What is Hypnosis?

What is Hypnosis? by Tom Fortes Mayer is the third title in the What Is? series, a new series of fresh, accessible mind, body, spirit guides from Watkins Publishing. This book explores the fascinating phenomenon of hypnosis, revealing what the term really means, demystifying the topic and debunking the frequent myths of hypnosis as something only done on stage or for entertainment.


Tom Fortes Mayer

This is an edited extract of a conversation between Kelly Thompson, development editor of the What Is? series, and Tom Fortes Mayer, author of this title.

The full conversation is available for you to listen on iTunes.

Hypnosis is the art and science of having a good day.
– Tom Fortes Mayer

Kelly: As soon as I started developing this series, I knew I would love to include hypnosis as one of the titles and to commission you as the author Tom, based on our work together on your previous book The FreeMind Experience. So to start today, could you tell us a little about how you first encountered hypnosis and what it means to you?

Tom: I had a massive epiphany just after the millennium, 16 years ago: a moment of unbridled happiness and epiphany. And since that moment I have been obsessed with happiness. I experienced what can happen in a person’s life so that one minute they believe one thing and the next minute they feel completely differently about themselves and about life. It was this obsession with rapid transformation that led me to the world of hypnosis. And during the sixteen years I’ve been studying what makes people change in this way, I’ve found that hypnosis is by far the quickest tool to change a person’s life. Since discovering that, I’ve just been so passionate about the subject. I really believe in it.

Kelly: What would your ‘elevator pitch’ be for hypnosis?

Tom: My simple description of hypnosis is simply that it‘s the art and science of having a good day.

Kelly: I love that.

Tom: It’s an incredible tool that allows you to recognize that your state of mind is the key to everything, and it’s the techniques and understanding of how you can change that rapidly. When you’re having a good day, you know that you’re involved in it, right? And when you’re having a bad day, you know it’s somehow you that’s doing it, yet you just can’t get out of that. Well, hypnosis is a body of tools that enables you to understand your mind and use it to improve what you do.

Kelly: That’s a lovely explanation. While developing the book we talked a lot about debunking myths that exist around MBS topics and how this seems particularly relevant for hypnosis given the many misguided preconceptions about it. Could you talk a little bit about this?

Tom: Basically from what people have seen on TV it looks like when you’re hypnotized you’re asleep. It looks like you don’t have any control and that the hypnotist has total control over you. Some other people think it’s a kind of a manipulative tool that people use in sales or to get someone into bed. So it has a really sleazy reputation which is supported by a lot of stage hypnotists who court the glamour of the perceived ‘power. But it’s just not like that as a tool. It’s really not like that at all.

Kelly: I completely get that. Having experienced hypnosis for myself, I can certainly vouch for its authenticity. One of the other things that strikes me is that people often think about it as a tool that’s only useful if you have a specific problem that you want to overcome, for example, to get thinner, to stop smoking and things like that. What are your thoughts on that?

Tom: Well yes, it’s useful for those things. But for me there are so many other applications. It can accelerate your understanding of who you are. It can make you much more emotionally intelligent and a lot more emotionally resilient. It can deepen your spiritual practices. It can improve your relationships and your self-awareness… It really is a rich tool for both personal and professional development. Also with regards to performance, people are unaware of the fact that if you use hypnosis before you perform – whether in sports, presenting or any artistic endeavours – it can create these extraordinary flow states where you’re way more artistic, more eloquent, more able… It’s hugely underutilized.

Kelly: One of the other topics you cover in the book is the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy, so could you say a little bit about that?

Tom: Yes, sure. Hypnosis is the state of being in a suggestible, relaxed, open-minded state, which can be used for lots of things: it can be used for relaxation, for leisure, for entertainment… The world of hypnosis is wide-reaching. Hypnotherapy, on the other hand, is very specifically when you’re using the state of hypnosis to help someone overcome difficulties, achieve goals and enjoy greater levels of health, happiness and harmony.


The full conversation will be soon available for you to listen on iTunes.whay-is-hypnosis

For more information about the book and the What Is series visit the What Is Series Website.

The book is now available on our website, online and in stores.

Kelly Thompson is a Development Editor at Watkins Publishing. Kelly has worked in non-fiction publishing for over 15 years – developing, commissioning, managing and editing a wide range of books for publishers including Carroll and Brown, Dorling Kindersley, Carlton, Gaia, Hamlyn, Quarto, Quintessence and Duncan Baird Publishing. She has been in her current role as Development Editor here at Watkins since 2013 where her specialty areas are holistic health, personal development and inspirational thought, as she loves to make books that can really help to transform readers’ lives for the better. Kelly is also Associate Lecturer at Falmouth University, where she mentors students specialising in non-fiction on the MA course in Professional Writing.

Tom Fortes Mayer is a Harley Street hypnotherapist, author and international speaker. He is passionate about helping people lead happier lives through the art and science of hypnosis, in which he has a post-graduate diploma from the highly acclaimed London College of Clinical Hypnosis. He is also trained in Gestalt counselling, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, EMDR and EFT. Every day he helps people be more relaxed, effective and successful by dissolving the limiting beliefs and negative repetitive behaviours that often hold them back. He truly believes that the process of bringing your best to life should be a total, wide-eyed ride of pleasure, passion and joy. He is a regular contributor on radio, has contributed to various television programmes, has spoken at conferences worldwide and is always looking for new, exciting ways to bring happiness tools into the mainstream.