Hypnosis sounds mysterious. It can simply refer to a method to focus your attention while you are in a relaxed state. One can be in a light trance state (not asleep or stiff like a board or "out of it" where you do not remember what went on (although one can use amnesia for a clinically useful goal). You might be more receptive to goals and strategies to help you lose weight, stop smoking, or improve in sports, or feel less anxious and have fewer panic attacks. You can still have awareness for surroundings and even wonder if you were "really hypnotized." It can still be effective.
The type of hypnosis I utilize is naturalistic and involves six types of trance phenomena that most people experience daily or often. For example, dissociation occurs when your conscious mind 'goes into a daydream' while your 'automatic pilot, your unconscious mind uses the automatic stored sub routines to drive your car safely. You may have the experience of wondering 'how did I get here?' Time distortion occurs when an event, such as a signal light, seems to take longer than it does according to clock time. To use time distortion in smoking cessation, the post hypnotic suggestion can be made that 'once you leave this office, it can feel like you have been a nonsmoker for a very long time such that there are no cravings or association with cigarettes.'
Hypnotic phenomena can be used to assist in smoking cessation, weight loss, increasing sports, and in clinical goals, such as overcoming phobias, relieving certain traumas, and improving self confidence. The other phenomena are amnesia (forgetting); positive and negative hallucinations (either seeing something that is not there...like hearing a doorbell when you are expecting company and finding no one there when you answer the door:)(not seeing something that is there that you are looking directly at such as later hearing a person ask:"Why didn't you say hello, you were looking right at me." Age regression involves a trigger which puts you into reliving a memory of a younger self). All of these trancelike states occur in most people in everyday life but are rarely noticed. A trained hypnotherapist utilizes these states to assist people to reach goals. One of the hottest topics right now is that you can retrain your brain through strategies from neuroscience. There is now evidence that your brain can create new neurons alll of your life and you can rewire your brain patterns to overcome addictions and habits. Use of hypnotherapy can streamlline these strategies.
The question of whether or not a person can be hypnotized usually applies to a style of hypnosis which is authoritarian with commands like: 'you are getting sleepy' or 'you will do this now". Many people resist the idea of being controlled like that. The naturalistic style I have described and which I use was developed by Milton Erickson, M.D. It is a permissive style, which leaves the person in charge with suggestions such as: "when you are ready, you may feel like closing your eyes and allowing yourself to let go.," and,"if anything I say does not feel comfortable for you, please protect yourself and ignore or change it to fit what would help you more."
Hypnosis basically uses relaxation and imagination and focused attention to assist you to achieve your goals. A trained hypnotherapist combines the training from psychotherapy and from hypnotherapy to apply specialized methods for success. I explain the use of this method and a person will chose to use it or not.