Hypnosis’ Myths

There are a handful of myths about hypnosis, you have probably come across some.

Before you can understand hypnosis, you need to know what are the myths surrounding hypnosis.

Here is myth Number One:

Hypnosis is Sleep

Hypnosis is very close to sleep but it is not sleep.  When you sleep, you are unaware of the surrounding environment most of the time.  Your feel very peaceful in an environment of darkness. But in hypnosis, a person has conscious awareness of what is happening around her.  To put it simply, hypnosis is a state of trance that occurs in between the conscious wakeful state and the sleep state. It is called the Alpha level in scientific term. 

Here is myth Number Two:

Hypnosis is mind control

Most people’s idea about hypnosis comes from stage hypnosis.  In stage hypnosis, you see the hypnotist suggesting to the hypnotized person and they will behave according to what is suggested.  As a result, people equate this as mind control.  This is not true.  Mind control is about controlling a person’s mind to do what the controller wants get done.  In hypnosis, the hypnotized person, being first fully aware of what is going on in him as well as the environment, would only response to the suggestions when he wants to.  For instance, you can’t get him to rob a bank just by hypnotizing him.  His subconscious mind, which has a so-called “hidden observer”, is always safeguarding and protecting him.

Here is myth Number Three:

Everyone can be hypnotized

First, you need to understand that not everyone can be hypnotized.  And there are a few factors determining why some people can be hypnotized while others cannot.

They are:

  1. Can you follow instruction readily? For people who are stubborn, they may deliberately not want to follow instruction.  If you are willing, you will follow accordingly and this makes you a good hypnotized subject.
  2. Do you understand the hypnotist’s language? If the language medium is English, can you understand basic English. If you can’t, then most likely you won’t be able to follow exactly what is suggested to you.
  3. Can you imagine? This factor should be the least concern since majority of the people can imagine. Even if you can’t, you can practise your imagination.
  4. Are you able to focus? Since the hypnosis process may take some time, your ability to concentrate on the hypnotist’s words may affect the effectiveness of hypnosis outcome.  People who are hyper-active or in depression may not be suitable for hypnosis.

Here is myth Number Four:

You can be stuck in hypnosis

It is very easy to debunk this myth.  Just ask yourself this question “Do you sleep?” 

Of course, everyone needs to sleep.  It is a natural process for it gives us rest and rejuvenation.  And since you already know that hypnosis is a state that is in between the wakeful state and the sleep state, then it is also a natural occurrence. Do you ever get stuck in sleep?  I have not heard of such case.  Some people may say coma is similar to getting stuck in sleep.  But the fact is coma is a condition in which our brain is impacted due to some accidents. In hypnosis, your brain is not being impacted by any forces or blows.

A hypnotized person can be emerged from hypnosis through the emerging steps.  Even if not done in proper way, the person will still wake up from hypnosis, assuming the person accidentally falls asleep during hypnosis.

Here is myth Number Five:

Hypnosis is not safe

In fact, hypnosis is one of the safest alternative medicine that is available to people.  You won’t be hurt physically, emotionally or mentally.  It is unlike medicine.  There is a possibility that you may get some side effects from medication. Hypnosis does not have this issue though some people may cite headache and false memory as the side effects.

Here is myth Number Six:

Hypnosis is black magic

Hypnosis is never a magic, less black magic.  However, you can say it is magical because it can produce results that is astounding. Black magic is unorthodox. Hypnosis is a conventional, righteous method of healing or resolving issue in people.  People who have the notion that it is black magic has a large part to do with the magical performances of hypnosis, especially that of stage hypnosis.  People who are chosen to go on stage to receive hypnosis are instructed by the hypnotist to behave funnily and exhibit some weird behaviours, and they do indeed. When people cannot explain some occurrence, they would conveniently blame someone or label it as something bad. 

Here is myth Number Seven:

I am totally new to hypnosis and have never tried it

The people who said this are not totally wrong.  They are only partially right. When they say that they have never tried hypnosis, they are actually referring to induced hypnosis. But they do not know that they are all along experiencing hypnosis day in and day out – such as when they are fresh awake from sleep or are about to fall into sleep.  These moments are moments of hypnosis.  They occur naturally and do not need to be induced.

Here is myth Number Eight:

Hypnosis is miracle

The word miracle, according to dictionary, means “an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency”. Though some of the outcomes/results produced by hypnosis may seem extraordinary, it is by no means miraculous.  It is the tapping into our subconscious mind power that allows ordinary people to do certain things that under normal circumstances are not able to. This latent power resides in all people waiting to be tapped.

Here is myth Number Nine:

Hypnosis is fake

Unlike magic which is not real but the use of sleight of hand and distraction and props to get people look in a certain direction and focus on the wrong thing, hypnosis is real.  It is a method that expresses the power of our subconscious mind. I like to term it “subconscious in action”. It is through the power of suggestions that one can give command to his body to respond a certain way eg. Convincing himself that he is so weak that his hand is not even able to lift a pen.

Here is myth Number Ten:

The hypnotist has mysterious power

The hypnotist is just like any ordinary person.  She does not possess any mysterious power more than the next guy. On the surface it seems the hypnotist gives command to the hypnotized person and that person reacts accordingly to what he instructs. What actually happen is the hypnotist only knew how to induce the person and then give him the right suggestions for him to subconsciously respond in a certain manner.  To put in proper perspective, the hypnotist has the power in him.  The hypnotized person also has the power in him. One knew how to get into a trance state in order to unlock the mind power. The other do not know.