Hypnosis has been around for centuries, but unfortunately has a lot of misconceptions around it.
What hypnosis is…
We all actually know what the hypnotic state is, because we experience it all the time, even daily. Remember when you have…
- been driving somewhere and suddenly come to yourself with the surprised realization that you have just got where you are going?
- felt drowsy when going to sleep or waking up, but still conscious of what is around you?
- been so into a pleasant task like drawing that you don’t see the time go?
- dreamily watched flames flicker in a fireplace some evening?
- thoughtfully stared at raindrop after raindrop trickling down the glass?
These and similar experiences are what hypnosis feels like – in fact, we all naturally find ourselves in the hypnotic state several times a week, as these examples show.
Hypnosis is about using this natural psychological and physiological state to bring positive change in your life.
…and what it is not.
Many people believe instead that hypnosis means being in a deep, sleeplike trance, and there is much in the movies and on stage to make you think that. You might worry that you
- won’t be able to get into trance;
- won’t be able to come out of trance, and will stay “stuck” there forever;
- will be under the therapist’s control and will be made to do silly things;
- won’t remember anything;
- will reveal embarrassing things about themselves against your will;
- will have something done to your mind by the therapist that they can’t undo after.
If you have any of these misconceptions, don’t worry, you are far from being alone!
However, let me reassure you.
Hypnosis is not a “trance”. Rather, you are in the same quiet, focused state of mind you are in when you watch those raindrops on the windowpane. What we do know is that in that state of mind you will be likelier to respond to positive suggestions, by simply focusing on the suggested ideas in a relaxed way.
Hypnosis is not about controlling your mind. No one can make you do anything against your will; in fact, it can only work if you want to accept the suggested ideas and actively imagine responding to them.
Hypnosis is not dangerous. No one has ever been “stuck” in hypnosis, and when working with a responsible, professional therapist, it is completely safe.
Hypnosis is not street or stage hypnosis. Stage hypnosis has been around in various forms since the 18th century when Franz Mesmer convinced half of Paris that he could do magical cures with magnetism; he had to go into exile when Benjamin Franklin and other scientists investigated him and concluded he was a charlatan. What goes on in the street or on stages today has very little to do with hypnotherapy, which is a great shame – it prevents many people from benefiting from treatment.
Hypnosis is not doing unwanted things to your brain you can’t undo. Our psychological and emotional difficulties are caused by negative thoughts, and hypnosis seeks to replace them with positive, healing thinking, by making suggestions to you – that you then choose to accept or not accept.