There are many misconceptions out there about Hypnosis. Many people think of many different things when they hear the word ‘hypnosis’. This article will explain it in very simple way. When people hear the word ‘Hypnosis’, very different thoughts come into peoples heads. Often people have an idea what they think hypnosis is because of something they have either seen at a stage show, on TV or in movies. Even though this entertainment aspect of hypnosis has had broad reach in society, it unfortunately doesn’t accurately represent the therapeutic hypnosis. The hypnosis that is used for entertainment is often very different to the hypnosis that is used for a therapeutic outcome such as quitting cigarettes, stress reduction and weight loss.
Both of these types of hypnosis have only one common denominator, and that is, that it will not get you to do something that you do not want to do.
Some people believe that hypnosis is some sort of power, a type of voodoo that can get you to do things against your will. But this is ridiculous really. It quite obviously can not do that if you think about what is actually happening during a hypnosis session. Hypnosis is basically words coming out of a therapist’s mouth, designed to lead you into a nice relaxed state. How you listen internally and participate is the most important element. Words coming out of a hypnotherapist mouth can never make your body and mind do something that is either against it’s will, like cluck like a chicken, or something that it really doesn’t want to do, like quit cigarettes. However if client and therapist are working towards a desired outcome, then hypnosis can be a very effective, fun and relaxing way to effect positive behavioral changes and outcomes.
People will often ask me if anyone can be hypnotized, believing that not everyone can be. However there is a flaw in their question in that they are asking this question often assuming that hypnosis is something that is done ‘on’ or to ‘them’, meaning that it can either work ‘on them’ or not. This is simply a misconception. Hypnosis is basically a technique a used to guide a client into a state that every person naturally drifts in and out of often without them even realizing it.
People will not use the words, ‘I was in a hypnotic trance’, but they might say things like; ‘I was in the zone, I zoned out, I was day dreaming, I was a million miles away, I tuned out, the lights are on but no one’s home’. I’m sure you have used these terms before to describe a situation where you were ‘there but you weren’t’. Simple examples include driving a car being in a kind of mental daze where you miss a turn off or end up in a place and have had no idea how you got there. Other examples include when you’re watching TV or reading a book. These things can have your attention so firmly, that you won’t even realize that someone else in the room is trying to have a conversation with you. These are all examples of being in a hypnotic state. And because of these things, the question then becomes not can you be hypnotized, but how resistant are you to allowing someone else guide into that state in a particular time. This is the crucial element.
For someone to experience a hypnotic trance there needs to be an object of attention. In the everyday examples I mentioned above, the object of attention is the road that one is driving on, the TV show someone is watching, or the book in their hands. The important difference with therapeutic hypnosis is that the object of attention is the voice of the hypnotherapist and the instructions being given.
Having made that distinction, the important questions for successful hypnosis then become; Can you follow simple instructions? How resistant are you in allowing someone guide you into a state of relaxation? What is the nature of your internal dialog during the hypnosis? Are you in a comfortable environment? Do you feel comfortable with the therapist? Does the therapist have your trust? Do you believe hypnosis can actually get you the result you want? What is the quality of the suggestions? Are you expecting something that isn’t going to happen?
These are all elements that play an important role in determining the success of any kind of therapeutic hypnosis. These questions should be addressed and answered for the client by the hypnotherapist during the pre-hypnosis talk. This is an essential discussion had prior to the actual hypnosis. It sets the foundation for the right mindset needed by the client.