What Does Hypnosis Feel Like
This is perhaps the most common question that I get as a hypno-psychotherapist. Because hypnosis has a certain image in the popular culture it is not unreasonable that people have all kinds of ideas about what hypnosis is and isn’t as well as what it does and does not feel like. There is an expectation that a person will be asleep or unconscious when experiencing hypnosis. Neither of which are true. The one of these misconceptions comes from the very name itself, hypnosis. Hypnosis was coined by Dr James Braid, in Manchester as a matter of fact, when he watched a mesmeric demonstration. He saw that the volunteer seemed to be in a state of nervous sleep or neuro hypnosis. The name stuck, even though years later, he wanted to change the name of the phenomena to mono-idealism.
The idea that a person is unconscious may be because practitioners often talk about the unconscious mind. Through selective hearing, which we all use, the word that stuck out was unconscious and thereby the idea sticks. It could also have to do with the film and media portrayals of the all powerful hypnotist putting people into his power. Of course, this is not the way it works or feels, it is generally a pleasant state of relaxation akin to mediation. However, relaxation is not a requisite for hypnosis, there are approaches which do not employ any form of relaxation at all.