People ask me this question every stage show that I perform and the answer is yes! What most people don’t know about hypnosis is that we naturally enter in and out of hypnosis everyday, 15 times per day on average. Being hypnotized is focused concentration; this allows suggestions to reach the subconscious part of the mind therefore people respond in ways they normally wouldn’t. People on stage are fully aware of what they are doing and they would never do anything against their will. Being hypnotized is as if your inhibitions are no longer in the way. When the hypnotist delivers suggestions to the subjects on stage, it’s not that they are consciously accepting the suggestion, but rather they are subconsciously not resisting them, allowing them to respond in ways they might not normally respond. In turn, the person on stage follows the hypnotist’s instructions, making it look like he has control over them. If the person on stage had a reason to reject a suggestion such as being asked by the hypnotist to do something immoral or against their beliefs, they would easily say no.
-Gilles Bernard, (CHt, CI)