What is Hypnosis?
The hypnotic state clients experience as a result of formal trance induction in my office is just one of the many state changes that occur throughout their day. The only thing unusual about hypnosis is that the trance was intentionally induced. Most of the time the current trance is determined by the local circumstance. Consider the following thought experiment:
Imagine that you just got a message that someone in your family had been seriously hurt in an automobile accident and you must get to the emergency room right away. Your biological state would change immediately and you would run or drive there as fast as you could with your heart pounding, thoughts racing, experiencing great distress. When you got there and discovered the report was untrue, you would experience relief, a very different trance.
Objectively, the report was never true, yet it had a great impact on your state of mind and body. State-dependent phenomena ( including motivation, perceptual bias and response tendencies) are determined by the subjective reality that existed only in your mind, not by what was objectively true.
In the example above, the information that evoked the stressful state was objectively false, and so the trance was not valid. But some kinds of information are neither objectively true nor false, so the trances they evoke are neither valid nor invalid. For example: Are you a hero or a loser?
Attributes such as "hero" or "loser" are subjective judgments and do not exist in the objective world; they exist only in the mind of the beholder. But if you believe you are a hero you will likely behave differently than if you believe you are a loser. Whichever appraisal you accept will have a profound influence on how you perform in the objective world. Perversely, many people use their imaginative gifts in ways that make them weaker rather than stronger.