Understanding Hypnosis Part 1 – What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is still a very loaded term in people’s mind today. Misconceptions and Fear dominate most discussions if the topic is at all brought forward. To provide some counter balance I decided to do a multi-part Blog to hopefully contribute to the general understanding of hypnosis.


Trance State

Today hypnosis is generally regarded as the act of facilitating trance, for oneself, or for others (one or many).

As the trance state has not yet been conclusively defined in scientific terms and since it can be facilitated in many ways and since it can also occur spontaneously and without a formal induction or a trigger that can be pin-pointed there is still a wide variety of opinion as to what really constitutes hypnosis.

I believe that an additional significant component to constitute hypnosis is the intention to use the facilitated trance for a specific purpose as otherwise every boring person you meet at a party could easily be regarded as a hypnotists.

Assuming that our general waking state is not a trance (and some are questioning this assumption) then trance can safely be defined as an indefinable altered state of consciousness.

While the general public calls all facilitation of that kind of trance hypnosis it is possible to differentiate three different types of practices all with more or less different intention and outcome. They are:



This technique is applied to stun the subject for a short term effect. Gypsies are said to take advantage of this effect.


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This technique based on passes over the subject’s energy field and transference of energy causing deep trance phenomena with the intention to healing the physical body. This technique has been made famous by Franz Anton Mesmer in the late 18th century.



The therapeutic arm of this style is mainly based on verbal directions to achieve the trance state with the intention to gain access to the unconscious mind while the hypnotism used for entertainment mostly employs shock and confusion to achieve a deep trance fast for the purpose of displaying hypnotic phenomena.

At this point It is Important to understand that hypnotic stage shows are entertainment events that are very efficiently managed to achieve that desired outcome. Whilst the stage hypnotist makes it look very easy, but in truth, only about 20% of the adult population can get to this deep level of trance without practice. To achieve the best results the stage hypnotist merely chooses ideal candidates based on observations during the audience warm-up. As a result the public can be assured that simply reading and talking about hypnosis will not make you run around like a clucking chicken.


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Posted in Career Tune-up Resources, Understanding Hypnosis.

Beat Wettstein

Hi, my name is Beat Wettstein. I am a certified Trainer and Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) as well as a Hypnotist with the Australian Academy of Hypnosis and I have been helping people to be the best they can be for more than 5 years.

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