What is Hypnosis?

By Mark Bancroft, MA, CHT


Many misconceptions prevail as to what hypnosis is and how it is experienced. Some important things to know are:

  • Hypnosis is NOT a form of mind control.
  • Hypnosis is NOT the will of one person being exerted over another.
  • Hypnosis is NOT a strange, mystical force or power.
  • Hypnosis is NOT a state of being unconscious or not in control.
  • Hypnosis CANNOT force someone to do something they would not normally do.


Although well ingrained in our society, such perceptions are not accurate. They are due in large part by the way in which hypnosis, in general, has been portrayed in years of Hollywood films. The seemingly strange, mystical, magical powers wielded by the stage hypnotist over his/her subjects has also contributed a fair share of false perceptions as well.

Essentially, there are two fundamental characteristics of hypnosis. First of all, it is the experience of focusing your mind steadily upon a particular "object". An object can be inner healing work, focusing inwardly to better understand yourself and your life, visualizing a desired outcome, freeing yourself of an addiction, letting go of fear and stress, and so forth.

The second characteristic of hypnosis is the experience of being deeply relaxed, comfortable, and at ease and at peace with yourself, life, and the present moment. Your body, mind, and emotions reach a natural, balanced state which is most often described as relaxing, restful, calm, peaceful, and comforting.
With a clear and focused mind you no longer need to attend to the multitude of extraneous thoughts and associations which normally occupy time. In this sense, the experience is correctly thought of as a return to a natural and balanced state of being.

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Mark Bancroft, MA, CHT
Nevada City, CA

(530) 274-2020