There are many myths
The guards in between represent the protection mechanism of your subconscious mind. They don't let anything pass through unless it is safe to do so. And for good reason!
What is a hypnotic state?
You are in an out of hypnosis all day long. The first state of hypnosis of the day is when you awaken in the morning. Before you start critically thinking about work, parents, kids, emails, pets, Facebook, etc. Happiness hint: if you can say to yourself at that moment 'today is going to be a good day', then that is how your day will go!
"At the centre of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want" - Lao Tzu
The next step is what is known as a hypnotic 'induction'.
It simply means that you start to wind down and relax with less thinking, criticising and analysing from your conscious mind. Thoughts will come and go but your hypnotherapist is trained to guide you to a more relaxed state, observing your breathing and other signals and guiding you with breathing and visualisation techniques to help you to let go and relax.
The next step is known as 'deepening'.
Your hypnotherapist will offer various visualisation and breathing techniques that are designed to help you to become deeply relaxed, or 'hypnotised'. It is very pleasant and very therapeutic on its own, even without any kind of specific therapeutic intervention. Simply taking away stress in a person's life can resolve many issues on its own. It is good for you to relax deeply.
Your breathing will now be nice and slow and even and your muscles in your face will be visibly relaxed. Your subconscious mind is receptive to suggestions and the therapist can offer suggestions that will help you to get to your goal. Your subconscious mind will know which ones it wants to accept and which ones to reject…
You are always in control
As an analogy, your hypnotherapist is like a tourist guide. She might offer a brochure with various choices of marvellous holidays. Which one would you choose? A luxury cruise, a backpacking adventure, a shopping holiday, dancing and partying, a romantic destination, etc.?
It's all up to you.
If the one that you really want isn't even in the brochure, your mind will make the quantum leap and work out all the details for you. It's very clever.
Positive suggestions and 'post-hypnotic' suggestions.
While you are in hypnosis, as a very general example, your hypnotherapist may suggest several times that you are taking very good care of your body, that you are making sure you get enough sleep, good food and exercise. If your subconscious mind thinks that all of this is a good idea, it will accept it, on a subconscious level, where habits become automatic.
If the hypnotherapist asked you for your bank account number, for example, you would think 'what the heck?' and you would wake up and the hypnosis would be over because trust is broken.
A technique known as an 'exduction' is used to guide you back into the present moment.
Your hypnotherapist might recap on some important points and then count backwards, guiding you to wake up feeling wonderful, relaxed, refreshed and fully alert and taking away all your new learnings with you.
That's it in a nutshell! There is a lot more to the wonderful world of hypnosis and many powerful techniques that can be used to help you to get where you want to go. I have some favourite ones that are really effective such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which involves tapping on meridian points.