Some clients think some kind of magic sign will let them know that they have been hypnotized

How Will I Know I Am Hypnotized: Part I of II

I had a client in yesterday who asked me this question: “How will I know when I am hypnotized?” I told him that there is a short answer and a longer answer to that question.

The short answer is that hypnosis happens when the mind is open to suggestion and that doesn’t necessarily feel like anything. Hypnosis is the art of delivering suggestions that influence the subconscious mind.

Now for the long answer.

Hypnosis has been described as the “bypass of the critical faculty and the establishment of selective thinking.” I am not sure that is a completely accurate definition of hypnosis, but it is one of the most commonly accepted definitions in the field.

In everyday language, that means that hypnosis happens anytime the subconscious mind is influenced through a direct or indirect suggestion–which is often why my clients show up in the first place.

One time I was working with a woman in her thirties, who was seeing me for weight loss. Around the age of seven, she had just performed her first vocal piece in a concert. After her performance, a woman came up to her and said, “You are just like your mother.”

I am sure the comment was meant as a compliment, but at that moment, she had looked over at her mother and saw that her mother weighed almost 300 pounds. In that moment, she decided, “I am fat.” This decision started to govern her self-image and behaviors. Hypnosis happened.

Most young children under the age of eight, don’t have a fully developed ability to filter non-reality from reality. For example, there has been a wealth of research that suggests that toddlers don’t seem to distinguish the difference between the real world and what is happening on TV. Equally concerning, they don’t seem to distinguish between programming and advertising.

Small children basically walk around in a perpetual state of hypnosis–having the whole mind open to the many suggestions delivered during the first years of life. For most toddlers watching TV, hypnosis happens.

Consider indirect life lessons or suggestions in TV shows intended for small children, for example, The Little Mermaid. When a young woman falls in love with a young man who her father doesn’t like, she should run away from home because her father is old and unreasonable. Then if she really wants to impress the boy, she should give up the one thing that is most precious to her–which in this case was her voice—because she isn’t OK just the way she is.

I am not picking on The Little Mermaid specifically. Most television and cartoons directed at the young have indirect suggestions about parent/child relationships, relationships with authority, family roles, sexual roles, etc. Even if the television and cartoons didn’t have that kind of programming, think about the deluge of messages in paid advertising: drink this beer if you want to look cool and have fun; take this pill if you want to be happy. Some messages in programming or advertising affect children positively and others might prove to produce negative hypnotic trances that later lead to problems in life.

So basically, informal hypnosis happens on accident all the time.


This is the end of Part I of the article “How Will I Know I Am Hypnotized?”

For Part II, click this link: Hypnosis Tips: “Mind Alert, Body Asleep”

Hypnosis Expert William Wood helps people rewrite the negative programming of their past. He uses hypnosis and NLP with clients in his Ogden, UT, office. He also can help clients over the phone or via web conferencing.  For more information call 385-432-0729.