People who haven't undergone hypnotherapy yet or who only know hypnosis from movies and stage shows often ask what hypnosis feels like.
That is a surprisingly difficult question to answer!
I cover this more in depth in my "What Is Hypnosis?" guide. But, if you ask 10 different hypnotists to define hypnosis you will get 15 different answers.
That's not because they're all crazy! It's become some people treat "hypnosis" like a verb. Some people treat it like a noun. And some people just mean different things by it depending on the context.
I consider hypnosis a state of mind where your attention is very focused, you let everything else go for a while, and you are receptive to suggestions.
How that feels depends entirely on the kind of suggestions you receive.
Suggestions Determine Experience
If your hypnotist uses a lot of suggestions about relaxation, then you will feel relaxed. This is the most common technique for inducing hypnosis. Most hypnotherapy clients feel a sort of focused relaxation.
Your hypnotist does not have to use those suggestions, though. The suggestions may involve heightened attention and focus. Or confidence. Or laughter and amusement.
Almost all of my hypnotic inductions do utilize relaxation. I don't have to do it that way but it seems like a nice gift for my clients. Nearly everyone I help could use more relaxation in their life!
Many Ways to Achieve Hypnosis
There are dozens of techniques for inducing hypnosis and nearly infinite ways to enter a state of hypnosis.
One hypnotist may simply talk to you for a while and when they're done you are transformed without even realizing anything happened. Most of the time that just feels like you had a good conversation.
Another hypnotist may use confusion techniques, asking you questions that sound like they make sense but you can't quite understand. That can make you feel a little dizzy until the hypnotist guides you through it.
Some hypnotists use a very high energy and active style. This may feel like you are listening to a motivational speaker who is "pumping you up". Because you are!
And maybe you just listen to a story for a while and find yourself learning and growing in ways you didn't even realize. And that can just feel good.
As with so many things in life, the answer to this question is: It Depends.
I use a number of different techniques in my hypnotherapy practice, myself. Regardless of which techniques I use, almost every client I see experiences a calm, comfortable, and deeply relaxed state during the formal hypnotic portion of their sessions.
I hope that answered the question for you.
Thanks for reading!