Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy Montreal

Hypnosis facilitates the connection to deeper insights not accessible through regular talk therapy. 

Access more of your mind.  It’s natural!

If you have ever felt that you consciously want to change, improve, get-over, act, or react differently to certain triggers in your life – hypnosis can help – by gently working with your subconscious to begin aligning it with the desires of your conscious mind.

Searching for something beyond talk therapy alone ?

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What can hypnosis help with?

  • Perhaps you experience anxiety or an uncomfortable physical reaction in certain situations (could be in crowds, or when poised to take action, or upon entering a dark room, etc)
  • Perhaps you are confounded by panic attacks in a given set of circumstances (could be when crossing a bridge, or when driving, in water, or public speaking, etc)​
  • Perhaps you are in transition or life changes are imminent which may be bringing up fears or doubts, or feelings that may at times bounce you between states of overwhelm to being stuck​
  • Perhaps your reaction in certain situations surprises even you (could be you enjoy public speaking but this changes and you don’t know why, or you fear meeting/interacting with certain people that you previously were at ease with, and don’t know why, etc)​
  • Perhaps you have been undergoing psychotherapy and feel stuck (a hypnosis intervention to dislodge or gently highlight the obstruction could complement your therapy to reach greater heights, etc)
  • Perhaps you’re living with a mystery of sorts that you wish to shed light on (could be a lost object, or night terrors while asleep, or an aversion, etc)

What is your unique challenge?


Definitions & Terms




De-Mystifying Hypnosis


Hypnosis Feels Like...


Use of the Senses in Hypnosis


5 Revealing Facts - Stage Hypnosis




3 Key points before you start


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Definitions & Terms


One of the best definitions:

If you will picture a horizontal line and think of one end as conscious awareness and the other as sleep, you then can envision and grasp the many gradients between these two opposite points.  You might accept hypnosis as an area between these two poles at which an individual’s awareness of his surroundings are diminished, while awareness of internal processes, feelings, thoughts and pictures are increased.”                                                            —Steven Heller, Ph.D. & Terry Steele

Simply put, hypnosis occurs when you are in a trance.

Hypnosis is effective in targeting a particular issue. Hypnosis techniques are also used to uncover and seek out the source of an issue.

The objective of hypnosis is to access the subconscious mind – or alternatively stated – to take the focus away from the rational/cognitive mind.


Hypnotherapy is applied hypnosis for the purposes of a therapeutic objective.

A good definition of hypnotherapy that captures its essence:

Hypnotherapy is a naturalistic approach that uses the client’s present resources and strengths to further and accomplish meaningful goals.”                              —Gil Boyne “Transforming Therapy”

The objective of hypnotherapy is to apply hypnosis to help create a desired change that is beneficial to your well-being.

Hypnotic Induction

The hypnotist guides you into hypnosis through the use of a hypnotic induction (a set of instructions that facilitate hypnosis).

You will have likely experienced hypnosis if you have ever taken part in:

  • Guided Visualization
  • Guided Imagery
  • Been caught-up in a daydream
  • Tuned-out
  • Inward focused
  • Been in between wakefulness and sleep
  • Gotten lost in creativity or imagination
  • Fantasy | Imagination
  • Engrossed in a good book, in a movie
  • Etc.

Hypnotic Trance

Common descriptions of Hypnotic Trance:

— “Altered state of consciousness”

— “Focused attention”

— “Favorable motivation”

— “Active imagination”

— etc.


All are valid.  The many descriptions is an indicator of why the concept of hypnosis remains somewhat elusive.

It is true that there is not 100% consensus on the definition of hypnosis. However, most would agree that an essential ingredient is a sense of inward attention, with less attention paid outwardly.

The hypnotic trance can be experienced at different depths in a similar way to sleep. There are different depths or states of sleeping: one can be falling asleep, in a deep or light sleep, or one can be emerging from sleep [i.e. the hypnagogic, the Non-REM, the REM, and hypnopompic states], not to mention, sleepwalking, sleep paralysis (maybe), lucid dreaming, and possibly more. The description for each is not the same, but all are considered sleep. Likewise, hypnosis is experienced at different depths and with different sensations – however, all are hypnosis and all are beneficial.  The depth should not be your focus – instead focus on your intention.


Hypnotic depth has been defined by several scales of measurement.  Some of the  more commonly used terms to describe hypnotic depth are:

  • Hypnoidal | Light state             -Often not perceived as hypnosis !
  • Medium state
  • Somnambulist | Deep state
  • Plenary | Esdaile | Ultra Deep
  • Etc.

The above is an example of scale of hypnotic depth.  It also brings to mind the definition of hypnosis quoted above in Definitions and Terms … i.e. that hypnosis occurs at various points along the continuum between full consciousness and sleep. Hypnosis does not occur at just one point of our greater consciousness.

For those that prefer a more concrete description, hypnosis is also characterized by most practitioners in terms of brain waves.  Hypnosis ranges from alpha brain wave frequency (lighter trance) to theta brain wave frequency (deeper trance).   See the Brain Wave chart below:

De-Mystifying Hypnosis

Common Myths & Misconceptions

(Answers below!)

  • I don’t think I can be hypnotized !
  • The hypnotized person loses control over their actions
  • I won’t remember what happened under hypnosis…will I?
  • I don’t think I was hypnotized
  • If I don’t go deep, I’m not really hypnotized
  • Hypnosis is caused by the power of the hypnotist
  • The hypnotist makes it happen
  • You can get stuck in hypnosis
  • Anyone who can be hypnotized must be weak-minded
  • Hypnosis is a form of sleep
  • Hypnosis is a “truth” serum
  • Hypnosis can be harmful
  • Hypnosis is therapy

I don’t think I can be hypnotized !


Actually, virtually everyone can be hypnotized, including you.  Surprised?  Think of hypnotizability as a bell curve.  There is a small percentage of people at either end of the bell curve, with the greatest percentage of the population somewhere in the middle.  This means that some people are not readily hypnotizable, and some are highly hypnotizable.  But most can achieve a light to medium trance, more with practice.  People that are cognitively impaired or have significant cognitive disorders, generally cannot concentrate well enough to be hypnotized.  However, there are other factors that can interfere with someone entering hypnotic trance – but they can be worked through.  They are: fear (often due to misinformation about hypnosis), unclear motivation, and lack of rapport between the client and the hypnotist.  So once the interfering factors are dealt with, you are back on the hypnotizable scale, and you can move up the scale with practice.

The hypnotized person loses control over their actions

Contrary to what you might think, you have control and free-will while experiencing the peaceful state of hypnosis.

It may appear as if the hypnotist controls her/his clients because:

  • there is a trusting relationship between hypnotist and client
  • the client is clear about her/his goal, and there is agreement
  • the client is able to let go and accept the suggestions given by the hypnotist

But if these elements of the hypnosis process are affected, hypnosis may not unfold. Resistance on the client’s part can prevent this process from ever taking place.  Or the client may refuse a suggestion and automatically come out of the hypnotic trance.  You see, the client really does have control.  Not convinced?  Let’s discuss your particular concerns.

I won’t remember what happened under hypnosis … will I?

Most subjects have conscious recall of their experience under hypnosis.  Few do not, and some a combination of the two. (NOTE: you can choose to have the session recorded.) Regardless, the subconscious is engaged and the skilled hypnotist knows how to work with this.  By asking the subject a question, their response confirms the engagement of the subconscious mind.  It provides real-time feedback to the hypnotist that they are engaging with the subject’s subconscious and later provides for very interesting feedback for the subject.  Clients are usually amazed to learn about their responses afterwards.

I don’t think I was hypnotized

It is possible you did not experience even the slightest trance.  Recall that most people are hypnotizable and are able enter a light trance, but are surprised by how it feels for them.  Expectations may be skewed in the favour of deeper states.  You may have experienced a light trance, but expect it to feel like an ultra-deep trance. What really helps?  Allowing it – it’s the best thing you can do – imagine the opposite of trying.

Manage expectations:

Do you expect this to occur?  …

“To be unconscious”   -you are not asleep or in a coma while in hypnosis!

“Not hear anything”   -how can the hypnotist communicate with you if you don’t hear anything?

-or, you may be listening but not consciously hearing

“Not feel anything”     -feelings are not lost – unless the session is specifically for  “glove anesthesia” or specific instructions are given for amnesia

“Not be aware”              -your conscious mind has not left you! – it may try to take over

“Remember all the things I have no conscious memory of”

-memory recall under hypnosis varies from subtle to re-vivification, not all memories can be called-up at will (see Regression for more info)

“To be a totally foreign experience”

-you have likely experienced a similar feeling many times in your life, but never attributed it hypnosis

… understand that hypnosis does not occur at a precise point – it is not on or off.  It has a bandwidth of experiences. Where are you in that bandwidth?

If I don’t go deep, I’m not really hypnotized

Depth is not the focus – results are. Rather than measuring success by “did I go deep enough”, or is this “how it’s supposed to feel”, tap into your motivation.  Although these are common questions people have – almost universal – they can distract you from your goal.  The truth is, deep levels of hypnosis are really not necessary for most therapeutic work.  All levels of depth are beneficial.

Hypnosis is caused by the power of the hypnotist

The hypnotist cannot make you go into hypnosis – you let it happen while being guided by a hypnotic induction.  You let the focused attention come about.  Much like when you fall asleep – no one can do it for you. It is a relationship of mutual responsiveness. Another viewpoint is that all hypnosis is really self-hypnosis.  This statement reflects one of the basic tenets of practicing hypnotists.  In other words, you invoke hypnosis, not the hypnotist.  The hypnotic induction that is used to help you to enter trance, may be given by yourself (i.e. self-hypnosis or auto-hypnosis) or by another person (hetero-hypnosis).  Interestingly, practice helps!

The hypnotist makes it happen

You are the one making it happen!  Your desire for change is the important element in successful hypnosis.  You are motivated and prepared to allow changes to happen. Under hypnosis, suggestions are made to encourage your subconscious to adopt the desired changes.  These changes are specific to the goal you have identified.  Without this key motivational ingredient on your part, change can be thwarted.  Hypnosis, you see, is not a magic pill.

You can get stuck in hypnosis

The client has control over entering the hypnotic trance and can end the trance at will.  In fact, many clients say that they tend to float in and out of hypnosis during a session.  If the hypnotist were to leave the client in a hypnotic trance, the person would either open their eyes and naturally return to regular consciousness, or drift into sleep.  On the rare occasion, a client might resist the instruction to emerge from hypnosis (client may be demonstrating control).  They are enjoying hypnosis so much they choose to remain in hypnosis.  Additional instruction from the hypnotist, sometimes with a motivating suggestion, guides the client to emerge.  Some believe that one can experience a “hypnotic hang-over”.  That is, a slight lingering feeling of being hypnotized even after the client has by all appearances opened their eyes and emerged – there is nothing to be concerned about – the “hang-over” feeling will naturally wear-off.  If this were to happen, advise your hypnotist she/he will want to know about this so that future sessions will be terminated with more vigorous instructions to terminate the trance.

Anyone who can be hypnotized must be weak-minded

In fact “the ability to be hypnotized is not reliably correlated with specific personality traitsor other such factors as age or gender” (Kirsch & Council 1992).   Although, many hypnotists find that teenagers and young adults distinguish themselves as highly hypnotizable subjects, this has not been confirmed in studies.  And, some find that the more intelligent, the more hypnotizable.  As you see, hypnosis is not about being weak-minded.  Other factors such as fear, motivation and rapport with the hypnotist play a much higher role in hypnotizability. Experience has shown me that predicting hypnotizability based on character traits is very unreliable!

Hypnosis is a form of sleep

You are certainly not asleep during hypnosis and you are not unconscious. One of the ways that hypnosis works is by by-passing the rational mind to have greater access to the subconscious mind.  However, you remain aware and responsive to questions, and are able to verbally interact if asked to.  In some very deep states, subjects may not be willing to respond.  The skilled hypnotist will be able to provide suggestions to the subject so that they reach a state of depth that motivates interaction.


Hypnosis is a “truth” serum

Hypnosis does not have such extraordinary powers!  We have seen elsewhere already that the person maintains control while hypnotized.  The person has the ability to censor what they say, and even withhold information.  It is true that a person may access memories with greater attention to detail while hypnotized, sometimes accessing memories that they do not recall while in a conscious state.  However, one’s perception of the facts and possible emotional involvement may affect the accuracy of the stored memory and hypnosis cannot undo any distortions, willful or not, of the stored memory.  One must distinguish between truth and memory.  The information which we have processed and stored in our memory may or may not resemble  “true” facts as they were.

Hypnosis can be harmful

Hypnosis itself is never harmful.  That said, you want to let yourself be guided by someone who has your best interests in mind.  That is, to assure you and ground you, as you work towards your goals—never leading you on. Be sure that you feel comfortable with your practitioner.  Look for someone who practices with integrity and skill, and is competent.  The actual state of hypnosis is a healthy one for mind, body and soul.  It’s a letting-go process, mostly inwardly focused, sometimes euphoric.  It is the opposite of stress.  So good for your well-being.  More and more studies on the “brain on meditation/hypnosis” show how the brain is positively enhanced by altered states of consciousness. [see studies and articles below1]  This portends the positive potential of hypnosis.

 1 Studies and Articles:
University of California – Los Angeles (2012, March 14). Evidence builds that meditation strengthens the brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2012/03/120314170647.htm

Brain Imaging Illuminates Neuro Basis of Meditation
By CARRIE GANN, ABC News Medical Unit
Nov. 22, 2011

Re-Wiring Your Brain for Happiness: Research Shows How Meditation Can Physically Change the Brain
July 28, 2011 ABC News

Montreal Gazette – Meditation, hypnosis change ‘brain signature’
Mar. 22, 2011 cite: Dr. Amir Raz

Halsband, U., Mueller, S., Hinterberger, T. and Strickner, S. (2009), Plasticity changes in the brain in hypnosis and meditation. Contemp. Hypnosis, 26: 194–215. doi: 10.1002/ch.386

The Memory Trace Reactivation and Reconstruction Theory of Therapeutic Hypnosis:
The Creative Replaying of Gene Expression and Brain Plasticity in Stroke Rehabilitation
Ernest L. Rossi, Ph.D.

Hypnosis is therapy

Hypnosis in and of itself is not therapy.  No more than sleep is. Hypnosis is a tool that can be used for personal development, therapeutic, clinical, or entertainment purposes, and can also be used in self-hypnosis.  It is what you do with hypnosis that creates changes and promotes well-being.  Simply invoking a trance does not create the desired changes – however beneficial the peaceful state of hypnosis may be to your brain.  Although hypnosis can be used in so many beneficial and helpful ways, it is clearly not a magical cure-all.

Hypnosis Feels Like...

Others have said…


  • Some say it reminds them of a state of mind they naturally drift into from time-to-time (like a daydream)
  • Some say it’s like sleeping but being awake at the same time
  • Others describe it as a very pleasant relaxation
  • Like being “in the zone”
  • Some say they heard everything
  • Others say they don’t remember anything after the relaxation part
  • Loss of awareness or feeling in parts of their body
  • Many say they gently drifted in and out, like waves
  • Some say their limbs felt really heavy,
  • Others, very light as if they were floating
  • Some say they felt very focused
  • Some experience a distortion in the passage of time
  • Others feel cheerfully acquiescent
  • I don’t know why I lifted my arm, I just felt like doing it
  • Like being in a meditative state
  • It felt so good I wanted to stay longer!
  •  … the list goes on

What will you feel?

Senses in Hypnosis

(*some schools of thought believe we potentially have many more than 5 senses!)


We use our senses to perceive the world, and in turn to represent our experience to ourselves.  Visual, kinesthetic and auditory are considered to be our primary senses.  We use all of our primary senses all the time, but we also tend to favour some over others. If you are not aware or uncertain which sense you favor, it will become more and more apparent to you as you undergo hypnosis.


The sense or senses that you favor play a role in the hypnotic induction (i.e. the method or approach to inducing hypnosis).  Here is how: if you favor your visual sense, then a preferred method of entering into trance for you might be a guided visualization or an emphasis on images.  However, the individual who favors, say their kinesthetic sense would respond more powerfully to a relaxation or to an induction that emphasizes that they “sense” or “feel” something.


The important fact to take-away from this knowledge is that you can always make the induction fit you and your predominant sense.  In other words, make use of the sense that comes most naturally to you.  If the hypnotist says visualize a garden, but your natural sense is kinesthetic, then simply sense what it feels like to be in a garden (do not get caught-up with seeing the garden).  One is not better than another.  Always help yourself by allowing your predominant sense to take over, and the rest will follow.


What makes sense is what comes naturally to you!

5 Revealing Facts about Stage Hypnosis

… Stage hypnosis and Hypnotherapy are not the same!


  1. In a stage setting, the person who volunteers is, firstly, volunteering while in a normal conscious state to be on a stage.  They are choosing to perform.  They may be the type of person who is comfortable in front of an audience or simply want to let-loose.
  2. Secondly, participants are selected (or pre-selected) because they are highly suggestible subjects.  This means they are pre-screened and selected because they are readily hypnotizable.
  3. Thirdly, they are curious and open to the process. They are curious enough to find out how it feels to be hypnotized, and open to experiencing it on stage.  They frequently respond to a call to come up on stage only if they truly want to be hypnotized.
  4. Fourthly, being on stage and not knowing what happens next, they are prepared to follow the suggestions that are given to them.  They are on-the-spot while on stage!
  5. Finally, that which they are asked to perform, does not challenge their moral code.  In other words, they are not doing something which they would otherwise feel is morally unacceptable.

Careful selection 
works to ensure the entertaining results of stage hypnosis.

Additional forces at play.  Social pressures and group dynamics also assist the stage hypnotist, and she/he takes full advantage.

Of course, in an office setting the hypnotist does not select clients from an audience.  Clients who consult with a hypnotist do not come for entertainment.  They are there for more personally challenging reasons.  Curiously, this challenge sometimes translates into an underlying resistance on their part.  Although counter-productive, this affirms the client’s control. The hypnotist in this case must work through the resistance with the client – while the stage hypnotist immediately dismisses the person back to their seat.  Hypnotherapy is more than simply being hypnotized!


Does that clarify the difference?

Let’s Summarize

    In 7…


  1. Typically, the first consultation will focus on information gathering.  In order to effectively work with new clients, relevant facts and background information are required.  It is an indication that your hypnotist is well-trained.  The first consultation is also an opportunity to communicate additional information as well as respond to any questions the client may have.  So come equipped with any and all questions you may have for me.  Rest assured that deep work is not conducted in the first session.
  2. Most important:  hypnosis is not a magic pill or miracle cure.  This cannot be stressed enough.  It is not a passive cure-all process that is done to you.  It is a collaborative process – it’s important to be present and to work with your hypnotist.  Communicate concerns and participate in the process.  You want the process to be empowering.  Let it happen, and it will happen.
  3. Your motivation can enhance or hinder the results. The intention and clarity behind your goal is important because it ultimately supports your goal, or hinders it. The latter is an indication that a conflict exists.  Change is difficult when there is a deeper or hidden conflict. Whether it is about entering the hypnotic trance, feeling comfortable with your hypnotist, or experiencing wavering or conflicting intentions, if you sense any of this, speak to your hypnotist about it. There are ways to resolve such conflicts (this may even open up new possibilities).  Hypnosis will not always proceed as planned. The point is to resolve conflict in order to achieve your goal. Then, you can focus on life as it will be. Do you have the will for change?
  4. Prior experience with meditation is good preparation, but not a requirement.  If you are at ease with going inside or just curious, then you are well on your way!  If you have any apprehensions about this, speak to your hypnotist.  Perhaps misconceptions may be at work here, which can be dealt with.  An open-minded spirit is a great start.
  5. Make use of your predominant sense, and what works best for you.  Not everyone sees clear images under hypnosis.  Earlier we covered the five physical senses and identified that most people have one or more predominant sense.  Focus on the sense you favor and use it to help you enrich your experience.  Go ahead, help yourself!   Each of us experiences hypnosis in our own way.  So deepen your experience by focusing on your senses.  Try focusing on your breath.  Follow your instinct and know that there is no wrong way.
  6. Longer term results may require reinforcement.  Changing behavior or patterns may require different hypnotic approaches or various techniques.  There are numerous approaches and techniques that a hypnotist may use (such as: suggestion, metaphor, hypnotic rehearsal, ideomotor, regression, hypnotic dream work, etc).  The choice will depend on a number of factors from the hypnotist’s own preferences to the client’s responsiveness.  However, given the immediate success of any technique, life experiences may either alter the result, or present new challenges that were not previously dealt with.  Reinforcement or homework may be required.
  7. Hypnosis is not a substitute for psychotherapy.  Interesting though, previous experience with a skilled psychotherapist/psychologist is good background for hypnosis sessions.  This is because the client who has undergone psychological therapy is more likely to be comfortable exploring their conscious mind and feelings, and understands or has begun to understand the reasons behind their challenges, and  may have already explored their cognitive beliefs.  They are now ready for change at a different level.  Hypnosis is not a substitute for traditional therapy.  If hypnosis is not for you, you will be advised accordingly, and be referred to a psychotherapist/psychologist, or other health professional.

Make change happen.

3 Key Points Before
You Start

  1. You have a definable goal in mind for the hypnosis session. You are single-minded about your goal.
  2. If this is not the case, then intervening sessions to explore the source of the conflict may be required before proceeding. Change may be thwarted when the client is of two minds regarding their goal.  That is, there may be an unstated belief, or a hidden incentive to maintain the old ways.  This may require resolution (either using techniques such as conflict-resolution under hypnosis or by the client making a mindful decision regarding the conflict).
  3. Coming to the sessions with an open-mind facilitates the process.  Inflexible or preconceived expectations can hinder the subconscious from taking the lead. Instead, allow the response to just emerge, rather than searching consciously for it or directing it with preconceptions.  Let it happen … and it will happen.

Any uncertainty, concerns, or questions ? – Let your hypnotist know before you begin!