Hypnosis is a natural state of mind people slip in and out of several times a day where one is hyper-suggestible, taking in information and accepting it as true and having little or no critical thinking blocking or distorting that information. When you're not in a state of hypnosis, you have the ability to think critically about that same information and decide if you will accept it or not. When your mind has taken in excess information, it purges that info so you can focus more on the important things rather than the unnecessary details. The process of venting or purging that excess information is hypnosis.
When your mind takes in so much information throughout the day, it takes breaks to vent out excess, unnecessary details so you can focus on the more important things. While you're in that venting state, you're in a state of hypnosis. You're in a trance. You're focused on one thing and nothing distracts you. As you're going through your day, taking in information, you use your critical thinking to filter out what information you choose to believe and accept, and throw away the information you don't believe, thereby rejecting it. When you're in that venting state of mind (hypnosis), you're hyper-suggestible, meaning that information you take in at that time bypasses the critical thinking process and your mind accepts it without thinking about it or deciding whether or not it's true.
When you're in a fully conscious and non-suggestible state, someone could look at you and say "you're not looking too good today, you must be sick". Your critical thinking process would evaluate that information and reject the suggestion of being sick and you would probably reply with "nope, I'm fine". When you're in the hypnotic state (hyper-suggestible) and someone were to say the same thing, your critical thinking process wouldn't have a chance to evaluate that information and you would probably accept the suggestion of being sick and thereby start developing the symptoms of being sick.
In hypnotherapy, we assist you into that same hypnotic state and use your hyper-suggestibility to give you positive suggestions that you want to accept that will help you to achieve your goals. Because you're so suggestible in hypnosis, we can literally say things like "each and every day and in every single way, you are feeling absolutely wonderful" and your subconscious mind would accept it as reality without questioning it's authenticity.
The goal of critical thinking is to arrive at the most reasonable beliefs and take the most reasonable actions. We have evolved, however, not to seek the truth, but rather to survive and reproduce. Critical thinking is an unnatural act. By nature, we're driven to confirm and defend our current beliefs, even to the point of irrationality. We're prone to reject evidence that conflicts with our beliefs and to attack those who offer such evidence.
Sometimes, you can have complete success in just one session. Other times, it takes several. The number of sessions varies between individuals and their goals and it's close to impossible to guess how many sessions it will take you. There's a lot of factors that determine one's success in their sessions and those factors are your personality and conscious mind, the type of goal you want to achieve and how realistic it is, the various and often subtle ways you unknowingly sabotage your progress and the one factor I've found to be the most helpful in determining your session count is how bad you want it. In hypnotherapy, I'm only able to work with your subconscious mind which is about 88% of your total mind. You are still in charge of the remaining 12%, your conscious mind, which is where your Will Power resides.
When you arrive for your first session, you'll need to fill out the normal paper work, then you'll be escorted into the hypnotherapists office where you'll discuss what it is you want to achieve. Once your therapist gathers all info necessary to help you achieve your goals, they'll explain how hypnosis works and how it doesn't work. They'll test your suggestibility (how you take in information, either directly or inferentially) and then they'll help you enter into a state of hypnosis where they'll go through a series of positive suggestions to help you obtain your goals, then will end your hypnotic state by taking you out of hypnosis. They'll review what was performed, take payment and then you'll be on your way to achieving your goals.
Hypnosis is created by an overload of message units, disorganizing our inhibitory process (critical mind), triggering the fight/flight mechanism and ultimately creating a hyper-suggestible state, providing access to the subconscious mind. Huh? Simply put, it's a state of mind that releases excess information. It's a natural state of mind people go in and out of several times on a daily basis. For example, remember the last time you found yourself staring off into space focusing very intently on a single thing to the point you don't see or hear the people or things around you? You were in a state of hypnosis at that time. This is also known as a trance. It's an occasional state of mind one goes into to escape from excess information. When you find yourself absorbed in a really good movie and you begin to feel emotions the characters are feeling like laughter or crying, you're in a state of hypnosis. When you're in hypnosis, you're highly suggestible meaning that whatever information you receive, your subconscious mind believes almost without question. This is why although you know you're watching actors on a screen walking through fake scenery, your subconscious mind perceives it to be real, hence the reason you laugh or cry. Hypnosis is also required for you to fall asleep at night. You go into a state of hypnosis right before you fall asleep and immediately after you wake up. In a therapeutic setting, your hypnotherapist will assist you in entering that same hypnotic state of mind and will then go through a series of positive suggestions to help you obtain your goals.
By this time, you've seen enough movies, TV shows and stage hypnosis to form a somewhat foggy and probably distorted conclusion of how hypnosis works. I've yet to come upon any kind of movie or show that accurately portrays hypnosis. In media, hypnosis looks like a pretty scary thing where your mind is under control. This couldn't be farther from the truth. In hypnosis, you can't be made to do anything you don't want to do. If mind control were possible, it would have been out-lawed a long time ago and used only by the CIA. They tried and they failed. It simply can't be done. In hypnotherapy, you have the ability to get up and walk away even in the deepest state because you're in control. Hypnosis, from all outward appearances does look like sleep but in fact, it's not. You'll be awake in your sessions and you'll feel very close to the same when you're very focused on a good moving you're watching. Really, it's just a state where you're very focused on one thing and the outside distractions are anything but distracting.
You go in and out of hypnosis several times in a single day. Because of this, you're used to the hypnotic state, so you won't feel very different when you're in hypnosis during a session. Yes, you will experience some interesting things, but no, you won't feel weird and you won't experience a loss of control.