FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
About Guided Imagery & Self-Hypnosis
1. Can I really do this?
Am I “hypnotizable,” even if it is “just”
guided imagery for self-hypnosis?
-Most people initially asked this question, prior to
experiencing self-hypnosis through guided imagery, either because
they feared “failing” at this, being poor participants,
not “getting it” or receiving no benefit from it. Let me
truthfully reassure you as I did them, that there is no such
thing as failing at this; and to further reassure you, that it
requires only the use of your own imagination in focusing on visual
pictures or ideas in your mind and, therefore everyone has the
capacity, in varying degrees, to benefit from guided imagery and
-You will be able to participate in this relaxed physical
state of mental concentration and focused awareness, simply by
listening to the guided imagery; and you will be able to
determine how far and how deeply you go with it. Since, you are doing
this only for your own learning and benefit – not for anyone
else – you truly cannot fail; the very least that will happen
is a soothing, profoundly relaxing experience... and also a very
2. If I’m not sure that I want to
do this, then how can it possibly work for me?
Many people are intrigued, yet perhaps hesitant or skeptical,
about the process of guided imagery and self-hypnosis. It may,
however, pleasantly surprise you to realize that you have already
naturally experienced self-hypnosis, through a form of guided
imagery, and didn’t know you had accomplished it! It occurs
when you are, for instance, deeply involved in reading a book and
experiencing whatever images or sensations the words are evoking,
while all the sound or sights of your environment fade into the
background so much so that you no longer notice them. As another
example, it occurs when you are engaged in conversation of importance
to you while in a noisy restaurant, becoming so focused on your own
conversation that the other people and chatter around you can
seemingly no longer be heard. Therefore, you have the natural
capacity for self-hypnosis, and it likely occurs spontaneously on
perhaps a daily basis, whenever you concentrate on one thing to the
exclusion of others. The only difference will be-and it is a positive
difference-that you will be consciously deciding when and what to
focus upon to constructively benefit yourself. You will be
using the skill of harnessing and directing your brain power to suit
your own purpose.
3. What if I am too self-conscious, or
“analytical” in my thinking, or easily distracted and
preoccupied to do this and benefit from it? I wonder if I’ll
be able to learn and use these skills?
-First let me reassure you that this is not a performance
on your part; it is in fact a very private experience in which no
one, but you, will know what occurs and what benefits are derived. To
anyone else, you will appear to simply be resting peacefully. The
purpose of this is to provide you with invaluable information
about how your mind works and how best to harness your own unique
thinking process, whether it be more logic-based or more
emotion-based, to accomplish goals or promote desired feelings that
matter most to you. Each guided imagery and self-hypnosis recording
is carefully designed to provide a beneficial, personalized learning
experience, and to assist you in applying your newly acquired
skill/tool to the areas or concerns you select. Through the guiding
process of the imagery, you will very likely find that you can relax
more readily and deeply than you have before, that you can release
distracting thoughts, and that you can concentrate fully and
productively on the task at hand.
4. Will I “go under” and lose
touch with my surroundings? What will this be like?
-You will simply be concentrating upon some images and ideas that
you have identified as being important to you, concentrating just as
you would when watching a movie that captivates you or when reading a
book of great interest. You become immersed in and completely focused
upon the inner experiences being generated by that “stimulus”
material - whether it be a movie, a book, or an audiotape/CD. While
you are still aware of “where you are” and the everyday
activities surrounding you, those everyday things recede into the
background and time seems to be suspended, because you are fully
absorbed in the experience you are attending to. It is much the same
with the experience of self-hypnosis through guided imagery. You
still know what is going on around you, however your attention is
focused inwardly, so external distractions are no longer as
5. Can I lose control over myself... over
my thoughts, feelings or actions? Will I be giving control to someone
-This is one of the primary myths or misconceptions about
the process and experience of self- hypnosis. If you have seen “stage
hypnosis” characterized on television or in movies, you may
understandably have been misled into apprehensively thinking it
involves ‘mind control’ by someone else, and even fear
being influenced to do something potentially negative or embarrassing
that you normally would not do. This is untrue, for the
experience of self-hypnosis through guided imagery is not a
procedure of someone else hypnotizing you in order to change you,
irrespective of your will. Instead, it is a process by
which you learn to effectively concentrate mentally while relaxing
physically, so that you can draw upon all of your mind’s inner
resources, at both a conscious and subconscious level, in order for
you to create the changes and achieve the goals you choose.
Self-hypnosis becomes a powerful skill for you to gain
more control than you’ve had before to
selectively build or increase the positive behaviors, feelings or
thoughts that you want more of, and to decrease or eliminate the
undesirable habits, feelings or thought patterns.
6. What if I am still anxious or concerned
about the effect it may have on me?
-If you have any apprehension whatsoever, I encourage you simply
to listen to the audiotapes/CDs all the way through to familiarize
yourself with the content in a fully awake and conscious state. This
will allow you to become comfortable that there is nothing to
negatively affect you; there are no subliminal messages. It is
simply as if I were talking directly to you in a soothing,
motivating, and encouraging manner, offering just enough guidance for
you to resolve your own problem or proceed with your own goal.
7. Will I “come out” of this?
What if I fall asleep?
-At the conclusion of each guided imagery and self-hypnosis
audiotape/CD is a gentle closing instruction to bring you mentally
back to your normative state of alertness and awareness of your
external environment, while still retaining the relaxing quality of
the experience. You will be refreshed and ready to proceed with your
-If you are extremely tired or if you purposefully listen to the
audiotape/CD before bedtime, you may fall asleep, which is perfectly
fine. You will sleep naturally, restfully, and will awake normally to
your alarm if you have it set. Again, if you have any concerns, I
suggest you first listen to the tape in its entirety, so that you
will see how relaxing, and yet re-energizing and restorative it is.
8. What can this be used for? What areas
can I apply this new skill to?
-Once you have experienced self-hypnosis through guided imagery,
you can use the technique as an effective tool for
accomplishing desired personal changes and for achieving real steps
toward short and long term goals. These changes and goals may
include, but are not limited to: mental and physical
relaxation; reduction of
stress/worry/anxiety; movement out of
behavioral pattern and
lifestyle changes, such as, sustaining regular
smoking cessation, control of
weight reduction and
motivation and confidence-building for
personal goal attainment
- just to identify a few of the possible applications.
Any of the preceding highlighted areas of interest may be selected
for a complete listing of available guided imagery and self-hypnosis
audiotapes/CDs relevant to these subjects.