What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a state of concentrated attention where we are in a kind of trance. Both children and adults spontaneously go into a trance several times a day all by themselves.
For example, you are in a trance when you stumble over your morning coffee, or when you arrive at work without being able to remember how you actually got there. Your attention is deeply absorbed and focused, you are awake, but not quite present in the same way as you would be if you were talking to another human being.
In hypnosis, you get into a trance state using various hypnosis techniques. Being in a trance means that parts of one's consciousness are disabled.
In trance we become more susceptible to influences. This is used in hypnosis by giving the client so-called 'suggestions'.
Clinical hypnosis is used to influence our brain, so that we can, for example, change bad habits or get relief for physical pain or psychological difficulties, such as anxiety and depression. Hypnosis is used in mental training to improve performance in sports or for exams, and sometimes hypnosis is used instead of anesthesia in surgery.
Hypnotherapy means that you do therapy in hypnosis. In hypnotherapy, you often use techniques that you can also use in ordinary conversation therapy, but the effect will often be stronger because the brain works a little differently in hypnosis.
You can work with beliefs we have about ourselves, such as poor self-esteem or go back in time and process traumatic experiences that have settled in our unconscious memory and perhaps created inappropriate behavior or given us anxiety or depression.
What happens in the brain during hypnosis?
When we are brought into hypnosis, the pace of the electrical activity in the brain slows down. On an EEG measurement of the brain, you can see how the brain waves oscillate more slowly in hypnosis as in a state of relaxation and perhaps light sleep. The deeper the hypnosis, the slower the brain works.
The front parts of our brain, the frontal lobes, which are responsible for our critical thinking, become less active during hypnosis. Our right brain becomes more active. In this part of the brain, we typically work more creatively and in images.
Our brain can be changed. This is used in several ways in hypnosis, partly by strengthening the neural networks, partly by getting the brain to form new connections. You can work with this by getting the person under hypnosis to imagine that he is developing a new ability. It could, for example, be the ability to remain calm when going to an exam instead of being paralyzed with fear.
Can everyone be hypnotized?
There is a difference in how susceptible we humans are to hypnosis. 10-15% of all adults are highly hypnotizable, i.e. easily goes into a trance. They are particularly good at imagining things in hypnosis and taking messages to heart. The research indicates that hypnosis works particularly effectively on people who are easy to hypnotize.
60–80% of us are generally hypnotizable. This means that we are affected by the hypnosis to varying degrees. Typically, you can experience that during hypnosis you can simultaneously feel very awake and fully conscious, but at the same time experience that the body feels heavy and relaxed and almost unable to move. Here the body shows that you are in hypnosis.
Finally, there are 10-15% who are low hypnotizable. They find it difficult to let go of critical thinking and get carried away by the guidance that the hypnotist does.
You can become somewhat more hypnotizable by training.
It is also very different how many treatments are needed before you experience an effect - among other things depending on the problem.
Can you remember what happened in hypnosis?
As a general rule, you can remember what you have worked with in hypnosis, perhaps not in detail, but in general terms.
If you have been in a deep trance, there will often be a form of forgetting what has happened. It is called amnesia and is completely normal.
If you would like to be able to remember the content, the hypnotist can say: "You will be able to remember everything afterwards" and in this way help you stick to the content.
Many are nervous about whether they will lose control of themselves in hypnosis, but you cannot hypnotize a person who does not want to be hypnotized, and if something happens during hypnosis that you do not like, you can easily come out of the hypnotic state.