Many people are conditioned by television and movies to believe that hypnosis is mind control performed by a sinister looking character wearing a cape and swinging a gold watch. Nothing could be further from the truth. The portrayal degrades the value of a Certified Hypnotherapist and contributes to the misconception that hypnosis is fake or controlling. The techniques of hypnosis are neither mysterious, evil, nor difficult to achieve. Hypnosis is a natural state of mind that everyone experiences everyday. Daydreaming is a very common hypnotic state. How many times have you driven down the freeway and suddenly wondered how you passed your exit? That is an example of hypnosis and it happens to drivers all the time.
Have you ever been so engrossed in a book, movie or video game that you did not hear someone trying to get your attention? You were experiencing a natural state of hypnosis where intense focus eliminates distractions from the external world and opens the door to your subconscious mind.
Hypnosis is not in any way harmful and it is not uncommon for some people to have a few reservations about it. Let’s take a close look at a few popular misconceptions.
Can people get “stuck” in hypnosis?
There is no reason to fear that you will get stuck in hypnosis. Hypnosis is a natural state of mind. We drift in an out of a hypnotic state several times in a day. Some examples are watching a movie, reading a book, playing a video game or driving past your exit. We are also in a hypnotic state just before we drift off to sleep as well as in those first few moments as we wake up. Every time you go into daydream- ing mode you enter a hypnotic state. So you can see that our minds cycle in and out of different states all day long (and at night during our sleep cycles). We do not get “stuck” in any one mode.
Does a hypnotizable person have weak willpower?
Hollywood has played a big role in promoting the myth that a hypnotist can make people to do things against their will. Be assured when you are in hypnosis you retain full conscious control. You can reject a suggestion you do not approve of and can terminate the hypnotic trance at will. In fact, when you are hypnotized, you are in more control than when you’re in the normal daily state. Just think for a moment that if the opposite were true and a hypnotist could make people do things against their will, then some unscrupulous hypnotist could have people commit all sorts of crimes to their advantage. The fact that such things are not reported is evidence that it cannot happen.
Do hypnotized people involuntarily reveal secrets?
A great fear that many misinformed people have about hypnosis is that they will inadvertently blurt out something that they wished to keep secret while they are under the state of hypnosis. A person cannot be made to reveal something that they don’t wish to disclose. Under hypnosis you will not do things against your will. However, it is possible for people, if they so chose, to lie or when in hypnosis. The lie is more convincing because it appears more real and believable to a person who is in hypnosis. That is why in many jurisdictions evidence obtained from people in a state of hypnosis is considered inadmissible.
WHO CAN BE HYPNOTIZED?
You may be thinking, “Can I be hypnotized? I don’t think I can let go. I am very stubborn and don’t like to give up control.” A common misconception people have is that you must be “weak willed” to be hypnotized. Achieving a trance state has nothing to do with gullibility or submissiveness. All that is required is that you have no fear or reservations about the experience. You must be willing. One must have a minimum IQ of 60. Your intelligence level provides the cognitive skill that is necessary to hold a train of thought and follow suggestions.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE HYPNOTIZED?
People often describe the feeling as a wonderful and relaxing. When in a hypnotic state, your body can become very relaxed with proper suggestions. They may appear to be asleep, but the biological state of sleep is very different from hypnosis. Hypnosis is an alerted state of consciousness and you will always be aware and able to hear suggestions. Some people become so relaxed the start snoring or drooling, that does not mean the are asleep. It’s simply a side-effect of the relaxation. You may even get watery or teary eyes, this is often an emotional release and can be very healing.
THE POWER OF YOUR IMAGINATION
Often suggestions are delivered in a hypnosis session by using the power of imagination. An important fact that will be demonstrated here is that the subconscious mind does not differentiate between those things that we imagine and those we experience in reality. Here is a short exercise that will demonstrate the power of your imagination to you.
Imagine you have a big lemon in your hand. That’s right; see its bright shiny yellow skin. Now imagine cutting it in half and again into quarters. See and feel the juice dripping down your fingers. Now take one of those lemon slices in your hand and imagine bringing it slowly up to your mouth and bit- ing into it. The juice tastes sour and tart. As you swallow the juice your face grimaces. Now take another of the remaining tart lemon slices. Bring this one to your mouth and bite down hard upon it, feeling the juice drip down your lips and tongue and feeling tangy. Pretend now that you are experiencing, seeing, feeling, smelling and tasting the lemon. How does that feel?
Most readers by this point will have experienced increased salivation in their mouths, even though there is not a real lemon in sight. Your powerful imagination caused a clear physical reaction to occur through your salivary glands.