How to Stop Hypnosis

Written By

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Updated:

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How To Stop Hypnosis

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Hypnosis is a state of focused concentration and increased suggestibility, where a person becomes more responsive to suggestions made by a hypnotist.

While hypnosis can be used positively for goals like quitting smoking or losing weight, it also raises ethical concerns around consent and control.

Fortunately, there are methods to prevent falling under hypnosis or to snap out of a hypnotic trance.

Recognizing Trance Induction Techniques

The first step to countering hypnosis is understanding how hypnotists try to induce a trance state. Some common techniques include:

  • Progressive Relaxation – Guiding the subject to relax muscle groups one by one
  • Fixed Gazing – Having the subject stare at a point to narrow focus
  • Confusion Techniques – Rapid, confusing verbal routines to overload the mind
  • Tiring Suggestions – Repeated statements that eyes are getting heavy

Being aware of these tricks makes you less likely to slip into trance. Check if the person is using scripts to relax you or encourage your mind to drift.

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Avoid Focus and Passivity

Hypnosis requires intense, focused attention along with mental and physical passivity. Avoid these to stop being hypnotized:

Remain Mentally Active

  • Ask questions – Engage your critical thinking
  • Set your own goals – Don’t just passively accept suggestions
Ways to Stay Mentally Active
• Ask questions
• Set your own goals
• Count backwards

Stay Physically Active

  • Make subtle movements – Tap fingers, wiggle toes
  • Shift positions – Adjust arms, legs, body

Actively using both mind and body makes hypnosis induction difficult.

YouTube video

Speak Up Assertively

You always have a right to assert your boundaries. Some key phrases include:

  • “I would like to pause for now.”
  • “I don’t feel comfortable going further.”
  • “No thank you, I do not want to do that.”

Reclaim control by clearly verbalizing consent and willingness – or reluctance – to continue.

Counter Suggestions and Snap Out

If you realize you’ve entered a trance-like state, you can take immediate steps:

Counter Suggestions

Mentally or subtly verbally disagree with the hypnotist’s ideas. This can dampen their influence.

Physical Triggers

Use sensations to rouse yourself:

  • Bite your tongue
  • Dig fingernails into palm
  • Stamp feet

The discomfort helps break fixation and reinforces self-control.

Get Up and Leave

Simply standing up and walking out rapidly ends the session. State you do not wish to participate.

Taking a stand against coercive hypnosis is perfectly reasonable self-care.

Stopping Hypnotic Trance

Establish Explicit Consent

The most fundamental way to avoid unwanted hypnosis is ensuring explicit, ongoing consent:

  • Clarity – Define the specific process and goals
  • Check-Ins – Pause periodically to affirm willingness
  • Empowerment – Highlight right to withdraw consent anytime

With clear expectations, a responsible hypnotist will collaborate respectfully with you.

Questions to Ask Before Consenting

Question
* What is your training and experience?
* Can you explain how this hypnotic process works?
* What results are you aiming to achieve?
* Will I maintain awareness and control throughout?

Informed, enthusiastic consent prevents ethical issues.

Conclusion

Ultimately, defending against unwanted hypnosis comes down to asserting your autonomy. Maintain an active, questioning attitude focused on your own goals and boundaries.

Speak up whenever you feel pressured or uncomfortable. With knowledge of hypnotic techniques plus strong self-confidence, you can avoid being hypnotized against your will.

References:

  1. Gruzelier, J. (2000). Unwanted effects of hypnosis: a review of the evidence and its implications. Contemporary Hypnosis, Wiley Online Library. Available at: Link
  2. Green, J.P., & Lynn, S.J. (2023). Hypnosis for the treatment of smoking. PsycNET. Available at: Link
  3. Yapko, M.D. (2011). Mindfulness and hypnosis: The power of suggestion to transform experience. Google Books. Available at: Link
  4. Barnier, A.J., Dienes, Z., & Mitchell, C.J. (2008). How hypnosis happens: New cognitive theories of hypnotic responding. In The Oxford handbook of hypnosis. Google Books. Available at: Link

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About the author

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Mindful living for a happier, healthier you. I’m a writer and mental health advocate in Warsaw, Poland, with five years working as a therapist. I hold a psychology degree from the University of Warsaw. I specialize in writing about mental health, using my experiences and academic background to educate and inspire others. In my free time, I volunteer at a Disability Learning Center and go for nature walks. My writing aims to break down mental health stigma and help others feel understood. Social

1 thought on “How to Stop Hypnosis”

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