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Feb 11th, 2007 by Barrie St John

The Myths of Hypnosis

There are plenty of myths about hypnosis. It’s a shame really, as some of these myths put a some people off using hypnosis to help make positive changes in their lives. So in this article I shall talk about ten of the most popular myths about hypnosis, and explain the truth behind each one.

Hypnosis Myth #1 – Hypnotists have special powers.

Wrong! The thought hypnotists have ‘special powers’ originates from a Hollywood movie type belief. This is understandable as there’s a deep mystery surrounding hypnosis. The truth is hypnotists don’t have any special powers. They just have knowledge and experience of humans. With sufficient effort and practice most people could probably induce hypnosis. Of course the real skill is in what way you use it, and how you use the hypnotic state to help people.

Hypnosis Myth #2 – Hypnosis will only work on certain people.

Wrong! Whilst it’s true that hypnosis can be more useful for some people, I would say it’s mainly down to the person’s motivation, their willingness, and their ability to concentrate. As far as I’m concerned everyone is suggestible to some degree. If you’re interested in something and it’s something that you want, generally you’re open to its effects. That’s the same with hypnosis. If you want it to work and you co-operate, then you’ll reap the benefits of hypnosis.

Hypnosis Myth #3 – People who get hypnotized are weak minded.

Wrong! It’s quite the opposite. Without doubt it’s the people who can concentrate well and have a creative imagination that are, if you want to use the term, the best ‘hypnotic subjects’. These types of people go into hypnosis easier and deeper than anyone else. We’re all susceptible to suggestion, but it’s just a matter to what degree. If someone is offering me something which is useful, then I will work towards achieving it. It would be really silly to work against something that will give you benefit. So it’s really not true that people who are hypnotized are gullible or weak minded.

Hypnosis Myth #4 – When in hypnosis, you can be made to say or do something against your will.

Wrong! Generally, hypnosis is a state of heightened suggestion. Generally, people won’t do anything which goes against their personal values or beliefs. What you have to remember about hypnosis is that it’s not sleep and you’re aware of everything that’s happening around you. If someone tells you to do something that is really against your values then you won’t do it. You’ll come out of the state of hypnosis, and in fact it would you’d almost be shocked out of hypnosis. It’s as simple as that!

Hypnosis Myth #5 – Hypnosis can be bad for your health.

Wrong! My guess would be that all medical practitioners would agree on the health benefits of relaxation. Relaxation helps to bring about a homeostatic balance – a balance within the system, of mind, body and soul, emotionally and physically. The problem is that a lot of doctors say to people “you need to learn to relax” but they never really give them the tools for knowing “how to relax”.

So as far as I’m concerned it can never be bad for your health, because it’s a naturally occurring state anyway. If you want to feel in balance within yourself and the world around you, hypnosis is the best state to be in.

Hypnosis Myth #6 – You can get stuck in hypnosis and be unable to wake up.

Wrong! No one ever gets “stuck” in hypnosis. Remember that hypnosis is a natural and normal state to be in from time to time. It’s not a state which is completely alien to us. Of course hypnosis is a subjective experience and everyone will experience it differently but the worst that could possibly happen is that you drift into natural sleep, and after 5 or 10 minutes you wake up naturally. Some people may use hypnosis as a bridge into natural sleep. I’ve had it before with people in my private hypnotherapy sessions, where they’ve been so stressed, that they have actually fallen asleep. This is not a problem. But remember, you’ll never get stuck in hypnosis and be unable to wake up.

Hypnosis Myth #7  – You’re asleep or unconscious when in hypnosis.

Wrong! You’re not asleep and you’re not unconscious, you’re fully aware of what’s happening around you. Of course everyone’s experience is slightly different, some people feel light, some people feel heavy, but almost everyone feels extremely relaxed. Generally, when people are in a deep state of hypnosis, they feel as if their body has gone to sleep but the mind is still alert, awake, and aware. If you do fall into a natural sleep then don’t worry. I’ve always maintained my belief that if people feel they’re drifting off to sleep when listening to a self hypnosis session, then it’s fine, it’ll still do its work.

Hypnosis Myth #8 – You’ll become dependent on the hypnotist.

Wrong! Remember, you have a conscious awareness during hypnosis, and are in full control. If the hypnotist was to ask you to do anything inappropriate then you’d pull yourself out of it, spontaneously for most people. The best, most professional and ethical hypnotherapists work in a way that the makes the client feel empowered rather than working in an authoritarian way where problems may result.

Hypnosis Myth #9 – In hypnosis you’ll be able to recall everything that’s ever happened to you.

Wrong! Certain therapists use certain specific techniques that may help a person remember certain things from the past if that’s going to be useful for them. Normally there is no real need to go back into a personal memory or personal history, particularly on a hypnosis CD or hypnosis download type session. It’s just a case of sitting or laying down, chilling out, relaxing, and listening to the session.

Hypnosis Myth #10 – Hypnosis is dangerous and is the devils work!

I have heard some very religious people talk of hypnosis as the ‘devils work’. Remember that anything can be used positively and negatively. It’s not the hypnosis that might be at fault, it’s the operator. It’s whether a person is professional and ethical. There are many doctors who use hypnosis. I’m not so sure that they’re in league with the devil. After all, hypnosis is a naturally occurring, beneficial, positive state.

Summary

The word ‘hypnosis’ usually conjures up certain images in people’s minds, and these stereotypes are sometimes hard to overturn. I hope this article has helped you to understand a bit more about hypnosis, and hopefully debunked some of the myths that surround it. The real truth is that hypnosis is a perfectly natural occurring state, and something that should be embraced for producing personal growth, and personal empowerment.

Posted in Debunking Hypnosis Myths