What exactly is hypnosis?
In the mid 1700's, a doctor named Franz Messmer went through 3 phases of healing his patients. First, he had them swallow liquid with magnetic filings and then placed magnets along their bodies in an attempt to redirect the invisible energy in their bodies in order to heal them. Other doctors found no proof that his process worked and they chastized him for it.
So he stopped doing it and moved to a different city and started doing holistic healing whereby he would wave his hands just above the body hoping to "psychically" redirect those invisible energies. And again, the other doctors found no proof that his process worked and again chastized him.
So he stopped doing it and moved again to a different city, but this time he utilized a few things taken from his holistic experiments. While he was doing holistics, he also had them close their eyes and focus only on the sound of his voice. He then had them IMAGINE their affected area healing, to PICTURE it clearly in their mind of the affected area healing, thereby being only the guide and allowing his patients to heal themselves. And this was the breakthrough. This was what worked.
The villagers called the ability to focus only on the sound of his voice while blocking out the surrounding things that could have easily distracted them as being MESSMERIZED, named after the good doctor, Franz Messmer.
And you are also mesmerized when you are reading a book, watching TV, in a phone conversation, or even focused on a chore AND, even though you can hear the kids yelling and cars driving by, you don't allow them to break your concentration.
So doctor Franz Messmer's technique was divided into two parts. The first part, he had them focus on one thing and to not allow the noises and object around them to distract them.
The second part, the doctor directed his patients to focus on healing themselves. He directed them as to what to do and see but it was ultimately up to the patient to imagine and picture their affected area healing. In the future, this process of a doctor only being the guide and the patient being in complete control of what to imagine and picture and therefore healing themselves, would be called auto-hypnosis.
OK then, around 75 years later, around the mid 1800's, another doctor, James Braid, used this auto-hypnosis technique on himself hundreds of times. And remember, this was before the words "hypnosis" and "auto-hypnosis" were created. He noticed that as he focused on one spot on the wall or on one thought in his head that he would become very relaxed, very sleepy. Having a knowledge of Greek, he renamed the word Messmerized to Hypnotized because the word "hypnos" is the Greek word for sleep.
However, years later he realized he, as well as others, weren't really sleeping, they were just very relaxed. So he tried to change the word hypnotized back to mesmerized, but by then the townspeople had ran with that word for so long that he gave up his efforts.
Years later, in the days of superstition, the movie industry ran with the public's delusional superstitions and created movies showing a svengali taking over a woman's mind and calling it hypnotized. They connected a new popular word with a process that doesn't exist and the gullible public ran with it.
And that vision still exists today. Thanks to the movie industry and the thousands of movies that followed, there will always be people who feel the word hypnotism is mind control, witchcraft, voodoo and against their religion.
So let's forget the word hypnotized and go back to the word mesmerized, since they mean the same thing. Being mesmerized is being able to focus on one object or one thought or one chore to the point where you can block out the surrounding things that could easily distract you. When you have done so, you have entered a "hypnotic state of mind," or let's call it a "mesmerized state of mind."
Professional sports players have this state of focus, but they call it being "in the zone." Their coach was the guide that got them to put themselves in that zone. He got them all pumped up and to focus on the job at hand, and most importantly, to not allow the problems at home to distract them in order for them to optimize their talents. Does that make the coach a svengali? Did he control their minds? Is his process against anyone's religion?
And guess what? Regardless of what the coach tells his players, it's ultimately up to each player to accept what the coach tells them and to run with it or to ignore him and to also focus on the problems at home. If the players accept what the coach is telling them, then they will repeat it over and over again in their minds, thereby essentially telling themselves what the coach originally told them. And again, this is auto-hypnosis.
A hypnotist simply guides you into that zone, that state of focus, at which point he then gives you suggestions as to how you should act or feel, but, just like the sports players, it is ultimately up to the client if he or she really wants to heal themself. If they accept the suggestion, then they re-tell themselves what the hypnotist told them, thereby healing themselves.
So it's up to you, to accept the words a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a sports coach or even a hypnotist is telling you. And to allow those words to resonate in your own mind and allow them to repeat themselves over and over again, to the point where those words, with your permission through auto-hypnosis, can become your reality.