Hypnosis, the oldest and most natural mode of healing known man is a method of inducing a trance or a dream-like state of deep relaxation in order to allow the client make changes. It has been practiced in various forms for thousands of years by many cultures including Druid, Celtic and Egyptian. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, hypnosis (or ‘mesmerism’) was seen more as a sideshow curiosity than a valid medical treatment.
When we enter into the absorbed state of hypnosis, we can use our thoughts, talents and experiences in ways not usually available to us. With the help of a trained professional, we can develop innate, individual abilities that enable making desired changes in our thoughts, feelings and behaviours possible.
Our ability to enter this unique state of consciousness opens the door to countless possibilities for healing, self-exploration and change. The brain has different levels of consciousness, or awareness, ranging from fully alert to drowsy to fully asleep, with variations in between. Hypnotic states occur naturally and spontaneously.
Everyday examples include:
Being absorbed in a pleasant task and losing track of time
Doing a routine/boring task (such as washing the dishes) while thinking about something else, to the degree that you can’t actually remember performing the task
Getting quietened into a dreamy state by boredom, for example, when listening to a dull speech.
Today, hypnosis is recognised by the scientific community as an effective healing tool, although how it works is still something of a mystery. It is not a treatment in its own right, but is used as a part of medical, psychological and dental treatments.
Myths, misconceptions and fear about hypnosis
Myth of the weak mind
There is a belief that only the weak-minded people can be hypnotized. Actually, quite the opposite is true. People above average intelligence who are capable of concentrating and those who have active, vivid imaginations, make the best hypnotic subjects.
We disempower ourselves when we choose limiting beliefs which reduce the number of available options toward reaching desired outcome; and we empower ourselves whenever we open ourselves to more options.
Fear of revealing secrets
Many may think that if they are hypnotized they have no choice but obey the commands given them. Yet, in truth, the hypnotherapist-client relationship is anything but a power relationship. The only power lies in the mind of the client because in hypnosis he has greater awareness than when he is fully awake, and he completely retains his powers of selectivity. The client’s secrets are secure.
Fear of humiliations
This is confusing a stage hypnotist with a therapeutic or clinical hypnotherapist. A stage hypnotist will do this because that is what is expected of them. The people who are the stage subjects volunteered to participate, didn’t they? They knew that in doing so, they would be acting silly, being funny, didn’t they? The answer always yes of course.
The power of selectivity overcomes in the hypnotic state. Therefore, if a stage subject is asked to imitate a clown, he will cheerfully comply, but what if he is asked to rob a bank? Never. He would come out of hypnosis and end the show.
Fear of loss of control
A hypnotized person will simply not accept an objectionable suggestion. For example, if an emergency fire presented itself, the client would come out of hypnosis on his own, immediately and fully. The client is always the one in control.
Fear of “the Trance”
Trance can occur naturally and spontaneously every day. Every morning when you are awakening and every night just before you sleep. Being in trance is not different then one of them.
“I wasn’t hypnotized, I heard every word you said”
This is the biggest barrier for the many people that their expectation is to be a state of unconsciousness of sleep!
In hypnosis the client hears everything that is said. He is completely aware of everything going on around him. His attention is much more focused in hypnosis then in the normal waking state. The only special feeling of being hypnotized is the feeling of total and complete relaxation…
Fear of not “waking up”
It can’t happen. What might happen, though is that the client may enjoy the relax state and chose to not to come out of hypnosis then one of two things happen
1. The client will come out on his own in a very short time or
2. He will fall into a natural sleep until he wakes up naturally.
The hypnotist holds no special power over the subject whatsoever. In fact, a person can hypnotise themselves. This is called self-hypnosis, and they can wake themselves whenever they choose.