The therapist will explain the process of hypnosis and review what you hope to accomplish. Then the therapist will typically talk in a gentle, soothing tone and describe images that create a sense of relaxation, security and well-being.
When you're in a receptive state, the therapist will suggest ways for you to achieve your goals, such as reducing pain or eliminating cravings to smoke. The therapist also may help you visualize vivid, meaningful mental images of yourself accomplishing your goals.
When the session is over, either you are able to bring yourself out of hypnosis or your therapist helps you end your trance-like state.
Contrary to how hypnosis is sometimes portrayed in movies or on television, you don't lose control over your behavior while under hypnosis. Also, you generally remain aware of and remember what happens under hypnosis.
You may eventually be able to practice self-hypnosis, in which you induce a state of hypnosis in yourself. You can use this skill as needed — for instance, after a chemotherapy session.
Oct. 15, 2015
- Frequently asked questions about hypnosis. American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. http://www.asch.net/Public/GeneralInfoonHypnosis/FAQsAboutHypnosis/tabid/161/Default.aspx. Accessed Sept. 28, 2015.
- Position statement regarding hypnosis. American Psychiatric Association. http://library.psych.org/dbtw-wpd/exec/dbtwpub.dll. Accessed Sept. 28, 2015.
- Stewart JH. Hypnosis in contemporary medicine. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2005;80:511.
- Selecting a qualified professional. American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. http://www.asch.net/Public/GeneralInfoonHypnosis/SelectingaQualifiedProfessional/tabid/137/Default.aspx. Accessed Sept. 28, 2015.
- Hypnosis today: Looking beyond the media portrayal. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/topics/hypnosis/media.aspx. Accessed Sept. 28, 2015.
- Hypnosis. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/physicalsideeffects/pain/paindiary/pain-control-hypnosis. Accessed Sept. 28, 2015.
- Hypnosis. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/hypnosis. Accessed Sept. 28, 2015.
- Stern TA, et al. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/165034062-3/0/1657/142.html?tocnode=5754. Accessed Aug. 8, 2012.
- AskMayoExpert. Hypnosis. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- Cordi MJ, et al. Deepening sleep by hypnotic suggestion. Sleep. 2014;37:1143.
- Cordi MJ, et al. Improving sleep and cognition by hypnotic suggestion in the elderly. Neuropsychologia. 2015;69:176.
- Randomized controlled trial of a cognitive-behavioral therapy plus hypnosis intervention to control fatigue in patients undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2014;32:557.