Hypnosis can be regarded as a focussing of attention within oneself or on another place with a reduced awareness of your surroundings. A metaphor is to see with a spotlight rather than a floodlight. This altered focus of attention can be produced alone (self-hypnosis) or assisted by a therapist (hetero-hypnosis)
We often focus our attention inside our mind (on our thoughts or memories) or on our body. This includes such states as a daydream, getting lost in a book or film or deeply involved in a conversation. When one is undertaking such activities as jogging or swimming one focuses inwards either on ones body or gets lost in thoughts. All sporting activities have the concept of being “in the zone” where one focuses closely on the activity to the exclusion of everything else. These states can be regarded as naturalistic trance.
When we use hypnosis with clients they are already capable of naturalistic trance states. We need to simply teach them how to enter such states quickly and at will. However the skill then comes in working with clients in order to teach them how to use these techniques in order to change how they think, feel or behave in certain circumstances. If one is using hypnosis for anything other than relaxation it is advisable to only work with a therapist who has the skills to treat your particular problem without hypnosis as therapeutic skills are essential when using hypnosis with clients.