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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Whitaker

What is Hypnosis?

If you read ten different books on hypnosis, you will probably get ten different definitions for what hypnosis really is!

You probably enter a trance-like state quite often without realising it - for example, when was the last time you got lost in a great film or book? Or arrived by car somewhere without remembering the drive there!

This phenomenon of becoming so engrossed and focused on something initiates this trance-like feeling - many refer to this as the 'everyday trance'.

A woman sitting in bed while reading a book
You may experience an 'everyday trance' quite often in day-to-day life

The current official definition of hypnosis, according to the American Psychological Association, is “the state induced by that procedure, in which suggestion is used to evoke changes in sensation, perception, cognition, emotion, or control over motor behaviour.”

Another definition put forward by Unestahl (A Swedish Psychologist & Hypnotist) is “an alternative state of consciousness, where information can bypass the logical mind and bring about changes in suggestibility and perception and in which there are alternative control systems available.”

David Soskis (University of Pennsylvania) put forward another definition; "Hypnosis is a process that allows us to experience thoughts and images as real." Personally, this is one of my favourite definitions of hypnosis.

Hypnosis is a skill - it is something that we do. The more we practice this skill the better we can get at it. Some may seem more 'natural' to begin with, but with practice we can all improve.

So, what are your experiences of hypnosis?

Can you remember any times recently when you were in an 'everyday trance'?


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