“Will you make me cluck like chicken?”
I’ve heard that line a couple of times lately!
There is a lot of misinformation and a lot of unfounded fear out there about hypnosis-I know, because I used to have some pretty interesting views on it too, especially with all of those “over the top” stage shows.
A common question I get asked is “What does hypnosis actually feel like?” So I thought today I would talk about how hypnosis feels to me.
(What is important to remember here, is that everybody experiences hypnosis differently. This simply reflects my experience and that relayed back by the people I work with.)
Ever been “in the zone?” You know, when you are so engrossed in something enjoyable that you totally lose track of the outside world and the passing of time… When you feel completely relaxed, comfortable and at peace with yourself? (Getting lost in a good book, walking, daydreaming, or out making things in the shed….) Well, that’s essentially what hypnosis feels like for me. When you’re doing something but it is so easy and effortless that it’s almost like you’re not there….even though you know you are.
I remember my first hypnosis course in 2007. I was convinced I couldn’t be hypnotised and that no way was anyone going to control my mind! Well, not only was I good at “being hypnotised” but I quickly learned that I had full awareness and control of my own mind. I knew I could take on or reject anything that was suggested to me. I knew I had total choice and also an awareness of the choices I was making.
Hypnosis is a complete paradox-a sense of total and complete relaxation whilst at the same time being almost hyper-aware and alert. It’s almost like you are operating at two or more different levels and you actually get to observe the part of yourself which normally remains hidden. You sort of get to be yourself and see yourself all at the same time which is absolutely fascinating! (Ernst Hilgard described it as “the Hidden Observer.”) It’s almost as if your conscious mind gets to listen, analyse, rationalise and “think” while the unconscious mind-the other part of you-just gets on with the job of doing what it needs to do-of putting the puzzle pieces together.
The therapist/ hypnotist’s role is to offer suggestions and possibilities that move you towards something better, something more useful and effective. In your heightened state of awareness and relaxation you get to examine each of these instantly, assess their relevance, tailor them to suit your own needs, decide which are important or less important, take on board and keep those which are useful and helpful in some way and reject anything that is not -without any emotional charge.
Hypnosis is the ultimate being in the now. For me it is like meditation. A time of shutting down the noise and the chaos and allowing in the quiet, the peace and stillness by directing all of your focus in the one place using your own imagination. Time Out From Time without actually going anywhere! Of using the power of your own selective attention to focus on something that is useful and beneficial for you.
Which, for most of us (let’s face it), is probably not clucking like a chicken!