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Hypnosis – Explanation, Applications And Myths Debunked

Written by: Nadija Bajrami, Senior Level Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Let’s explain hypnosis, what it can be used for and debunk the myths about it.

man and woman in illusion concept
"You're the only one who can unlock your true potential & hypnosis is the key." Juliet C. Obodo

When talking about hypnosis and hypnotherapy, we use the words conscious and subconscious, and before going any further, let’s explain these different levels of consciousness and what they represent.

The levels of consciousness are conscious, and subconscious.

Explaining the conscious mind

The conscious mind is what we operate with during our daily activities and waking hours. It represents only a small portion of our consciousness and awareness. 5% approximately. The conscious mind, or thinking mind, or critical and rational mind, contains all the thoughts, memories, feelings, and wishes of which we are aware at any given moment. This is the aspect of our mental processing that we can think about and talk about rationally.

It has no memory, and it can only hold one thought at a time. The conscious mind works on the principle of reality.

Our conscious mind accepts or rejects data when making choices and decisions. It can deal with only one thought or idea at a time, like positive or negative, "yes" or "no." It is continually sorting impressions, deciding which are relevant to you and which are not.

Explaining the subconscious mind

The subconscious mind lies below the level of conscious awareness. Its physical seat in the body is the lower brain and the spine. It records everything we do: every activity we engage in, our thoughts about those activities, and our likes and dislikes about what we encounter each day. Although nothing is forgotten by the subconscious mind, for the most part, this part of our consciousness remains hidden from our everyday awareness. The subconscious has a tremendous influence on how we think, feel, and act when in the conscious state, and approximately 95% of our life is ruled by the subconscious mind.

The subconscious mind is like a huge memory bank. It permanently stores everything that ever happens to you, and its capacity is virtually unlimited.

The subconscious mind stores your beliefs, your previous experience, your memories, and your skills. Everything that you have seen, done, or thought is also there. It is also your guidance system.

By the time you reach the age of 21, you will have already permanently stored more than one hundred times the contents of the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica.

The subconscious mind defines all reactions and automatic actions we can become aware of if we think about them. For example, our ability to drive a car: once we get skilled, we stop thinking about which gears to use, which pedals to press, or which mirror to look at, yet we can always become aware of what was done once we think about it.

The subconscious mind does not know the difference between reality and fiction and considers everything it hears as the truth, hence the importance of being mindful of how you talk to and about yourself!

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a safe and natural state of relaxation with increased awareness during which you are not asleep and are fully in control. You will experience a pleasant state of mind with increased attention and focus. The hypnotic state is similar to some moments in your life when you are daydreaming or fully absorbed in a specific activity, like reading, for example.

Hypnosis is a shift in consciousness that enables you to tap into your core thoughts, emotions, perceptions, and beliefs and, with the guidance of a trained hypnotherapist, change your thinking pattern to make sustainable changes in your life.

There is absolutely nothing to fear, as therapeutic and clinical hypnosis is different from stage and entertainment hypnosis, and as you remain in control, you will never be asked to do anything foolish or against your will. For the hypnotherapy session to be successful, the hypnotherapist must have your consent, collaboration, and full commitment, as the purpose is to help you reach a feeling of being more in charge and in control of your life.

While in a relaxed state of mind, new information can make its way into the subconscious, which transforms old beliefs and thought patterns. Hypnosis delves into your subconscious mind to plant positive thoughts and suggestions, which can create meaningful and lasting changes in your thought process. Hypnosis replaces the old with the new. Changing your thinking will change your beliefs, fears, desires, habits, and anything else that creates resistance when achieving new things. Guided by a fully trained and certified hypnotherapist, hypnosis allows you to be more open to suggestions for making healthy changes in your perceptions, sensations, emotions, memories, thoughts, or behaviours.

What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is the application of psychological therapy during a state of hypnosis, to change or modify behaviour patterns.

Hypnotherapy can deal with psychosomatic problems, that is, problems that are rooted in and controlled by the subconscious mind. Hypnotherapy can bypass the conscious mind, allowing positive, life-affirming suggestions for change to be fed directly to the subconscious mind and acted upon. Hypnotic suggestions have a cumulative effect; over time, there is a buildup of reinforcement in the subconscious that will be acted upon by the conscious mind.

The word hypnotherapy comes from the Greek:

Hupnos meaning ‘sleep.’

Therapeia ‘healing’

So, putting those two Greek words together, hypnotherapy could be summarized as ‘healing through a sleep state.' Hypnotherapy is not a real sleep state but a state of heightened awareness, as previously mentioned.

As a hypnotherapist, I believe I work in a profession that is fantastically placed to help people align with what they really desire in life, appreciate themselves, and see their true potential.

The memories of any trying events and experiences we went through can be extremely painful to deal with and can be debilitating. Our brain tends to work as a coping mechanism and store these difficult moments deep within our subconscious.

What your mind does as its form of coping mechanism is it takes your negative, emotionally charged memories, and pushes them into your subconscious as a means of protecting you from re-experiencing the pain. This is what is commonly known as repression. As we may know from experience, the emotions from these memories can be resurfaced by a trigger, which often causes a rollercoaster of emotions and can also create complete paralysis in our minds.

And while hypnosis cannot erase memories, it can reframe them to make them less painful, and will help manage those memories in a more productive and healthier way.

Memories, with their associated thoughts and emotions, are adaptable and flexible, making us open to suggestions and more able to accept small changes to some of their original meaning.

You can change what a particular memory means to you, how you feel about it, and how you respond to it when you create and attach new pairs, associations, and narratives to that memory.

Hypnosis is your reframing tool to change and "re-edit" the memories in your mind and your negative pairs and associations with a memory.

Hypnosis will help you change how you remember rather than the "raw" memory itself. By releasing the emotional response to the memory, you release the symptom.

Using hypnosis, we plant new seeds in your subconscious mind, which will then take root and grow. When that happens, you can take pleasure in knowing that your subconscious mind is working for you.

And once those changes are completed and have become part of your mental processes, they will emerge into consciousness in the form of a new feeling of confidence, belief, and acceptance that you are becoming the best that you can be.

This is when you become the driver of your life, move towards your goals with confidence and optimism, and take care of the vehicle that your mind is.

What hypnosis can help with:

Hypnosis is a powerful modality that can help with a wide range of issues. I have listed some of them below.

  • Confidence and self-esteem boost

  • Phobias, Fears, Anxieties management (social phobia/anxiety, fear of flying, fear of driving, fear of water, fear of public speaking, insomnia and sleep issues...)

  • Easing symptoms of traumatic experiences

  • Past Life Regression and Future Life Progression

  • Breaking bad habits

  • Panic attacks

  • Grief and loss management

  • Relationship issues

  • Increasing your motivation and overcoming procrastination

  • Stress management

  • Anger management

  • Pain management

  • Performance-related issues (exam nerves, improving your performance at work...)

  • Grief and loss management

  • Inner child, attachment, and core wounds healing

  • Fertility and IVF

  • Weight management and weight loss

  • Reduce / Quit smoking

Let’s debunk the nine most common myths about hypnosis.

Myth 1: Hypnosis is the same as sleep.

Fact: The hypnotized person is an active participant who remains responsive and aware of their surroundings.

Myth 2: Hypnosis is the same as meditation.

Fact: There are similarities between the two, but the main distinction is how focused hypnosis is on changing and updating your thoughts, unlike meditation which is generally about noticing, observing, and accepting your thoughts.

Myth 3: A hypnotherapist might pull some embarrassing tricks on you or make you act against your will.

Fact: A fully trained clinical hypnotherapist would never do this. People often confuse a stage hypnotist with a therapeutic or clinical hypnotherapist. A stage hypnotist will do this because that is what is expected of them. You agree to this by stepping on stage and joining the show. However, you will easily return to your normal state at the end of the performance. In a clinical setting, you only agree to the therapeutic goals for the session, so that is all that will occur.

It is important to remember that Stage and Clinical hypnosis are two very different disciplines. The hypnotherapist is merely a guide or facilitator. They cannot "make" you do anything against your will.

Myth 4: Hypnosis can be dangerous in the event of an emergency.

Fact: A person in a hypnotic trance is just as aware, if not more so, of any potential danger. Should an emergency happen during a session, a person would easily come out of the trance state and deal with the situation immediately, and in an appropriate way.

Myth 5: Some people can’t be hypnotized.

Fact: Everyone has the ability to be hypnotized because it’s a natural, normal state that each of us enters at least twice each day, upon awakening and falling asleep. Not everyone is equally susceptible to hypnosis, but research has found that about two-thirds of adults are. It is also very important to mention that since no one can be hypnotized against their will, the real question is whether a person wants to be hypnotized rather than whether they CAN BE hypnotized.

Myth 6: One of the risks of hypnosis is getting stuck in a trance.

Fact: No one has ever been stuck in a hypnotic trance when working with a trained practitioner.

Myth 7: You are not hypnotized if you can hear the hypnotherapist

Fact: This is not true at all. Each person has a unique experience with hypnosis. Some people consciously hear the hypnotherapist, whereas others do not. This has no bearing on the success of the session whatsoever. It is usually down to choice. You can choose to allow your mind to drift away, or you can choose to listen carefully to what the hypnotherapist is saying. Some people may be prone to drift away, just like daydreaming, or you might be concentrating on the therapist’s voice.

Myth 8: Hypnotherapists have special powers

Fact: I have heard this quite often over the last couple of years. A hypnotherapist is a normal person who eats, sleeps, feels happy and sad, and loses their car keys. There is nothing special or magical about them at all. As hypnotherapists, we have simply been trained, and have honed this training with experience, to help guide people into a hypnotic state and help them make sustainable changes.

Myth 9: Hypnosis is not an effective modality

Fact: Results of a 2007 Comparative Study by American Health Magazine:

Hypnotherapy: 93% success after 6 sessions

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: 72% success after 22 sessions

Psychoanalysis: 38% success after 600 sessions

I hope this gives you an overview and a better understanding of what hypnosis is, how it can help you create positive and sustainable changes and I also hope to have been able to debunk the most common myths about it.

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Nadija Bajrami, Senior Level Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

French by birth, Nadija lived in Scotland for 7 years and travelled the world. After recovering from some serious health issues, Nadija had a wake-up call and came to Ireland to find her path. She has been living in Dublin since 2017.

Nadija is a multi-award-winning trauma and empowerment specialist and holds a double diploma in Hypnotherapy, Mind Coaching, and online therapy. She is also a reiki healer as well as a grief educator and trained with the international grief specialist and best-selling author David Kessler.

She is dedicated to helping her clients get empowered, supercharge their confidence and self-esteem, overcome their limiting beliefs as well as manage anxiety, and symptoms of traumatic experiences and help people on their grief and healing journey through her therapy, coaching, grief education programmes and spiritual work.



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