What Is Hypnosis?

Everyone has had the experience of going into hypnosis naturally.
It happens frequently when we lose our train of thought, particularly in a high pressure situation. The most common example of this is test taking. It is common when taking tests for the test taker to be receiving lots of their own message units, like “will I be able to remember everything?”, “I am feeling nervous”, “I failed this test last time”. The whir of messages in a frantic emotional state disables the critical mind and sends the test taker into a state of hypnosis, accessing the subconscious mind and creating a state of hypersuggestibility. The test taker’s statements of doubt and failure are being received and manifested by the subconscious mind, resulting in a lower test result.


​The technical definition of hypnosis goes like this: Hypnosis is created by an overload of message units , disorganizing our inhibitory process, or the critical mind, triggering our fight/flight mechanism and ultimately creating a hypersuggestible state, where the subconscious mind is receiving, believing or embedding suggestions.

The Father of Hypnosis:
Dr. Milton Erickson, an American psychiatrist specializing in medical hypnosis and known as the father of hypnosis, was plagued with enormous physical handicaps for most of his life. At age 17, he contracted polio and was so severely paralyzed that doctors one evening told his mother: “Your son will be dead by morning”. He staved off death by using a form of hypnosis. While recovering in bed, almost entirely lame and unable to speak, he also began to have “body memories” of the muscular activity of his own body in its previously healthy state. These body memories were, in effect, the same thing as hypnotic suggestions.

By concentrating on these memories, he slowly began to regain control of parts of his body to the point where he was eventually able to talk and use his arms again. Dr. Erickson’s career spanned more than 50 years. He conducted extensive research on suggestion and hypnosis, and by the late 1930s, Dr. Erickson was renowned for his work in hypnosis and eminent in psychiatric circles.

Kappasinian Hypnosis:
​Where classical hypnosis is authoritative and direct and often encounters resistance in the subject, Erickson's approach is permissive, accommodating and indirect. For example, where a classical hypnotist might say "You are going into a trance", an Ericksonian hypnotist would be more likely to say "you can comfortably learn how to go into a trance".

Kappasinian hypnosis took Dr, Erickson’s work in indirect suggestions a step further:
​Dr. John Kappas, founder of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in Los Angeles, where Ms. Bird was trained, identified and designed a test to identify four different types of suggestibility: physical suggestible who is right brain dominant and characterized by a high degree of responsiveness to direct suggestions; analytical suggestible who is left brain dominant characterized by a high degree of responsiveness to inferential suggestions; the somnambulistic suggestible who responds well to either type of suggestion; and the intellectual suggestible who is highly left brain dominant, and the hardest to hypnotize, requiring a special hypnotic technique.

Mayo Clinic Definition
of Hypnosis

Hypnosis, also referred to as hypnotherapy or hypnotic suggestion, is a trance-like state in which you have heightened focus and concentration. Hypnosis is usually done with the help of a therapist using verbal repetition and mental images. When you're under hypnosis, you usually feel calm and relaxed, and are more open to suggestions.

Hypnosis can be used to help you gain control over undesired behaviors or to help you cope better with anxiety or pain. It's important to know that although you're more open to suggestion during hypnosis, you don't lose control over your behavior.

Deborah Bird, C.Ht, MBA
Health Coach and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist
1501 SE Walton Blvd, Suite 201, Bentonville, 72712
840 ​N. Pollard Ave, Fayetteville, AR 72701
What Is Hypnosis
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