Will I lose control while I am in hypnosis?

One of the most frequent worries of my clients when considering experiencing hypnotherapy is the fear of losing control. My clients wonder if, while in hypnosis, they can be made to do things they would normally never do, things that would embarrass themselves or say something they would normally never say.

First, it is important to know that trance-like experiences are not uncommon in our daily life. The hypnotic trance is a completely natural state of consciousness, comparable to the time between sleep and wakefulness, deep meditation, zoning out while watching a movie, or daydreaming while driving on a familiar road. During this time, the brain shows strong activity in the so-called default mode network in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). An area that is particularly important for planning but also for daydreaming. Furthermore, the connection between a part of the prefrontal cortex and the insular cortex can be seen particularly pronounced during hypnosis. This connection supports the brain in the so-called dissociation. Here, the different levels of a stimulus are separated from each other and thus their aspects become clearer. This helps us, for example, to better distinguish the different emotional parts of a thought or a feeling. What is desire, what is fear, and what is conditioning? This clarity enables us to establish better contact with our subconscious. This increases our receptivity to suggestion and autosuggestion.

The 5-Path hypnosis method recognizes that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis; it’s not a matter of whether you can be hypnotized, but whether you’ll allow yourself to be helped to enter hypnosis. Most people go into hypnosis easily once they understand that an individual remains conscious and does not surrender his/her will. Fear of loss of control, which is just a myth, is the main reason some people won’t allow themselves to be hypnotized, but if a person is comfortable with the process and with the hypnotherapist and knows what to expect, it’s surprisingly easy and beneficial. A person is always capable of making normal decisions while in hypnosis. One can’t be ‘made’ to do anything under hypnosis that one would find objectionable under normal circumstances.

The truth is, that hypnosis does not override free will. In a hypnotherapy session, clients are conscious; they are awake, participating, and remembering. Yes, hypnosis is known for using the “power of suggestion,” but our subconscious minds are susceptible to suggestion at all times. Advertising, music, movies, and books routinely plant suggestions into our subconscious. Language and communication are saturated with suggestions. So, when anyone asks me if they will “lose control” in a session, I tell them “no, never”!


Written By:
Laura Spalvieri
Counsellor & Psychotherapist
SACAC Counselling