Scientifically, hypnosis can be described as a state where the mind produces alpha brainwave patterns.  Alpha wave patterns represent waves of 8-12 cycles a second, as measured by an EEG.  The alpha state is a naturally occurring state of mental relaxation.  While everyone responds differently to hypnosis, typically the left hemisphere dominant functions quiet down and the creative right brain centers tend to show increased activity.  Also, increased brain activity tends to increase in areas of the brain related to emotional memory.

Practically speaking, what does the alpha state feel like?  Many people experience the alpha state while watching television, reading a good book, or even driving a car.  If you have ever been watching a good movie or reading a book and found yourself tuning out your surroundings, you were likely experiencing the alpha state.  If you have ever been driving down the freeway, only to realize that you do not remember the last five miles you drove or discovered that you were three miles past your exit on a route you were familiar with, you were likely in the alpha state.

Therapeutically speaking, we use the naturally occurring properties of the alpha state to help the client make the changes they are interested in making.  Since the logical centers tend to quiet down and emotional centers light up, hypnotherapy tends to focus on unconscious emotional processes to achieve its goals.

Dispelling some myths about hypnosis:

  1. You can’t be hypnotized against your will.  Hypnosis is a state of mental relaxation, so if you resist relaxing, you can keep yourself from being hypnotized.  If you don’t feel comfortable with the person who is working to facilitate a hypnotherapy session or if you are afraid in any way, it can interfere with your ability to access trance—this is one of the main reasons that many people are not suitable for a stage hypnosis show.
  2. Hypnosis is not mind control and does not bypass the freedom to choose.  You are always in control.  Studies have been done for years to see if hypnosis can be used to get someone to do something against his or her will and no one has ever done anything in hypnosis that they didn’t want to do.
  3. You can’t get stuck in hypnosis.  Since hypnosis is a naturally occurring state, you can’t get stuck in hypnosis, just like you can’t get stuck in sleep.
  4. Everyone can be hypnotized.  Because not everyone is readily hypnotizable for a stage hypnosis show, some people think that they cannot be hypnotized.  Many people who would not trust a stage hypnotist, respond very well and go into a deep therapeutic trance with a skilled hypnotherapist that they like and trust.

What to expect while you are in hypnosis:

  1. You will feel very relaxed.
  2. You will be in control of the process.
  3. You will be aware of what is going on.
  4. You will be more in touch with your unconscious mind.
  5. Your ability to imagine or be creative will increase.
  6. Your ability to remember will increase.

If you have any more questions about hypnosis, contact William Wood CHt at 385-432-0729 or [email protected] .  Visit my website at

I wrote this article for a class I am taking at