Achievement of a successful hypnotic trance is solely dependent on the following three factors:-
1. Firstly that the person wants to achieve that state for themselves.
2. That they are able to concentrate their mind on the instructions as given by the hypnotherapist and are responsive to those instructions.
3. That the subject has total trust in the hypnotherapist and that they have a good rapport between them.
There are of course exceptions, where if one or more of these factors are affected then hypnosis will not occur.
Generally very young children are unable to sit still for very long, are not able to concentrate as their imagination is apt to run riot, and comprehension of instructions is lacking. However older children who are able to concentrate and follow instructions make good hypnotic subjects due to their capacity to use their imagination. Basically the same reasons apply to someone who is severely mentally ill and in some cases the very elderly who tend to drift down memory lane.
So it stands to reason that someone who is drunk, although may be willing, will actually be unable to concentrate for any length of time, and likewise the strongly opposed person who categorically states that «you can not hypnotize me!» has no desire and no trust and will therefore also be unable to achieve the trance state. There is one other exception, which is more of a medical exception than anything else, and that is anybody who suffers from epilepsy should not be assisted into trance however willing they may be, as hypnosis can trigger a seizure. (It is always best to consult with your Doctor/Physician when contemplating hypnotherapy or self hypnosis, especially if you are being treated for any mental disorder.)
There is often a tendency for people to think that it is solely the hypnotherapist that exacts a cure within the patient. Although in one respect this is true, as a professional hypnotherapist is the one who will teach someone how to achieve the state of hypnosis, the same way that a driving instructor teaches people how to drive a car. There are no hidden powers or mysticism involved it is purely that the hypnotherapist has the knowledge of how hypnosis works, and why it works, and is there as a guide to direct the subject while they learn how to achieve that state. It would be fair to say that there is a distinct difference between a hypnotist and a hypnotherapist. A hypnotist is someone who can assist a willing person into the hypnotic state, for example for entertainment purposes, whereas a hypnotherapist will with the involvement of the person use therapy when that person is in and out of the trance state to help them overcome problems and difficulties they may be experiencing. Or indeed to enhance and bolster performance, confidence, self esteem etc., in a self help capacity.
It is not only the involvement of the hypnotherapist as a teacher but also the formulation of therapy that is the key element to a successful outcome. If a person who seeks a hypnotherapists help has an active part in discovering why they wish to get better, how they wish to feel when their problem no longer exists, and truly has a deep desire to improve the quality of their life, then it is their own trust and belief that ‘they can and will recover’ that sees such startling results. A person who seeks help and leaves everything to chance maybe thinking «well it might work I suppose, but then again, it might not» is actually hindering their own healing by placing a barrier of doubting limitation at the onset.
Cheryl Mary Coleman