The Truth About Hypnosis
There are many misconceptions about hypnosis. So, let me begin this article by asking you a simple question.
When you hear the word hypnosis or hypnotist, what comes to mind? Well, if you’re like most people, these words may conjure up images of a sinister stage-villain who simply by staring into the eyes of an unsuspecting victim can put that person into a mind controlling state. This is a Hollywood Myth. A blatant outright lie.
The reality of it all is that hypnosis bears little resemblance to that type of stereotypical depiction. In fact as a professional hypnotist practicing for the past 7 years I can tell you that, “The hypnotist does not hypnotize the individual. But merely serves as a coach or tutor whose job is to help the person become relaxed enough to enter the trance state of hypnosis.”
Hypnosis is often described as a sleep-like trance state, it is better expressed as a state characterized by the focused attention of the subject, with a heightened level of suggestibility and vivid imagination. Although it may seem that people in a hypnotic state often seem sleepy and zoned out, the fact is that they are in a state of hyper-awareness.
In psychology, hypnosis is often referred to as hypnotherapy base on its therapeutic applications, and has been used for a variety of purposes including such things as the reduction and treatment of pain, helping a subject to lose weight, or quit smoking, or deal with any number of fears or phobias. Hypnosis is usually performed by a trained therapist who utilizes visualization and verbal repetition to induce a hypnotic state.
There really is no mystery about hypnosis.
Anyone can learn how to induce trance on another or even on themselves.
But, for a minute here let’s go back to the evil stage hypnotist example. I have a friend of mine who is a Stage Hypnotist in Las Vegas, yes, he made it to the Big Time. I actually love to go to his show when I am in town, and the first time I went I was encouraged by the friends I was with to go up onstage, I of course declined citing professional curiosity, although over the years I have seen many stage hypnosis shows. But we did go back and see his show again about a week later and that time I did in fact go up onstage.
The concept of stage hypnosis is that the show is supposed to be fun, both for the participants on stage and for the audience. Now the hypnotist might start out with 25-30 people on the stage, but will quickly narrow that down to 10-12 good participants, those who are the most susceptible to being hypnotized. Now the reason for that is simply the entertainer has a responsibility to the audience to put on a quality show. The participants that remain on stage may be encouraged to do some pretty outrageous things, (I have a copy of the video of the performance that I was involved in and that video remains locked up in my safe where no one will ever see it). But, as the show wrapped up he made a spectacle of me. Now a person will not do something while in hypnosis that they wouldn’t normally do, so why did I make a fool out of my self onstage? Well, when I went up on stage I had agreed subconsciously to submit myself to whatever would happen and all in good fun. So in other words I let down my inhibitions for the evening trusting that things would not get out of hand.
So, what is hypnosis really like?
Now I am often asked what a subject can expect to feel while in a hypnotic trance, well there really is no text book answer for that question because the experience of hypnosis can vary dramatically from one person to another. While some hypnotized people report feeling a sense of detachment or extreme relaxation during their time in the hypnotic state yet others even may feel that their actions seem to occur outside of their conscious volition. And even others may remain fully aware and able to even carry on conversations while under hypnosis. So as I said there is really no right or wrong answer but when subjecting yourself to hypnosis just realize that it should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
How can Hypnosis help me?
Well, to best answer that, let me start off by summing up some of the most common uses of hypnosis:
- The treatment of a chronic pain in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
- The treatment and reduction of labor pain during childbirth
- The reduction of some of the symptoms of dementia
- Hypnotherapy may also be helpful for certain symptoms of ADHD
- To reduce the nausea and vomiting in cancer patients who are suffering while undergoing chemotherapy
- Control of pain during dental procedures (as a matter of fact this method is practiced by many dentists)
- Alleviation of symptoms association with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
And that is just the tip of the iceberg why people might decide to try hypnosis? They may seek out a qualified hypnotists to help them deal with or alleviate chronic pain or the anxiety caused by medical procedures such as dentistry, surgery or childbirth. Hypnosis has also been used extensively with great success to help people with behavior changes such as quitting smoking, or losing weight, (two of the most popular requests).
So, now the next most common question I am asked about hypnosis and the process:
How do I know if I can be hypnotized?
I often have discussions with people who have said, “I just can’t be hypnotized!” And there are a lot of people that think that they cannot be hypnotized, but that is simply not true. Research has shown that a large number of people are more hypnotizable than they believe. So let’s take a look at some of those statistics.
- 15% of the populus are very responsive to hypnosis.
- Children tend to be more susceptible to hypnosis than do adults.
- Approximately 10% of adults are considered difficult or impossible to hypnotize leaving the other 90% in the category of hypnotizable.
- People who can become easily absorbed in situations are much more responsive to hypnosis.
- Have you ever been reading a good book and didn’t want to put it down?
- Have you ever been watching a television show and had to go to the restroom and found yourself saying, “I’ll just wait for the next commercial.”
- Have you ever been engaged in an enlightening conversation with that new love interest?
Well my friend you have experienced a form of trance state (otherwise known as hypnosis).
So, if you are interested in being hypnotized, it is important to remember that you should approach the experience with an open mind. Research has suggested that individuals who view hypnosis in a positive light tend to respond better,
It is unfortunate but I have had clients that come to me from time to time asking for my help to get them to quit smoking cigarettes. Smoking, of course, we all know is not good for us, and that we should quit. But some people are just not willing to quit. These meetings always begin with a counselling session of sorts, and the first question is always the same, “Why have you decided to try hypnosis as a means to quit smoking? And in all honesty some of the answers I get amaze me. The people who respond that they really want to quit an have tried other methods an been able to quit but eventually went back are actually great candidates for help in quitting smoking by means of hypnosis. On the other hand those who say something like, “Well my wife or girlfriend told me I need to quit” are less likely to achieve long range success. The reason being of course that the change is not really THEIR desire but someone else’s. So, if you are seeing a hypnotherapist to help you change a situation in your life because someone else said you should an you really don’t care to change your long term success will be highly unlikely. The hypnotist cannot force you to change, you have to desire that change in order for any hypnotherapy to achieve long range success you as the subject have to be willing and desiring that change.
I hope that you have found this article informative and useful. If you have why not place a comment below, or just simply give me a shout out. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.