You might have questions about hypnosis if you're considering it to help you quit smoking, lose weight, manage pain or improve your game. We hope the following FAQs will help set your mind at ease and help you realize that hypnosis might be just what you need to solve your issues once and for all!

What does hypnosis feel like?

Hypnosis is not sleep. Although the term hypnosis is derived from the Greek word for sleep, as a clinical experience, hypnosis is simply a state of relaxation and focused concentration. Hypnosis feels a lot like daydreaming, or simply relaxing for a few minutes in your favorite chair after a busy day at work.

Does hypnosis really work?

There is so much research to demonstrate the efficacy of hypnosis that it is impossible to list it all here. Research backs hypnosis as a treatment for physical problems such as pain management, IBS and other gastrointestinal difficulties, as well as a demonstrated effective tool to assist with accomplishing personal goals (i.e. test-taking, sports performance enhancement, confidence and self-esteem building, getting over stage fright and public speaking fears), and habit change (quit smoking, lose weight, stop nail biting, etc), and to help us relax (manage stress, overcome fears), as well as to increase intimacy, improve communication, and manage emotions such as anger, depression or anxiety.

How does hypnosis work effectively?

There are three primary reasons hypnosis is so effective:
First, hypnosis teaches you skills to become aware of your body’s physical response to stimuli, so you can handle it. In a way, it is similar to biofeedback.
Second, hypnosis is a pathway to learning. Our subconscious mind has probably learned many negative behaviors over the years that can be re-learned during hypnosis.
For example, after 20 years of smoking you have essentially trained yourself to light up after each meal. Or, when eating dinner out, you have been trained to eat all of your food, even though the portions are double the dietary guidelines.
These destructive learning patterns can be relearned (healthy retraining of the subconscious) in the process of hypnosis.
Third, our hypnosis programs create accountability and help you to attain goals and feel supported in your decisions for change. Our well-qualified director is a skilled therapist, personal fitness trainer and certified clinical hypnotherapist.
There are many other reasons hypnosis is so effective, and you will find your visit to be a professional learning experience that teaches you new skills to unlock new ways to live life.

What if I can’t be hypnotized?

Since hypnosis is simply a process of natural experience and learning, everyone can be hypnotized. It is a myth that some people cannot be hypnotized; everyone has the capacity to relax, to learn and to be creative.
If for some reason you are distracted or have concerns that keep you from using these skills, simply let your hypnotherapist know and they will be happy to guide you into a process of hypnosis that is more comfortable or secure for you.
Of course, mood altering drugs can affect your mind’s ability to follow directions, relax or experience hypnosis. For this reason, you should never use any mood altering drugs prior to any hypnosis session, and you should report any medications you are currently taking to your hypnotherapist.

Is hypnosis an “altered state of consciousness?”

No. Hypnosis is a natural phenomena that occurs in everyone’s life on a daily basis, even though we might not recognize it as such.
It is similar to the first five minutes of sleep, where you know you could open your eyes and get up, but it feels so good you simply choose not to – or when you get in your car after work and drive the 30 minutes home, and then wonder if you actually stopped at all the stoplights along the way.
In life we are either highly alert, asleep, or somewhere in the middle; there is nowhere else for the brain to go. While is true that in the process of clinical hypnosis we will alter the level of high alertness to a more relaxed pace, this is not a “6th dimension” or some magical place or out of body experience or any such strange thing. It is simply relaxation, something you are capable of experiencing at any time.

Is it against my religion to undergo hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a totally natural state; it is safe, effective and has no side effects.
We have a natural ability to use our mind to create healthy bodies and make healthy decisions.
I can think of no religion that does not want us to use natural, safe, and effective methods of problem resolution to make our lives better.
It is important to realize that all “trance” phenomena or characteristics of hypnosis occur all the time. In ordinary life, we use the creative part of the mind, we accomplish tasks by utilizing the subconscious learnings of our mind, and we experience states of relaxation. In clinical hypnosis, we are simply using the ordinary mental processes of the subconscious mind in a systemic way to solve problems that are destructive in life.
Perhaps the confusion on this issue comes because some religious groups use trance for meditation or attaining “spiritual enlightenment,” but because a religious application of the methods of hypnosis can be utilized, does not make hypnosis a religious act.
Some people, who do not truly understand the nature of clinical hypnosis, are opposed to “opening the mind” or “turning the mind” over to outside forces. In hypnosis you are always fully aware, and never are you “‘controlled” by another. These beliefs come from a misunderstanding of what hypnosis is, probably based on Hollywood myths.
At the Columbia Hypnosis Center we do not offer enlightenment training, help people recover repressed memories, charm snakes, find “past lives” or any other religious or non-clinical application of hypnosis not accepted by the medical and clinical community. We do provide structured direct suggestion and the tools necessary to live life to its fullest.
We simply use the natural functions of concentration, relaxation, and the natural abilities of our subconscious mind to resolve difficulties that have caused us problems in life. This is something any healthy religion would actually encourage people to do.

What is a hypnosis session like?

Our goal is to help you meet your desired goals as quickly as possible, so you can get on with your new healthy, happy life. You will usually be scheduled for 1-3 sessions, and most people respond well to hypnosis in the first one.
Our professional office is conducive to relaxation, and your sense of comfort is one of our greatest concerns. If you’ve ever been to a counseling, therapy or psychology office, you’ll notice the surroundings at Columbia Hypnosis are fairly similar.
When you come into the office you will sit in a comfortable chair and discuss your goals with your hypnotherapist. Once the two of you agree on the subjects to be addressed during the session, the hypnotherapist will then guide you through a relaxing process of creative problem solving and education. The office lights may be dimmed but they are always on, and although most people find it easiest to relax with their eyes closed, you can open your eyes at any time you wish.

Is hypnosis safe?

There are few risks in hypnosis, a process the Mayo Clinic calls “benign.” Although a very small percentage of people report feeling ‘groggy’ after a session (sometimes referred to as a “hypnotic hangover”), the majority of people report feeling invigorated, energetic, relaxed and happy.
If you are being treated with psychotropic medications or have certain psychiatric diagnoses, you will want to share this with your hypnotherapist, but hypnosis in generally viewed as a safe process with no side effects.

Am I under the control of another person?

No. All hypnosis is actually self-hypnosis; a hypnotist merely guides you into your own experience of relaxation.
A good analogy is that of the hypnotist sitting in the passenger seat of a car, reading map directions to the driver (the client). The driver can listen and follow the suggestions given by the passenger, or they can choose to go their own way, because the driver is always in control.
A person who is hypnotized can awaken themselves at any time, and the hypnotist cannot make someone do something that they otherwise would not want to do.
Those who fear that the hypnotist has some kind of “magical” power or “mind control” ability simply do not understand how the mind works. These concepts are myths, not realities, in clinical and medical hypnotherapy. Although the results may seem amazing or miraculous, there is truly nothing ‘mystical’ about hypnosis.

Are hypnosis sessions confidential?

Columbia Hypnosis will release no information about our clients or their sessions to anyone without the client’s express written permission. We treat your information just as any doctor’s office would – with strict confidentiality.

Do you accept insurance?

We do not file insurance claims on behalf of our clients, however we will give you a receipt for the services we provide, and some insurance companies may reimburse you for the cost of our services. Some employers may pay for certain programs, up front or through reimbursement, however, that is something you must work out with your employer.
All services provided must be paid in full, in advance, unless prior arrangements have been made.
We accept cash, checks, money orders, Master Card, Discover Card, Visa, American Express and PayPal.

Do you work with other providers of healthcare?

At Columbia Hypnosis we value the therapeutic relationship other professionals have with their clients. We work with other professionals collaboratively to help resolve specific issues. We do not offer services that are a substitute for medical, chiropractic, dental or psychological care, instead preferring to work collaboratively with those who refer to us, and we refer clients who need additional care beyond our scope of practice to other licensed professionals.