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Trance, Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy - What is it? What are their differences? How does it work?

Trance is a state of mind, and when we fall into Trance, it feels a little bit like a daze, day-dreaming or zoning out. I’m sure you can recognise this feeling as we all go in and out of trance at least 7 – 15 times a day. For example:- when you drive home from work, and suddenly you’re at the front door, not remembering how you got there; when you are watching a film, you don’t go to sleep, but when you return attention to the TV, the closing credits are rolling off the screen, how did that happen? Where did that time go?; for 30 minutes before we go to bed and 30 minutes when we wake up, we are all in a state of trance! It’s very natural and happens spontaneously.

The difference between hypnosis and trance is that hypnosis is a “trancelike state”; it’s artificially induced, so not natural or spontaneous and involves a Hypnotist guiding their Client into a position of focused attention and awareness using verbal repetition and mental images. Once in this state, the Client will have an enhanced capacity to respond to suggestion and therefore change.

People are often fearful of Hypnosis, an opinion mostly based on what we see on TV, Films, and with Stage Magicians, but Hypnosis is not mind control, nor the practice of dark magic. So I can’t make you quack like a duck (Unless you want me to suggest that!) and I won’t be able to make you do anything you don’t want to do.

There is also a difference between Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy: - hypnosis is defined as a state of mind as mentioned above, whereas hypnotherapy is the name of the therapeutic model in which hypnosis is used.

So Hypnotherapy is the process of using hypnosis to heal, change and seek solutions instead of focusing on the problem. This means that when a hypnotherapist invites you into this state and uses suggestion techniques, our thought patterns and behaviours can be encouraged to change. As a result, this can be particularly helpful for changing habits, overcoming anxiety and easing stress. It’s even been recognised by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as an effective treatment for some conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.

A hypnotherapy session is typically just over an hour in duration with 40 to 50 minutes spent discussing the issue or challenge, as well as the goals you want to achieve. As a qualified Psychotherapist as well as a Clinical Hypnotherapist I practice many different types of therapy within this slot, I tailor this to the individual client, depending on their personality and issues. But I mainly use Solution Focused Therapy, which is a technique that highlights a Clients ability to solve problems rather than the why and how the problem was created. Instead of looking back at painful and triggering memories or feelings, we start off with who you are now and move you towards who you want to be and the goals you want to achieve. The hypnosis part of the session is usually 15 to 20 minutes long.

Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions by my Clients:-

1. Is Hypnosis real and does it work?

The short answer is yes; hypnosis is real and it does work. Studies, in which brain activity is measured show that the way the brain processes information can be altered with hypnosis. In a particular study at Harvard, researchers found that when studying the brains of 57 people during guided hypnosis sessions, the two areas of the brain responsible for processing and controlling what’s going on in our body showed greater activity during the session than normal. And likewise, the part of their brains that were responsible for their actions and the area that is aware of those actions, appeared to disconnect. Therefore distinct sections of the brain are visibly altered by hypnosis.

In the UK, Hypnotherapy is now labelled an Assisted Therapy, rather than Complementary or Alternative. A complementary therapy means you can use it alongside your conventional medical treatment and it will help you to feel better and cope better with your treatment. An alternative therapy is generally used instead of conventional medical treatment. An Assisted Therapy can be offered via the NHS and has been proven scientifically to be a valid therapy.

2. Can anyone be hypnotised?

Often my clients worry that they won’t be able to be hypnotised, however literally anyone can be hypnotised, if they are of average intelligence and have the ability to focus. All that is required is a willingness to be guided into hypnosis and a willingness to change and heal. As said, Hypnosis is a state of focused attention, similar to that experienced when you’re absorbed in a creative task or sport; it could therefore be argued that those who are very strong willed are actually better hypnotic subjects.

However some people are easier to hypnotise than others, and we can use a scale which measures your susceptibility to hypnosis. On this scale, Clients are classified as ‘highs’, ‘mediums’, or ‘lows’. The majority, (approx. 80% of the population) are in the ‘medium’ group. They are able to experience most of the effects of hypnotic suggestion, and are likely to really benefit from its use. About 10% of the population is considered very hypnotisable and 10% are classified as ‘low’ – which means that they don’t respond strongly to hypnosis. However this low ability to respond to hypnosis can be increased with practice and with a good hypnotherapist.

3. What does Hypnosis Feel like?

The experience of hypnosis is different for everybody. Most people associate it with the feeling of relaxation. Some may feel heaviness in the body, especially their arms and legs, or they may feel lightness or even a floating sensation. Mentally, responses vary from a feeling of extreme focus or awareness to a profound sense of calm, some fall into a type of sleep (but where they are still aware of their surroundings). Personally when I am hypnotised it feels like a really deep meditation. It is very rare to see people go into the zombie like state as seen in the movies!

4. Is it just a placebo?

In part, yes, but hypnosis shows marked differences in brain activity. This suggests the brain reacts to hypnosis in a unique way, one that’s stronger than a placebo effect.

Like hypnosis, the placebo effect is driven by suggestion. Guided conversations or behavioural therapy of any type can have a powerful impact on behaviour and feelings. Hypnosis is just one of those therapy tools.

5. What can hypnotherapy be used for?

Hypnosis is promoted as a treatment for many conditions or issues. Research does provide support for:

Pain Management (Emotional and Physical)

Irritable bowel syndrome

Post-traumatic stress disorder




Smoking cessation

Weight loss

If you are at all interested in trying a hypnotherapy session and you suffer from any of the above conditions, please call on 07754475848 or email me at to book your Initial Consultation, which is Free of Charge. You also receive a FREE "Beat insomnia" MP4 Download. Also check out my website for further information.

Hypnotherapy can also help with improving confidence, achieving personal goals, Business goals and Sports achievement amongst many others.

Online sessions are available during the Covid lock-down period and are considered just as effective as in person sessions.


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