Hypnosis is placebo, trickery, woo–woo, mystical, witchcraft
Hypnosis is simply a tool that therapists can use.
Stage hypnotists use it to entertain, but professional psychotherapists use it to help deliver a therapeutic message, this is the difference is between hypnosis and hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy has been proven without doubt by rigorous scientific clinical research studies to be of therapeutic value for so many emotional and physical problems.
Time and time again, research shows that it does work, and modern neuroimaging techniques are able to show the way the brain reacts differently in hypnosis, but scientists are still unable to pinpoint exactly how it works.
What we do know is that you have to be motivated to change, and be prepared to adjust the way you do some things– it really isn’t like taking a pill and all will be fixed. (But then again, neither is taking a pill)
You can be made to do things you don’t want to, like eat a raw onion, or cluck like a chicken.
A Clinical Hypnotherapist would never do this!
These sorts of suggestions are often used by stage hypnosis acts. But you will be aware that the sole aim for a stage hypnotist is to entertain. The audience volunteer to take part knowing that their participation will be entertaining. The hypnotist is skilled in using a process of elimination to choose those most willing to go with the show.
The sole aim for a professional psychotherapist is to bring about positive change. Therapy involves working towards achieving the goals you agreed together before the hypnosis.
Hypnosis is a form of mind control
Our minds are very receptive to new ideas. Hypnosis can offer you new helpful suggestions for alternative ways of thinking, but you will always reject any suggestion that you are not comfortable with. The word Trance has long been used to describe being hypnotised, and movies often depict someone in trance as looking zombie like
For hypnosis to work you must not be able to recall anything that was said
Some people believe hypnosis can only be effective if you consciously didn’t hear the new suggestion. I have heard people say ‘it won’t have worked, I heard every word’, this is not true. During hypnosis your attention can wander, you might be focused on your own thoughts or what the therapist is saying, or an outside noise, especially the first time when you are not sure what to expect. But the majority of the time you will hear most of what has been said. However, your sessions will be recorded for you to listen to repeatedly to get the most therapeutic benefit.
For hypnosis to work you must remember everything that was said
Conversely, other people believe hypnosis can only be effective if your conscious mind heard and remembers every word. However the state of hypnosis involves being selectively focused and sometimes it seems like you didn’t hear the whole session– your mind went off on a tangent (this can be extremely beneficial, a bit like reaching solutions when you sleep on a problem), but your sessions will be recorded for you to listen to repeatedly. This is good because it allows you to fully relax without straining to direct your focus. Also next time you listen, you might hear a part you missed, and you can be reassured that nothing was suggested that you wouldn’t be comfortable with.
I can’t be hypnotised I have a very strong mind
There is an assumption that hypnosis is something that is being done to you. However, all hypnosis is self–hypnosis. As it’s simply a state of focused attention. The therapist guides you to direct your attention, but you have to choose to follow. A bit like a driving instructor can guide you through the process of driving but you have to do the driving or you won’t go anywhere. Because it’s a very pleasant sensation of relaxation, it’s hard to imagine why you want to resist if you’d agreed to the attempt in the first place.
Research suggests that people who are very imaginative or creative, are great candidates for hypnosis. Having a strong mind is an asset– it’s where all of your thinking happens!