Hi. I'm Richard Blumenthal, MS, NCC, LMHC. I've tried to anticipate some of your questions about hypnosis.

Q: Richard, what is hypnosis?

A: Hypnosis is a natural state of mind, deepening the focus of your attention. The feeling of hypnosis has been described as a relaxing daydream, sometimes a meditative staring off into space, or other telltale sign that the person is involved more in an inner experience, than what is going on around her or him. While in hypnosis, your mind is more open to helpful ideas that may be accepted directly into the way you think. These ideas can help change or control behaviors, emotions, health, anything the vast power of the mind may influence.

Q: But, I've been this way for most of my life. Can people really change?

A: It may appear sometimes that you've felt a certain way, or done a particular thing for what seems like forever. But much of it, maybe most of it, is actually learned behavior. You see, while individual people may have tendencies, what biologists call predispositions, how that tendency is played out in your life depends on what you have learned from experience. Often, we've learned a thought routine so well that our resulting behaviors and feelings seem automatic, triggered into action before we even know it. That's where hypnosis comes in. Hypnosis is a wonderful, powerful way to add carefully chosen thinking on to your experience. You can re-learn how to think about something, this time with a well-planned goal in mind. Yes, people can definitely change. More importantly, you can definitely change!

Q: Richard, I think I read somewhere that "all hypnosis is really self hypnosis". But, if that's true, then why don't these changes happen just because I want them to?

A: Hypnosis requires something called induction. Remember, hypnosis is a unique state of mind, different from your ordinary state of mind. Your ordinary mind must therefore be induced, that is changed into a different state to acheive hypnosis. Neuroscientists using sophisticated brain imaging equipment have actually found important alterations between the functioning of the ordinary brain and the hypnotically induced brain. Specifically, hypnosis seems to bypass some of the barriers the brain has built to inhibit new learning. The hypnotic state diminishes these barriers, allowing ideas to flow more directly to the learning centers with greater ease.

Q: But, isn't hypnosis just for people with really bad problems, or mental illness?

A: Hypnosis has been used by the most successful atheletes, high powered business people, actors, musicians, writers, and others, all for the most positive and uplifting of reasons. They all want to improve their skills, their health, their appearance, and enjoyment of life. Hypnosis makes their talent more available. Yes, it's true that hypnosis is an extraordinary therapeutic tool used in clinical psychology, but it is literally for EVERYONE. It makes that which is good even better and transforms better into the best!

Q: What if I can't wake up from the hypnosis?

A: There is truly no such thing. In all my years of reading about and practicing hypnosis, I have never once come across a case of a hypnotized person being unable to awaken from it. Sometimes, hypnosis feels so relaxing and soothing that the person may fall asleep, but even then will awaken quickly, as you would from a short nap. By the way, I always begin every hypnosis script with the phrase, "At any time you have the ability to awaken yourself and instantly return to your ordinary thinking." You are in total control during the experience. The hypnotist is just a guide.

Q: What are hypnosis scripts?

A: The term hypnosis script (or self hypnosis script) simply refers to the dialogue that is spoken in order to induce the state of hypnosis and then make the desired suggestions. Hypnosis scripts can include techniques that range from emphasizing progressive relaxation and descriptive imagery, to story-telling and direct suggestion. The goal of every script is to induce the state of hypnosis for a specific outcome. Based on years of study and practice, I always include a variety of hypnosis techniques in each of my hypnosis mp3s.

Q: What can hypnosis be used for?

A: While hypnosis is best known for successful weight loss, to quit smoking, to reduce anxiety and tension, for self confidence, fear, etc, the truth is, hypnosis may be useful for any topic that is influenced by the mind. That certainly takes in a lot of territory. We can think of it like this: hypnosis can't change the weather, but it can help you to remember to use your umbrella. Hypnosis can't change the need for a mathematical formula, but it can make the formula easier to remember.

I sincerely encourage everyone to take full advantage of this natural marvel. Hypnosis really helps!

Author's Bio: 

The work of Richard A. Blumenthal, MS, NCC has been published in such esteemed journals as Medical Hypnoanalysis, The International Journal of Psychosomatics, The Journal of Human Behavior and Learning, and The British Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. Mr. Blumenthal is the originator of Rational Suggestion Therapy, and the inventor of HypnoSoft Self Hypnosis Software, located at http://www.hypnosoft.com, for which he was awarded a United States patent. Mr. Blumenthal has made his specially prepared hypnosis MP3s available at http://self-hypnosis.org