The word “hypnosis” (sometimes misspelled as “hipnosis”) was first used in 1876. It is generally defined as “the inducement of sleep”. It is from the Greek word “hypnos” (sleep) plus “-osis” (condition). Although the word is derived from the word “sleep” it is a common misconception that someone in a hypnotic trance is asleep or unconscious. If you are hypnotized you are awake with your mind focused on something specific. You ignore outside noises and you are more open to suggestion. When used in therapy your concentrated mind is paired with the relaxation of your body to facilitate your learning and inner exploration.
Since hypnosis is an innate condition (we are born with this ability), inducing hypnosis is not regulated in most states. Therapeutic hypnosis is different from the stage hypnosis used in entertainment. Medical hypnosis is safe when used by a professional trained in the healing arts. When seeking medical hypnosis, look for a medical doctor or mental health practitioner who has an advanced degree (Master’s or Doctorate); is licensed as a counselor, social worker, psychologist, dentist or doctor; and who has taken additional training in clinical hypnosis or hypnotherapy from a professional training organization.