Trance: What You Can Expect

You are about to experience hypnosis for the first time, so naturally you wonder what it will be like. What is it going to feel like? What’s going to happen? What’s the hypnotist going to do? Will you even know what’s going on, and will you remember anything afterwards?

If you have friends who have been hypnotized and ask them about their experience, you are likely to hear anything from, “It was not all that different,” to, “I’ve never felt anything like that before.”

That’s to be expected for a number of reasons. First off, different hypnotists have different approaches and favour different techniques. Also, a competent clinical hypnotist or hypnotherapist will be responding to your needs and your personality, knowing that there is no one approach that fits everyone.

As well, some of what you experience will depend on what you expect to experience. Dr. Milton Erickson, a pioneer in modern hypnosis and hypnotherapy, put it this way: If you think being in a trance is like being asleep, you will feel like you are asleep; but if you think being in a trance is like being awake and highly focused, then you will feel like you are awake and aware of everything.

Still, there are some things that you can expect to experience with any competent hypnotist or hypnotherapist.

First, the hypnotist will spend a lot of your first session asking you about your history, your likes and dislikes, your abilities, and the problem that brought you in; and you can expect the hypnotist will listen and pay close attention to your answers.

Next, you can expect that you definitely will go into a trance. It may be a light trance, or a deep one, which will depend partly on the hypnotist’s approach, but also on just how adept you are at entering a hypnotic state. Some of us can go into a trance just by thinking about it, and some of us have to work at it.

Most of the time while you are in a trance you will be at least somewhat aware of what’s going on around you; but sometimes you may drift off to a more interesting place, and suddenly find yourself with old memories or new, creative thoughts.

While you are in a trance you will be more open to suggestion, and you may find yourself able to do things that you cannot typically do in a normal waking state—not noticing pain, for instance.

Throughout the duration of the trance, you can expect not to feel any discomfort, anxiety, or cravings. Part of the typical trance experience is to feel distant, or even disconnected, from everyday sensations.

Finally, when the session is over, you can expect to feel relaxed, comfortable, and ready for the rest of the day.

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