Hypnotherapy is a healing modality that uses the power of suggestion to help people overcome challenges in their lives. By entering a person into a state of deep relaxation, practitioners are able to access their inner wisdom and subconscious mind to effect positive change. Hypnosis can help people with a variety of issues, both physical and psychological and help people overcome negative patterns, manage chronic pain, treat anxiety and depression, heal from trauma, PTSD, phobias, addictions, eating disorders and the like. It can also be used in a generalised way to help people improve their overall sense of well-being and increase their self-esteem.
From a scientific perspective, it is the use of specific, targeted suggestions to produce changes in a person’s thoughts, feelings, behaviours or physical symptoms. In essence, a hypnotic state is a form of very focused concentration that makes the mind highly receptive to suggestions for change.
During hypnosis, a therapist will make suggestions that are designed to help you heal, both physically and emotionally. The suggestions enable a participant to let go of unhealthy habits and replace them with new habits that are beneficial. It has no side effects and has been proven to work through thousands of studies over the past century.
There are many common myths about hypnotherapy that circulate around. Although hypnotherapy is often associated with the supernatural or mind control, the reality is, it is simply a way to access the subconscious mind to promote healing and behavioural change.
As a hypnotist, I get asked lots of questions about the practice. Here are some of the most common misconceptions and some thoughts that demystify:
1- Hypnosis is not real and just a fantasy magical power
The truth of the matter is hypnosis was formally recognised by the American Medical Association in 1958 as a science. It is not a supernatural ability and there is nothing to be feared about it or those who practice it.
2- You can be forced to enter a state of hypnosis/ a hypnotic trance and never awaken
This is one of the most ridiculous myths about hypnosis. You have to submit to a hypnotist for the practice to work. If a hypnotist were to walk away or drop dead in the middle of a session, the person in a hypnotic trance would either open their eyes immediately or drift off into a normal sleep.
3- Only people who are weak willed, easily subject to manipulation or impressionable can be hypnotised
This myth is hilarious because the opposite is actually true. The stronger the will and the more intelligent the easier it is for a subject to enter into “state”. Everyone goes in to and out of a trance state many times a day: daydreaming, watching television, working at a computer, becoming so absorbed that you lose track of time, etc. Willingness, time, circumstances and the competence of the hypnotist are all factors in a person becoming hypnotized.
4- Once you are in a hypnotic trance you can be made to do anything a hypnotist asks of you
Numerous studies have shown that participants will only act in a way that is congruent with their values and morals. People will only do what they would normally do, given the right circumstances. Of course, people can be manipulated, lied to or coerced into doing things against their morals or values but you don’t need hypnosis to do that.
5- Being in a hypnotic trance will result in you revealing your deepest secrets
This is one of the biggest fears that stop people from participating in hypnosis. Hypnosis is not a truth drug which somehow breaks down the will of the subject. People in a hypnotic state always know what they are saying and what they are doing and will not do anything against their will or moral values.
6- Your awareness will decrease when you enter a hypnotic trance
The word “trance” is confusing enough. Dictionary definitions of trance range from “a state of absorption” to “a stunned condition”, from, “dazed” to “stupor”. It is no wonder why people get confused. Different people have different reactions to being in a trance state. Some people feel a sense of heaviness or lightness. Some people feel a tingling sensation and some feel nothing. The most important thing to remember is, in a trance state, you are aware of everything. In fact, your senses are heightened, and your awareness is at a peak.
7- Hypnosis can be used to fix everything
Hypnosis cures nothing nor is it a panacea. It is in the state of hypnosis where the scientifically based ‘magic’ happens. With hypnosis you can tap into your own power to heal, manage pain, enhance creativity and athletic ability or eliminate negative habits. Hypnosis is, without a doubt, one of the most underutilized and powerful tools available for personal development. It can also greatly enhance your emotional and physical well-being.
8- Only specially trained physicians can hypnotise people, otherwise it is dangerous
Hypnosis is not medicine, rather it is a communication tool. Hypnosis is practiced by hypnotists. Medicine is practiced by physicians. Sometimes psychiatrists will use both hypnotherapy and psychotherapy. Only people who have undertaken specialised training can hypnotise people.
If you are interested in exploring hypnotherapy in more depth, reach out today for an introductory consultation. After a brief chat, we will be able to figure out if it is the right fit for you.