Debunking the Top 7 Myths About Hypnosis
In this article I want to debunk some of the common misconceptions people have about hypnosis. Over the years I have heard it all - from the usual misconceptions all the way through to the outright bizarre. It is a shame really because I feel too many people base their opinion from what they see in movies and 'old wife's tales' rather than fact. Most of this is simply not true and stops many people from experiencing the wonderful and powerful changes hypnotherapy can bring to their life.
Here is a simplified summary of the top 7 most common misconceptions I get asked about all the time...
Hypnosis is the same as being asleep.
Hypnosis is simply a detached level of consciousness or awareness. For this reason there is still a level of consciousness involved when we are in hypnosis. This may only be very minute (especially in the case of somnambulists who go really deep into the theta and delta realms), however there is still an element of consciousness involved. When we are asleep our conscious mind is completely switched off, although our subconscious mind is still awake (dreaming). Therefore being asleep is different than hypnosis.
You can get stuck in trance.
Being in hypnosis is somewhere between a daydream state and sleep state, but not actual sleep. After the hypnosis session has finished you will naturally go one of two ways:
a) You snap out of it back to a full alert consciousness on your own accord (or expedited through a 'wake-up' by the hypnotist)
b) You fall asleep (if you are using a recorded session for example)
In daily life we experience many different levels of trance naturally, and our mind responds by transitioning accordingly to external and internal stimuli. Being guided into hypnosis by a hypnotist is simply an external stimuli, which after it has finished, you will naturally come out off it regardless. Just like when we daydream we eventually snap out of it, the same can be said of 'snapping out' of the hypnotic trance naturally and safely afterwards too.
I can't be hypnotized.
Many people say this, however it is not true. We are all capable of entering hypnosis; some of us more deeply than others. If you sometimes find yourself daydreaming, then you are already in a state of hypnosis, and this happens to all of us. Some people may only enter into a light trance during hypnosis dependent on any number of different reasons, however they are still in hypnosis and can receive the benefits of direct suggestion to make positive changes.
Hypnosis doesn't work on me.
As mentioned above, every person is capable of entering into hypnosis. The only difference is the ability of each person to learn and accept new ideas in shorter amounts of time. This may mean that some people are less willing to trust not only the hypnotist, but also themselves, when it comes to making change. Another important factor is the time required for each person to make a particular change. More often than not, multiple hypnosis sessions are needed to cement in place the desired change. In saying this, many people try it once, don't see instantaneous results, and then dismiss it as not working. The truth here is that they simply need to spend more time using hypnosis to make the desired changes, as the first session is about building foundations and then moving forward. Most change with hypnosis is subtle at first, and then as the foundations are built upon, become more evident on a personal level.
Hypnosis can erase memories.
The role of a hypnotherapist is not to erase memories, rather to override them with a new perspective, or to change the association of how we feel about a certain memory in a more positive light. In saying this, it is not possible to erase a memory fully, rather to change the significance or influence that memory has upon one's self. To completely erase a memory one would need to have some sort of physiological change, such as brain injury or the occurrence of Alzheimer's Disease etc. Our memories are all stored in various physical parts of the subconscious areas of the brain, even if consciously we don't remember them sometimes, they are always there to differing degrees of influence.
Stage hypnosis is fake.
With a good hypnotist (who is well versed in rapid inductions and can assist a subject into a deep trance) the antics you see on the stage are 100% real. However it must be noted that there is a selection process before the show starts, where the hypnotist will use different criteria to select the audience members most susceptible to trance and suggestion (somnambulists). In this respect the people you see on stage doing silly things are willing participants who are more easily led into following the directives of the hypnotist, as silly as they can be.
Meditation is the same as hypnosis.
Meditation and hypnosis are actually different, although both utilize a state of trance or detached awareness. Meditation uses such a state for personal reflection and eliminating all thought, whereas hypnosis is about using the trance state to achieve a specific outcome or result through suggestion internally or from the hypnotist. Both meditation and hypnosis can be achieved on one's own self (self-hypnosis) however the main difference is the purpose and execution for doing this.
I hope this has shed some light on the truths behind this amazing modality of transformation and healing. If you have any more questions please feel free to contact me here and I can help unravel any other myths that are out there. I highly encourage you, even if you are a little skeptical, to give hypnosis a go - especially if there are some things in your life you really want to change. As always with equal parts thought, resolve and action, we are all capable of change and hypnosis is simply a vessel to make this happen.
- Giovanni Lordi