Whenever we talk about hypnotherapy, we insist that the person being hypnotized give their consent before the practice starts. While you won’t be unconscious, you will not be fully aware of some of the things you will say, and so the person putting you in a trance needs to know that you are okay with this state of vulnerability.
It is even better when you are in a controlled environment as hypnosis exposes the subconscious part of the brain.
Still, is it possible for one to be put in a trance state without their consent?
Absolutely, and especially when the one doing it is well-versed in hypnosis.
Their words and actions will slowly make you feel drowsy and before you know it, your body will relax and give all the signs of hypnosis.
If the environment is perfect for meditation and surrender, which then allows the conscious part of the brain to stop processing things, then you will become hypnotized.
How do you Tell When a Person is in Trance?
How do you know you are zoned out?
Well, different people show different signs when they are in a trance, but in the end the body gives way.
As we noted above, you are still conscious, but a part of your brain is working slower than it does regularly, and so you are simply in a trance.
You will more forthcoming which is how you are able to dispel some habits such as smoking and unhealthy eating. Many of the signs are usually quite subtle and an inexperienced eye will miss them completely, but a hypnotherapist will recognize them at once.
This is to say you might not know when you are in hypnosis, especially if you were asked for it and you are not in an atmosphere that spells out the practice.
1. Body Relaxes
First, note that it is possible for a person to be in a trance without the body being completely relaxed, but deeper hypnosis means they will be completely relaxed.
The body will even slump on the seat so that you can see they hold nothing back. If they are lying on the ground as would be in yoga sometimes during corpse pose, the body surrenders fully to the floor.
When a person is being hypnotized, body muscles relax and the person becomes more comfortable. They are not restless of fighting to stay in control and they are not physically tense.
Their posture will be completely different from when they are fully aware of themselves. Jaws will drop and you can already tell they are in a different state, even if you are not an expert at the practice.
The face relaxes too and the person their expressions become ironed out and peaceful. You will also notice a blank look in their eyes, like they are seeing past something or someone.
If you talk to them, they will respond but without being argumentative. They tend to be more agreeable at this point, which is the whole point of hypnosis.
2. Seated Still
The person will be still – not in a zombie way, but they will not move restlessly as people who are self-aware usually do. Even if they regularly are twitchy and are hardly able to sit or stand still, they will be in a relaxed still pose during the entire time they are in a trance.
They will also be slow in their limited movements and they will only focus on the one thing you have asked of them. The limbs become heavy and any movement is just too much effort.
They will stay in this still position for the duration of this trance.
Even when they move, those movements will be limited and far-between.
3. A Change in Pulse Rate
If an individual is being hypnotized for the first time, they are entering the unknown, and so the heart will beat faster than normal, which is expected when we are scarred.
As the person gets more comfortable and in the zone, they will relax and the heart will beat slower.
Breathing changes with the pulse rate, as you may notice breathing faster and harder especially at the beginning, but then the body enters a trance state and the rate of breathing slows down.
The person may still be breathing a little deeper than they normally would when awake.
In fact, you would think they were asleep, thanks to the deep breathing. The deeper the person gets into hypnosis, the deeper their breathing gets.
4. Fluttering Eyes
Before entering trance, the eyes will be the same as always – normal blinking and alert. As the person enters trance, the eyes become heavier and transfixed on one spot, but not before fluttering for a while.
This is one of the signs of hypnosis that cannot be imitated as a person who is aware of themselves and their surroundings cannot flutter their eyes the same way.
As one enters deeper into this state, they will blink even less and slower.
You may also notice some movements under the eyelids even if they are closed.
They could start off as rapid them slow down as the subject enters trance.
One of the things that cannot be observed outwardly is the fogginess of the mind.
The usual processes – thinking and processing of things – become slower and the person will usually experience blurred vision. Some even say they notice a change in colors and even in the shape of things. As noted, though, they are only experienced by the person in a trance state.
Some experience watery eyes, and an inexperienced eye may think the subject is crying, and especially when the session takes them back to sad memories and events in their lives.
Some hypnotherapists say this is a metaphor for ‘release,’ but you can ask for feedback from the subject if you think the watering is emotional.
When a person is trance, they are unaware of their surroundings, which means they will not notice too much of what is happening outside.
They will not be distracted, although it also helps if the surroundings are quiet.
If they really allow themselves to get deeper into the state, they may become so unaware of themselves that they will not even make an effort to listen to the hypnotherapist.
At times, it is best to leave them in that state till they are ready to get out of it.
The subject will not swallow during trance as the reflex slows, but they will do so if instructed to by the hypnotherapist.
You will also notice slowed reflexes where the subject will not respond as fast to instructions.
They will take a bit of time to process instructions.
These signs will tell you when a subject is in hypnosis.
Not all people respond to all these signs, as some will only show one or two, but some such as body relaxing and the eyes being transfixed in one position are true to almost all hypnosis subjects.
Signs of Reorientation
Now, you have succeeded in getting the subject in trance and the session has been successful. What are the signs of them coming back to reality? At the end of a session, the hypnotherapist will instruct the subject to come out of trance.
They will ask them to start wiggling their toes or moving their hands at the count of, say, five. When the subject is deep in trance, they will take a while to process these instructions, but they eventually will.
You will notice this when the subject starts to move their limbs, blinking yawning, and stretching, or any other movement that shows you they are awake.
Naturally, they are not supposed to be rushed into waking up, as the whole process is a peaceful transition.
What Happens after Hypnosis?
Because your mind is totally disconnected from your mind, hypnosis is just like when you focus all your attention on your favorite TV show.
Nothing else seems to exist but what you are doing at the moment, and the outward ongoing seize to distract you.
It is completely relaxing in the same way a deep slumber would be.
Different people report different results after hypnotherapy, but most say they feel a renewed resolve to work on something while others feel lighter after unburdening themselves of things they have carried on for long.
Some are relieved of physical pain while others feel happier or do away with bad habits,
Since people have different reactions, some people may need more than one session to deal with their issues, or to find hypnosis effective.
Regular sessions at close intervals are encouraged as the subject is able to carry on from where they left the last time.