Experiencing Altered States

I love to put on lotion. Sometimes I'll watch TV and go into a lotion trance for an hour. I try to find brands that don't taste bad in case anyone wants to taste me.

~ Angelina Jolie


Trance can be explained as an altered state of consciousness that occurs when we’re not fully focused in the present outer-world here and now. If you passed by your exit on the freeway because you were distracted, if you're depressed about an event from the past, or if you’re worried about something that may occur in the future, then you're in trance.

We experience the trance state daily throughout our lives, whether by choice or by default. It allows us to respond automatically to stimuli and to take care of routine activities without constant attention and decision making.

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When you do something out of habit, you are doing it from the trance state. As stated previously, much of our personalities are really bundles of trance states that have become our identity. Some are beneficial and some are not. Too many people fail to take the time to sort them out and simply continue to do what they have always done, just because that is what they do.

Much like a trance state, hypnosis takes the person’s awareness of the present environment—your office setting, for instance—and focuses it in other times and places with the purpose of self-discovery and desired change. 

Hypnosis is also a profound state of relaxation, focused mind, and heightened sensory awareness, achieved when applied techniques take the brain waves of the subject to the level of alpha or below.

The intentional use of hypnosis techniques can allow individuals to shape their lives, their responses, and their perceptions, creating desired health and happiness. Those brave enough to face themselves and take the steps to make significant improvements are among those who will seek out hypnotherapy, as it is one of the most rapid and effective ways to explore, discover, correct, and enhance our personalities, lifestyles, health, and well-being.

You'll hear rumors that only some people can be hypnotized, and you’ll have clients who’ll call and say they think they can't be hypnotized. Everyone experiences the trance state, therefore everyone can be hypnotized. When there’s difficulty, it's due to the client’s resistance or the practitioner’s lack of experience.

In Module 6, you’ll learn about inductions and receive sample scripts that can help you take clients into a wonderful trance state. But first, let’s review some of the signs that help you recognize when your client is in a state of hypnosis.

 Recognition of the Hypnotic State

There are various clues indicating that a client is in trance:

  • Attentiveness—is he or she focused or disturbed by minor distractions?
  • Glazed eyes— you notice a blank stare (something you may be familiar with when someone has tuned you out).
  • Eye blinking—you may notice faint or pronounced fluttering of the eyelids.
  • Bodily changes—changes occur in rhythm and depth of breathing, color of skin, muscle tone.
  • Relaxation—less fidgeting.
  • Slow reorientation—grogginess, much like awakening from sleep when emerging from trance.
  • Imaginative—creating and finding unexpected answers; less analyzing and reasoning it out.

Clients may also comment on their state concerning body sensations, enhanced or selective awareness, feelings of body weight, time distortion, or that they were surprised by their discoveries or emotional responses.