There are a lot of misconceptions about hypnosis. But in my experience, people are eager to learn more about hypnosis. After all, it’s interesting, it’s useful… and the mind is a very strange thing.
These are some of the questions I get. If you have a question that I haven’t answered, please get in touch.
Is Hypnosis Real?
Science is still exploring what it can do and how it works. But whether it does anything is an answered question. There’s no controversy around that, and there hasn’t been for decades.
If you doubt that hypnosis is a powerful tool for personal change, connecting with your body, resolving pain and unleashing your inner resources… then, sorry, science disagrees with you.
Businesses, too. For example, many dentists hire hypnotists to help their phobic patients or suppress gap reflexes. Why would they pay if it didn’t work?
Are Hypnotic Subjects Faking It?
I can’t speak for every hypnotist and every subject out there. Maybe some do fake it. But, no, generally speaking, what you see is real.
You know stage hypnosis?
Where the hypnotist says a word and – BAM – suddenly the subject is asleep? It’s called an instant induction.
They’re not faking. The subject could be an actor, sure. But that’s way harder (and more expensive) than learning real hypnosis.
I’ve both done instant inductions and had them done to me.
It’s a strange sensation. Relaxing to the point of liberating. The hypnotist made my arm so stiff that I couldn’t move it. I tried, really, but it was like iron.
Then, one simple sentence. Then I could move it again.
How can anyone do that with a single word? The truth is, they can’t. Remember – a stage hypnotist is a lot like a magician. It only looks like the magician says a word and the lovely assistant disappears. So much happens behind the scenes, though. And it’s the same with hypnosis – only there’s no trick.
Keep in mind that the hypnotist picks their volunteers. And it’s unusual, being up on stage. It’s a different context. A lot of pressure, a lot of energy. The volunteer is out of their comfort zone – one of the many things working in the hypnotist’s favour.
Is Hypnosis Anything Like the Movies?
Not even close.
According to (fictional) TV shows and movies, hypnotists can do impossible things. They can hypnotise people to rob banks, kill people… all sorts of terrible things.
It can’t happen in real life. It’s never happened in real life.
Here’s some truth: hypnotised people are less likely to rob a bank than unhypnotised people. Why? Because, for most people, robbing a bank violates their sense of identity. You’re a good, honest, hard-working person. You’re no hardened criminal – you have too much empathy for that. Too much respect for others. Too much awareness that the cops have better guns and better training.
In a fit of desperation, you might forget all of the above and rob a bank anyway. But a hypnotic trance is anything but a fit of desperation.
Your unconscious mind has one mission – to keep you safe. Anything that violates that – violence or, say, giving away your fortune to the hypnotist – is impossible to compel someone to do.
Are You Sure Hypnosis Isn’t Mind Control?
Ask yourself this:
Do we live in a world where the secrets of mind control are widely known…
… but evil governments and corporations don’t use them to enslave people?
If hypnosis were mind control, one great hypnotist would have conquered the world generations ago. It didn’t happen because it doesn’t work that way.
How about this: according to Sokanu, the average income for an experienced hypnotherapist in the US is about $55,000.
But a mind controller would earn (or steal) billions.
What If I Can’t Be Hypnotised?
Everyone can be hypnotised.
Doesn’t mean you always will be. Doesn’t mean that every hypnotist will succeed.
But you can.
Ever have a moment where you lose yourself in a task? Maybe you are driving a familiar route when, suddenly, you’re there. And you can’t remember anything from your commute.
Or have you ever lost yourself in a book, movie, TV show or video game?
How about while knitting, walking, doing the dishes, playing sport?
Or had a conversation with an old friend and walked away feeling like a million bucks?
These are all hypnotic trances. Most are deeper than what a hypnotist would put you in.
Hypnosis is a natural and common experience. It’s something your brain does to itself – yes, even when a hypnotist is working with you. The truth is, hypnotists don’t – and can’t – hypnotise someone. They can only guide people through hypnotising themselves.
Will I Remember Everything That Happens During Hypnosis?
Otherwise, what’s the point?
A common misconception is that hypnotists put people to sleep. That’s partly the fault of the hypnotic community – we use the term more than we should. And it often looks like the subject is asleep.
But a subject can’t hear the hypnotist while sleeping.
So they are no longer being hypnotised.
Now, it’s a lot like daydreaming. It can be hard to recall all the details of a long, deep daydreaming session. They can be fuzzy at times.
But anything important, interesting or… well, memorable happens…
… you will certainly remember it.
(Related myth: ‘what if I blurt out all my secrets?’ I’ve never heard of that happening. When was the last time you accidentally confessed to something while daydreaming?)
It’s ironic – I’ve had such memorable experiences with hypnosis. Imagine spending a day at the beach with your best friend. Imagine finally beating a difficult challenge. Imagine watching the sunset with nothing on your mind. Now, imagine doing all this at once… without leaving your living room. That’s what hypnosis can feel like.
As if I would ever forget that!