Hypnosis is a natural state of focus, absorption, and receptivity. It has been utilized by cultures through out time though music, dance, story telling, and the use of altered states to restore the body, mind, and soul. Natural states of hypnosis and absorption are experienced when you are driving and forget to think about where you are going, or when you lose yourself in a thought, memory, or in a movie or book. That sense of "losing one's self" is the relaxing of the boundaries around our usual sense of self. The subconscious mind then becomes open to possibilities.
Since hypnosis is connected to the nervous system, we enter the state anytime we are overwhelmed or stressed–when our thoughts and environments may not be our best. Thus, natural hypnosis often leaves us open to negative suggestions. We become hyper-suggestible to the ideas around us, and also to the thoughts in our own head. With all the negative hypnoses we might have picked up over the years, it makes sense that we might not have the best feelings about our selves and the world around us.
hypnotherapy - or the formal use of hypnosis - could be described as de-hypnosis. It is the process of becoming free from the inaccurate or no longer helpful beliefs about ourselves and the world as well as the behaviors that went along with them. We can then consciously decide what sorts of beliefs, feelings, and knowings that we would like to have in our subconscious, reclaiming the power of our mind. Hypnotherapy also includes the use of imagery and explicitly relating to realms of memory, and energy. This can help build resources into the nervous system, emotional body, and spirit.
Contrary to common misconceptions, we stay fully aware and in control while in hypnosis. You can talk, open your eyes, and come out at anytime - in fact, given the concept of de-hypnosis - "waking yourself up" might be one of the most valuable skills you learn. Hypnosis is not mind-reading and won't cause you to say or remember things that you do not wish to. You use it just as you need and desire. The purpose is to return you to your own power and knowing. You may feel many things, or you may not feel like much has taken place at all, but you will likely emerge feeling more relaxed, energized, more confident, and more clear.