I don’t know of anything more shrouded in myth and misconception than hypnosis. It really is a shame because hypnosis is one of the easiest, most effective, and most enjoyable tools to use to help one accomplish just about any goal.
Have you ever heard anyone say something like: “Once her mind is set then there is no stopping her”? When your mind is made up about something it is a lot easier to do it. One of the best benefits of hypnosis is that it can help shift your mindset in a very natural way.
In fact it feels so natural that when clients’ behaviors or thoughts change for the better many times they don’t even realize it was the hypnosis that helped. It’s as though they’ve always acted that way or had those desirable beliefs.
Here are the most common myths that I regularly hear about hypnosis…
Myth #1: Hypnosis is mind control.
Well, actually, hypnosis does give you more control over your own mind. But the hypnotist does not have the control and cannot make you do anything you don’t want to do as the myth suggests. So you can’t be made to cluck like a chicken, or bark like a dog…unless you want to!
We get this false idea from the classic hypnosis stage show, where the goal is to entertain. In shows like this, the hypnotist is like a magician whose job it is to create an illusion of something magical happening before your eyes.
Just as we know that the woman is not really being cut in half by a magician, we should also know that stage show hypnotists are simply creating the illusion that they are in control and making people do silly or embarrassing things. In reality those subjects have voluntarily chose to participate and engage in the experience simply because they wanted to — most likely because they thought it would be fun.
Myth # 2: Hypnosis is for the weak-minded or gullible people.
Actually hypnosis is for everyone. As long as you can follow very simple instructions and have a desire to be hypnotized you can do it easily. In fact, you have already been hypnotized. Every day each one of us naturally drifts in and out of hypnosis without even realizing it. Have you ever missed your exit on the highway, had your mouth water at the thought of a favorite food, or daydreamed?
All of these are examples of the hypnotic state as they occur in our daily lives. For those of you who are strong-willed you are in luck. You can take that natural tendency and make it work for you in hypnosis to help you achieve whatever goals you set for yourself in and out of hypnosis.
Myth#3 Hypnosis is mostly for smoking cessation and weight loss.
Those applications are certainly popular, however, hypnosis can really be used to help you with just about any goal. Now, I don’t mean to tout it as the answer to everything, however, hypnosis may be one the best-kept, underutilized secrets of daily living.
Hypnosis has been used to treat a multitude of medical and psychological issues, habits, fears, and phobias. Hypnosis has been widely used by pro athletes like PGA golfers to Olympic competitors to improve athletic performance. Business leaders have used hypnosis to feel more comfortable with public speaking and improve sales. The list goes on and on….
Myth# 4 Hypnosis is new age and for people who are “out there.”
In fact, hypnosis has been accepted by American Medical Association since 1958. There is a growing body of research that scientifically supports the use of hypnosis for many different issues. The key to understanding how one technique can be used with such a wide range of issues is to realize that the subconscious part of our mind drives our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
The problem is that the subconscious is metaphorically kept under lock and key making it inaccessible much of the time. During the hypnotic state it’s like we have the key to our inner mind and can get VIP access to that influential place and create consensus in our mind to make desirable changes more easily and efficiently.
Myth# 5 During hypnosis my mind will become vacant and open to anything (including the devil).
Quite the contrary is true – rather than spacing out you actually focus in on a specific goal, thought, or image. There is a saying among hypnotherapists and that is “ALL HYPNOSIS IS SELF-HYPNOSIS” whether you are doing it alone or with another person, or a recording.
What that means is you remain in control of what you accept or reject in your mind. We all have something called the critical faculty. This is the part the mind that is designed to protect us — to maintain our morals and ethics — to keep us safe. You can think of the critical faculty like a bouncer at the newest, hottest club. The only people getting in are other people who look like they belong — like the people already inside.
You see, our mind is kind of lazy – it likes homeostasis – for things to remain the same. Our critical faculty very quickly decides what information matches (like a habit) and what information doesn’t match. Whatever doesn’t match may get rejected even if it’s something good for us.
This is why habits can be so hard to change. During hypnosis our critical faculty is still operating to protect us, however, it is more relaxed and open to considering what is truly in our best interest, rather than operating from an automatic place.
Myth#6 Hypnosis is an out of control feeling.
Actually, hypnosis feels quite pleasant. It is common to feel so relaxed that you just don’t want to move a muscle like you are falling asleep on the couch at home. While it is possible to fall asleep during hypnosis because you are so relaxed, hypnosis is actually an awake state. We’ve all heard … “You’re getting verrrry sleepy…” so most of assume that being in trance is a sleep state, however, it is not.
During hypnosis the subconscious hears and responds whether you are asleep or not. Now, I’ve had plenty of clients fall asleep when I’ve done evening sessions but that works out okay because it’s the conscious part of the mind that sleeps. The subconscious never sleeps. That part of the mind is active while we dream and works to resolve issues and integrate information.
Myth#7 I don’t think I can be put under.
Since you are truly in control of yourself you are never being “put under” someone else’s control. You simply set your intention to allow yourself to go with the flow and have the experience. It’s a lot like how one approaches watching a movie — you don’t try to watch the movie — you just watch the movie.
Even after I explain how easy it is and how enjoyable it is and how you have already experienced hypnosis in your everyday life, this is one of the most commonly held beliefs I hear! It is human nature to have this worry so you are in good company.
The truth is that when you do something for the very first time it may be a little scary but it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. The great thing about hypnosis is that it is relaxing by nature. So even if in the beginning you are anxious or noticing your mind all over the place, before you know it you will settle in and become comfortable and more relaxed than you thought possible!
I hope I have shed some light on hypnosis and that you will consider using it to improve you life in some small or big way. The possibilities are endless.
About Carole Bombardier
Carole Bombardier is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Hypnotherapist in private practice. She works with individuals and groups around health and wellness goals. For more information or to set up a complimentary consultation you may contact Carole at 704-796-8542 or at email@example.com.