You come to this website in search of answers. Hypnosis has a very long history and many people associate it with things like mind-control or snake-oil salesmen. It is none of those. Here is a list of the Top 10 Myths about Hypnosis.
Myth 1: Hypnosis Isn’t Real!
Movies give hypnosis a bad rap but the over the top portrayal of hypnosis on the silver screen is based in a very much so on reality. There are countless accounts both personal and professional of the very real effects of hypnosis. There are clinical studies as well and, in fact, that is how hypnosis pretty much got started. It has a long history of being used for pain reduction for a myriad of surgeries before real pain medication was discovered or common. I cover the question, “Is Hypnosis Real” in-depth though, so feel free to dive deeper.
Myth 2: Hypnosis is Mind Control!
Once again the movies do hypnosis a great disservice. While hypnosis can seem like mind control it’s more like making a suggestion to a friend and they take your advice. You cannot make someone do something they do not want to do, hypnosis just helps remove some passive barriers to accomplishing a task. Of all the Myths about Hypnosis, this is the one that annoys me the most!
Myth 3: Hypnosis is Dangerous!
If you believe these other myths then sure hypnosis can “seem” dangerous. It’s easy, hypnotize someone, make them walk off a cliff. WRONG! A mind is a powerful tool and it has many safety mechanisms in place to protect you. Imagine the last time you fell down, did you “think” I should put my hands down to keep from hurting my face? No, you instinctively extended your arms and caught yourself (hopefully). The point is, you didn’t think… your mind took care of that for you.
Simply being hypnotized is not dangerous nor do any of the suggestions that could possibly harm you take root in your mind. With any of these myths about hypnosis, take them with a grain of salt and experience it yourself before you jump to conclusions.
Myth 4: I Can’t Be Hypnotized
While it’s true that some people are more susceptible to hypnotism it’s likely that there are people that are LESS susceptible as well. Approaching hypnosis with an open mind and a willingness to experience hypnosis helps. Despite that, non-believers can have a harder time being hypnotized but it is not impossible. For example; If you’ve never been hypnotized and don’t think you can be… have you ever been driving and realized that all of a sudden you’re at your destination and don’t remember how you got there or the last few minutes?
That’s a phenomenon called “Highway Hypnosis” and I’ve personally experienced it dozens of times. This is probably one of the biggest myths about hypnosis that can easily be debunked with personal experience by most people.
Myth 5: You Can Get Stuck in Hypnosis
Just no. Hypnosis doesn’t work like that. I can suggest that you “SLEEP!” and never wake up. Your mind… again, it’s powerful and protective. It can be used to induce sleep for a longer period of time, but the subject needs to be tired in the first place. Of this list of myths about hypnosis, this might be the one that scares people away from experiencing the benefits the most.
Myth 6: Stage Hypnosis isn’t Real
Ah, Stage Hypnosis, akin to what we see in movies. In short, it’s real. In long, the stage hypnotist has repeatability with large crowds. They typically interact with the crowd early and based on typical signals, they can pick out the people that will be the most easily hypnotized and the most fun. What a stage hypnotist does is very similar to what a clinical hypnotist does. They break down barriers and implant suggestions. The suggestions are different obviously; clucking like a chicken won’t get you to quit smoking but it’s also not a threat to who you are so if you’re under hypnosis your mind isn’t really going to try to protect you from clucking.
Myth 7: Clinical Hypnosis can’t Help Me
It depends; there are some things that hypnosis may not be able to help you with, but I know first hand that hypnosis can help with anxiety. It’s been used to block pain during surgery, it’s helped people quit smoking, get over fears, and more. It’s real, it works, and again… an open mind is the best tool you can bring with you to a session. Read the following study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2752362/ one of the key findings is this:
The current review indicates that hypnotic interventions for chronic pain results in significant reductions in perceived pain that, in some cases, may be maintained for several months. Further, in a few studies, hypnotic treatment was found to be more effective, on average, than some other treatments, such as physical therapy or education, for some types of chronic pain.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2752362/
Myth 8: Hypnosis isn’t Effective
See Myth 7. The “trick” with hypnosis is that sometimes it takes more than one session to reinforce the post-hypnotic triggers that were put in place to help you. For example, a smoker of 20 years might need two or three sessions to finally rid themselves of the bad habit. Then again, another smoker of the same length may have better luck and only need one session.
In fact, hypnosis has been shown to reduce pain in older hospital patients: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26767506
Myth 9: People that get Hypnotized are Weak-Minded
It’s not that people that can be hypnotized are weak-minded, they are open-minded and curious. Hypnotism works best on people that are naturally curious, open, and explorers by nature. I’d venture to say that those who can be hypnotized actually have stronger and more well-rounded minds.
Myth 10: You can be Hypnotized Against Your Will
This myth is in our faces in television and the movies and as we’ve explored the other myths we know that you have to be willing to be hypnotized… to be hypnotized. There are methods that hypnotists use to break down the barrier for entry and ease a person into a relaxed state and be more open to hypnosis. However, that person can only be hypnotized if they are willing.
Other Myths about Hypnosis…
Do you have other myths that aren’t covered here or some questions specifically about hypnosis? Let me know!