Hypnosis myths and misconceptions
Stage hypnotists and Hollywood movies misled the public about hypnosis. People are encouraged to believe it is either uncontrollably powerful or a complete con trick. For the average person, separating fact from fiction is not easy.
Here are some of the common myths and misconceptions surrounding hypnosis, and what is really the case.
Common Hypnosis Myths
Myth: Hypnosis is not accepted by western medicine…it's just hocus pocus.
Fact: Hypnosis has been officially endorsed as an effective treatment method by the British Medical Association since 1901, and by American Medical Association since 1959. Medical Hypnosis can be used in a wide variety of medical situations: the main reason why it is not used more often is the time involved in doing an induction versus the speed of drugs. However, hypnosis has the advantage that it does not have any side effects.
Myth: Hypnosis is mind control
Fact: What people call mind control is possible, but you need physical deprivation for mind control to work. It can be done and is done in military type situations using starvation, sleep deprivation, white noise and so on. Hypnosis is something quite different. Hypnosis is merely focused concentration. With hypnosis, you are in control of your own experience at all times. It is not mind control. If hypnotists could do that, all they would need to do is visit their bank manager and ....
Myth: You can only tell the truth under hypnosis
Fact: You can lie or edit under hypnosis all you want. It is not truth serum. You won't let slip any secrets under hypnosis either. However hypnosis is very good for allowing people to face their own fears and distortions, and thus changing them.
Myth: You lose control under hypnosis.
Fact: You are always in control of your own experience. Hypnosis is much like a daydream…you hear what's going on, and if something disturbs you, you refocus your attention and come awake if you need to.
Myth: You don't remember anything that happened during hypnosis
Fact: You will hear and remember everything that happens under hypnosis, unless you go into the deepest of all trances, a "somnambulistic" state. Your mind is alert, your body relaxed, and you will remember what transpired to the same degree as you would recall a conversation, for instance.
Myth: You can be made to weird things
Fact: You will never do anything under hypnosis that violates your own moral code. If a stage hypnotist tells you to bark like a dog, and you have no moral inhibitions against doing so, you may well comply. Another person might find that action insulting and would not do it.
Myth: You need a deep trance to get results.
Fact: Most of the work that we do requires only a light trance.
Issues such as weight loss, smoking, procrastination and dozens of others require only a light trance to effect change. Now, if you're going in for surgery or under the dentist's drill, you want to make sure you are in a deeper trance. But depth has very little to do with achieving results.
Myth: I'll know if I'm hypnotized
Fact: Most people cannot tell if they're hypnotized or not. That's because they expect to be so deeply under that they won't hear anything or remember anything. The truth is, you will hear and remember everything that's said under hypnosis. Your mind is alert, but relaxed.
Myth: I'll know right away if it's working or not.
Fact: You won't know at the time if you're being hypnotized. The proof will in the pudding. Your feelings and actions in the days to come will be the measure of your success.
Myth: You need a powerful hypnotist
Fact: You are responsible for your own experience under trance. The hypnotherapist is merely a guide, a facilitator. He or she cannot ‘make’ you do anything against your will or intent. Some of my clients wish I had that kind of power, so I could magically make them quit smoking or lose weight. But only you have that kind of power and control.
Myth: I can't be hypnotized
Fact: If you've ever daydreamed, were totally engrossed in a movie, or passed your exit on the motorway, you were in a light trance state. The lightest state of hypnosis (Alpha) is achieved easily. Everyone enters hypnotic states every day, several times per day. It's that state you are in when you are watching TV, reading a good book, playing video games, and even listening to a boring speaker. It's the state you are in when you are just waking up or just going to bed.
You are not fully conscious, but you are not fully unconscious either. In this state you are much more suggestible than when you are fully awake. The vast majority of the population can be hypnotized. High intelligence, a strong will, a strong imagination, an analytical mind-all respond to hypnosis. The main qualification is an ability to concentrate and trust the process.
Myth: You can be hypnotized and never wake up
Fact. Your eyes close, but your ears cannot close. Even if you think you are "asleep" during the session, your brain is still recording all of the information in your subconscious mind. Similarly, if a fire alarm went off you would ‘wake’ instantly. Even if some reason the hypnotist left you, you would gradually come out of it, just like waking up from a nap.
Myth: Only dumb people can be hypnotized.
Fact: Intelligence is directly linked to suggestibility. The more intelligent you are, the more easily you can be hypnotized.