Every day, before we fall asleep at night and before we are fully awake in the morning, we are all in a relaxed mental state between wakefulness and sleep, in the state of hypnosis.

The state of hypnosis can be characterized in the following way:
  • A state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention.
  • Our mind is awake, fully conscious and in control, while our body is asleep.
  • A state of suggestibility, relaxation and heightened imagination.

Hypnotherapy is not Stage Hypnosis.
Subjects in a hypnotic state have absolute free will and they are hyper-attentive. In Stage Hypnosis people are ridiculed. It seems that the subjects on stage are made to do things against their will. But this impression is incorrect as their sense of safety and morality remains present throughout the experience. The subjects, who are finally chosen by the so called ‘Hypnotist’, volunteer to come on the stage with the expectation that hypnosis works. Normally reserved, sensible adults are now walking around the stage clucking like chickens or singing at the top of their lungs. They chose to go along with the suggestions of the 'hypnotist' because they want it to work and because they feel relaxed and confident. 

Nobody can get us to do anything we don't want to do because we are in the state of hypnosis. It is a state where our mind is relaxed, but where we wake up as soon as there is an emergency or anything happening against our will. When we hear suggestions while we are in the hypnotic state, we decide whether we are going to comply or not.

All Hypnosis is Self-Hypnosis.
The ‘Stage-Hypnotist’ wants us to believe that subjects are ‘under’ hypnosis and as a result that they are ‘under’ his power. This is the reason why only highly driven and highly suggestible subjects are chosen to perform.

The fact is that everybody, who is motivated, can go into hypnosis. It is not the ability of the ‘hypnotist’ that puts people in the hypnotic state, but it is always the ability of the subject that results in hypnosis. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis and any reputable user of hypnosis knows this.

Changing behaviour does not only depend on will power, but also on the ability to access the subconscious mind.
We learn by suggestion and through our senses. Our subconscious mind is like a big filing cabinet or like the hard drive of a computer. All our memory, all our experiences are stored there. If we can't remember certain experiences then not because the memory is lost, but because access might be difficult.
We learn through touch, taste, smell, seeing and hearing. The so gathered information is accumulated in the memory bank of our subconscious mind and reinforced through similar experiences. This is the way we learn to move, to speak, etc. and this is the way we learn to interact in a social environment. The subconscious mind is the seat of all our learned behaviour and causes us to behave the way that we do.

If we want to change our behaviour, access needs to be made directly to the subconscious mind to change the information which is recorded there. Hypnosis is a reliable way to do this.
Our conscious mind is our thinking mind and the seat of our judgment. A part of the conscious mind, the ‘critical factor’, decides, based on our experience, if any new information can be stored in the memory bank of our subconscious mind. We can compare this to a security program on the computer which decides whether a new program is safe or not. This is meant to protect us, but hinders us to change, when we want to change.
Most people are unhappy with one or more of their own behaviours. In order to change these behaviours, the ‘critical factor’ has to allow the replacement by new behaviours. The security program has to allow the renewal of an old program by a new program. But because the decisions of the ‘critical factor’ are based on the knowledge stored in the subconscious mind, they tend to be made against the new information, against the new behaviour. Our internal computer is programmed in a certain way and can’t always be changed by our conscious decision, by our will power. The result is a conflict between the conscious and the subconscious mind.
If we want to stop smoking for example then this is a decision which we make with our conscious mind. But because we have been smoking for a long time, our subconscious mind is programmed for smoking (smoking after a meal to digest, smoking to relax, etc.). When we make the decision to stop smoking the critical factor compares this new information with the vast information already present in the subconscious mind and overrules our decision. The result is that we fail our attempt to stop. But not only that, the information of our failure is recorded in our subconscious mind and reinforces our behaviour, in this case the smoking. So the more often we fail to change, the harder it is to change.

Hypnotherapy: The giving of therapeutic suggestions to a person while they are in a state of hypnosis.
As long as the ‘critical factor’ is present, change is a slow process or at times impossible. This is different when we are in the hypnotic state. When the state of hypnosis is established, suggestions given to the client bypass the critical factor in the conscious mind. Once we are in a hypnotic state the hypnotherapist can talk directly to our subconscious mind and replace old unwanted information with the new information we have chosen with our conscious mind. Then our subconscious mind is in agreement with our conscious mind. The more often suggestions are repeated in the state of hypnosis, the deeper they are stored. The result is a positive change in our behaviour.