What is Hypnosis?


The General Hypnotherapy Standards Council (GHSC) defines hypnosis as:


"Healing by trance state (or an altered state of awareness) is among the oldest phenomena known to man and is found, in one form or another, in virtually every culture throughout the world. It could also be legitimately described as the original psychological therapy and somewhat more contentiously, as the basis for many of the more recent styles of psychological intervention.
Although such altered states have been known for thousands of years, the term ‘hypnosis’ (from the Greek ‘hypnos’, meaning ‘sleep’) was only coined circa 1840 by Dr James Braid, a Scottish physician, and remains a somewhat less than accurate description of the experience as the hypnotic state is, in most respects, entirely dissimilar to sleep.
At our current level of knowledge, the phenomenon of hypnosis cannot be conclusively defined but perhaps a reasonable interim definition might be that: Hypnosis is a state of mind, enhanced by (although not exclusively) mental and physical relaxation, in which our subconscious is able to communicate with our conscious mind. It may be better to define ‘hypnosis’ by what it does rather than what it is and in this regard, it is widely accepted as a most excellent method by which we may access our inner potential. The state of mind referred to may be brought about either by oneself, unaided (self-hypnosis) or with the help of another person. If this other person is a trained professional, who utilises the resultant state of mind to encourage beneficial change to occur, the process is referred to as ‘Hypnotherapy'. "

Hypnosis is recognised by the scientific community as an effective tool for creating changes in the mind and body. Hypnosis is a fascinating and natural process in which your mind is more receptive to positive suggestion and deeper understandings, it engages a person beliefs and imagination to help change their habits, behaviours, feelings, and experience a richer subjective reality.


Disclaimer - there is no agreed definition on hypnosis, and its mechanisms are not completely understood.


Who can be hypnotized?


Yes! Anyone can be hypnotised if they are willing and participate in the process.  When working with a hypnotist the process is tailored to you and your desired outcomes.


In fact, you have already experienced hypnosis in your normal every day waking state, for example:

  • Daydreaming

  • Being absorbed in a pleasant task and losing track of time

  • Doing a mundane task (such as washing the dishes) while thinking about something else, to the degree that you can’t actually remember performing the task

  • Getting lulled into a dreamy state by boredom, for example, when listening to a dull speech.

Clinical hypnosis deliberately evokes this state of heightened awareness. Once the mind is in a hypnotic state/loop, any suggestions delivered can have a great effect on attitudes, perceptions, and behaviours.


Hypnosis is a natural phenomenon and when used creatively is extremely powerful for personal change and development.

Hypnosis, is it safe?

Hypnosis is completely safe when practiced by an experienced and qualified hypnotist. The NHS (National Health Service) recognises Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy as a complementary therapy.


However, It is not recommended for:

  • Individuals with psychosis or certain types of personality disorder, as it could make your condition worse. Check with your GP first if you've got a personality disorder.

  • Severe depression

  • A drug or alcohol problem

  • Chronic pain that has not been investigated and diagnosed by a qualified doctor.

  • Also, Hypnosis should not be practiced when operating machinery or driving.



Common concerns?


"People are sometimes concerned that they will ‘lose control’ in hypnosis. However, general consensus indicates that regardless of how deeply people may go in hypnosis and however passive they may appear to be, they actually remain in full control of the situation. They are fully able to talk if they wish to (or not, as the case may be) and can stand up and leave the room at any time. Neither can a hypnotised person be made to do anything against their usual ethical or moral judgement or religious belief. It is likely that the notion of a loss of control stems from most people’s misconception of stage hypnosis, wherein participants are apparently made to perform all manner of (usually foolish) acts. However, the reader should be aware that participation in a stage act is an entirely voluntary process (thus ‘permission’ is already given to the hypnotist) and that there can be no such volunteer who is unaware of exactly what they are letting themselves in for!" GHSC

Things to remember


  • Hypnosis sessions are designed to evoke a state of mind to help the client achieve a desired outcome. 

  • Contrary to popular belief, you are always in control and can’t be hypnotised against your will.

  • Hypnosis works most effectively when a partnership of trust between the hypnotist and the client is established. A client who engages in the hypnosis process will gain the best results.

  • World class athletes, top executives, actors, and celebrities have used hypnosis to help with weight loss, stage fright, fear of flying, insomnia. To name a few. The general public is now starting to realise that hypnosis can help them achieve better results in their life.