I have been so immersed in the world of hypnosis for such a long time that I forget how weird it is for some people. Hypnosis is just weird. A valid opinion for those who don’t fully understand what hypnosis really is and how it works.
One of my goals as a consulting hypnotist at Intuitive Hypnosis in Portland, Oregon, is to focus on the demystification of hypnosis for as many people as I can, on a regular basis. I have spent the last 4 years offering free lectures about hypnosis, I have written dozens of articles about hypnosis, and I have educated and informed each of my clients about hypnosis and how it works. As mentioned above, I have been so immersed in the world of hypnosis for such a long time that I forget there are still many people who just think it’s weird.
Is it Magic?
Where does the opinion of ‘hypnosis is weird’ come from in the first place? Hypnosis can seem so magical and mystical, and mysterious. That’s the first strike against it. Magical, mystical, and mysterious often fall under the umbrella of ‘scam’ or ‘too good to be true’ or ‘you’d have to be an idiot to believe that.’
The Hollywood depiction of hypnosis has contributed greatly to the misunderstanding of hypnosis by giving the impression that the hypnotist has special powers, and can manipulate human behavior. Hypnosis stage shows seen at the fair, or in Las Vegas, have also misled the general public regarding the truth of, and the value of, hypnosis with demonstrations of people quacking like a duck, or forgetting their names on demand.
Yet, it works. People come to Intuitive Hypnosis in Portland, Oregon for hypnosis and they successfully quit smoking in one session. They lose their cravings for sugar, give up a lifelong habit of nail biting, or start sleeping through the night after years of insomnia.
Hypnosis is a natural process, and a state of consciousness that we go in and out of several times each day. The following are some of the most common misunderstandings about hypnosis. My goal is to demystify hypnosis, to take it out of the world of weird and place it in the world of acceptable complementary health care.
Ten Common Misunderstandings about Hypnosis
1: Hypnosis is mind control.
Truth: You cannot be hypnotized against your will! As your hypnotherapist, I will give you suggestions that we create together using an NLP outcome frame. During the hypnosis session, you will hear every word I say and will know exactly where you are the entire time. If I were to give you a suggestion that you disagreed with, your subconscious mind would just ignore it.
2: If you hypnotize me, you’ll make me quack like a duck, or do something else embarrassing.
Truth: First of all, why on Earth would I want you or anyone else to quack like a duck? This is a common myth based on stage hypnosis and the Hollywood depiction of hypnosis. Stage hypnosis is about entertainment. Hypnotherapy, or clinical hypnosis, is a serious process of self-improvement, not entertainment.
3: Hypnosis is “Black Magic” or is “Supernatural” and not to be messed around with.
Truth: Before the days of scientific research, hypnosis did seem very magical and mystical. Today however, thanks to fMRI, we understand that hypnosis is nothing more than a tool, a strategy, used to access the subconscious mind for behavior modification. It is based on many years of clinical research and is based in science.
4: You can get stuck in hypnosis, it’s dangerous.
Truth: Hypnosis is nothing more than a state of mind. It is completely safe, natural, and if an emergency were to occur during hypnosis, you would be able to come right out of the hypnotic state and respond appropriately.
5: I can’t be hypnotized.
Truth: As mentioned before, we all go in and out of hypnosis several times each day. For example, we all naturally enter a state of hypnosis right before we wake up and right as we’re drifting off to sleep. We experience that same state when we are engrossed in a movie, or a book. It is also very common to slip into a trance state while driving. Hypnosis is not a special state; it’s a natural, normal, commonly experienced state of being.
6: Hypnosis is a quick fix for all my problems!
Truth: Sometimes it seems like magic, but hypnosis is never a replacement for behavior change, it just makes behavior change easier, and permanent in many cases. Hypnosis is not a magic wand.
7: Hypnosis is a good truth serum.
Truth: Simply not true. You can lie under hypnosis; otherwise, it would be used extensively by law enforcement as a replacement for lie detector tests. When hypnotized, you will not divulge your deepest, darkest secrets, unless you want to.
8: You don’t know where you are when you’re hypnotized and won’t be able to remember anything that happens.
Truth: During hypnosis, you do not check out. In fact, you will experience a heightened sense of awareness, concentration and focus. Some people do fall asleep during the hypnosis session, and therefore do not recall what happened. However, even though they fell asleep, they do have the ability to recall what happened, under hypnosis.
9: Self-hypnosis is better than working with a trained hypnotist.
Truth: Self-hypnosis is a wonderful skill, but if you have not been trained to do it correctly, you can accidentally reinforce the very behaviors you’re trying to eliminate. As a professional consulting hypnotist, I am very deliberate about the way I offer suggestions to my clients. If you are interested in using self-hypnosis, make sure that you are doing it correctly, that you are giving suggestions that create the image of what you want for yourself.
10: People who are strong willed and very disciplined cannot be hypnotized.
Truth: This comes from an old-fashioned belief that only weak-willed people can be hypnotized. It is simply not true. In order to be hypnotized it is helpful to be creative, intelligent, focused, and able to concentrate and follow directions. Nevertheless, the number one trait leading to your success in hypnosis is your willingness to be hypnotized and create the changes you desire.
Hypnosis is a safe and natural way to retrain your brain to work for you. By accessing your subconscious mind you have the ability to change the subconscious programs that are your habits, your rituals, and your routines.
Think of hypnosis as a way of updating, or rewiring, your brain, just as you update the programs in your computer. It’s important to be in control of the subconscious habits that run your life, and it’s important that the programs running your life are current and relevant to your present life style. Hypnosis—it may seem weird, but it works. Learn how to use hypnosis to serve you.