When you're hypnotized you're still you-- but with the added suggestion that you are hypnotized. If you happen to have an "Alice-in-Wonderland" imagination (and some people do without realizing it), then accepting the suggestion that you are hypnotized makes it possible for you to experience things with your imagination which we normally regard as beyond our abilities, as depicted in the picture above.
Sarbin regarded hypnosis ia as a social role, and he defined hypnotizability as "role taking aptitude." The degree of organismic involvement in hypnotic role taking also varies, of course, depending on the person, the situation, and prevailing cultural expectations. This explains how, in Mesmer's time, people went into convulsions and fainted. Now, in accordance with prevailing cultural expectations, they usually experience a trance -- unless it is specifically suggested that they will not, as in hyperempiria.
When it comes to bringing about permanent changes, if the necessary ingredients for change in the narrative of one's personal life are present, then accepting the suggestion that one is hypnotized can make it possible to change this narrative more easily. For example, a nurse I used to work with in a screening center asked me to hypnotize her to stop smoking, which I was happy to do. She mentioned that one of her high school teachers used to hypnotize her regularly (apparently as a demonstration subject in his classes), so it was clear that she was imaginatively gifted.
We didn't have time for the usual stop-smoking program that I use, with three visits and all the rest. But, knowing her as I did, it was clear that if she was ready to stop she was going to do so, with hypnosis providing the necessary catalyst regardless of the time and format which were available to us -- so I just gave her the usual stop-smoking suggestions, with the usual repetition and elaboration. As I recall, I told her that her desire to smoke would vanish, that the cues which would normally awaken a desire to smoke would no longer be effective in doing so; that she could not be suddenly surprised by taking a cigarette without thinking of it; and that she would feel strong feelings of pride, achievement, and accomplishment at the fact that she had become a non-smoker,
To my consternation, the next day, when I asked her how she had done, and she told me that she had gone home and smoked an entire pack of cigarettes! But six months later, when I casually mentioned something about her smoking, she told me, "Oh, I haven't smoked since the time you hypnotized me."`
"But didn't you go home and smoke up a whole pack?" I asked her.
"Yes," she replied. "And then I stopped."
Having worked side by side on the same unit with her for quite some time, I realized why she had responded the way she did. Her approach to authority was basically confrontational. In her everyday work environment, she made it obvious to everyone around her that, "Nobody's going to tell ME what to do!" So, when I gave her suggestions under hypnosis that she was going to stop smoking, her life narrative required that she had to first go home and deliberately smoke up a whole pack just to prove that I wasn't telling HER what to do. Then, once she had made the point to her own satisfaction, she could comply with my suggestions because she was ready to change.