some type of zombie-like, unconscious state. But if you closely observe your daily life you will notice you go in and out of trances all the time. For example, have you every had a daydream? Or have you ever found yourself caught up in fantasy? When you fall asleep you naturally move through a series of altered states; starting from stage 1 and 2 of sleep where theta brain waves are observed; then into stages 3 and 4 where delta waves manifest. Finally, you enter stage 5, the dream state, REM, which stands for rapid eye movement. You go through cycles of these stages every night at approximately 100 minutes intervals. The trance of hypnosis is basically deep relaxation where alpha waves are observed and the first stages of sleep where theta waves are observed; depending on the depth of the trance. Therefore trance states are normal, ordinary, every day types of experiences; you may have just never labeled your experience as a “trance” before.
Now it is true that some people are more suggestible than others. This does not mean they are naive or gullible, quite the opposite. People who are highly suggestible are easy to hypnotize because they are highly creative, imaginative, intelligent people. They have the ability to use their creative intelligence to internalize suggestions. People who are “controlling,” are in the most difficult to hypnotize because they tend to lack trust, which contributes to their inability to relax, and probably are in fact not good candidates for hypnotherapy. However, if you possess average intelligence, imagination, creativity, and are can trust another, then you maybe an excellent candidate for hypnotherapy.
To learn more about hypnosis, hypnotherapy, hypnotizability, or trance states, simply email or give me a call at (805)637-4263.