There has been a lot of stigma, misunderstanding and controversy around hypnosis over the many years. Many believe that it is nothing less than a curious strategy for making a person do ‘weird things’ as it is sometimes depicted in stage hypnosis performances – unfortunately.
However, in truth hypnosis is a reliable therapeutic tool that is used in helping people overcome various health conditions.
I will aim here to burst the most common hypnosis misconceptions that a vast amount of people around the globe have held onto for a long time. Will also state some facts on the way. Happy reading. Embrace the truth 😉
Let us start with some terms first – Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis, offering clients the amelioration of unwanted symptoms. Hypnosis is a natural state of mind enhanced (not exclusively) mental and physical relaxation in which our subconscious is able to communicate with our conscious mind.
YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY CONTROL WHILST IN HYPNOSIS – majorly due to media and some past stage and street hypnosis presentations we were all made to believe at some point that when we get into the hypnotic state we will lose control over ourselves and can be made to do whatever the hypnotist pleases -FALSE. Yes, you do become more open to suggestions when you get hypnotised, however, you will not do anything you don’t want to do while in the state of hypnotic trance. You still have the awareness of yourself and of what you are being asked to do. And you won’t do what you actually don’t want to do.
HYPNOSIS AND SLEEP ARE PRACTICALLY THE SAME THINGS – well, NO. When you look at it from the outside, the state of sleeping somewhat resembles the state of trance. The rate of breathing in both tones down, muscles become more relaxed and the eyes may be closed. However, internally the experience could not be more different when you compare the two states. In hypnosis, you are not asleep but rather you will find yourself in a very deep state of relaxation. In hypnosis, you are open to suggestions when, which is not easy when you are asleep, if you get where I am going here ;-). You barely hear anything or nothing at all when you are in a deep sleep.
ANYONE CAN BE HYPNOTISED – It is believed that anyone can be easily hypnotised, which is quite the contrary. The majority of people can be easily hypnotised, however, there are those who are less likely to be hypnotised (like little children, the elderly or people with severe medical or mental conditions that affect their mental state of awareness).
HYPNOSIS IS FAKE AND HAS NO REAL EFFECT –There are beliefs that hypnosis is fake and cannot help a person, and results are mostly due to a placebo. However, more than one research has shown actual changes which happen in the brain during hypnotic trance. In fact, Stanford School of Medicine carried out a study which revealed 3 areas of the brain that are affected during hypnosis. These regions of the brain include the area that is associated with self-consciousness, the area that is known to identify and separate thoughts from feelings, and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex that is associated with the assessment of the state of affairs. Fun fact here: David Spiegel, M.D., professor and associate chair of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Stanford University, one of America’s most respected experts in the clinical uses of hypnosis and is the son of the late Herbert Spiegel, M.D., who was also an expert in hypnosis conducted a research focusing on two elements: cancer and hypnosis. Back in 1983 he did a study looking at how to manage the pain in breast cancer patients using hypnosis. He found that self-hypnosis exercises as part of a group therapy experience had: “A direct effect in altering the patient’s perception of pain.” His associations with hypnosis go back even further than that. In 1972, Spiegel underwent shoulder surgery. Following the 3-hour operation, he refused any painkilling medication. Instead, Spiegel used self-hypnosis to control the pain. Given that he had an incision running from the top to bottom of his shoulder, it’s a safe bet that the pain was considerable. For more information about Hypnosis and surgery check out this article: Surgery under Hypnosis.
IT ONLY TAKES ONE SESSION TO BE TREATED FROM ANY CONDITION – Well, Yes and NoWe are all unique beings with different brain and body chemistry. Also, when we are affected by various health conditions, our suffering differs from one another. That being said, we cannot fully recover from ‘anything’ in the same way and at the same time, consequently with the same number of sessions. Of course, there are those and types of problems that can be solved in a single session, however, others after a couple of them still might need more as during hypnotherapy as well as any therapy more problems can emerge as we go. Problems that were long forgotten or unresolved for a very long time. Having said that Hypnotherapy offers the fastest results as it taps into our subconscious mind. For the most, it takes about 1 to 5 sessions to see substantial change. But I must stress here, this always varies with the individual undergoing hypnotherapy.
YOU CAN GET STUCK IN HYPNOSIS AND YOU WILL NOT REMEMBER A THING – The state of hypnosis is like any other state of mind such as sleeping and awareness, to name a few. Therefore, you do not need to worry about going into the trance, since this state is also often experienced a number of times throughout the day. For example, when you daydream, drive a car into the house instead of stopping by a shop as you planned (automatic driving) or get soaked into a really interesting book. You can also find yourself in this state when you are meditating or praying – And you get out of it naturally. As you realise here, you can probably also see the answer to the “will I remember things” – Yes same as with the other non-therapeutic hypnotic trances you will remember the session and what was happening during the trance. You might not be able to recollect word by word the hypnotic suggestions, but you will know what is happening and will be able to stop the session at any point should you wish to do so. So, as you can see there is no need to be afraid or worried that you can remain in a permanent hypnotic state. On the far extreme, you can only fall asleep during a hypnosis session. 😉 It might be a bit inconvenient for the hypnotherapist who is working with and not beneficial to the therapy, but it is natural, and you would be still coming out of the session relaxed. 😉
HYPNOSIS/HYPNOTHERAPYCAN CURE ANYTHING– I will keep this answer fairly short, hypnosis does not offer a cure for absolutely anything! Of course, there are marketers who have promoted hypnosis as a cure for any disease under the sun. Sadly, some people have been made to believe that hypnotherapy can cure baldness, partial blindness or stammering or even cancer. Sorry to say, this is simply said a big fat lie! Studies have shown hypnosis to be a good tool for therapies that deal with health conditions such as depression, anxiety, pain, and eating disorders etc. It can help overcome some of the problems but not all and not cure them. It’s a form of therapy, it helps you find the way to deal with unwanted habit, behaviour, emotion or symptoms of “X, Z & Y” faster and smoother than the other conventional talking therapies; offers treatment, but do not a cure nothing I am afraid! Sorry.
EXPERT HYPNOTHERAPIST/HYPNOTIST HAVE SUPERPOWER OR IS A MAGICIAN– hahaha ah, sorry I have to give a little giggle here…deep down I wish for this to be true just a tad;-) However, this is not the case. After attending a good number of hypnosis sessions or watching YouTube or other channels, and looking at social media where you can see people being hypnotized, it is easy to conclude that the experts who are inducing the states of hypnotic trance on others perhaps posses ‘special gifts’ of mind-controlling or mystical powers of controlling others, or even better can read minds. This is very far from the truth. Hypnotherapists/ Hypnotists are (always check their credentials) well-trained individuals in the field of hypnosis. They have been well trained in guiding someone into the hypnotic trance and on the topics of treatments. The actual, real power lies in the mind of the individual that is being hypnotized, especially their subconscious mind that is involved during hypnosis or hypnotherapy. Better hypnotic subject better the outcome of the hypnosis. Wait what? Well yes, some people go easier into hypnosis than others (it all depends on the individual)…Having said that even if you are not easily hypnotised or are a little sceptic about hypnosis, if you give in and open your mind to the idea of embracing self you will end up with the desired outcome of the therapy.
HYPNOTHERAPY VS RELIGIOUS OR SPIRITUAL PEOPLE – Some people view hypnosis as a practice that is linked to black magic or mysticism, thus they look at it with suspicion, thinking perhaps it should not be used by them. I would like to clarify here, saying – hypnosis is absolutely not affiliated with any belief system, group, or sect. Hypnosis is a modality used in various therapies to help people improve their health conditions and overall well-being. Hypnotherapy is accessible to all faiths and can be used by anyone who wishes to try it out. Please rest assured that by to use of hypnotherapy you will not lose the grip of your faith or spirituality. Perhaps it will even deepen your belief by releasing your unwanted thoughts, and unlocking your true nature.
ONLY ‘WEAK MINDED PEOPLE CAN BE HYPNOTISED – Strangely it is quite a common perception that hypnosis works best on ‘mentally weak/vulnerable’ people and those who are ‘highly intelligent’ can never be hypnotised. Let me say here that this is a laughable statement, yet again. As stated before virtually anyone can be hypnotised. And, on contrary to the above statement it has been found that the brightest people have better abilities to maintain a good level of concentration which makes it easy to enter a hypnotic state, thus they seem to be the golden hypnotic subjects.
Summarising here friends:
You are fully in control – FACT
Hypnotist has magical powers or make you cluck like a chicken for days – FALSE
Hypnotherapy leads you into deeply relaxed state – FACT
Hypnotherapy offers cure – FALSE.
Hypnotherapist uses agreed methods to aid you towards your goals – FACT
Client must have closed eyes- FALSE
Client can stop the session at any time – FACT
Client has no memory of the session – FALSE
Hypnosis can be achieved without the help of a hypnotist – FACT (e.g.: self- hypnosis or daydreaming)
HYPNOSIS is not real -FALSE
It is 100% real. It has been a scientifically proven modality, using EEG machines to monitor the brainwaves of subjects during hypnosis.
Hypnosis is so much more than ‘as perceived by many’ form of entertainment used by stage performers to control their participants. From a stage it goes to clinics and health centres where it helps people, improving their health and wellbeing.
With everything that you have read here I hope you will be even more interested to find out about benefits of the hypnosis and how it can help you or someone that you know. Embrace self with me.
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