What is Hypnosis?


HYPNOSIS. The word can elicit all kinds of images…and thanks to Hollywood…many of them false. Often these misconceptions of what hypnosis is and how it works cause people to be wary of the process. The truth is hypnosis is a natural state that we all have experienced thousands of times in our lives. 

Many have experienced road trance when your mind wanders and you can’t remember driving the past few blocks. Or staring out a window in class while your mind was someplace off in the distance.  You slip in and out of trance states throughout the day. This sensation is called natural hypnosis. As a modality, your hypnotherapist merely creates that shift of consciousness on purpose allowing the flow of suggestions to enter the subconscious.

Because of individual experiences and perceptions, we often create a mindset that is detrimental to our mental and emotional health, relationships and general well-being. Negative attitudes and behaviours keep us at a standstill…and no matter what we try…we just can’t move forward.

With hypnosis, we bypass the ‘critical faculty’ of the mind and speak directly to the subconscious mind to create change. The critical faculty is a filter based on your life experiences, perceptions and beliefs both positive and negative. The negative filter is what often keeps you in a rut. It keeps you from achieving your goals, feeling loved, resolving grief or anything else that prevents the change needed to be happy and fulfilled.  Your subconscious is a nonjudgmental part of your mind that will accept suggestions for the changes you want and need. I can help you to reframe the way you think and feel about things, replacing those negative thoughts and feelings with positive input that benefits you. Together we can create those changes for a healthier, happier you!


Heather Flanagan

Registered Clinical Counselling Hypnotherapist (RCCH) – ARCH Canada Registered

Certified Hypnotherapist (CHt) – IMDHA Certified


It is important to me that my practice offers a warm, welcoming environment where you feel well supported and safe. I offer a client-centered practice where we work together during our sessions to tailor a treatment protocol that works best for you. Whatever obstacles you are facing, we can work together to achieve your goals.

I am an ARCH Accredited Training Graduate (Association of Registered Clinical Hypnotherapists). ARCH is a Canada-wide certifying body for highly trained and skilled hypnotherapists.  


The Canadian Cancer Society recommends ARCH Canada Hypnotherapists for Complementary Therapy.

Learn More About Me:. . .

In 2010 I joined the Board of Directors for the Association of Registered Clinical Hypnotherapists (ARCH Canada). In 2011 I became the President and have thoroughly enjoyed representing such a fine organization. ARCH Canada has one of the highest education and skill set requirements in North America. My professional memberships also include the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association (IMDHA).


Myths of Hypnosis



Hypnosis is caused by the power of the hypnotherapist:. . .

The hypnotherapist will use his or her communication and rapport building skills making it more likely that you will accept guidance through a suggested experience, but only to the degree that you permit it. The hypnotherapist may direct your experience but this is, again, due to the willingness and consent on your part. It is clearly a relationship of mutual responsiveness.


Only certain people can be hypnotized:. . .

In practice, there are definitely some people more difficult to induce hypnosis in than others, but this does not mean that they are less capable of being hypnotized. It merely indicates their resistance for one of many possible reasons (e.g. fear of losing control, difficulty in distinguishing internal states such as relaxation or tension, negative situational factors, fear of change, etc.). Once the nature of the resistance is identified and resolved, the person can become able to experience hypnosis satisfactorily.


Once you have been hypnotized, you can no longer resist it:. . .

This is, of course, not true. If you choose not to go into hypnosis, for whatever reason, then you will not. Prior experience with hypnosis, good or bad, is not the sole determining factor of whether hypnosis is accomplished or not. Even the most responsive subjects can refuse to follow the suggestions of a hypnotist if they choose to.


You can be hypnotized to say or do something against your will:. . .

Since you retain ultimate control of yourself, it is not possible to hypnotize you to do something against your values and beliefs. For example, if you do not already have anti-social behaviour traits, it is not possible to induce anti-social behaviour in hypnosis. It is true that brainwashing and other untoward influences do not typically surface in the therapeutic context, nor are those conditions in and of themselves hypnosis, and they are quite far removed from the ethical and sensitive applications of hypnosis promoted in hypnotherapy.


You can become ‘stuck’ in hypnosis or might not ‘wake up’ from hypnosis:. . .

Hypnosis is a state of focused attention, either inwardly or outwardly directed. You can initiate or terminate the experience any time you choose and you are in complete control.


You must be relaxed in order to be in hypnosis:. . .

Since hypnosis is a state of concentrated attention, you can be anxious, even in deep suspense, and still be focused. Thus, physical relaxation is not a necessary prerequisite for hypnosis to occur.


You are asleep or unconscious when in hypnosis:. . .

Hypnosis is not sleep! Although physically there is a decreased activity, muscle relaxation, slowed breathing etc., you are relaxed yet alert mentally, with a level of awareness of what is going on around you. Even in deep hypnosis you remain aware of external reality to some degree.


Hypnosis may be used to accurately recall everything that has ever happened to you:. . .

The mind does not simply take in experience and store it in the exact form for accurate recall later. In fact, memories are stored on the basis of perceptions, therefore they are subject to many of the same distortions as perceptions. People can remember things that did not actually happen. They can remember selected fragments of an experience and they can take bits and pieces of multiple memories and combine them into one false memory.


Hypnotized people will tell secrets or will always tell the truth:. . .

Hypnosis will not compel a person to tell secrets or share any other information that they do not want to share. People under hypnosis can lie purposefully or recall information in a distorted manner as noted above.


Hypnosis is a Satanic practice:. . .

Hypnosis and trance are perfectly natural occurrences and are neither good nor bad in and of themselves.


Hypnosis will not work on highly intelligent people:. . .

Innate characteristics of people, such as intelligence, do not have any effect on the ability of a person to be hypnotized. Any person can resist being hypnotized on demand, either actively or passively, regardless of their intellectual capacity.


Hypnosis is a therapy:. . .

Hypnosis is not, in and of itself, a therapy. It is a specific state of mind which, to be useful in personal change, must be used within a psycho-therapeutic context.