Essentially, hypnosis is the process by which the conscious mind is suppressed and the subconscious mind is brought forward. Before the process begins, it’s important to remember a few things. The subject must want to be hypnotized, believe that it is possible to be hypnotized, and become relaxed and comfortable. If the subject has any resistance, the process won’t work.

There are several different ways that a hypnotist can go about doing this:

Fixed-Gaze Induction

This is the method that might employ the pocket watch trick to induce hypnosis. The hypnotist has the subject focus on a specific object and disregard all other present stimuli while they speak to the subject in a relaxing, slow tone of voice. This method isn’t the most popular because it doesn’t work with most people.

Rapid Hypnosis

This method seeks to overcome the will of the conscious mind by berating it with a string of firm commands. By repeating forceful commands to the subject, the conscious mind relinquishes control and goes into a hypnotic state. This method is most often used for stage performances.

Progressive Relaxation

Most hypnotherapists and psychiatrists use this method to induce hypnosis. As they speak to the subject in a slow, soothing tone of voice, the subject becomes more and more relaxed, eventually sinking into a state of hypnosis.

Loss of Balance

When a parent rocks a baby to sleep, they are employing this method of hypnosis. The rocking motion is meant to throw the person into a loss of equilibrium, and this in turn creates a state of hypnosis.

EEG readings of the brain show that subjects in a hypnotic state experience a decrease in left-brain activity. This area of the brain is considered to be the logical, deductive reasoning part of the thought process. They also experience an increase in right-brain activity, which is the part of the brain responsible for creativity and impulsive action. The lower frequency brain waves associated with the sleep state increase under hypnosis. This illustrates how hypnosis accesses the subconscious, which is the seat of all memory and essential information.

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