I remember the first time I went to see a hypnotherapist. When it was all done, as I stood up, the thought actually crossed my mind: was I really hypnotized?
You see, even though I had never been hypnotized (that I knew of), I still expected something. I expected to lose all conscious awareness. Or at least, conscious control. I expected immersion in a full-sensory “movie” created by my subconscious mind. I expected a roller-coaster of sensory experience over which I had no control. I expected a semi-lucid dream state, with hyper-vivid imagery, in brilliant Technicolor. I expected something new, unique, something I’d never experienced before. Or at least, that’s what I was hoping for. And since my experience did not meet my expectations, I questioned whether I had been hypnotized.
I’m not the only one: I’ve had several people, usually highly intelligent and introspective people, who have commented afterwards how they were still “aware” or conscious during the whole thing, and so they wondered if it had actually worked or not.
The truth is, people expect being hypnotized to be a completely foreign experience. But it doesn’t have to be! If you are one of those people who goes into a trance easily, or who does a lot of meditation or visualization, it may be a very familiar experience to you! Not only that, but the way I do it, I deliberately keep your conscious mind engaged and involved. I don’t try to make you lose awareness, because I want you to remember the experience, I am trying to help you to improve the level of communications between your conscious and subconscious minds, so you can use that increased ability in your day-to-day life as you move forward.
So, having realistic expectations as you go into the experience is pretty important.
- Expect to be awake and aware the whole time, to never lose consciousness
- Expect to retain your awareness of where you are, and what you are doing
- Expect that you will be in control the whole time
- Expect your imagination to get progressively more and more vivid and realistic as you progress
- Expect that, should you relax into the experience sufficiently, your imagination will eventually get projected on to the back of your eyelids, so that it’s almost like you are seeing it with your physical eyes
- Expect that you will always be you – that never changes
Understand, it is not necessary for you to have a “deep” hypnotic experience to have a therapeutic one. If you can experience your imagination with enough clarity to have an emotional reaction to it, that is enough! If you are able to let go of the reigns enough to let your imagination manifest spontaneous imagery, then you are deep enough!
The question is not, was I hypnotized. The question is: what can I take away from this experience?
In my case, even though I questioned whether or not I was really hypnotized, what I took away from it caused me to totally change my life. Now that’s power!