There are innumerable myths and stories surrounding hypnosis. It’s perceived as somehow magical and mystical – a profound and yet somehow unknowable experience. Ideas like you can’t be tranced or will struggle with trance if you’re analytical (which is absolute nonsense); that hypnosis is like sleep (it’s not) or that you have to be lying down to achieve trance (you don’t) – just to give you some examples.
Most of these myths and preconceptions are harmless, but they can also affect you and your ability to trance, even if you don’t realise it or fully appreciate their impact.
If you go into the trance experience with the expectation that you are going to struggle or find it difficult then you’re suggesting to yourself that this is what you should and will experience. Your mind is incredibly powerful. It shapes your reality so if you prep it with negative ideas then these can very easily potentially translate into a negative reality.
Setting out with preconceived ideas of what trance is or how it should be/feel can also be counterproductive. Granted there is so much misinformation floating around (trance is sleep, etc) that it can be difficult not to pick up on common assertions/assumptions about hypnosis and how it works (1980s cartoons are also awash with “hypnosis” scenes) and assume that this is how hypnosis is supposed to play out. But if the reality doesn’t align with your expectations of what you feel trance “should” feel like then this can throw you off, make you doubt your experience and once again, sets you up for failure which is obviously not what we want!
Whilst it is important to learn about hypnosis so you can understand the experience and what to expect, it’s also important not to be led astray by the plethora of misleading information, assumptions and downright fiction that is floating around.
The problem is – if you know little to nothing about hypnosis (which isn’t a bad thing – everyone has to start somewhere) how do you separate the genuine information from the assumptions and misleading information that abounds? How do you ensure you’re giving yourself the best possible shot and not setting yourself up to fail by being misled by misconceptions?
You can take steps to ensure your success by making sure you critically evaluate the information you receive about hypnosis. What is the source? Is the source likely to be legitimate? Credible? (E.g. has the information come from an experienced hypnotist? How do you know they are experienced? A recommendation? Do you trust the person who made the recommendation?)
I know this seems like a lot of additional effort to go to – giving critical consideration to every piece of information – but doing so will pay dividends. You’ll be much better placed to understand what to expect which in turn will allow you to feel less nervous and more confident in your experience.
You can also try reaching out to experienced hypnotists with carefully thought out questions. Most experienced hypnotists will be happy to answer one or two simple questions but be mindful that you’re making use of their time/expertise so don’t be surprised if they request to be reimbursed – especially for more detailed questions/ more time taken up. Even if they don’t, it is polite to offer to show that you appreciate them sharing their knowledge with you. Especially as it is directly benefiting you.
At the end of the day, you can bolster your chances of success with trance by taking time to research and filter information. Knowledge is power after all. The more you know and understand, the less nervous and more comfortable and confident you will feel which in turn will allow for more success and opportunities with trancing.
Now – go forth, learn, and most importantly – have fun!