Although hypnosis has become more mainstream, it continues to have a bit of an image problem with some individuals. For a few people, hypnosis is, at best, humiliation for entertainment, or at worst, a dark art of mind- control and manipulation. Although the truth is much more prosaic – hypnosis is simply a way of working with naturally occurring states of mind – these misconceptions persist, so it’s useful to have a look at some of them and demolish a few myths along the way.
PEOPLE WILL DO THINGS AGAINST THEIR WILL UNDER HYPNOSIS (I.E., IMMORAL OR CRIMINAL ACTS):
You are awake during the process. No one will do anything under hypnosis that they will not do when unhypnotized.
The dark side of the stage hypnosis idea is that of hypnosis being used to seduce, abuse and otherwise manipulate the innocent into performing immoral or criminal acts. This is quite an old idea, popularized by the character of Svengali in George Du Maurier’s novel Trilby and perpetuated by Hollywood movies ever since.
Again, this is just dramatic license. The founding father of modern hypnotherapy, Milton Erickson, conducted many experiments in which he attempted to make hypnotic subjects perform objectionable or minor criminal acts. Outside of formal laboratory settings, when people felt it was OK to perform such acts because it was “just an experiment”, people simply refused to co-operate in situations where the act might have real consequences.
As Erickson put it, “hypnosis cannot be misused to induce hypnotized persons to commit actual wrongful acts, against themselves or others.”
Immoral people will always act immorally, and moral people will act against their better natures when exposed to lies, trickery and social pressures. But this has nothing to do with hypnosis.
The main thing to remember is that hypnosis is a collaborative process. In order for it to work, it relies on your participation, rather than being the observer. It’s a fundamental and perfectly natural human experience, and a powerfully effective way of gaining more control over our lives.
YOU WILL BLURT OUT YOUR DEEPEST AND DARKEST SECRETS DURING HYPNOSIS:
Hypnosis isn’t a truth drug for a start, people are just as capable of lying under hypnosis as they are at every other time. When you’re in a hypnotic trance state, you’re still aware of everything that’s going on around you (indeed, some studies suggest that you’re actually more aware), so you’re free to say as much or as little as you wish.
Hypnotherapy sessions are kept private and cannot be used for court testimony. It is not an alternative to lie detector tests. Hypnosis cannot force anyone to “tell the truth” or to confess.
THE HYPNOTIST WILL BE ABLE TO CONTROL YOUR MIND:
No one can control your mind, unless you let them. Your Hypnotherapist will give you suggestions that you want to be given, based on the Pre-Hypnotic Interview. At no point during your session will you lose control of your mind. If you hear a suggestion that you don’t agree with, or don’t understand, your subconscious mind will automatically reject it.
Hypnosis is not an unconscious state of sleep. In fact, most people report having a heightened sense of awareness, concentration and focus, and can even hear more acutely during a session.
YOU WILL BE MADE TO PERFORM EMBARRASSING ACTS SUCH AS BARK LIKE A DOG OR WALK LIKE A DUCK:
This assumption is based on Stage Hypnotism and Hollywood fiction. The truth is, these people volunteer to act on stage, and they allow themselves to participate in silly suggestions. Hypnotherapy is a serious process of self- improvement, not entertainment.
YOU CAN GET STUCK IN A HYPNOTIC TRANCE:
This is as likely as being “stuck” in a daydream – it simply never happens. Even if the hypnotist were to walk out in the middle of an induction, the worst that would happen is that the subject would fall asleep and wake up in the normal way.
Hypnosis is very safe and is in fact, a state of hyper-awareness. Any time there is an emergency, a person would naturally be able to come out of the Hypnotic state by opening their eyes, and stretching or speaking.
HYPNOSIS COMES FROM “BLACK MAGIC, OR IS “SUPERNATURAL” OR “SATANIC”:
Hypnosis is a natural state that has been studied scientifically. Hypnotherapists are not Psychics or Palm Readers with “special powers”. Hypnotherapy is based on many years of clinical research by famous Psychologists such as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.
SOME PEOPLE CAN’T BE HYPNOTIZED – I HAVE NEVER BEEN HYPNOTIZED BEFORE:
Every person naturally enters a state of hypnosis at least twice everyday: just before falling asleep at night, and upon awaking every morning, before getting out of bed. Most people easily enter “Environmental Hypnosis” while at the movies, watching TV, driving on the highway, or while reading a good book. Watch how many people wander around like zombies while grocery shopping. They are in a state of hypnosis. Many will have glazed over eyes. You are in a state of hypnosis when you daydream.
HYPNOSIS IS A ONE-TIME CURE:
Results from hypnosis are a residual process and usually not an event. While Hypnosis is a relatively quick method of making permanent improvements, there is no such thing as a one-time “Hypno-Miracle”! Every individual makes progress at his or her own rate.