Trance, or the state of being in hypnosis, is a highly focused state of mind in which the body is relaxed and the mind is open and able to do things that we didn’t know we could do.*
For example, you may have noticed while driving in the car one day, listening to a song on the radio, or deeply engrossed in thought, that you missed your turnoff. Or, you were at a movie or a lecture and two hours went by far more quickly than you could have imagined. Or, while reading a book you were so focused that people had to call your name a couple of times to get your attention.
You were not asleep, you were simply in a highly focused state of mind. And what hypnotherapists do with patients while they’re in that highly focused state is help them to create an empowering experience, in their minds, that allows them to realize that they are able to do things that they previously were not aware that they could do.
Children are typically able to enter trance more quickly and easily than older adolescents and adults do. They are in and out of trance all the time, and they typically use their imaginations far more easily than most adults do. They are often less inhibited than grown-ups.
Having said this, it’s important to realize that the adults I treat are able to go into trance very well.
When children use their imaginations, they are “in trance”. We simply help them to help themselves by harnessing the power of their own minds during a medical hypnosis session. When we do trance work with patients, we guide them into a special place, someplace where they feel happy, safe, comfortable, etc., and then help them to work on their specific problem, whether it be hypnosis for bedwetting or anxiety.
Trance is not sleep. In trance, you can communicate and use your mind to consciously control your body.
In a trance state:
• You’re in control
• No one can force you to do something that you are unwilling to do.
• You can interact and communicate.
• You can be aware of what is going on around you.
*From Olness, Karen, M.D., and Kohen, Daniel P., M.D., Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy with Children, The Gulford Press, 1996