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Hypnosis (hip NO sis) is a state of increased awareness. It happens when a person intensely focuses his or her attention. Everyone moves into and out of this intense focus daily. Focus allows us to do things like read a book, play a video game, engage in imaginative play, play sports or watch a good show on TV. Hypnosis is a way of using imagination to help the mind and body communicate.

Hypnosis is a tool that can help you get control over how you think, feel, and behave. A trained health care professional can help you learn to use hypnosis to help with your problems. It lets you be more open to suggestion to solve problems (but you will always still be in charge of yourself). Hypnosis is a therapy that is used with or instead of traditional therapies.

What hypnosis is not

  • Not mind control
  • Not sleep
  • Not making someone do anything he or she does not want to do

Goals of hypnosis

There are many different goals that hypnosis can help you reach. Among those goals are:

  • Manage pain: healing from surgery or an injury, abdominal discomfort, headaches
  • Manage anxiety: related to medical conditions (including but not limited to): arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, cancer
  • Achieve behavior changes: such as sleep issues, fear of procedures, stress.

How hypnosis is used

The trained health care provider will:

  • Explain the process of hypnosis and review your goals
  • Show you how to use your imagination to help you relax and be comfortable
  • Help you come up with creative ways to achieve your goals.

You will learn to use breathing skills and your imagination, and to relax your body. This will help you to gain control over your mind and body to reach your goals.

With practice, you will be able to do self-hypnosis. You can use this skill as you need it: for instance, to be less anxious before a procedure or when you have increased pain.

For more information on pediatric hypnosis for caregivers and children, visit the following websites:

Hypnosis (PDF)

HH-IV-175 5/17 Copyright 2017, Nationwide Children’s Hospital