Scared of hypnosis?
- Hypnosis has been given a bad reputation over history
- Hypnosis is not what many people think
- You cannot be forced in hypnosis to do things against your will or beliefs
- Hypnosis is clinically proven, and is a powerful tool to help people make positive change in their lives
- Don’t let the bad rap on hypnosis stop you from getting help now
Does hypnosis seem scary to you?
Would you let your ideas of hypnosis stop you getting help in changing your life?
Having used hypnosis for many years to help people enact change, I know the positive impact to can have in assisting them. I am also aware that many people either do not understand or are scared of hypnosis. This is a shame, because when hypnosis is understood, it is nothing to fear – and it can even just be considered part of the normal human cognitive process.
The fear of hypnosis
For many people, hypnosis has an aura of ‘mind control’. This is shaped by populist representations of hypnosis in movies, television and stage events. It it seen as a ‘trick’ where a person’s self control is taken by someone with mystical powers.
Stemming from the first stage shows of ‘mesmerism’ and magician’s acts, the idea that someone could take control of your behaviour became the pervasive description of hypnosis.
Even the term hypnosis is somehow misleading – Hypno (sleep) has little to do with what happens when people engage in true hypnosis. Like make things about hypnosis, early misconceptions remain (like it is a type of ‘sleep’) or have been unjustly inflated.
In modern times, things like NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) took elements of therapeutic processes associated with hypnosis and turned them into ‘tricks and techniques’ associated with predatory sales and dating methods. Selling themselves on the ‘power’ that they offer the practitioner to ‘influence’ or change behaviour, they continued to peddle the myth that stops people understanding what hypnosis actually is. To sell their wares, they played up the very worst interpretations of hypnosis to imply they offered something special. You could be the one with the power if you just paid the fee. In truth, NLP is clinically unproven and has led to much of the negative impression associated with hypnosis and its use to help people.
The common threads in all of these misrepresentations is clear: Someone has ‘power’ to take control of your thinking and behaviour. If you engage with hypnosis, you will be at the mercy of the hypnotist who can force you to do things against your will or best interests.
When people with clinical conditions seek help, they often feel ‘out of control’ already – so the idea of someone taking whatever shred of control they have left is just plain scary. It seems to be something from the occult and something potentially dangerous. Why would you trust someone to take such power over you?
The pervasive belief remains only to serve those seeking to look ‘powerful’ and does not represent the truth of hypnosis, or to serve those who could truly benefit from it.
What is hypnosis?
- Have you ever read a book or watched a movie and become so absorbed that you forget the room that you are in?
- Have you ever been so engaged in an activity that you have lost track of time?
- Have you ever focused so intently on one thing that other things happened around you that you simply did not notice?
These are all examples of the lived experience of ‘every day’ hypnosis.
Hypnosis is nothing more than an absorption of focus. All of the myths of hypnosis miss the point – people are engaging in their own hypnotic experiences all the time – within their own control and for their own benefit.
People shift between different levels of absorption and different targets of their absorption all the time. You are absorbed in a movie and then your phone rings. You are in an interesting lecture and then the person next to you starts a conversation with you. You are driving your car and your favourite song comes on the radio.
In each case, the person absorbed is in control of how absorbed they are, and what they are focused on. At any time, they can choose something else. And this is the secret that all of the misrepresentations of hypnosis fails to share – control lies 100% with the person being ‘hypnotised’, not the person with the swinging watch.
Hypnosis cannot make you do things that you don’t want to, get you to change anything that you do not want to, or act against your deeper values and beliefs.
You are in control, and always have the ability to reject any suggestion or idea presented whilst in hypnosis. As an example, have you ever been ‘forced’ by TV advertising to rush out and order something you thought was a waster of time or not of interest to you? The ad can suggest that something is valuable or exciting, but unless you are interested, it does not have any impact.
In Melbourne, there is a thoroughly annoying ad for a tile discount store. I must of heard it one thousand times, but I have never been ‘forced’ to buy tiles. All they can do is suggest – if I was looking for tiles it would increase my awareness of the store, but I would still hold all of my ability to decide. This is the same as being in hypnosis – you can be absorbed in an idea but always retain the control and ability to decide.
So if Hypnosis is a relaxed, absorbed state that is completely natural, then using it in a clinical setting means:
- You are always in full control
- It can only be used with your permission
- It allows access to different resources that you can use to improve your situation.
- It enhances learning
- It shifts you away from the focus on the problem, to focusing on solutions.
Hypnosis is a similar process to guided meditation, self -meditation and mindfulness techniques. They all use the same natural process to enhance focus. Often people find the relaxation and peace associated with this process of massive benefit by itself, without the addition of therapeutic work that can then be done.
Because hypnosis by itself does little – it is what is done in hypnosis which helps you learn, helps you see different choices and to decide to act in line with your own values. It allows you to learn and experience what it would be like to do – before you have to go out into the real world to do it.
The value of hypnosis is absolutely proven and over 1000 clinical studies have been conducted on the process and nature of hypnosis in clinical use.
As always, it is about the intention of the therapist, and your intention is seeking assistance. Hypnosis by itself does not lead to massive change, it is always only what you do in there.
So don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you getting help. Hypnosis empowers quicker, more powerful transformations that you can benefit from. I use hypnosis as a routine clinical tool to enhance the quality of outcomes, often turning multiple sessions into a single intervention in many cases for my clients and helping them make the changes that they seek in rapid, powerful ways.
Want to find out more? Have something that you would like to change? Contact me now.