Just what is hypnosis and what is it not? Hypnosis is a highly focused state of deep mental and physical relaxation. While in that state, you are more open to suggestions that you approve of. You are not under a spell. You are not under the control of the hypnotist. You are not asleep. You remain in complete control of the situation. You will ignore any suggestions you do not approve of. You will not do anything that goes against your morals, religious beliefs, or personal values. Unfortunately, many people get their ideas about hypnosis from novels, television, movies, or other fictional media sources which perpetuate these myths. While these erroneous beliefs about hypnosis may be entertaining, they are simply not true.
Hypnosis does not provide an instant fix. One session will not magically change you into the person you want to be. Although it is true that for some behaviors, hypnotherapy may produce positive changes more quickly than traditional psychotherapy, there is no guarantee. It is also possible that hypnosis may not work for you at all. It is simply one tool for positive change, an important tool, but still only a tool.
Almost anyone who is willing can be hypnotized, but no one can be hypnotized against their will. You must be a willing partner in the process, or nothing happens. When you are hypnotized you are simply more open to positive suggestions. Trance is actually a natural state that most people go into at least twice a day. Have you ever been so engrossed in a television program, book, or movie that you lost contact with what was happening around you? You were in a trance. Almost everyone who drives a motor vehicle has experienced "highway hypnosis" at one time or another, when we suddenly realize we have driven several miles while our mind was elsewhere. That was a trance. When we go to sleep at night we pass though a drowsy period of not being fully awake or fully asleep. Psychologists refer to this period as the hypnogogic state, and it is a trance. If someone were to make positive suggestions to you while you are going through this period, you might very well accept them just as if you were in a hypnotic trance. We go through a similar condition when we awaken, called the hypnopompic state. So, every day most people normally go through at least two trance states.