Hypnosis is a state of internal focus, which allows you to concentrate intently upon a single idea. At one point a famous hypnotist tried to re-brand hypnosis as monoideaism, but it never caught on as everyone preferred the name hypnosis.
When hypnotised you are able to examine the way you have been thinking and learn new ways of thinking, which inevitably leads to new ways of behaving. This is the basis of almost all hypnotherapy.
Hypnosis is an altered state of mind that can be induced (often by a hypnotist) and then used for many things, some of which are therapeutic. Hypnotherapy is the application of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes.
There is a large grey area within which many applications of hypnosis fall and even hypnotists cannot all agree whether these things are hypnotherapy or not, but in the end its really just semantics.
In my own humble opinion, there is no real empirical difference. To me, hypnosis is hypnosis and if it can help someone achieve something they want to achieve then the labels are unimportant.
No one has ever proven exactly how hypnosis works. There are several popular theories (known as ‘models’), none of which are 100% perfect for explaining every aspect of hypnosis, but most of which are absolutely fine for practical purposes.
My own preferred model is the one used by master hypnotist Dave Elman. Put simply, hypnosis is the bypassing of the critical factor and implementation of selective thinking. This allows a person to examine new and old ideas without prejudicial criticism and to then decide whether to accept, reject or replace ideas as required.
Yes, everyone can be hypnotised.
About 5 to 10 percent of people can be hypnotised very easily, these people are known as natural somnambulists. Somnambulists will often get significant benefits from hypnotherapy very quickly, often in as little as a single session.
At the other end of the scale about 2 percent of people are not very responsive to traditional hypnosis approaches. These people can still be hypnotised, but it can take more time and effort to get these people into hypnosis and sometimes more work is required for them to get the full benefits of hypnotherapy.
Most of us are somewhere in the middle and can usually be hypnotised in a matter of minutes and can see significant benefits from hypnotherapy in just a few sessions. It’s not uncommon for someone at the higher end of normal response to only need a single session for certain thing.
It’s worth noting that there are going to be people who just don’t click with a given hypnotist. They may never have success with that hypnotist, but would certainly succeed with another hypnotist.
And finally, sometimes people don’t want to be hypnotised. I won’t even try to hypnotise those people, so it is perfectly safe to look into my eyes.
Almost certainly, yes, contrary to what you may see on TV spontaneous amnesia is rare. Sometimes amnesia will be a suggested effect, but usually this would simply be a dulling down of an emotional memory rather than true amnesia.
Yes, a hypnotist can guide you into hypnosis and give you suggestions of what to think about, but you can ignore any instruction and reject any suggestion given – although the hypnosis probably won’t be very helpful for you if you do that.
Everyone responds differently. Some people fall into deep hypnosis within minutes and others take longer. Most people can get into deep hypnosis in under 20 minutes, and most people can drastically reduce this time on subsequent sessions.
This depends on two factors. First, how quickly and how deeply you can be hypnotised on your first session. (See the question above)
Secondly, it depends on the reason for seeing a hypnotist. Many phobias, for instance, can be significantly improved or even entirely dealt with in a single session, but if you are having hypnotic anaesthesia for a tattoo it will take as many sessions as the tattoo does.
My rate for a single session for most things is £100. (I usually work on a per-session basis than a per-hour basis)
It can also depend on the work required, for instance stopping smoking is £250, whereas tattoo work is an hourly rate with a minimum charge of 3 hours.
Further pricing information can be found here