What is hypnosis?

Posted on Dec 17, 2012

Pocket Watch

So what exactly is hypnosis?

The fact is, we still don’t know.

Scientists and psychologists still cannot explain exactly what happens when someone is hypnotized. However, we do know that it is a real phenomenon and can describe some of its effects. As someone who practices hypnosis, I can testify to its authenticity and have my own model to explain how it works.

Two Explanations: State and Non-State

The line is divided between two opposing theories. One theory states that a person’s psychological state changes, while the other suggests that a person is in a normal state of consciousness, but has engaged their imagination and entered into a sort of role-enactment.

There are a few facts that we know for sure:

  • Subjects are awake – Most people believe that a hypnotized person is in a state of unconsciousness, but they are fully awake. Even though hypnosis superficially resembles sleep, the subjects are far from sleeping.
  • Not for the weak minded – People often associate hypnosis with a weak mind, but the best subjects have a good imagination, ability to concentrate, and intelligence.
  • No swinging watch required – The swinging pocket watch was introduced to focus a subjects attention and tire the eyes. Although this has become the icon for hypnosis, most hypnotists do not use a watch.

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