The 6 (Observable) Levels of Trance

Updated: Apr 13

Hypnosis is the movement between natural levels of consciousness that all humans experience. Hypnotherapists guide the natural ability of the mind and body to move between levels of trance to help people access their subconscious with their conscious mind to release unwanted emotions, defuse and reframe painful memories and make new decisions in perceptions, thinking and behavior.

1. Consciousness:

Fully awake, observant, analytical, focused, critical thinking and evaluation. This is the state in which we learn the best, are able to make rational judgements and decisions uninhibited by uncomfortable memories, imagination and emotions. This is the state that we as hypnotherapists strive to help the client learn to live in most of the time.

2. Waking Hypnosis: Also known as daydreaming:

Internal focus, faraway look, glittery/glazed eyes, body slouched, dryness in the mouth, urge to swallow. In this state the mind has wandered off into memories and imagination. We imagine the positive or negative outcome of things that haven't happened yet. We imagine how we wish past memories would have gone. We imagine ourselves in infinite scenarios. We are also in this state when we read a good book or watch TV or a movie. We imagine ourselves as the hero/heroine and put ourselves in the story. This is why advertisers have such success with ads in TV shows or movies. We imagine ourselves using their product.

3. Catalepsy:

The body is asleep but the mind fully alert. Eyes move from side to side; rapid eye movement; easy access to subconscious functions of imagination, memories and emotions. Good communication between conscious and subconscious minds. This is the state we do most of our clinical work in hypnotherapy because the conscious mind has access to the subconscious mind and is aware enough to respond and work on problems.

4. Somnambulism:

A sleepwalker. Eyes roll back, focus inward, highly imaginative and creative state. In this state we are highly vulnerable to suggestion. Many people live and go about their lives in this state. They look awake but are stuck in the imagination. People in this state are the ones who volunteer for hypnosis stage shows. They are already in hypnosis and can easily follow the suggestions of the hypnotist. Natural alagesia: pain control; we can feel pressure but not pain. This is the state usually used for childbirth with hypnosis.

5. Esdaile State:

Hypnotic coma. Extreme internal focus. We goes to our "happy place", where it is extremely pleasant and nothing can harm us. Natural anesthesia. Does not response to efforts to communicate, to suggestion, pressure or pain but can often hear and understand what is going on around them. This is why people are encouraged to talk to coma patients.

6. Sleep

In conclusion, hypnosis, or trance, is a natural phenomenon all humans experience every day. Hypnotherapy is an extremely effective method of working out problems and making new, healthier decisions, with a hypnotherapist as your guide. To learn more about hypnosis and hypnotherapy or to book a session, visit or see the contact info below.

Michelle Nealey

Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist

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