Did you ever drive for a while, reach your destination, and then wonder, “How did I get here?” Whenever that phenomenon occurs it is because you inadvertently put yourself into a hypnotic trance. You functioned on automatic because your mind was focusing on something else. Did you ever stare at the television screen – maybe a ball game, maybe an intriguing drama – and when someone called your name you took a while to respond? That, too, is inadvertent hypnosis. You were in a trance state because you were so engrossed in the television show that you were absorbed to the point that you were oblivious to everything going on around you.
If, while you were in that trance state, a family member tapped you on the shoulder and asked, “Got a dollar?” you would probably reach into your wallet and give them a dollar without even looking up. Under different circumstances you’d want to know why they need money and when you would be repaid.
Similarly, when you are hypnotized you are so focused on the image that the hypnotist has helped you create in your mind that you will permit instructions to be absorbed by your brain even if you usually argue against those very instructions. When I offer a hypnotized client the hypnotic instruction, “you will hate cigarettes,” they agree. Prior to entering the trance they would say, “no way.” My clients and I work together to come up with a list of suitable suggestions they wish to hear when they are hypnotized. Then, I simply read that list and those suggestions guide future behavior.