Hypnosis can be viewed from different vantage points. From a bio-feedback perspective, hypnosis occurs as the brain waves fall back from normal Beta consciousness (a wide-awake state) into Alpha and Theta levels (light, dreamy sleep-like). We pass through this state each night when we fall asleep. And we reverse the process in the morning when we awaken. Daydreaming and similar activities are signs of naturally reentering this state at other times during the day.
From an awareness viewpoint, hypnosis occurs as the attention span focuses down to essentially one thing, while the analytical mind is being distracted from critically monitoring what is going on. If we have ever “become lost” in a TV program, movie or book, we have been hypnotized. The person experiencing hypnosis may lose his sense of time, feeling that hours have passed in seconds or that seconds have passed in hours. At one time or another we have all had these hypnotic experiences while driving. Some of us may experience this condition while working, particularly if we are deeply involved in our work (or if it is extremely repetitive and boring).
Other characteristics of hypnosis may include losing awareness of one’s body or one’s location. Anyone can be hypnotized, but some people do seem to make better subjects than others. At least 95% of the population is capable of quickly achieving a light level of hypnosis as a minimum. Artists, writers, and others involved in creative endeavors seem to be unusually adept at achieving a deep trance state quickly. Likewise, individuals who fear losing control may tend to block the process initially. In the final analysis, the only ones who cannot be hypnotized are those incapable of cooperating or those who choose not to cooperate. From a therapeutic stance, hypnosis can be used to induce change in a person’s life.
This is possible because under hypnosis, even in a light trance, the average person is at least 25 times more suggestible than in the waking state. Furthermore, most of the “filtering” of the logical mind is momentarily reoriented, which is also conducive to change.