got “stuck” in hypnosis and couldn’t get out

by Bob Walsh


thanks for all the people who submitted questions – I promise I’ll get to them one by one, so if you haven’t received an answer yet, it’s in the pipeline :-)

Michelle sent me an email and asked about “getting stuck” in a trance.

I am interested in hypnosis and I want to get in better touch with my subconscious. I believe it could help me to solve some of the problems I face. But I am concerned what happens if I can not get out of trance? I know it might sound funny, but I am one of those people who have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning and I heard that hypnosis makes you feel very comfortable and calm and safe and cosy. And I feel that way at morning in bed when I don’t want to get out. And I am afraid, that maybe when I get hypnotized and the feeling is even stronger, maybe my mind likes it so much that it doesn’t want to leave. What happens then? Is it like being in a coma? Sorry if it’s a stupid question, but I don’t know.

Ok, first of all Michelle: no, it’s not a stupid question at all, and I know that many people are concerned about that at first.

From the way you write, I think you might be a introvert person who has a few good friends, rather than lots of aquaintances. I don’t want to get all psycho-analytic here, but your language reveals somethings about your personality, and opening up to others more might be a good way to balance out some of your strengths a little more. Just see if that makes sense to you – if not, don’t worry about it.

But what you really wrote me about was: is it possible to get stuck in hypnosis?

And my answer: yes, it absolutely is. I’ve seen it happen, and it was quiet scary at that time. This was during an hypnosis workshop, and we split up in groups of 4 to practice an hypnotic induction technique. One person was the hypnotic subject and sat on a chair in the center. One person left, one person right, and one in front, and then each of the three “hypnotists” has one simple task to put the subject into a deep trance. It’s quiet a hefty method to go deep fast, and this was exactly what happened there. The subject went into a deep somnabulistic trance fast. The eyes rolled to the back of the head and you could only see the white part of the eye, no pupils (that’s always kind of freaky…). We induced an arm catalepsy and the right arm was hanging high up in the air above the guys head. We installed subconscious fingersignals and experimented a bit, and everything went really well. When the time came to end, want wanted to “get him back” and gave him suggestions like “and with each breath, you can slowly return to the here and now, in a relaxed and consciously aware state”, etc, etc. And then added “and I’m gonna count backwards from 10 to 1, and on one you’re gonna wake up, open your eyes and feel refreshed and alert” and did the counting thing. 3, 2, 1… nothing. Did the finger snapping thing. Told him: “It’s all right to come out any time you please – now, in 5 seconds, or even 10 seconds, or if you really want to stretch it out, make that 12 seconds until you wake up”… nothing. tried all sorts of things. Nothing. That guy still had his eyes rolled back. Now it got kind of spooky, so we called the seminar leader. He too tried some things – to no avail. Finally he said: “Ok, he just needs to take his time. Just stay with him and let me know if something happens. He’s doing fine, the subconscious is taking care of him, but just be there for him.” And then went on with the seminar. Now, I was sitting there and got kind of upset about that. Obviously the teacher couldn’t get him out of trance neither, and now he just went on with the seminar and put me in charge of being responsible for this zoomed out guy. 30 minutes passed… nothing happened. 45 minutes passed… nothing happened. And I got seriously concerned. The guy still had his arm above his head, and if nothing else, I was sure he’d end up with a hell of sore muscles. Finally, he nodded his head, his eyes went back to normal, breathing changed, he looked at his arm, smiled and put it back down. Then he looked at me and I asked him if everything was ok. He replied: “Sure, why? Where are the others?”

I have no idea what that guy did, being stuck in a trance for almost an hour, not noticing a thing with his arm up above his head and eyes rolled back, but he was perfectly fine afterwards.

Later I learned that these things can happen – but in fact, what the seminar leader said was really true. The subconsciousness “takes care” of these people, and it really does a better job than the conscious mind ever could. Sometimes the subconscious mind may decide that there is something that it needs to resolve, and doesn’t want the conscious mind to interfere, but that’s ok. The only dangerous thing about is that THE OTHER people – the people who are still conscious see what is happening and freak out about it. But that’s about it.

So yes – you CAN get stuck in a hypnotic trance. But no, it’s not a bad thing, or a dangerous thing. Your subconscious will keep track of the time and if you have an appointment coming up, it will even wake you up on time. I know it sounds funny, but the subconscious mind really is the world’s best personal assistant – so trust her!

Hope this clarified some things for you. You absolutely can learn and experience hypnotic states, all it takes is the right approach – and once your subconscious has taken over, it will do what’s best for you.

Yours hypnotically,
Bob Walsh

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