Monday, February 5, 2018

Really? I Can Hypnotize Anyone

(This blog was originally posted on February 23, 2016)

Photo by Rick Hustead


“I can hypnotize anyone.”

Has anyone ever told you this? Do/did you believe them?

As I have explained in previous blogs, each one of us is in a light state of trance at least twice each day: for 30 minutes when we wake up in the morning and 30 minutes before we drift off to sleep each night. Other examples include environmental hypnosis and even believing the negative self-talk (chatter) we sometimes tell ourselves when we’re having a bad day.

The first thing I tell every new client is to reassure, “You can only be hypnotized if you want to be.” When you contact me by phone or e-mail, I can be fairly confident that you are interested in hypnotherapy as a way to help change an unwanted behavior because other strategies to do so have not been as effective as you wanted them to be. Or, perhaps you are curious about hypnosis and how it works. Maybe you just want to give it a try because you heard it is very relaxing and it worked for a friend to reduce anxiety or helped a relative quit smoking. Whatever the situation happens to be, hypnotherapy is always a choice. If you don’t want to be hypnotized, you won’t be. This is also why I include the suggestion that you will only enter the hypnotic state “with your permission and only your permission.”

Perhaps you have watched a hypnosis demonstration on a cruise or at a magic show. The hypnotist randomly picks people from the audience and/or asks for volunteers to take part in the performance. The individuals who ultimately get selected to participate are not chosen by accident. Before the demonstration begins, the hypnotist has already identified and recognized physiological changes that indicate who is already “going in” to hypnosis. These are the ones who are most likely to be suggestible to instructions given during the performance. Someone who does not volunteer or is sitting in the audience shaking his head, etc., will probably not get asked to join the act. That’s okay, because he probably wouldn’t want to anyway.

The same principle applies in hypnotherapy. During my training to become a certified hypnotherapist at the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in Tarzana, California, I learned a variety of techniques to hypnotize someone. I learned how a client’s suggestibility (how you learn) would determine and direct the words and phrases I use to induce hypnosis. For example, if the client has an emotional suggestibility, metaphors and images such as “your eyelids are feeling heavy” would be the most effective way to encourage the person to close his eyes. Conversely, a physical suggestible client would respond better to the direct and literal suggestion of “your eyelids are closing.” Sometimes, if a person is highly analytical, the most effective hypnotic induction is the auto-dual technique, wherein the client essentially hypnotizes him- or herself. Regardless of the technique I use during the induction, I use my client’s own words in the hypnotic to describe goals, motivations and reasons to change an unwanted behavior and achieve a vocational or avocational self-improvement goal.

Since we are all most suggestible to ourselves, ultimately, it is the hypnotherapy client—the person sitting in that chair or recliner—who is hypnotizing him- or herself. Claiming to be able to hypnotize “anyone” is a bit of an over-generalization. Ultimately, the person being “hypnotized” must be suggestible to you and willing to enter a hypnotic trance in the first place.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit

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