Different hypnotherapists have different opinions on eye closure during hypnosis. I believe it is possible to hypnotise a person with their eyes open. This may sound rather strange, I’m sure, because the public perception of hypnosis often involves the picture of a person with their eyes closed looking almost like they are asleep. Once hypnosis is brought on, however, people can be asked to open their eyes while they remain in a hypnotic state. I often do this in my one-to-one hypnotherapy sessions.
Remember that hypnosis is a concentrated state of attention. It’s a naturally occurring phenomenon. Have you ever been listening to person who just keeps going on and on and on, when suddenly your mind kind of strays off the conversation and takes you on a journey somewhere else? You can feel like your miles away from the moment in front of you, even though you have your eyes open. You can physically see the room around you, but mentally you’re some place entirely different. It’s hypnosis.
When I watch a film or read an interesting book, I tend to disappear into the story – all while my eyes are open. I go into that world and it takes over my reality to some extent. Often some of the films can even get me to the point where I react to them emotionally because I am so involved in what I am seeing with my eyes. This state is similar to that experienced in hypnosis, and obviously you don’t have to close your eyes to experience it.
Working with this idea, I often have people open their eyes in an individual hypnotherapy session. I will lead the person through an induction, and when I feel that they are in a reasonably deep state of hypnosis, I ask them to open their eyes. At this time we can have a conversation and do some therapeutic work, yet they remain hypnotised.
In recorded self hypnosis downloads, because I’m not there literally in the room with the person, I find it’s better to have formal eye closure though. By keeping the eyes shut you cut off your main sensory stimulus. Without this visual stimuli it’s much easier to block out distractions and more readily concentrate on yourself and the suggestions being given in hypnosis. When your eyes are closed your imagination is naturally enhanced, allowing for creative relaxation to take place and for your unconscious mind to be more open.
In summary, while it is possible to experience hypnosis with your eyes open, in self-hypnosis sessions the benefits are more easily realised when the eyes are closed.
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