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Mention the word hypnosis and what do you see in your mind’s eye? A half-bald scientist or psychiatrist waving a clock in front of you, muttering something you can’t hear and asking you to walk through jungles and fly through clouds or count stones in your mind, with your eyes closed? This is the general perception people have about hypnosis. While it’s not completely right, it’s not completely wrong. And the movies don’t help very much in painting a pretty (or the right) picture about hypnosis either.

Through hypnosis, the patient will actually fall into…no, not a half-asleep state, but into a hyper-attentive state. Thankfully, through the wide availability of information, we, the modern word, understand and comprehend more about hypnosis than we used to back then. Hypnosis, in fact, has ceased to be such a phenomenon and is now a more acceptable form of treatment for many mental and sometimes physical problems.

Exploration of this form of treatment has been ongoing ever since it was first introduced and used to cure people. And we have yet to find the complete answer to that question. How does hypnosis actually work? And why does it work? What we are seeking to do is to find out how the mind works. It is unlikely that we will be unearthing any ‘deep and dark secrets’ about hypnosis nor will we ever find out about the magical appeal it has but many do understand what hypnosis is.

Hypnosis is a process of sending a patient into a trance-like state. The patient will have to be totally relaxed and his/her imagination will be heightened. Being in the state of trance is very different from being half-asleep. In fact, it’s totally different! When you’re in a trance-like state, you will be completely obsessed with something. Your mind is focused and sharp and yet you remain relaxed; this relaxed-but-focused state will help imagination soar. When you are half-asleep, you will have difficulty focusing. Therefore, being hypnotized is not like being half-asleep. If there’s a conscious state that we can draw a similarity with, it’s daydreaming. Being hypnotized is like being sent into an unrestrained state of daydreaming.

When you’re daydreaming, everything seems real to you and the line between imagination and reality is blurred. It might even make you feel like you’re in a movie or in an imaginary world. When under hypnosis, you will feel a lot of very real emotions….fear, sadness and happiness. In this mental state, you will be uninhibited and relaxed. When the psychiatrist suggests something, you will embrace the idea whole-heartedly.

People find it easier to overcome their fears and find a point of focus through hypnosis. For instance, someone who has a fear of heights could be sent soaring happily in the skies with birds and planes during hypnosis treatment. Slowly, this patient will relax and eventually get over his or her fear of heights.

A psychiatrist can only urge you to do something, hoping to help you solve your problem. He or she cannot possibly force you to do something you don’t want to – even in a state of trance.

You are essentially daydreaming about something willfully. That’s why hypnosis works so exceptionally well.

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