Hypnosis: The Facts Versus The Fictions

Most people’s concepts of hypnosis are influenced by the stage and television performer, Hollywood and other media representations. These types of demonstrations mislead an audience by suggesting that hypnosis  is a means of controlling people’s minds and actions when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Yet, because of these public displays, many people seek a hypnotist believing that one session of hypnosis will "make" them behave differently, or they shy away from hypnosis for  fear of being controlled by the hypnotist.

What follows are some of the most commonly asked questions answered by the recognized  expert,  Elaine Kissel.   Before Elaine works with client in hypnosis, they  listen to an audio lecture that gives a more in depth explanation about hypnosis and self-hypnosis is so that they know what to and  what not  to expect from their experience.

What is hypnosis?​

The term hypnosis is used to describe a variety of altered states of consciousness that are initiated by various procedures known as inductions. These altered  states of awareness  are brought about by natural means. These are all natural states of mind  that enhance a person’s ability to learn new ways of thinking and make positive changes. In hypnosis, the conscious  analytical  mind is relaxed and the subconscious mind is more accessible and can be guided and encouraged to be more receptive and responsive to suggestions for positive change.

​Can hypnosis be used to deal with more than one problem at a time?​

Sometimes, if  they  are related more than one problem can be addressed; it  depends  on how  skillful  your therapist  is at working on one, two, or more issues at a time.  As long as  your  hypnotherapist has a full understanding of all the conscious and subconscious influences in your case, including  your history and the history of your problems,  your learning style and other important factors, hypnosis will be successful. Many changes could occur at the same time with the right approach. Keep in mind that behavior is always motivated, and often  a complex response to many psychological factors. It is wise to approach hypnotherapy as you would anything else that is about your  mental and emotional health and well-being. Of course  a commitment to the process, and be willingness to fully participate with proper use of your conscious mind is also important. Dr. Kissel always educates your conscious mind to enable you to support the hypnotherapeutic process.

​How does hypnosis work? ​

There are many theories about what hypnosis is and how it works. We do know though, that  within your subconscious mind are all of the negative and positive traits a human being is capable of. Plus all of the natural resources that make it possible for you to achieve your goals. Through relaxing or neutralizing the conscious mind's powerful influence, the rational  questioning part of you, i.e., the aspects of your mind that have the  learned limitations, the positives can be brought into action through the offering of positive suggestions. The suggestions are formulated to help your subconscious develop new ideas and associations and to evoke the potential within you to achieve your goals.

What if I don’t know what is causing my behavior or symptoms?

Through skillful application of hypnotic techniques the underlying issues, or sources of the problems, conscious as well as  subconscious reasons for the undesirable symptoms or behavior can be ascertained and resolved. This makes way for the positive changes you want for yourself.

Can hypnosis help with physical problems like pain or illness?

Hypnosis is well known for helping people overcome pain.  Major surgery has been performed with hypnotic rather than chemical anesthesia, and painless childbirth via hypnosis is becoming more common.  The fact that healing (physical, mental, and emotional) and health can be promoted through the appropriate and skillful employment of hypnosis is now recognized by well- informed people in the medical field.  The relaxation experience in hypnosis is the kind most conducive to the healing processes and visualization techniques are more effective in hypnosis.

How long will it take to reach my goal?

That depends on you and the nature, severity, and depth of your problems. Reinforcement is a necessary part of the learning process. Other important elements of a therapeutic program must also be in place for success to be assured.  For example, the issues underlying and motivating the behaviors need to understood and resolved.  Within a short time most people experience improvements and changes. With the appropriate attention to your individual needs for guidance, support, counseling, the necessary supportive attention by the therapist is in place, and self-support techniques are taught, positive responses can be evoked and then nurtured into becoming part of normal behavior. It's wise to keep in mind that permeating positive change is necessary while aiding you to deal with the inevitable  ups and downs in the process, as well as coping with stress more effectively.

Is hypnosis effective?

Yes. When it is employed skillfully and with sensitivity to each individuals need and for so many problems, it has been said that the promise of hypnosis holds no bounds! Physicians, dentists, psychologists, and psychotherapists are recognizing the value of helping people through hypnosis.  Millions more people every year are relieved from pain, smoking, eating disorders, weight problems, phobias, and insomnia. Hypnosis is also used to improve concentration, motivation and all phases of learning can be enhanced. Sexual dysfunctions, drugs and alcohol problems are eliminated through hypnotherapy; obsessive compulsive behaviors, too. Stress related problems and many other areas of human concern respond well to the proper use of hypnosis. Hypnosis is an integral part of holistic medicine, so that health is more easily maintained and improved. Hypnosis is an ideal tool for self-improvement. When it is applied by a skillful practitioner, it can be the most effective means of helping people. Single session and hotel room, high school gymnasium type of hypnosis cannot be effective as one-on-one genuine hypnotherapy, for hypnosis is not a one size fits all modality.  Nor can the environment in those public places be conducive to positive outcomes for the majority of those present.

Can I resist being hypnotized? 

Yes, you can resist all you want as long as you want. However, you’d be wasting your time and money going to a hypnotherapist to prove you could resist!  A knowledgeable, experienced hypnotherapist can help you overcome conscious and subconscious resistance to hypnosis and help you towards your goals.

What if I can't come out?

The idea that people can get stuck in hypnosis is erroneous.  Hypnotic states are not self-perpetuating. They are temporary shifts or alterations of consciousness and are easily terminated.

Can anyone be hypnotized?

There are many levels, or states of hypnosis and everyone can achieve at least some states. The old idea that only the weak-willed and non-intelligent respond to hypnosis is wrong. The hypnotizability of the subject is directly related to the skill of the  operator. Deep levels of hypnosis are not required in most cases, for example behavior modification and most people respond well to appropriately formulated suggestions even in light hypnotic states. Deeper states are achieved and experienced with each induction (the means by which hypnosis is facilitated) although  the subject isn't always aware he or she is actually in hypnosis. The practitioner is better able to determine if a subject is in an employable hypnotic state, and deep states are not necessary for most subjects to get the desired results.

Anyone can learn to be a good hypnotic subject.

The method of induction  needs to be tailored to the individual, because one method of induction that  works for one person will not for another. The skilled hypnotherapist will be sure to learn enough about his or her client to create the most effective induction as well as the most effective suggestions for change in each case.

Is hypnosis safe?

Yes! Hypnosis practiced by a well-trained professional is not only safe, it is an easy pleasant way to make the changes that are important to you. With hypnosis there are no negative side effects, it is not habit forming and you cannot overdose on hypnosis!   In fact, the states of relaxation experienced through hypnosis can be therapeutic, restful, and even deeply rewarding.

In hypnosis, am I asleep or unconscious?

No. Hypnosis is neither sleep nor unconsciousness.  In fact, in hypnosis the subject’s awareness is often enhanced; and he or she is cognizant of what is going on. The old fashioned notion that a person is "out of it" in hypnosis is misconstrued from stage and screen demonstrations by entertainers and by movie dramatizations. Actually, you are in and out of hypnosis all day, and always just before the onset of sleep. In a clinical setting, the hypnotist facilitates these natural states and employs them for your benefit.

Am I under the control of the hypnotist?

No one has ever done anything in hypnosis that is against his or her will or ethics. The idea that the hypnotist dominates the mind of the subject is brought about from stage performers or movie depictions. It must be understood that people volunteer for these types of performances.  They have conscious or subconscious exhibitionist natures or tendencies, or they are extroverts and believe they know how a good hypnotic subject acts. Some people wish to have their inhibitions released without taking conscious responsibility for the outcomes; therefore,  hypnosis gives them the opportunity to act out and blame hypnosis for having done so. The stage hypnotist knows how to exploit the psychology and motivation of the volunteers and their desires to be good performers.  Hypnotists can also evoke latent powers of mind and body to perform "amazing feats".  Hypnosis can release inhibitions and even demonstrate latent potentials of the mind and body, but cannot force a person to behave in any abnormal or uncharacteristic way. The clinical hypnotherapist, unlike the stage hypnotist, practices the art and science of hypnosis to help people develop the ability to use their own will, and to develop their personal power.

In hypnosis, could I do or say anything I might not otherwise?

No.  In hypnosis you are in control of your actions.  As has been said, you can terminate the hypnotic state whenever you choose. You can be helped to access consciously forgotten or suppressed thoughts, feelings, and experiences that are relevant to your therapy. They can be used to help determine the underlying causes of problems and resolve issues.

What can I expect to feel?

Hypnosis is different for everyone and different every time for everyone. You will probably feel relaxed and very much aware of all that is going on and what is being said to you  .With each induction you may feel deeper or more  intense feelings of relaxation. Most people do not recognize the hypnotic state when they experience it as they are expecting to be altered in some way based on what they have seen on stage and screen or public demonstrations.   An experienced, well-trained hypnotherapist knows how to determine if the subject is adequately hypnotized to proceed with the purpose of the session/s.

How does the hypnotist get me into hypnosis? 

The modern day hypnotherapist  has many effective methods to guide the subject into hypnosis. He or she ought not to be limited to a single method, which would not work for everyone. Most often  his or her voice and the appropriate use of language are employed skillfully to guide the subject into a deep relaxed state. Stage hypnotists  use  a much more authoritarian approach. The old watch fob pendulum swinging in front of a person's eyes version often used to depict hypnosis is based on old and outmoded techniques, although this eye fatigue method may be useful for some subjects.

How to get started.

Your first step is the evaluation: the more Elaine knows about you the better, for everyone is different in many ways. It is important to understand you as an individual in all the following respects: your learning style, how you process your experiences, how quickly you integrate,  your history and the history of the problem/s you wish to overcome, your possible resistances, your conscious and subconscious readiness, willingness and ability to make changes, and other personal factors. Knowledge of the motivation, conscious and subconscious is helpful even at the outset.  Armed with this knowledge, she or he  can determine the best approach to use for you and estimate more accurately what your needs are, including the frequency and length of treatment. There is a vast difference between clinical hypnotherapy and the kind of one shot, walk-in or group types of hypnosis sessions commonly offered to the public. It is proven that personalized and individualized hypnotherapy offers the best success rates with the assurance of careful attention to all the elements of the problem to get permanent results.

Whatever brings you to Elaine, the evaluation procedures are essentially the same.

Elaine Kissel  is able to employ   a variety of methodologies to assure your success. She is not limited to just one technique or modality. She even invents a technique just for you if and when necessary. Her Whole Mind Hypnotherapy has become famous for the remarkable results achieved. Her experience and knowledge enable her to tailor make your therapy and provide it in a professional and caring environment.

Hypnotherapy with Elaine Kissel is prescribed for you as an individual on a program basis.

No responsible professional will prescribe treatment or apply any technique of therapy without first doing the appropriate evaluation. Each client’s program designed by Elaine Kissel has a beginning, middle, and end. What it consists of cannot be determined before the evaluation.

When some people call Elaine's office, they ask for a "ball park figure" or an average amount of the cost or length of therapy. "How many sessions will I  need?" It is impossible to determine that before the evaluation. Just as a doctor does not proceed with treatment or average the amount of medication a person needs without knowing anything about the patient and  before medical tests such as blood work, X-rays, and examinations, neither does a  responsible hypnotherapist. The intelligent practical patient does not expect to be told over the phone when making an appointment with a physician what the treatment will be, what it will cost, or how much treatment will be prescribed. He or she can only be told the fees for office visits. As with physicians, the professional  hypnotherapist who is concerned for the client’s well-being  and wants the best results for all clients will not have a one size fits all program. The standardized hypnosis programs available elsewhere cannot boast a significant success rates, although they do attract people who are looking for a quick fix.

Elaine Kissel does not think about people in terms or averages and ball park figures. You can be assured, however, the results of hypnotherapy with Elaine Kissel are superior to other forms of therapy; and in the majority of cases, the length of the program is far less than with traditional therapies. Elaine always recommends the minimum therapy necessary and is as concerned about cost effectiveness as you are. She  wants you  to get you results in the shortest time possible. You are under NO obligation. There will be no "sales pitch," no pressure.

Certainly intelligent and realistic people do not expect quick fixes and magical change in one session, whether in a group or private setting. Elaine recognizes as does the American Medical Association (AMA) that hypnosis is a viable tool when used  by well-qualified people in the helping professions.  Elaine believes that the practice of the art and science of hypnosis should be limited to people who respect that it is a therapeutic tool and not a toy with which to play fun and games. It has infinite potential
when the individuality of the person who seeks help with hypnosis is respected and it is conducted in a private professional clinical environment.  Hypnosis is a natural and comfortable modality of therapy that most often results in many extra benefits for the client. When people are adequately educated about hypnosis, they recognize it as a safe and appropriate way to make desired changes, achieve their goals, actualize their potentials, and experience a better understanding of themselves.