The state of hypnosis can occur in two ways. The first by natural unintentional detachment of the mind resulting in day-dreaming. The second is by purposeful guidance with the aid of a professional hypnotherapist who teachers how to access this state so that this too becomes as natural as day dreaming.

When consulting a hypnotherapist for the very first time they will endeavor to make you feel well at ease and comfortable in their company, as it is imperative that you and they build a solid relationship of trust. This way you 'the client' would be able to express freely any concerns. The hypnotherapist should be looked upon as a confidante as they are well trained and well read and have chosen this caring profession. They are there to listen to you and to help in any way that they can. This is the firm basis for building trust between any hypnotherapist and their client.

Initially as well as listening and encouraging you extensive notes would have been taken during the first consultation regarding present circumstances, family life, and health, past relationships and so on. This is all in the strictest of confidence and helps the hypnotherapist to build a picture that is completely unique and relating entirely to you. These notes then act to remind you both of things that have been discussed and may be useful when putting together therapy.

Once the reason for seeking help has been established the hypnotherapist would spend some time going over the principles of hypnosis and how it is achieved by prompting and suggesting.

Now the most widely used procedure for encouraging someone into the state of hypnosis is by what is known as the 'Progressive Relaxation (although there are others, this one is the most enjoyable.) This technique has four stages, all of which if followed correctly will bring about the state of hypnosis.

Before starting the induction the hypnotherapist will suggest either lying or sitting comfortably and may offer a blanket, as being in one position for any length of time can leave you feeling chilly. The room may well be dimmed and you will be encouraged to close your eyes and make yourself comfortable and as relaxed as possible. The hypnotherapist may turn on a piece of soothing monotonous background music, the purpose of which is twofold.

o Firstly that it helps the hypnotherapist to time delivery of his spoken directions to you.

o Secondly but most importantly the more the piece of music is heard by you the more your mind will associate with that particular piece. Then as the body relaxes so too will you become mentally prepared for the state of hypnosis that follows.

Here are the four steps of a Progressive Relaxation Induction.

1. Step by step instructions are given in a soothing voice to help completely relax the body.

2. Your attention is taken inward to concentrate on your breathing pattern.

3. The hypnotherapist then gently coaxes you into letting conscious thoughts become unimportant.

4. Lastly the hypnotherapist will often countdown let's say from 10-1 and with each number inlay relaxing soothing suggestions to help deepen the state of hypnosis. Such examples might be: –

10. “You are so very tired, so very, very relaxed.”
9. “You feel yourself going down, down, down.”

These are psychological ploys that certainly suggest to your mind that you are going down into a defect state of hypnosis.

Once the hypnotherapist has reached the final number you should be in a state of either: –

– Light hypnodial trance – Light hypnosis
– Intermediate trance – Medium level hypnosis
– Somnambulistic trance – Deep hypnosis

These different depths of hypnotic trance and which one is achieved by will depend greatly on how you have responded to the given suggestions and any previous experience. It is true to say that the more you practice going into trance the easier it becomes for you to relax the body and the mind, so that ever instead of achieving only a light trance in about twenty minutes, it would be possible for you to reach intermediate to somnambulistic depths in round about four to five minutes.

At this point many people ask their hypnotherapist, how will I know when I have been in hypnosis? What does it feel like?

Well there are several ways that people experience the hypnotic state, and as we are all individuals so our encounterers will vary for all of us. However here is a list of the more common sensations.

a) Most people feel as if they become either very heavy or very light.
b) A strong feeling of not wanting to move and not caring what is going on around them, even though they are aware of movements and sounds.
c) Some people's eyelids flutter at an extremely fast rate and in some cases the eyes may water.
d) Breathing becomes slower.
e) On coming out of trance a person may feel extremely chilly, especially the hands.
f) For most there is a feeling of such deep relaxation that they will say they felt as if they were a part of the chair or bed.

Many hypnotherapists at the conclusion of the first consultation will often send you home with a pre-recorded hypnotic induction for you to practice with in the privacy of your home. This enables you to in effect work with the hypnotherapist daily until your next appointment, by which time you should be well rehearsed in achieving the trance state and accredited to the voice of the hypnotherapist. During this time span the hypnotherapist takes the opportunity of going over the notes and deciding on the best form of therapy to help you in the future.