Hypnosis Isn't Magic, It's Real Work -- Here's What Really Happens In A Session

No tricks or illusions involved.

magic trick with an egg in assistant's mouth Everett Collection / Shutterstock

Does the word hypnosis sound scary? Mysterious? Strange?

When someone I'm talking to finds out that I work as a Clinical Hypnotherapist, here are a few questions they ask: “Is hypnosis magic?” “Does hypnosis work?” “Do you think you could hypnotize me?”

Some are even bold enough to say, “No one can hypnotize me,” or, “I can’t be hypnotized.” The assumption is that hypnosis only works on weak-minded people and they are not weak. Weakness of mind implies weaker willpower, for these people.


A few respectful people ask me coyly “Is hypnotherapy real?” or “How does hypnosis work?”

Over fifteen years, I've had numerous people tell me that they know it works but just want to have one session. They assume that hypnosis is like surgery. The hypnotherapist will go into their minds and take out all that’s hurting them in one magical maneuver and they'll emerge completely cured.

RELATED: Demystifying Therapeutic Hypnosis: 12 Myths About Hypnosis

Why Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis aren't magic, and can't work in one session

I once had a lady call me the day after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and say, “I don’t want any therapy or coaching. It takes time. I want to do one session and have my disease go away.”


I asked her how long she'd been struggling with pain. “Ten years,” she said. Then she told me that she'd seen a Ted Talk and the speaker said all his pain went away after one session.

I was reminded of all the times I've heard someone being called an “overnight success”. You never know how many years or decades went into creating one overnight success.

Yes, it’s true — one day you'll come out of your hypnotherapy session and know that you're finally healed. And, you won’t have to see your hypnotherapist ever again. But, you have to go through multiple sessions before you see that final day.

Hypnotherapy is real and it works — here’s how and what to expect.

You have to work with the hypnotherapist to make hypnosis work for you. To know how long it will take for you to get your results, you have to honestly answer the question, “How long have I been struggling with this situation?” If the answer is one year, then you should expect to have to work every week for one month.


If you've been struggling for seven years, then you should expect to work for seven months. Initially, weekly sessions will be required, but someday you may only need to attend every two weeks. 

Often emotional pain has one or more secondary gains. For hypnotherapy to work, these secondary gain(s) need to be objectified and neutralized one at a time. For you to have hypnotherapy work for you, you need to be brave enough to look at your pain and learn to take responsibility.

The sooner you take responsibility for your past, the quicker you get results and create your desired future.

I give my clients homework to do each night before sleep. Doing the homework speeds up your healing and you get quicker results.


What is Hypnosis? And what is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnosis is a natural state of your mind through which you drift in and out on your own during your waking hours. The word hypnosis comes from the Greek word Hypnos, the God of sleep. Hypnosis translates to “a sleep-like state.”

If you sleep, then you must go through an intermediary state called the hypnoidal state in which you drift and dream before you drop into a much deeper sleep.

Types of Hypnosis.

If you have ever fallen in love, then that’s self-hypnosis. If you have ever laughed or cried watching a movie or a game, that’s situational hypnosis. If you have ever missed an exit while driving, that’s highway hypnosis. When you visit the neighborhood you grew up in or your parents or your kindergarten teacher, the way you feel and act is a result of environmental hypnosis.

Hypnotherapy is different than hypnosis. During a hypnotherapy session with a trained hypnotherapist, you effortlessly enter a state of hypnosis through suggestions so you can work through the subconscious programming that's keeping you feeling trapped in the past.


One session for one hour with a hypnotherapist will not help you heal all of your feelings of loss, stuck, or overwhelm, or negative emotions such as hurt, fear, grief, blame, shame, guilt, etc. It isn’t just about taking away your pain, it’s also about filling you with hope, and creating actionable steps for pursuing a desirable reality.

RELATED: The Surprising Way Hypnosis Can Treat Anxiety (& Help You Stop Feeling Stressed)

Is Hypnotherapy real?

Therapy done under hypnosis is called hypnotherapy. It's also called therapeutic hypnosis.

All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. But for therapy or healing to occur using hypnosis, you need to work with a hypnotherapist.


A hypnotherapist will help you find more than just relief. A traditional therapist is like a best friend who listens to you and shares things with you. So, you discover a lot when you work with a therapist. But this is all happening in your conscious mind which is just twelve percent of your cognition.

Your subconscious mind is eighty-eight percent of your mind. This is where your memories and emotions attached to each of these memories are stored. It controls your belief systems and directs your behavior and habits.

Actions you take, words you speak, emotions you feel are all a result of your subconscious programming. During your hypnotherapy sessions, you'll work on this subconscious programming.

Together with your hypnotherapist, you can figure out what’s serving you and what’s holding you back. Over a series of sessions, your hypnotherapist will help you reinforce what’s working and replace what’s not serving you anymore with new strategies for a better life.


No one can hypnotize you against your belief system. Your critical mind keeps you safe against anything that's not aligned with your values.

Your subconscious mind was formed when you were around eight years old. All that’s familiar to you originates from back then. Your subconscious mind is also referred to as your inner child.

If the child is not okay, no one can come into her space. Only when she feels safe will she allow someone to help her change what she wants in her space.

She makes the change she needs, the hypnotherapist is here only to help her do it.

Why hypnosis works.

Each day you are bombarded with two billion bits of information. Yet, at any time you take in only five to nine bits of information. The things you take in are the things that are already stored in your subconscious. You’d say “I get it” or “I feel a connection there.”


You can only fully receive what you have within you, what’s known, what’s familiar. For a connection to occur, you have to have the receptor within you which connects with something outside of you. That’s how reinforcement occurs.

Just like a house can’t be built in a day, your subconscious mind is the home where your inner child resides, and this home can’t be rearranged in a sixty-minute session.

For ethical reasons, I have been trained never to keep any client under hypnosis longer than twenty-seven minutes. Your subconscious and your conscious mind need to meet and be friends in order for change to occur.


Knowing something is never enough, because the process of knowing occurs at the conscious level. Change happens at the subconscious level. For this to occur you have to bypass your critical mind and allow your conscious and subconscious mind to work together to create a genuine transformation.

Is Hypnosis magic?

If hypnosis is magic then you are the only magician that can perform the trick. You just need a trained hypnotherapist to work with you, and slowly but surely, you'll make the rabbit appear in your own hat.

I have worked as a clinical hypnotherapist since 2006, yet when I come across my own subconscious blocks, I hire a hypnotherapist myself to make hypnosis magic work for me.

It’s similar to a dentist needing another dentist to get his teeth taken care of or a massage therapist needing another massage therapist to receive a massage. 


You can make the same kind of "magic" happen for you with hypnotherapy and hypnosis. 

RELATED: I'm A Hypnotherapist And Here's How To Hypnotize Him To Love You

Keya Murthy, M.S., is a #1 international best-selling author and Clinical Hypnotherapist and Spiritual Life Coach at the Ventura Healing Center. If you are interested in moving beyond your circumstances to find your purpose and authentic happiness Keya is available for a clarity call with you. If you are a DIY person, then her book 11-Steps to Goal Getting: Using the Principles of Hypnosis, NLP & Huna is a great start for you to start getting your goals in any area of your life.