Definition: An induced state of awareness, usually characterized by heightened suggestibility, deep relaxation, and highly focused attention.


Hypnosis can be used to heighten a person's state of consciousness. It seems to put people in a sleep-like state of awareness. The hypnotist may make suggestions to promote this concentration and relaxation, so the patient can act based solely on these suggestions. This hypnotic state can only be achieved with enough participant susceptibility, or hypnotizability. It is believed that a distinct state is achieved through hypnosis, separate from our sleep and waking state. But, others believe it is merely a state of heightened motivation.

Sigmund Freud was the first person to use hypnosis for psychological treatment. Today,hypnosis also aids in research,medical treatment, and dental treatment. Hypnosis can also be used to to treat patients with phobias, large amounts of stress, or bad habits such as smoking. Depending on the individual, hypnosis could even be superior to chemical anesthesia for controlling pain.

The steps in hypnotic induction are:
1. The hypnotist tells the person to focus on what is being said
2. The person is told to relax and feel tired
3. The hypnotist tell the person to "let go" and accept suggestions easily
4. The person is told to use vivid imagination

Quite Simply...

  • The hypnotist is like an experienced guide showing the patient the way to relaxation.
  • Being in a highly relaxed state and having an extremely focused attention span.
  • A way to give a person an alternative view on something, or to allow them to see something more clearly.
  • The patient has heightened suggestibility.


  • Aid in losing weight, or quitting smoking
  • To help cure phobias such as arachnophobia (fear of spiders).
  • Dispell performance anxiety (public speaking, performing in a play, etc.)
  • When a person is in a deep hypnosis they can put their hand in ice for a long period of time and not feel any pain
  • To cope with the grief of losing a loved one

Additional Resources

  1. History of Hypnosis
  2. Hypnosis debate
  3. - shows research and current articles on hypnosis and hypnotherapy


In an experiment done by Stanford University, students were connected to a brain imaging machine and shown a black and white picture. The students were then hypnotized, and told that the picture was in color. When this happened, the brain images of the students showed that the part of the brain that deals with color became extremely active. This helped support the fact that hypnosis is really possible, and can actually effect the brain.
external image self-hypnosis.jpg

See Also