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Science of Hypnosis – Deeper Dive FAQ

How will I KNOW Whether I am Hypnotized? Is Hypnosis Real?

Hypnosis is a process. I start with that very deliberately. Because the first thing that is important for you to understand, is that, if you ask that question, chances are, you may have a misconception of what hypnosis is. And if you have a misconception around what hypnosis is, you will quite likely not be able to identify for yourself whether you are hypnotized. Often, our misconceptions are based on what we see in movies and I dare say, in stage hypnosis. And the funny thing is, we may not even have seen, let alone, experienced stage hypnosis, for us to form an idea about hypnosis is. We can base it completely on, and form what we think we know about it, from what we have heard others say about stage hypnosis.


I recommend you revisit the topics of how the science of hypnosis dispels the common misconceptions (from Hollywood or from Stage Hypnosis).


Having said that, let me get back to answering the question.


Again, hypnosis is a process, and the altered state of awareness and focus, and increased receptiveness to an idea or a set of ideas, are the result of this process. 

You are hypnotized when your own suggestions bypass your critical faculty (that interruption by your logical conscious mind). 

You will know that you are bypassing the logic of your conscious mind when you experience a feeling as a result of a suggestion. Whether you are better at visualization or prefer imagining things using your auditory or olfactory senses, you will experience something out of the ordinary, as soon as that unconscious part of your mind accepts the suggestion, makes its associations with past experiences, and serves retrieved sensations and experiences to your conscious mind for processing and action.

That’s the first thing. 

Secondly, you can use “convincers” like signposts of just how well your self-hypnosis session is going

A “convincer” is something that results from a suggestion that can show you that your critical faculty is bypassed. You may have seen videos or stage shows where people would sit there in a trance with their arms extended mid air. Those are convincers that the hypnotist used during that session because as much as you, as an observer, noticed the extended arms, those participants observed it themselves too and it served as convincers to them that something unusual was in progress. 

If you have listened to an audio program or experienced a hetero-hypnosis session (with a hypnotist as opposed to self-hypnosis), that required that you lock your eyes and relax it to the point where it just won’t work… That was a convincer too. Because if your critical faculty would block that suggestion, there’s no way that you would experience any of that. You would open your eyes as soon as you tested the effect. 

And here’s the magic in that moment: It may feel to you that you are faking it and like you are just going along with the suggestion. The truth is, you are hypnotized when you do that, and whether it feels like you are faking it, does not change the fact that you are not able to open your eyes. In that moment, you imagine what it would be like to have your eyes locked like that, and allow yourself to experience having eyes that are locked. You don’t need to resist the thought to try testing/breaking it for yourself. Next time, test it, but really test it and confirm that you won’t open your eyes. Because if you can imagine it, you can experience it. And if you experience it, you are hypnotized.

Here’s another one that you may come across in practice: You may have heard the hypnotist say: 


“Count back from 100 to 0, and with each number, relax it out of your mind. Relax it out of your mind so that the number does not exist. And by the time you get to perhaps 97 or 96, just go ahead and relax those numbers out of your mind completely. Go ahead and start counting back from 100.”


A hypnotized person would start counting back slowly, and by the time they get to 97, maybe as far as 93, they would just stop. That’s completely weird when you experience it the first time.


So here’s how you know you experience self-hypnosis: Remember, you are in control. Design your session in such a way that you would be able to test your compliance and progress. If you come out of the session and afterwards have to ask, “was I hypnotized?”, then you should change your formula. I provide a few introductory tester-convincers here, as fun things to do, that you can start incorporating into your self-hypnosis practice.

This is your process. This is your subconscious mind. This is your critical faculty. You decide who’s the master and who’s the slave.

Next FAQ: How will I Know Whether I am Hypnotized Deep Enough or Long Enough?

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