(Art by Acro/ Used with their permission. Go check them out!)

The building block upon which all hypnosis thrives. Trance is that special space where your mind opens to suggestion, a half-conscious state that isn’t quite total lucidity, but isn’t the full oblivion of sleep either. Every tranceformation begins with a good trance, to allow the suggestions to be internalized, absorbed; to become a part of you. But for so many subjects, both Novices and Veterans, they have no clue what a “Good” trance actually is. I’ve worked with many subjects who listen to files and play with hypnotists, but they always have this doubt. They are never quite sure when they’ve gone under or what they should be feeling because they don’t experience things in the way their other subject peers or hypnotic media tells them they should.

It’s such a tricky thing to work with; After all, there is no empirical measure of “tranced-ness” and what could be more subjective an experience than the perception of your own mind when you drift in that liminal space between waking and dreaming.

It is like searching in a dark room looking for a texture of some mysterious fabric that someone else in another dark room has described as essential, despite also being blind and functionally clueless themselves.

So what does trance look like? Feel like? The experience of trance is as varied and diverse as the subjects who seek it and the hypnotists who induce it and so much is up to the individual subject/hypnotist dynamic. The texture of the voice, the choice of words, the emotional state of all involved. But I’ve come across some fairly common shared experiences.

Maybe it is a subtle pressure that builds in your head, spreading to your body like a psychic safety blanket.
Perhaps it is the dizzying whirl as the whole world drops away and the hypnotist spins a new fantasy to get lost in.
For others it is an inky darkness of near total sleep (that in the greek tradition was governed by Hypnos) that the subject wrangles control of so that when they hear the word “AWAKEN” they can spring back to life.

But for others there is no sensation, there is no fantasy. They simply sit and listen and when their hypnotist snaps them back to reality they feel only that they’ve been sitting down for a while. Maybe time has passed a little more quickly or slowly than they thought. There is the smallest twinge of disappointment that they didn’t dive into the total mindbending fantasy that they long for. But little do they realize that the words have still stuck. The suggestions have still taken hold deep down in their psyche even if it didn’t seem like it worked. For subjects like these always seem to do well with post-hypnotic suggestions. Turning words into action even if they don’t register that it wasn’t originally their idea.

So what is a “Good” trance? The best trance is any one you have with a hypnotist that you trust and care for. But good trance comes in all shapes and sizes, and even if you don’t think you’re being programmed because you don’t completely black out and forget the past 30 minutes; rest assured, it has still had an effect.

Keep your eyes open to the potential effects, especially for transformative hypnotic suggestions. They compound and build and get stronger no matter what.
As for experiences remember that your mind sometimes needs a test run and that redoing the same or similar experiences over and over wears a rut in your mind that can often amplify them.