I recently overheard some members of the general public speaking about hypnosis. I was floored. When you’re in a field for so long, it can be easy to imagine that other people know what you know. So, this article is about why what you think you know about hypnosis is probably wrong. Here are some of the inaccurate things I overheard.
- Hypnosis is for the weak.
- You have to be susceptible in order for it to work.
- You give up control to someone else.
- It’s just placebo.
- It doesn’t really work.
First of all, it takes a lot of courage to admit that you have a problem. Strong people show their vulnerability by asking for help. There is nothing weak about going to a hypnotist for an issue that you want to put behind you. It shows commitment to having a better life.
All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. You never give control over to anyone. It’s not like your mind or your thinking is being taken over by someone else. It’s not like someone removes your thoughts and inserts theirs. So, there is no risk involved.
If someone gives you a suggestion that your mind rejects, hypnosis simply won’t work. That’s actually why sometimes it doesn’t work. It’s not that you were not susceptible. It’s more likely that the hypnotist didn’t understand your issue well enough to get rid of the old, faulty programming and insert new programming that your unconscious would accept. Hypnosis is actually a pretty easy state to induce, so it’s not usually a technical issue when things don’t go well. The problem is usually not doing a thorough enough pre-talk. Another is that the client is not comfortable with the procedure or hypnotist.
Hypnosis is a change in brain wave state that is highly focused. It happens regularly every day. We don’t have to do anything to make it happen. The brain just does it. All hypnosis does is produce that highly focused state at will because we know that it’s easier to bypass critical thinking at this time.
This may seem like a bad thing. Why would we want to stop thinking critically? Because the brain is not as logical as we think it is. It can make errors like thinking that flying or driving on freeways is dangerous. We want to override faulty programming and install ideas that are more effective.
So, what about the placebo effect? Placebo is a surprising effect that can’t be explained by science. It’s usually something like a sugar pill or some type of procedure that we think should have no effect. Ultimately, however, it produces positive change. So saying that something is just placebo is like saying, “It works, but we don’t know why.” I am sure sure why someone would throw out a working intervention just because they can’t understand why it works, but they do.
Hypnosis doesn’t work for every problem every time. It doesn’t work for every person. I don’t know of any procedure that is 100% effective all of the time. But hypnosis does produce desired results quite often. There is nothing woo woo or mysterious about it. People all over the world use it for simple things like finding lost objects, weight loss, smoking cessation, overcoming phobias, and removing blocks to success.