What Is Hypnosis?Hypnosis Is A Naturally Occurring State of Mind. Everyone Has Already Experienced Hypnosis, By Accident or By Design.Hypnosis is a state characterized by extreme suggestibility, relaxation and heightened imagination. In reality, it is more like daydreaming, or the feeling of "losing yourself" in a good book or movie. You are fully conscious, but you tuneout most of the stimuli around you. You focus intently on the subject at hand, to the near exclusion of any other thought.In the everyday “trance” of a daydream or movie, an imaginary world seems somewhat real to you, in the sense that it fully engages your emotions. Imaginary events can cause real fear, sadness or happiness, and you may even jolt in your seat ifyou are surprised by something (a monster leaping from the shadows, for example). Some researchers categorize all such trances as forms of self-hypnosis. MiltonErickson, the premier hypnotism expert of the 20th century, contended that people hypnotize themselves on a daily basis.What is hypnotherapy and how does it work?Hypnotherapy is the deliberate application of the hypnotic state to effect positive change in a person's life, changes for self-improvement and to release problems. We bypass or push aside the conscious critical mind, and allow the subconscious mind to find and harness those resources within you to effect the desired changes.In conventional hypnosis, you approach the suggestions of the hypnotherapist, oryour own ideas, as if they were reality. If the therapist suggests that you aredrinking a chocolate milkshake, you'll taste the milkshake and feel it coolingyour mouth and throat. If the therapist suggests that you are happy, you may feel excited or start to smile. But the entire time, you are aware that it's all imaginary. Essentially, you're "playing pretend" on an intense level, just as children often do.In this special mental state, people tend to feel uninhibited and relaxed. Thisis because they tune out the worries and doubts that normally keep their actionsin check. You might experience the same feeling while watching a movie: As youimmerse yourself in the plot, worries about your job, family, etc. fade away, until all you're thinking about is what's up on the screen.In this state, you are also highly suggestible. That is, when the therapist suggests you do something, you'll probably embrace the idea completely. This is whatmakes stage hypnosis shows so entertaining. Normally reserved, sensible adultsare suddenly walking around the stage clucking like chickens or singing at the top of their lungs. Fear of embarrassment seems to fly out the window. The subject's sense of safety and morality remain entrenched throughout the experience, however. A hypnotist can't get you to do anything you don't want to do.Simply stated, hypnosis is nothing more than a way to access a person's subconscious mind directly. Normally, you are only aware of the thought processes in your conscious mind. You consciously think over the problems that are right in front of you, consciously choose words as you speak, consciously try to remember where you left your car in the parking lot.But in doing all these things, your conscious mind is working hand-in-hand withyour subconscious mind, the unconscious part of your mind that does your "behindthe scenes" thinking. Your subconscious mind accesses the vast reservoir of information that lets you solve problems, construct sentences or locate your automobile. It puts together plans and ideas and runs them by your conscious mind. When a new idea comes to you out of the blue, it's because you already thought through the process unconsciously.