You've seen the stage acts where a hypnotist selects someone out of the audience and when he claps his hands, the unwilling participant struts around the stage clucking like a chicken. You've also seen movies where the hypnotist waves the pocket watch in front of the subject as he utters, "you're getting sleepy ? very sleepy." Hypnosis is a little more than what Hollywood or Vegas make it out to be. Below is a brief overview.
Hypnosis is a naturally occurring altered state of consciousness in which the critical faculty is bypassed (mind in the conscious mode) and acceptable selective thinking established. Wow! That's a lot of technical jargon! Simply put, this means that the reasoning, evaluating, judging part of your mind (conscious) is bypassed.
Hypnosis deals with the subconscious. Have you ever driven to work or home or anywhere, arrived at your destination but then had little to no recollection of the drive? Your reasoning, evaluating and judging parts of your mind were still intact and functioning (read: you safely arrived at your location) but your cognizant mind was bypassed. Hypnosis feels very much like that. It's the same or similar feeling as when you day dream. People under hypnosis know exactly what they are doing.
What about control? Many people fear being hypnotized because they falsely believe they will have to give up control of their mind. Not true. Think about when you are so engrossed in a movie and you find yourself in tears. If you've ever watched Saving Private Ryan, the Titanic or the Passion of the Christ you know this scenario all too well. During these movies you were so involved that you actually felt emotion. You were literally in a hypnotic trance. Most importantly, though, you still had the power to emerge from that state if desired.
Your mind may be guided by a movie, self-hypnosis tape, or hypnotist, but you still have the power to resist. If you fully believe and acknowledge that you have the power to resist any control of emotions, then hypnosis is nothing to fear. Unfortunately, some people seem to give up partial control of their minds because they misunderstand who has the power. Unquestionably, someone can be fooled into believing that he has given up control in some forms of stage hypnosis or other experiments. That is likely what often happens in stage shows. But just because someone was tricked doesn't mean it is right or that it will happen to you that way.
Think about it. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. You are the one who allows your mind to be placed into deep states. You are the one who has the power to resist any unwanted suggestions. It's really a misnomer when people say they were hypnotized. What they really mean is that they allowed their mind to be hypnotized or they allowed a hypnotist to give suggestions that they chose to follow.
Just remember that no one controls your mind unless you first grant permission!