Can you be hypnotized? Most people like to think that they can't. There is often the suspicion that being hypnotized could label them as being weak-willed, naive or unintelligent. But in fact, modern research shows that hypnotizability is correlated with intelligence, concentration and focus. Hypnosis is not an all-or-nothing phenomenon, but rather a continuum. Most people can be hypnotized to some degree--the only question is how far.
A hypnotic trance is not therapeutic in and of itself, but specific suggestions and images fed to clients in a trance can profoundly alter their behavior. As they rehearse the new ways they want to think and feel, they lay the groundwork for powerful changes in their future actions. For example, in hypnosis, I often tell people who are trying to quit smoking that they will go hours without even thinking of a cigarette, that if they should light up, the cigarette will taste terrible and they'll want to put it out immediately. I'll talk them through the imagery of being a nonsmoker--some combination of finding themselves breathing easier, having more energy for exercise, enjoying subtle tastes and smells again, having fresh breath and clean-smelling closing, feeling good about their health, even saving money on cigarettes or whatever motivates that person to quit. The deep relaxation of a hypnotic trance is also broadly beneficial as many illnesses, both psychological or physical, are aggravated by anxiety and muscle tension.