There are many different explanations and definitions of hypnosis. For example:
-A state of high suggestability
-The suspension of disbelief
-A selective state of mind
-A disassociation (split) between the conscious and unconscious mind
-An amplifier of experience
Of course no-one can know with any certainty what is experienced in anothers mind, making hypnosis a ‘unique and subjective state of mind’, which for the purposes of analogy can be likened to day dreaming, driving on auto pilot, or becoming so engrossed in a good book or film that external distractions just fade away.
An interesting explanation of what many believe happens to the mind before, during and after hypnosis is that throughout the brain are what are termed as ‘units of mind power’. Under hypnosis, these units are focused together and all are able to receive a suggestion. After hypnosis. the units disperse once again but each one now carries elements of what was suggested.
While consciousness is entirely suspended in natural sleep, it is most definitely present in hypnosis. This of course makes all the difference. In hypnosis, the subject is still aware of of everything going on around them, and can often remember everything afterwards.
Most hypnotists would agree that any hypnosis is self-hypnosis, in that it will only happen within a state of rapport and co-operation. In other words no one can be hypnotized unless they actively wish to enter the state of hypnosis.