Clients often ask me how they will be able to tell if they are in a trance or state of hypnosis. (I use the words trance and hypnosis interchangeably.)
This is a great question, as hypnosis can feel somewhat different from the relaxation of a Reiki session or other methods of stress relief. A closer comparison might be the experience of meditation. It’s important to remember that everyone experiences hypnosis differently. Here are 10 ways to know if you’re in a trance and how and why it varies from person to person.
What is hypnosis?
But first, if you’re not familiar with hypnosis, the definition of hypnosis is a state of focused awareness, with the accompanying relaxation of the conscious, analytical mind.
The trance state is a common experience–watching a movie, losing track of time listening to music, or missing your exit if you’re driving–are some common experiences. In other words, it’s not sensational and dramatic like what you might see in the movies or on television.
For the purposes of this post, I’m describing what hypnosis feels like in a therapeutic setting when you receive a session from a professional hypnotist. I go into more detail about what is hypnosis, how does hypnosis work, and using therapeutic hypnosis for a range of issues here.
Why do individual experiences of hypnosis vary?
Again, people experience hypnosis differently, some people are more visual, while others are more kinesthetic or auditory. To get some clues about what you might experience, think of your learning style: do you need to take notes and write everything down (kinesthetic), can you hear the teacher and remember everything (auditory), do you prefer to read the book instead (visual)? This will give you some idea of how you might experience hypnosis, and the hypnotist will take this into consideration when personalizing your session for maximum effectiveness.
Does hypnosis work on everyone?
I sometimes hear this from new clients. They are concerned that they can’t be hypnotized. While it’s true that some people are naturally gifted at being hypnotized, it’s a skill like anything else, and can be easily improved with practice.
Anyone with average intelligence or higher (in other words, you need to be able to communicate and process information) can learn to be hypnotized. All hypnosis is self hypnosis, so it’s key that you want to participate in the trance, and have a certain level of comfort with the professional hypnotist (as with any healing modality).
10 Ways to Know if You’re in a Trance
Here are 10 of the most common ways to tell you’re in a trance:
1. Physical Changes: you feel a change in your body.
Everyone is different, but physical changes you might experience with hypnosis include tingling, numbness, heaviness or lightness, floating, a feeling of relaxation, or even an absence of feeling in your body.
2. Mental Changes: you feel a change in your mind.
Mental changes with hypnosis might include a slowing down or quieting of internal chatter, or the inner critic. It’s an inward focus without the restrictions of the critical mind. We need our analytical, critical mind to help us process information and make decisions, but it’s most helpful after the hypnosis session to process what came up during the session. And often the analytical, conscious mind hasn’t been able to solve the problem or issue, otherwise you wouldn’t be seeking hypnosis!
3. In Between Wake & Sleep: you’re not sure if you fell asleep.
You may not remember everything from the hypnosis session, which is a good thing. Your conscious mind may have drifted off, which is fine since the hypnotist is speaking to your unconscious mind. I always ensure you’re still awake while your unconscious mind pays close attention to what I’m saying. It might feel similar to the experience of getting a massage–you’re not wide awake and hyper alert, but not asleep. You could get up and walk out of the room, but hopefully it’s a good massage and you’re feeling relaxed.
4. Analytical Changes: you can’t do math.
Ha! This is one of my favorites. With hypnosis you’re softening, or relaxing your analytical mind and focusing on the unconscious mind. For example, years ago a client was trying to count out the bills to pay me after his session and it took him over 10 minutes. That convinced him he had been in a trance.
5. Changes of Awareness: you’re more focused.
During a hypnosis session, your mind is able to quiet and settle down and pay attention to what is most important. This mental clarity is a key benefit of the power of hypnosis.
6. Visual Changes: you see vivid imagery.
Sometimes in technicolor! Again, some people are more visual than others, and this is a skill that can be honed. For example, if you’re a photographer or graphic designer you’re apt to see more visual images during your hypnosis session than perhaps a musician (they might hear their inner guidance rather than see images). Depending on your learning style it’s not uncommon to have a rich visual experience during trance.
7. It’s Not What You Think: you’re not unconscious.
Clients sometimes think they will be unconscious during hypnosis. It gets confusing using the words conscious mind and unconscious mind–but that doesn’t mean you’ll be unconscious during your hypnosis session. You’ll likely remember as much or as little of your hypnosis session as you would during a normal conversation. Similarly, it’s normal to drift in and out, paying more or less attention, like you do during a conversation.
8. Enhanced Intuition: you’re more perceptive.
Clients often gain clarity and feel more connected to their intuition either during their hypnosis session or in the weeks after, especially in relation to the issue they’re wanting help with. As an example, I’ve had several clients tell me they knew what I was going to say right before I said it numerous times throughout the hypnosis session.
9. Time Distortion: you lose track of time.
During hypnosis, or trance, the passage of time feels distorted: you may feel time moves very quickly, or feel like time is drawn out. Clients will often ask me how much time has passed when we finish their session because it feels very brief or like a long time has passed.
10. Rest & Digest: you feel deeply relaxed.
Hypnosis can be a powerful tool to shift out of sympathetic nervous system mode of fight or flight, and into parasympathetic nervous system mode of rest and digest. This is deeply restorative and a reset to your mind and body. While you don’t have to be relaxed to be in a trance, many people feel peaceful and connected to themselves. Again, this is the best state to be in to resolve a problem or issue.
Curious to know if hypnosis really works? Yes, don’t be misled by these 2 signs.
You can book here if you’re ready to experience hypnosis for the first time with a virtual hypnosis session, need a refresher to sustain a change you made already, or if you have another issue you want to change.