Many people are curious about hypnosis and hypnotherapy, so this post will explain about some of the many myths surrounding this topic, as well as some of the facts.
(In case you were wondering about the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy, hypnotherapy is simply the use of hypnosis for therapeutic benefits, and is the major part of my work at Sunset Coast Hypnotherapy here in sunny Perth.)
Myth #1 You will be out of control
False: Hypnosis is what is called a ‘consent state’, which means that no-one can be hypnotised without their consent.
Many people find that the hypnotic state is pleasant, and will go along with suggestions from the hypnotherapist. However – this only happens if the suggestions do not contravene the client’s moral or ethical codes. Basically, you would not do anything in hypnosis that you would not be prepared to do outside of hypnosis.
So what about those people (e.g.) who want to stop smoking or lose weight, but do not succeed until they are hypnotised? The answer is that they want to stop smoking or lose weight, so it is not against their moral or ethical codes. They just need the extra boost which hypnotherapy can give them to achieve what they actually wanted all along.
Myth #2 Hypnosis is like truth serum
False: People can lie under hypnosis. There is some evidence that clients are more likely to agree with what the hypnotherapist is saying to them, and so may even (for example) give a false confession (see Myth #1 above). As hypnosis is a dreamlike state, where the subconscious mind is able to think laterally and inventively, and is in a fantasy mode, recollections under hypnosis may be unreliable. This is why in many cases, evidence found from a hypnotised individual is not admissible in court.
Myth #3 Hypnosis only works on weak minded people
False: The client needs to be able to understand what is being said to them, and follow directions. Hypnotherapy is also a partnership, where the client needs to engage with what is happening.
Myth #4 You might get stuck in hypnosis
False: If the hypnotist walked away, and even went on a long holiday, the client could simply go to sleep (if they were already tired) and then wake up normally. Alternatively (whether they were tired or not) they could simply enjoy the hypnotic state for a while and then come back to full awareness.
A very small percentage of people are so good at being hypnotised that they may appear not to be able to be woken up, but even these people will be able to come back to awareness if left to do so.
There was even a reported case of a hypnotherapist who had a heart attack while hypnotising a client. The client noticed after a while that the hypnotherapist had stopped speaking to them, and in the absence of the usual flow of suggestions came back to awareness. The client then noticed that the therapist had collapsed, and called an ambulance for him!
No-one has ever been stuck in hypnosis.
Myth #5: Hypnosis always resolves issues in one session
Partly true: Hypnotherapy can resolve issues in only one session, and a competent hypnotherapist will always use the fewest possible sessions to bring their clients back to health. However, it is more common for issues to take more than one session to resolve, especially if there are other related issues.
To explain this idea further, we can compare two university graduates who both wish to ‘ace’ their job interviews.
- One is basically a confident person, but has little experience of interviews. This person could well be helped just by one session of hypnotherapy to allay any fears about the interview, and to bolster their confidence.
- The other is older, and has mild social phobia. This person had some challenging life experiences which have left them with low confidence. They may need several hypnotherapy sessions because their social phobia and lack of confidence are affecting their interview performance.
Myth #6: Hypnosis is just relaxation
False: Hypnosis and hypnotherapy can be very relaxing, and this is usually how hypnotherapy is conducted. However, we can also be hypnotised naturally by exciting events – anything that ‘grabs’ our attention.
In fact, capturing the attention is one of the main methods of inducing hypnosis. How many of us have been transfixed by an exciting game of our favourite sport, and become oblivious to our surroundings and how much time has passed (‘concentration’ and ‘time distortion’)? These are both features of hypnosis!
Myth #7: Hypnosis is unsafe and risky
False: Hypnosis and hypnotherapy are very safe, because the client is always in control of what is happening and their unconscious mind is monitoring what is happening to them at all times.
Hypnotherapy is even safer if you choose someone who has undergone training and is a member of one of the major hypnosis professional associations such as the Australian Hypnotherapists Association, as members have to attain a specific standard of training before they are admitted to membership. They also undergo regular ongoing training, need to have a current First Aid Certificate, and are held to professional ethical standards.
The other safeguard is that people, particularly with psychological conditions, need to tell the hypnotherapist about their medical history.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog post. If you are wondering if hypnotherapy would be useful for you, or alternatively have already made the decision to seek assistance from a hypnotherapist, please contact me.
I offer free phone consultations (contact me on 0403 932311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss how Sunset Coast Hypnotherapy, Perth can help you achieve your goal. There is no obligation to proceed if you decide it isn’t for you. I look forward to hearing from you.
© Lisa Billingham, 2018
Please note – this post does not provide medical advice, and is solely for general education. If you have any type of medical condition, please seek advice from a medical professional. Thank you!