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get ready for hypnosis

How to get ready for hypnosis?

What do I need to do before a hypnotherapy session?

How do I get ready for hypnosis? Don't worry. Going to a hypnotherapist is no different from going to a physiotherapist or an optician. There is nothing you have to do before your appointment. But there are some things you might want to do.

Know what you want

Your therapist will ask you what you want to work on. ‘I don’t know’ is not a great answer. Nor is, ‘I just want to be happy!’. You will get more out of your session if you are clear on what you want.

Focus on the change you want to get. Think about what you want, what you want to do, what you want to feel after the session.

Ask yourself, ‘What would be a perfect outcome for me?’. ‘If I woke up on the morning after the session and it all worked perfectly, how would I know? What would be different? How would I feel? What could I do that I can’t do now?’ Decide what you want, not what you don’t want.

Don’t overthink your problem. Don’t worry about where it came from, or why you can’t fix it. Any answer you come up with will probably be wrong. If the answer was simple and obvious, you would have found it already.

Don’t say ‘I want to stop vaping’. That puts the focus on the problem. Say ‘I want to be able to deal with stress calmly.’ Don’t say ‘I want to lose weight’. Say ‘Next summer, I want to feel good walking down the beach in a bikini’. That is focusing on the outcome.

If you can’t put it into words, then think of an incident when you felt the emotion you want to get rid of. Tell that story to your therapist. Let your therapist work out what was going on.

If you can’t explain exactly what you want, don’t worry about it. That’s the therapist’s job, not yours. Let the therapist work it out.

However, your therapist is not a mind reader. Do not hold back on things because you feel they make you look bad, or are embarrassing, or can’t possibly be relevant. The therapist has heard it all before, and doesn’t care about what other people think. The therapist is there to help you, not judge you.

Make a list

To get ready for hypnosis, you might find it useful to write out a list. You can send the list to your therapist, but it is really for your own use.

Make a list of all the things wrong in your life. All the things you think you can’t fix. And then beside each one, write why you can’t fix it. This might not give you any answers, but it will help you to get things straight in your mind.

That list will also remind you of all the things you could do, but don’t. It forces you to think about what is stopping you. That should be the focus of your therapy.


Ask yourself ‘If this session could change just one thing on this list, what would that one thing be’? This question focuses your mind on what is important.

Don’t worry if you have a long list of issues. In therapy we usually deal with one issue per session. The therapist will choose the best one to start with.

Any show-stoppers?

Make a remember-to-mention list. These are things your therapist couldn’t know unless you tell them. These might include:

I don’t think I can be hypnotized.
I didn’t feel I was hypnotized last time.
I don’t think I can change.
I get anxious about losing control.
I am so nervous I can’t think straight.
My mind is always busy/intrusive thoughts.
I can’t relax anywhere.
I have chronic anxiety.
I have epilepsy.
I have doubts about… whatever it is.

Feel free to call the therapist in advance and talk about these.

What has changed?

The therapist will want to know, ‘Why now?’ ‘What has changed? How come you want help right now, not five years ago? Is this a new problem, or something you have had for years?’

Think about what made you decide to go to therapy. It might be useful for the therapist to know.


If your session will be online, then you need to think about how to get set up for it. Charge up your phone, lock up the kids, make sure you won’t be disturbed.

If it is an office visit, make sure you carry a note of the time, address and phone number in case you get delayed or lost on the way. If your schedule is tight, tell the therapist.

What not to do.

Don’t ask the internet about hypnosis.

If you have any doubts at all, phone a hypnotherapist. Any hypnotherapist. Call six of them, doesn’t matter. Ask to talk to the hypnotherapist personally. Every therapist, no matter how busy, is always happy to explain what they do and how they do it. You can ask whatever you want. If you are still not convinced, phone another therapist.

Don’t demand miracles.

Think about what you expect to happen. Some people expect too much from hypnosis. Hypnotherapy is safe and effective, but it is not magic. It can not fix everything in five minutes. If you have been suffering from something for ten years, you can’t demand your therapist makes it go away in an hour.

Don’t set yourself up for disappointment.

Hypnosis is different for everyone. There is no correct reaction to hypnosis. If your experience is not what you expected, that doesn’t mean you were not hypnotized.

Some people’s minds go black and can’t remember one word of it. Other people feel awake all through it. How you will feel depends on you, on the style of therapy and on the therapist’s approach. Everyone’s reaction is unique. If you expect to go out like a light, or to be surfing rainbows, don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen that way.

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Hypnosis video

YouTube hypnosis videos don’t work for me.

Hypnosis video: “What am I doing wrong?”

I watch a lot of hypnosis videos.  I also subscribe to several social media sites that talk about hypnosis or hypnotherapy. I am active on the sites every day.

As an actual expert in hypnosis, as someone who has made hypnosis videos,  I feel I can add a unique insight. Also, I see it as my duty to do something about the endless river of nonsense pouring out of the internet.

Hypnosis social media

The hypnosis social media are a great place to learn about hypnosis. You can watch hypnosis how-to videos. You can get scripts and ideas. You can read the question and answers forums.

You will find posts about all types of hypnosis. Many are from newbies and wannabes. Many are from people who seem to be in trouble.  There are harmless questions like ‘I have an exam in three days. Can hypnosis let me learn everything before then?’

‘I think this guy hypnotized me against my will. He looked at me all night’.

‘Can hypnosis help me forget the ending of a movie, so I can watch it again?’

Then there are more worrying questions. “Can someone hypnotize me so I can make friends?” “Can hypnosis help me get over a relationship breakup?” “I've had depression all my life. Can hypnosis help me?”

These questions relate to serious and hard to treat conditions. They need a skilled therapist to establish why the client feels this way. And an even more skill to know how best to deal with it.

Limits to social media hypnosis advice

This is not something you should be asking strangers on the Internet. And yet that is exactly what happens. We have all become accustomed to turning to the Internet for every problem. We expect to get an answer straight away.

We have to acknowledge what an amazing resource the Internet is. If you want to know the capital of France it will give you the answer. Suppose you need an essay on the origins of the French Revolution. Ask an AI chat bot to do your homework for you. For the best way to grow potatoes, ask the chat bot.

But if you need to know why you can't make friends, you are not going to get a useful answer. You want to know how to get over a breakup. But is that the right question. May you should ask why your relationships keep breaking up? A chat bot will print out an answer. But if you ask the wrong question, it is unlikely to be right.

Hypnosis videos are not all the same

If you ask on Reddit or Facebook or Twitter most likely they will tell you to watch a video on YouTube. And the problem is, you will find a video on your exact problem.

This is not an accident. I'm not the only one who visits the social media pages on hypnosis every day. The makers of videos also visit the pages. They also read the questions,

And they make videos to match those problems exactly. The closer they can match your exact problem, the more views they will get, and the more money they will make.

The result is that there are millions of videos on YouTube on any subject you can think of. But they're not all good.

One question keeps coming up on social media. ‘I have listened to a hypnosis file from Youtube over and over and I don’t feel any changes. What am I doing wrong?’.

Well, you're not doing anything wrong. The problem is that the video is not a substitute for real hypnotherapy. If you have a problem making friends, there could be dozens of reasons.

The person making the video has no idea what these reasons are. So whatever they recommend is probably not going to do the job.

Suppose you watch a YouTube video, or listen to a hypnotic recording. The person making the recording gets no feedback from you. They have no idea whether it worked or didn't work.

The only feedback the publisher gets is whether it gets downloaded or not. They get paid by downloads, not by results. So all the effort goes into making it catchy. You have to click. So create a hook. The effort goes into marketing, not therapy.

Hypnosis video quality depends

The result is that publishers go for quantity over quality. They make variations on a basic structure. There is a hypnotic introduction, direct suggestions, a visualisation, and a count out. They then use the same structure over and over.

They release a hypnotic recording to help someone stop smoking, say. Half an hour later, on the next recording they substitute stop nail biting for stop smoking. And the next one is stop worrying instead of stop nail biting. And so on. It is easy to build up an impressive sounding catalog.

It is natural to assume that if someone puts out a recording it must be good. Especially if they have published dozens or hundreds of them. It must be good. But you have no idea whether they actually know what they're doing.

So the natural response is to blame yourself. The problem must be me. Somehow, I’m not responding to it the way I should. “What am I doing wrong?”

The answer, usually, is ‘Nothing. It’s not you. It’s the recording’.


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be hypnotized

Why can’t I be hypnotized? Actually, it might surprise you

Why can't I be hypnotized? The answer might surprise you.

My friends took me to a hypnosis show. A whole bunch of people pulled me up on stage. I saw people doing strip teases, and hiding from invisible men. It looked real to me. Even my boyfriend was hypnotized. But when the hypnotist talked to me, it all sounded silly. Why didn't it work? 

A better question is: why does hypnosis work on some people but not on others?

Can everyone be hypnotized?

Yes, almost everyone can be hypnotized. In lab based trials, about 3% will not respond at all. People with damaged brains can not be hypnotized. This includes dementia, severe autism and low intelligence. But these are not the type of person who goes looking for hypnotherapy.

There are tests that will measure how easily you can be hypnotized. You get a score between zero and 100. It is consistent.  If you take the test again, even years later, you will get a similar score.

But no one can show what your score is actually measuring. Even people with low scores will go into trance with a skilled hypnotist.

So why can't I be hypnotized?

Well, it depends.

Busy Mind For most people, the problem is your own mind. People come to hypnosis to get some sort of change in their mind. But they don't come with an open mind. Instead, their minds are filled with anxiety, depression, anger, mistrust, loneliness and much more.

These are all barriers to hypnosis. It is your inner mind trying to protect itself. These feelings come from your childhood. The thing that you need to deal with, is the thing that is stopping you dealing with it. And until you deal with it, you will find it hard to go into hypnosis. A skilled hypnotist will recognize this and work around your issues.

Low quality material Youtube is full of fake hypnosis.  Most people can't tell the difference. A lot of the free videos and visualizations are poor quality. So beginners listen to a few badly made recordings, don't feel any effect, and conclude that they can't be hypnotized.

Lack of experience Learning to hypnotize yourself from a book or video is not simple. If it doesn't work after a few times trying,  it just shows they can't be hypnotized. The best way to fix that is to get someone who knows what they are doing to hypnotize you first. Then you will know what trance feels like for you. Once you know that, it much easier to get into self hypnosis.

Lack of Training In a very few cases, it is lack of skill of the hypnotist. Lots of people, particularly on the Internet, make all sorts of exaggerated claims about hypnosis.  In that case, it isn't you who has the problem.

Is hypnosis just different for me?

Do we all experience hypnosis in the same way? In real life, your experience of hypnosis and trance can be very different from mine. There is not even an agreed definition of hypnosis.

Hypnosis does not have fixed properties. What hypnosis can do depends on who is being hypnotized.

  • Depth of trance What exactly is 'depth'? Some people go 'deeper.' Does that mean that less depth is failure?
  • Limited Effects Do you have to feel every hypnotic effect to call it hypnosis? Most people can be hypnotized to feel some hypnosis effects. Time Distortion or Amnesia are easy. Very few people can see Negative Hallucinations.
  • Selective Responses Some people respond to Post Hypnotic Suggestion, (triggers), but not to direct suggestions. Other people experience vivid detailed Past Lives, but ignore triggers.
  • Variable Response Some suggestions work, but others get ignored. Take two roughly equal people. A suggestion that works on one may have no effect on the other. Is that a failure to be hypnotized?

Why do some people respond well?

  • Normal Scores Most hypnosis scores are near the average and can be hypnotized. There are few extreme cases.
  • Genetics Whether you can be hypnotized might be genetic, nobody knows. For every one with a low score, there is someone at the other extreme with a high score. With some people, I only have to say, "visualize standing outside your own front door when you were a child". In seconds, they are looking at that door, experiencing those old feelings. They have gone into trance.
  • Meditation If you know how to meditate, you know what trance feels like. But meditation is not a reliable predictor either. Many people who regularly meditate are simply sitting still for 20 minutes. Reaching genuine meditative trance is hard.
  • Placebo If you believe you can be hypnotized, then you are likely to feel some effects, whether they are there or not. Sensing any effects will make you even more sure.
  • People Pleasers A few people don't know what to expect, so they go along with anything. If the hypnotist says "your arm is getting lighter, rising up...." they will lift their arm just to please the hypnotist.


Why do some people not respond?

We all experience the world in our own way. What goes on inside your head is not what goes on in mine.

  • Physical Differences We have different perceptions. Some people cannot visualize. Some people are color blind. Some people understand the world through touch. The induction has to match the client's perceptions. If you cannot visualize, then a visual induction won't work for you.
  • Wrong Induction Did the stage hypnotist apply the right method to you? The stage hypnotist treats everyone the same. If some people on stage need a different approach, they won't be hypnotized.
  • Wrong Style There are many ways to induce trance. Each has advantages and disadvantages. You might respond to  Direct Suggestion but not Regression.
  • Expectations Some people expect a particular approach. If you expect to be hypnotized in some special way, then when it isn't, you won't go into trance. Many people refuse to believe in a Spiritual Power, so will reject what that type of hypnotist does.
  • Wrong Media There are thousands of hypnosis 'files' on Youtube. Most of them are created by amateurs. Bad files produce poor results.
  • Poor Practice Many people can't tell when they are in trance. The hypnotist should include tests. For example, suggesting you cannot open your eyes. This is to make the client realize they are in trance. Without a demonstration, the client will assume they were not hypnotized.
  • Twitching It is common for people to feel twitches and jerks in their muscles when they go into trance. This prevents them from relaxing. It is due to old anxieties surfacing.
  • Fears Sometimes the person will jump out of trance. It is usually due to a word or idea triggering an anxiety. Does that count as hard to hypnotize?


What prevents going into hypnosis?

Your upbringing involves unique beliefs, expectations and fears. Negative thoughts get in the way. There are several common examples:

  • I am not doing it right. This makes people anxious. They start worrying they must be doing it wrong, start blaming themselves and lose track of what's going on.
  • Losing control. As these people go into trance, they feel control slipping away. This frightens them. Some people feel real fear, and their heart races. The more they try to relax, the more they 'wake up'.
  • Constant dread. These people have to work to suppress constant anxiety, but the fear is there all the time. When they go into trance, they lose focus, and the fear emerges. This jerks them back out of trance. This is called an Abreaction
  • Self esteem Many people lack confidence in themselves.  When you start an induction, they are worrying about getting it wrong. They are so anxious they are not doing it right, that they can not relax enough to go into trance.
  • Too skeptical. Skeptics challenge every word. If they refuse to believe in hypnosis at all, their own mind stops them going into trance.
  • Self Sabotage. Anyone can prevent  hypnotic instructions from working. All you have to do is sing or shout in your head while the hypnotist speaks. You will drown out the instructions.
  • False Beliefs. "You don't know what they will do to you when you are out, or what ideas will get planted in your head". People get fed such nonsense about hypnosis. They approach it like going to the dentist. They are so frightened of the whole thing, they can't concentrate.
  • Unrealistic Expectation. Many people expect to meet God, or be floating in a sea of bliss, or some other magical feeling. When they don't get what they expected, they say 'I wasn't hypnotized'. Which leads to "I can't be hypnotized.'
  • Mind always busy. Some people have constant intrusive thoughts. These can be so loud that the person finds it hard to have a normal conversion. Hypnotic instructions get drowned out.
  • Personal Disdain. If you don't think your hypnotist is competent, then it will be hard to take them seriously. The same applies to hypnosis by family members. You know they don't have magic powers, so it won't work.
  • Trust Issues. Many people distrust everyone. When someone says 'Now close your eyes and do what I say', they throw up immediate resistance.
  • Intoxication. Especially for stages shows, the person might be too drunk to focus.
  • Religious Belief. Some religions demonize hypnosis. Children often absorb these beliefs and carry them into adulthood. In extreme cases, your mind recalls these warning, and rebels against being hypnotized.

So what do I have to do to get into hypnosis?

Look at all the things that might be stopping you. Then go to a professional hypnotherapist. The type of hypnotist matters.  There are many different types of hypnosis. If you have trouble getting hypnotized, then you need to talk to someone who has more experience than most.

Check out their qualifications. Read the testimonials. See if there are some like you. Then call the therapist and talk about your concerns. Explain what you think is going on. If they are any good, they should offer you a money back deal. After all, hypnotizing is their basic skill. If they don't have enough confidence to guarantee it, move on to someone else.

Dave Mason



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Dave Mason PhD

This site is a professional therapy site. I deal with people who need a bit of help. They might be addicted to cigarettes or alcohol. Maybe they can’t sleep. Maybe they are afraid of something don’t really know what it is.

Other people are getting down because they are constantly getting bullied at work or by a relative. Sometimes it’s all about relationships. A lot of people have trouble just making friends. The go to work, go home, go to bed. Their life is empty.

Maybe you think you need therapy, maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re not sure. I’m very happy to talk to you about your situation, how thing seems to you, how you are feeling.

There’s no obligation, you don’t have to buy anything, you don’t have to even give me your name.

Don’t try to tough it out – talk to someone.

Reaching out to someone is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. You don’t have to pretend to be strong. You don’t have to do it on your own. Bottling things up, keeping your emotions to yourself, is always a bad idea.

No matter what your problem is, it is always better to talk it over with someone else. No matter what the problem is, there is always a solution. It might not be quick, it might not be easy, it might not be obvious, but there always is something that you can do.

Maybe you just want to bounce some ideas off someone. Maybe you just want to complain to someone. That’s okay too. Sometimes just hearing yourself describe your problem can be very helpful. Puts things into perspective. Might make you realise that things are not exactly the way you thought they were.

If you’re thinking of therapy, if you wondering whether therapy might help, or you just want to talk about your issues – that’s okay.

Ready to talk to someone?

Call or email me. I’m happy to talk to you. I won’t try to sell you anything or tell you what to do. What I will do, is to give you the advantage of 30 years of dealing with people just like you.

So make the call. What have you got to lose?


Dave Mason

Cell 029 773 4400 


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