One common conception of hypnosis is a state of consciousness where a person is very relaxed, and able to accept suggestions. Then the hypnotist is able to tell a person to stop smoking, eat “better” foods, start sleeping, etc.
Being the world’s oldest living adolescent, I don’t enjoy being told what to do. The best thing about being told what to do is that it immediately brings my anger to the forefront, where I can work on anger! But I don’t usually respond well to instructions, especially with judgment involved. Being told what to do is one thing. (Like, try folding flap A under flap B instead of over flap B.) But being told what I should do is something else. (Eating dessert is bad for you. You are a bad boy for eating it.)
That’s why hypnotherapy never appealed to me. It just seemed that yet another person was poised to tell me what to do. And this person is good at it!
So now that I’m all “grown up,” and working as a hypnotherapist, I still don’t like being told what to do. And I don’t like telling others what to do. So I don’t use hypnosis the same way that some others do.
The hypnotic state can not only make a person more susceptible to suggestion, but it can make the inner experience more real. Not only can you trust what you are being told to a greater degree, but you can trust your own experience at a much deeper level. I use this part of the hypnotic state to help a person know what it is like to be the new person they want to be.
If a person wants to quit smoking, for instance, I don’t tell them not to smoke. I set up the circumstances so they can experience what it is like to be a relaxed, confident, happy, and peaceful non-smoker. Now the new non-smoker knows what it feels like, and knows the benefits of being a non-smoker. He knows that benefits not because he was told the benefits, but because he has experienced those benefits!