How Do You Know If Hypnosis Worked? Here’s How To Tell

how do you know if hypnosis worked confused girl

How Do You Know If Hypnosis Worked? Here's How To Tell

If you’ve been for a hypnosis session, how do you know if it’s worked? Many people come out of a hypnosis session unsure about whether it has worked or not. Did you actually go into a trance state? Your expectation before the session may have been that you’ll feel different afterwards and then, when you don’t, it can be easy to start wondering if it worked. 

 remember the first hypnotherapy session I ever experienced. I hadn’t a clue what the hypnotic state felt like. In terms of expectations beforhand, I didn’t build it up in my mind to be something magical. I suppose I just kept an open mind. That first session was to help me stop smoking. The whole thing felt like a really pleasant daydream. When I awoke from my “trance-like state”, I actually wasn’t too sure if I had been in a trance. After all, it was my first time. I didn’t know what I was supposed to feel.

By the time I left the hypnotists office, I still didn’t know for definite if his hypnotic suggestions were going to work. Fast forward by 24 years and I still haven’t touched a cigarette. What’s even more amazing about that is that I was a 50-a-day smoker. Whatever suggestions he planted in my unconscious mind, it really felt like it had been years since I smoked my last cigarette even though, in reality, it had only been about three hours. I can honestly say, I have never actually wanted or craved for a cigarette from that day.

How Do You Know If You Were Hypnotized?

Here are some of the signs of hypnosis to look for 

  1. Losing Track Of Time: without looking at a watch, a clock or a phone, have a guess as to how long it was since you closed your eyes. If you have really been hypnotized, it should feel either shorter than it actually was, or longer. A recent client of mine had been in hypnosis for about an hour and when I asked her to guess, she said “it couldn’t have been any longer than about five minutes”. Needless to say, she was rather amazed when I asked her to check the time.
  2. Positive Changes: after a reasonable amount of time has elapsed (a minimum of a couple of weeks), have you noticed that the post-hypnotic suggestion you were given has had a positive effect on your life? Beware of “magic wand” thinking – in other words, expecting to be immediately fixed after your first hypnosis session. Therapeutic change typically happens gradually.
  3. When Your Eyes Open: typically, when you have been in a state of hypnosis, your whites of your eyes will either be reddish for 30 seconds to a minute after coming out of hypnosis, or if you look in a mirror, you’ll see your eyes looking a bit “glassy” just for up to a minute.
  4. Eyes Watering During Session: it is quite easy to mistake this as the client crying. Sometimes they are. However, at other times, when the hypnotized individual has watery eyes,  it is jus a sign of hypnosis because the tear ducts in your eyes are relaxing and therefore, leaving some tears escape.
  5. Attention Drifting: if you notice your attention drifting away from what the hypnotherapist is saying, that is actually a really good sign of hypnosis. It proves that the hypnotist has found a way to get beyond the “critcal factor” barrier in your mind. If you find yourself questioning what is being said to you, you’re probably not in hypnosis.
  6. Heart Rate: Your heart rate should change as you get more relaxed and slow down

How Do You Know If Hypnotherapy Will Work On You?

effectiveness of hypnotherapy statistics

Hypnosis works on everyone because it is a natural state that all human beings experience in their daily lives. The popular belief about hypnosis is that it is some sort of mental state that you will only ever experience if you’ve been called up on stage by a stage hypnotist on holidays or going to a clinical hypnotherapist for some problem like a fear or phobia. This is simply not true! Stage hypnosis has a lot to answer for in creating a fear of hypnotic trance.

You have even made positive changes to your life in the past by using hypnosis without even knowing you were doing it. For instance, if you have ever had a dream of succeeding at something and you dream about it vividly very often, and in your dream, it always turns out well, you are essentially giving yourself a direct suggestion to achieve that outcome. If you did actually succeed in real life, then you’ve already proved to yourself that hypnosis works. Your imaginary world helped to ensure that outcome in real life.

Essentially, we all use hypnosis in our daily lives to a greater or lesser extent. It’s just that we don’t call it hypnosis. We might call it daydreaming, or being “zoned out”. We typically use it without ever knowing how we are doing it. All that’s happening in a formal hypnosis session is that the therapist is using the exact same method you’ve been using yourself.

What Can I Use Hypnosis For?

There are many mental health conditions that can benefit from the use of hypnosis. Examples of the different ways that clinical hypnosis can be used are:

  • Helping weight loss clients to finally succeed at losing weight
  • Teaching pain management techniques to people suffering from chronic pain conditions
  • Showing a person with irritable bowel syndrome how, in some cases, to completely overcome it.
  • Reducing fear of medical procedures like MRI scans or operations.
  • Educating people with sleep issues to achieve regular deep sleep
  • Eliminating panic attacks
  • Helping an elite athlete to achieve more than they believe they can
  • Visualizing great business or career success and priming your unconscious mind to go and achieve it for you.

Hypnosis can be an effective therapeutic tool for so many different issues. Some of the main areas hypnosis is used for are addictionsanxietybad habitsconfidence & self esteemdepressionfears and phobiashealth problemsobsessions / compulsionspersonal developmentrelationship problemssexual problemssports performance and weight issues to name just a few.


Learn Hypnosis For Beginners

Learn how to get someone into hypnosis, how to deepen trance, post-hypnotic suggestions and how to end trance safely.


Learn Hypnosis For Beginners

Learn how to get someone into hypnosis, how to deepen trance, post-hypnotic suggestions and how to end trance safely.

How Long Does It Take To See Results From Hypnosis?

The answer is that it is different for everyone. Some people will experience immediately noticeable changes. For others, it will be more gradual. Timescales vary from a couple of hours to a couple of weeks. In my opinion, from having about fifteen years of experience as a clinical hypnotherapist at the time of writing this article, if your subjective experience is really rich and vivid, then you are more likely to have more immediate results.

Your subconscious mind learns best when you are experiencing a pleasureable state, such as relaxation, and pleasureable emotions. It has been shown in research that the best time for brain training is just before sleep and just before fully awakening. These are optimum times for programming our mind to achieve what we want it to achieve.

I would always tell my clients to not expect miracles. I tell them that great results take patience and practise. If you have a reasonable timescale in your head (for example, I will be fully over my fear of dogs within five weeks), you have a much greater likelihood of success. Your mind understands the gradual learning model. It’s used that successfully many times in the past. It doesn’t understand miracles because you’ve probably never experienced one before.

What You Need To Understand And Accept Before Undergoing Hypnosis

  1. The hypnotist does not “take control of your mind” – this is an urban myth
  2. You are not “knocked out” or unconscious during a session
  3. You retain complete control
  4. Your mind will reject any harmful suggestions that the hypnotist might inadvertently give you.
  5. You’ll have fun discovering how deeply you can relax
  6. You learn even more control over your thoughts, emotions and behaviors
  7. Your mind is something to be fascinated by, not to be afraid of.
  8. As the old saying goes “practise makes perfect” – it’s ok nnot to be able to fully relax at your first session. Just expect that it’s a learning process

Having the right mindset before you begin will contribute to your satisfaction with the experience. If you want a really satisfying and productive hypnosis session, believe you can relax surprisingly deeply and you can educate your mind in how to think and behave differently. On the other hand, take a negative attitude to hypnosis, feel fear before a session, refuse to trust the hypnotist and you probably won’t experience some of those signs of good hypnosis.

How Should You Feel After Hypnosis?

how should you feel after hypnosis - blissfully peaceful photo

Everyone’s experience of hypnosis is different. First of all, it should feel like a deeply relaxed state while you are in hypnosis, A good hypnotherapist will say different things to different people that are designed to be fully accepted by them. So, essentially, even while the hypnotherapist is talking to you at the beginning, they are picking up on your language patterns. The aim is to avoid saying anything that your mind will reject.

A properly trained therapist has been trained to say things in a vague manner so as not to arouse your critical mind into rejecting what they are saying. They will help to guide you into a deep state of relaxation, but you can help with that by expecting to become deeply relaxed during the hypnotic induction. Your co-operation is crucial. Remember, for hypnosis therapy to work, you must experience a state of deep relaxation.

Provided you have done all of that, afterwards, you should probably feel blissfully peaceful just for a while. Many people will say they feel a bit “zoned out” or “spaced out” (in a nice way) just for a short while afterwards.

This is similar to what happens when you listen to one of my hypnosis downloads at home by yourself. When you listen to a hypnosis audio program, you are aiming for the same relaxed state of mind that the hypnotherapist is aiming for during a live hypnosis session. By the way, some people fear what would happen if the “get stuck in hypnosis”. Once again, this is an urban myth. The worst thing that could happen is that you’ll just drift off into a perfectly normal sleep. Not so scary, is it?

What Is Possible With Hypnosis?

I regularly tell my clients about the story of Dr. Jack Gibson. He worked as the County Surgeon in Naas General Hospital in Ireland between 1959 and 1979. When a patient was about to have a surgery, Gibson encouraged them to allow him to use hypnosis instead of general anaesthetic. During his tenure as County Surgeon, he is reputed to have performed over 4,000 major surgeries using no anaesthetic whatsoever. His patients were guided into the state of hypnosis and given suggesstions that they would feel no pain at all during the surgery. He became so famous, he even has his own Wikipedia page.

As you can probably appreciate, this worked out very well in every case because he would not have been allowed to continue with this practise if his patients were screaming in pain. He even carried out amputations with the use only of hypnosis. Some people, when they hear this story, think that he must have had a “gift”, but in actual fact, he just knew that every human being has the potential to self hypnotize.

I think it’s worth reflecting on the fact that he treated over 4,000 people with hypnosis alone. To our sceptical minds, it is possible that there might be one or two remarkable individuals in the world who can feel no pain during an amputation. However, the figures are much greater than that. 4,000 people. These were just ordinary, everyday people, like you or me. If they had those remarkable results, maybe you can too.


So the next time you have a hypnosis session and someone asks you “how do you know if hypnosis has worked?”, you’ll be able to tell them what they should look out for if they ever decide to get hypnotized.  If you’d like to dip your toe in the water and discover for yourself what hypnosis is like, why not have a bowse through my self hypnosis audios?

Author: Paul Hunter

Author: Paul Hunter

Although thousands of people read his blog every month, Paul's path to success was not an easy one. Click here to read his amazing story "From Unwanted Baby And Adopted To A Respected Self Help Blogger". If you want to send Paul a quick message, then visit his contact page here

Author: Paul Hunter

Author: Paul Hunter

Although thousands of people read his blog every month, Paul's path to success was not an easy one. Click here to read his amazing story "From Unwanted Baby And Adopted To A Respected Self Help Blogger". If you want to send Paul a quick message, then visit his contact page here


Paul Hunter

Paul Hunter

Although thousands of people read his blog every month, Paul's path to success was not an easy one. Click here to read his amazing story "From Unwanted Baby And Adopted To A Respected Self Help Blogger". If you want to send Paul a quick message, then visit his contact page here

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