The top 10 myths about hypnosis
While hypnosis is a scientifically-proven method for treating a variety of conditions, it still remains a bit of a mystery. Below, we debunk the ten most common myths about hypnosis.
When in hypnosis, you can be made to say or do something against your will.
Fact: The truth is, hypnosis cannot make you do anything that you don’t want to do. It can help you achieve something you do want to do, and it can help you stop doing something you want to stop doing. But hypnosis cannot make you do anything against your will. If a suggestion was made to you during a hypnosis session which truly offended your ideals or sensibilities, then you would simply break the hypnotic state and end the session.
You can get “stuck” in hypnosis and be unable to wake up.
Fact: You cannot get “stuck” in a hypnotic trance. Hypnosis is a natural and normal state that we all enter into on a daily basis, so it’s nothing you haven’t experienced before. Of course, hypnosis is a subjective experience and everyone will experience it differently, but the “worst” that could happen is that you drift into a natural state of sleep and wake up soon afterwards.
I’ve never been hypnotized before.
Fact: Actually, you have been hypnotized — in fact, we all have! For example, have you ever been so entranced in a book or film that you don’t hear someone call your name? Or have you ever driven somewhere, but don’t remember the route? These all involve hypnotic states to some extent, which means hypnosis is just a natural extension of everyday awareness.
Hypnosis isn’t an effective modality.
Fact: Contrary to what you may have seen on television or in movies, hypnosis is a scientifically-proven method for treating a variety of conditions, from chronic pain to insomnia. The world-renowned Stanford University School of Medicine’s Stanford Center on Stress & Health teaches hypnosis techniques as a treatment in clinical settings as part of an integrative medicine approach. There have been hundreds of studies conducted and published in reputable medical journals on the efficacy of hypnosis; if you’d like to learn more about the studies and results, click here.
Hypnosis works instantly.
Fact: While some people can experience changes very quickly, hypnosis is generally not an “instant miracle cure.” The results you will experience depend on a variety of factors, including: the issue you’re addressing, your level of susceptibility, how often you listen, your mindset each time you listen, and more. To start noticing the benefits, we recommend daily listening for at least one to three weeks (or more, if you like). Once you’ve achieved your goals, we recommend occasional listening to maintain the results you desire (or to simply relax).
You are asleep or unconscious when in hypnosis.
Fact: Hypnosis is neither sleep nor unconsciousness. The experience of a formally-induced hypnotic state might resemble sleep from the physical point of view (for example: slowed breathing, eyes closed, muscles relaxed, activity decreased), but you are never actually asleep. You may be relaxed and comfortable, but you’re alert and aware. You’re focused and able to clearly think and communicate, as needed. To be clear, it is possible to drift into a state of sleep during hypnosis, but that is not the intended outcome.
Hypnosis will only work on certain people.
Fact: It’s true that some people are more susceptible to hypnosis, but everyone is susceptible to a certain degree. The effectiveness of hypnosis often comes down to the person’s motivation, willingness, and ability to concentrate. Think of it this way: if you’re interested in something and it’s something that you want, then you’ll be open to its effects. It’s the same with hypnosis — if you want it to work, you have a much higher chance of success than if you’re uninterested or fighting it.
People who get hypnotized are weak-minded.
Fact: In fact, it is the opposite. Without a doubt, it’s the people who can concentrate well and have a creative imagination who make the best hypnosis patients. People with these valuable attributes can enter a state of hypnosis with ease, which means they’re more likely to absorb the messages and achieve the results they desire. There’s nothing weak-minded about that.
Hypnosis can be dangerous.
Fact: Hypnosis is simply a state of focused, hyper-awareness — it’s completely safe and natural. If for whatever reason you wanted to leave a hypnotic state, you can naturally do so by opening your eyes, stretching, or speaking. There is no danger of “getting stuck” in a hypnotic trance or losing control.
Hypnosis is a “miracle cure.”
Fact: While Hypnosis is a relatively quick method of making permanent changes or improvements, there is no such thing as a one-time “Hypno-Miracle.” Every individual makes progress at his or her own rate and stories of “overnight success” should be heeded with caution.
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