Hypnosis is a natural state where the mind is at its heightened state of suggestibility and enhancing our ability to focus. We all have experienced this state in one form or another in our daily life as we were driving down the freeway deep in our thoughts and miss our exit, or reading a book in a busy coffee shop being so intrigued by the story that we tune out any other activity or conversations. We also enter the same hypnotic state while we are at the movies or watching TV at home and before we know it hours have passed by.
While you are in the state of hypnosis, your subconscious mind becomes very receptive to suggestions and what others say to you. This is why we learn and accept information more effectively while we are in this state.
The word “hypnosis” (from the Greek hypnos, “sleep”) is an abbreviation of James Braid’s (1841) term “neuro-hypnotism”, meaning “sleep of the nervous system”.
A person who is hypnotized displays certain unusual characteristics and propensities, compared with a non-hypnotized subject, most notably hyper-suggestibility, which some authorities have considered a sine qua non of hypnosis (although whilst in a trance state patients cannot be made to do anything that is against their moral code).
Clark L. Hull, probably the first major empirical researcher in the field, wrote
If a subject after submitting to the hypnotic procedure shows no genuine increase in susceptibility to any suggestions whatever, there seems no point in calling him hypnotised…
Hypnotherapy is often applied in order to modify a subject’s behavior, emotional content, and attitudes, as well as a wide range of conditions including dysfunctional habits, anxiety, stress-related illness, pain management, and personal development.