“Hypnosis puts a person in a trance-like state so that they are more receptive to new suggestion, and better able to manage what is happening to the body or see a problem from a new point of view.”
— Dr. David Speigel
Hypnosis is usually considered an aid to psychotherapy (counseling or therapy), because the hypnotic state allows people to explore uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, and memories they might have deeper in their unconscious mind. In addition, hypnosis enables people to perceive some things differently, such as blocking an awareness of pain.
Hypnosis can be useful in treating:
- Phobias, fears, and anxiety
- Sleep disorders
- Grief and loss
Myths of Hypnosis
There are plenty of myths about hypnosis. It’s a shame
really, as some of these myths put a some people off using hypnosis to help
make positive changes in their lives.
Hypnosis Myth #1 –
Hypnotists have special powers.
Wrong! The thought hypnotists have ‘special powers’
originates from a Hollywood movie type belief. This is understandable as
there’s a deep mystery surrounding hypnosis. The truth is hypnotists don’t have
any special powers. They just have knowledge and experience of humans. With
sufficient effort and practice most people could probably induce hypnosis. Of
course the real skill is in what way you use it, and how you use the hypnotic
state to help people.
Hypnosis Myth #2 –
Hypnosis will only work on certain people.
Wrong! Whilst it’s true that hypnosis can be more useful for
some people, I would say it’s mainly down to the person’s motivation, their
willingness, and their ability to concentrate. As far as I’m concerned everyone
is suggestible to some degree. If you’re interested in something and it’s
something that you want, generally you’re open to its effects. That’s the same
with hypnosis. If you want it to work and you co-operate, then you’ll reap the
benefits of hypnosis.
Hypnosis Myth #3 –
People who get hypnotized are weak minded.
Wrong! It’s quite the opposite. Without doubt it’s the
people who can concentrate well and have a creative imagination that are, if
you want to use the term, the best ‘hypnotic subjects’. These types of people
go into hypnosis easier and deeper than anyone else. We’re all susceptible to
suggestion, but it’s just a matter to what degree. If someone is offering me
something which is useful, then I will work towards achieving it. It would be
really silly to work against something that will give you benefit. So it’s
really not true that people who are hypnotized are gullible or weak minded.
Hypnosis Myth #4 –
When in hypnosis, you can be made to say or do something against your will.
Wrong! Generally, hypnosis is a state of heightened
suggestion. Generally, people won’t do anything which goes against their
personal values or beliefs. What you have to remember about hypnosis is that
it’s not sleep and you’re aware of everything that’s happening around you. If
someone tells you to do something that is really against your values then you
won’t do it. You’ll come out of the state of hypnosis, and in fact it would
you’d almost be shocked out of hypnosis. It’s as simple as that!
Hypnosis Myth #5 –
Hypnosis can be bad for your health.
Wrong! My guess would be that all medical practitioners
would agree on the health benefits of relaxation. Relaxation helps to bring
about a homeostatic balance – a balance within the system, of mind, body and
soul, emotionally and physically. The problem is that a lot of doctors say to
people “you need to learn to relax” but they never really give them the tools
for knowing “how to relax”.
So as far as I’m concerned it can never be bad for your
health, because it’s a naturally occurring state anyway. If you want to feel in
balance within yourself and the world around you, hypnosis is the best state to
Hypnosis Myth #6 –
You can get stuck in hypnosis and be unable to wake up.
Wrong! No one ever gets “stuck” in hypnosis. Remember that
hypnosis is a natural and normal state to be in from time to time. It’s not a
state which is completely alien to us. Of course hypnosis is a subjective
experience. But remember, you’ll never get stuck in hypnosis and be unable to
Hypnosis Myth #7 –
You’re asleep or unconscious when in hypnosis.
Wrong! You’re not asleep and you’re not unconscious, you’re
fully aware of what’s happening around you. Of course everyone’s experience is
slightly different, some people feel light, some people feel heavy, but almost
everyone feels extremely relaxed. Generally, when people are in a deep state of
hypnosis, they feel as if their body has gone to sleep but the mind is still
alert, awake, and aware
Hypnosis Myth #8 –
You’ll become dependent on the hypnotist.
Wrong! Remember, you have a conscious awareness during
hypnosis, and are in full control. If the hypnotist was to ask you to do
anything inappropriate then you’d pull yourself out of it, spontaneously for
most people. The best, most professional and ethical hypnotherapists work in a
way that the makes the client feel empowered rather than working in an
authoritarian way where problems may result.
Hypnosis Myth #9 –
In hypnosis you’ll be able to recall everything that’s ever happened to you.
Wrong! Certain therapists use certain specific techniques
that may help a person remember certain things from the past if that’s going to
be useful for them. Normally there is no real need to go back into a personal
memory or personal history,
Hypnosis Myth #10 –
Hypnosis is dangerous and is the devils work!
I have heard some very religious people talk of hypnosis as
the ‘devils work’. Remember that anything can be used positively and
negatively. It’s not the hypnosis that might be at fault, it’s the operator.
It’s whether a person is professional and ethical.