Hypnotic power and mind control

The ‘belief’ in the greater community is often that Hypnosis is a ‘powerful tool’ that can be used to manipulate and control others.  

Stage hypnotists play on it.  Magicians play on it.  Unethical hypnotherapists play on it.  

Despite the explosion of scientific knowledge on hypnosis, the field continues to be plagued by this misinformation and sometimes dangerous mythology.

It is part of the allure of learning hypnosis for many – how can they covertly control or influence others?  Pick up dates, succeed in sales, gain power?  Look on the internet and there are so many products and courses for people who want to learn to manipulate (and are really just being manipulated….)

I saw a show on television this week with Derryn Brown.  ‘Experiments’.   In fact, it was nothing of the sort.  Mr Brown is an illusionist and entertainer, and his proposition (that someone can be controlled against their will to kill another with hypnosis) has been so clearly proven false.  However, as a great mentalist, illusionist and entertainer, Mr Brown made it appear possible for him to do.  And it was entertaining.

The problem for me is that these shows HARM what I try and do, and the people that I could help.  If people think that coming to a session of hypnosis involves me having control over them, having power over their behaviour, having the ability to manipulate them now and at any time in the future, then why would they trust me to help them solve their own problems with the aid of hypnosis?

The truth (proven in many clinical trials and experiments) is that the client is totally in control of their own experience.  They can come in or go out of trance at any time.  They have power over their thoughts, their images, their processes.  In a way, the therapist using hypnosis is ‘guiding’ the client to access parts of their experience and to use this for their benefit.

Hypnosis is a ‘neutral’ phenomenon and it is the quality of the suggestion and therapeutic method applied within hypnosis that makes it either worthwhile or not.

By utilising a strategic therapeutic approach, hypnosis with me is done with a purpose.  The client is ALWAYS 100% in control.  Without their consent, support and permission, nothing I could do as a therapist would have any value.  By strategically addressing the issues and their structure, rapid and long term shifts are entirely possible.

Often I have to spend several minutes assuring clients that the ‘magician’ or stage hypnosis has nothing to do with what I do in my Balwyn clinic.

So as you think about hypnosis, what is your impression?  What have you been led to believe about hypnosis?  As a highly researched and proven therapeutic tool, I would have a wish that it could be considered in its true light and not in the sensationalist frames exemplified by such TV shows.