I am going to do this in reverse because there are so many misconceptions about what hypnosis and hypnotherapy might be, this must mean that many people may have also been denied an opportunity to improve or change their quality of life due to informed ignorance, rumour or fear.
This is one of the biggest contributors to the fear factor.
The holiday cabaret circuit is littered with stage hypnotists who think that watching a middle-aged woman performing fellatio on a cucumber in front of friends and family, including her children is amusing. It isn’t. Maybe, eating onions like an apple, barking like a dog or pretending you have Xray specs on is, but would you ask that hypnotist to help deal with the abuse you suffered as a child because it was now impeding on your relationship with your children. This idea of “mind control” feeds into the rationale that somehow the hypnotist will be able to control what you think, and what you do. We can’t and I will explain why later. I am not a killjoy, it can be very entertaining, but stage hypnosis has no connection to or with, hypnotherapy, you are either a therapist or an entertainer, you cannot serve two masters.
- Do I have special powers? No Hypnosis does not invoke supernatural powers.
- Is hypnosis dangerous? No hypnosis, when it is used skillfully with care and understanding, has an incredible potential for dealing with pain and discomfort, emotional turmoil, and improving our day to day lives.
So what is Hypnosis?
Just for a moment consider the following questions
- Look out of the nearest window, what is the weather doing?
- Is it day or night?
- What was the last thing you had to eat?
- What time do you start work tomorrow?
There was no right or wrong answer however if you were able to answer all four questions easily, then just for a moment you followed a simple instruction and had an altered state of thinking.
So did I just hypnotise you, was that hypnosis? You can decide later.
Hypnosis or Trance
Trance is entirely normal as we all go into a deep trance at least twice every day; just before falling asleep at night, and just before you wake up in the morning. Similarly, a form of trance is self invoked when absorbed in a good book, a TV programme, at the cinema, or even while driving. It’s that feeling you get when you are focused on just one thing, and the rest of the world just fades away.
Let us be clear hypnosis is not trance but a way to achieve trance. This definition is important, because, in personal change work, trance is an important component, hypnosis is just one method of attaining this most important state. The same as a bicycle is metal tubes and two rubber tyres unless you start pedalling it will take you nowhere. Hypnosis, therefore, requires a hypnotist. The hypnotist becomes the guide for the client that will lead the client’s consciousness into the trance state. This is a very powerful way to achieve a trance state. However, there is considerable debate as to who can be hypnotized. Many self-appointed experts will assert that only highly suggestible people can become hypnotised. That there are people that cannot be hypnotised or that some people cannot be put into a deep hypnotic trance. While this might or might not be true, it is a fact that anyone can go into a trance state. As earlier defined as defined earlier as a complete focus of the consciousness on one object or subject. So any time you become completely focused on one thing, and not aware of everything else around you, you are creating a trance state.
So have you been hypnotised yet, or just very interested in what you are reading?
Why is trance so important? Because it is the best environment for growing or changing new beliefs because to make a change you need to focus your mind completely on your result. Another explanation might be that any thought or belief that you can maintain in your mind while in a state of complete mental silence, eventually becomes a command to your subconscious.
If you drive a car to consider this question carefully. Do you drive consciously or unconsciously? Are you fully aware of every action it takes to get from one place to another, Open the door, get comfortable, fasten seat, belt put key into the ignition, turn it through the ignition sequence, listen for the engine sound, look at the dials, check the mirror, turn on the lights, dip the clutch, engage the gear, check the mirror, let out the clutch, and you do all of this without thinking, is it trance, focussed attention, or habit?
I was once told that it doesn’t matter how thin a slice is there will always be two sides, and I was once asked by a GP if acupuncture can resolve a needle phobia for a patient of his needing regular blood tests. He was currently prescribing anxiety medication for a Trypanophobic (having a fear of needles, and this was recorded on her medical notes). So anxiety medication for the rest of her life or an hour with a good hypnotherapist the choice was not entirely hers.
If further evidence is required a quick search of amazon books or kindle for medical hypnosis, and you will discover a wealth of academic publications covering a whole raft of medical subjects such as dentistry, surgery, oncology, ophthalmology neurosurgery, pain management, prosthetic limbs and much more written by intelligent and eminently qualified men who have devoted many years to the study of their given discipline.
• A study by Stanford University validated that neural changes associated with hypnosis, and hypnosis has regularly been used to perform surgery without chemical anaesthetic.
• The Pain Clinic at Liege University Hospital in Belgium has at the time of writing performed over 10,000 procedures using only hypnosis.
Moving on, invariably the conversation will go to my favourite comment it goes something thing like this “Well, that’s all well and good but you wouldn’t be able to hypnotize me!” or my second favourite is “I am one of those people you cant hypnotize”
To answer the first statement my standard answer is
“OK, that’s great if you don’t want me too then why should I waste my time trying” and change the subject, this is where the fun starts. Because curiosity is aroused, leading to the next
“Aren’t you going to try then?”
My response is
“OK close your eyes and prove to me that I cant hypnotise you.”
At which point they will close their eyes and say something like.
“look you can’t control me”
Note: just short of 5 minutes is the current record before someone having been asked to close their eyes they decide to open them, entirely of their own volition.
This idea of mind control is based on the misconception that hypnosis is something that I impose on the client.
You have the map and compass.
In summation, you have the map and compass, I just point you in the right direction to start your journey. Hypnotherapy should never ever be a battle for control. So before moving on consider this. If you’re capable of breathing just a little slower and making yourself comfortable while sitting in a chair then you too can experience hypnotherapy.
You don’t have to “go under”. And we can all respond to an acceptable suggestion, that’s how advertising works. It is important to emphasise that any suggestion a client might reject is only because they don’t want to make the change, for an undisclosed reason, for example, my wife/husband, partner, mom, dad, paid for me to have therapy to stop smoking.
“Do you want to stop smoking?”
“No, I just want them to stop nagging me about it.”
In this situation, there is nothing I can do, and nothing they want me to do, the best course of action, a cup of coffee and chat, money doesn’t change hands, but when they do really want to stop smoking, I ask them to give me a call. No pressure just an honest answer to an honest question. I have seen clients make amazing progress in dealing with their issues, and continue to build very positive life changes for themselves by using hypnosis and hypnotherapy. The Client Work pages will show a few examples of what has been achieved on behalf of my clients, and I have never asked anyone to look at my watch.