Many people unfamiliar with the growing possibilities of Hypnosis or Hypno-Therapy have grown up in a culture that identifies with the misconceptions about a practice that has been long misunderstood.

This hit home clearly to me when my daughter-in-law asked, "Can you make me squawk like a chicken?" I only responded with, "Do you want to squawk like a chicken?"

That is the crux of most of such questions. If you want to squawk like a chicken, you may. If, however, you do not want to squawk like a chicken, there is nothing I, nor any other Hypnotherapist, can do short of threatening your life that will probably make you squawk like a chicken. The television and movie portrayals of hypnosis have been grossly over-exaggerated.

Perhaps I can dispel some of the common misconceptions about hypnosis:

"Caused by the Power of the hypnotist"
Not so, Hypnosis involves concentrating on some stimulus and entering a trance which is always a personal choice.

"Only certain kinds of people can be hypnotized"
In theory anyone can be hypnotized either directly or indirectly. In practice, however, it is true that some persons are more responsive to trance than others. It has also been my experience that once the "response" factor is determined and dealt with, trance is available and useful to anyone. The response factors are usually related to fear of loosing control, outside stimuli, negative past experiences, etc. Once we have uncovered the "response" factor, we can proceed with useful and meaningful trance work. It is my responsibility to discover what style of communication and comfort factors make trance possible for my client.

"Anyone who can be hypnotized must be weak minded"
This misconception is based on a belief that the hypnotist is in CONTROL, and quite the contrary is true. This refers to the powerful Svengali scare stories that abound. This is typically a result of someone who has give over their "will" to another. This is neither the intent nor the practice of an ethical clinician. It can become present during a session that one is often finding themselves in the "victim" role and, therefore, are at the mercy of others. This is not a product of hypnosis. Rather, it is a condition of being human that often requires discovery in which hypnotherapy can provide assistance.

"Once one has been hypnotized, one can no longer resist it"
Again, we are discussing a dynamic of Free Will and choice based on many factors, none of which have to do with trance states. The hypnotic process is an interaction based on mutual power shared in order to attain some desirable therapeutic outcome. If a person chooses not to go into a trance state for whatever reason, they will not. Again, it is the nature of Hypnotherapy to discover the "response" factor that prohibits the process. However, the client is ALWAYS in control of whether or not to enter trance.

"One can be hypnotized to say or do something against their will"
This is the squawking like a chicken paradigm. The capacity to influence people to do things against their will does exist. However, the conditions necessary to effect such powerful influence do not correspond to the typical therapeutic process. Controlling another person is possible under certain conditions, but those conditions are not in and of themselves hypnosis and are quite far removed from the process of trance work.

"Being hypnotized can be hazardous to your health"
Hypnosis, itself, is not harmful to the body, the mind, or the emotional body. Rather, the concern should be WHO you are doing hypnosis with. Typically, the body is lethargic during the trance process. Such physical response is healthy, reducing stress and discomfort. Hypnosis often gives the client access to memories and feelings long outside of conscious awareness. The content of such memories may be distressing as they often are in therapy. However, it is the responsibility of the clinician to stay closely connected to the process and to hold a space of safety for the client. In the therapeutic process of moving through such memories and discomforts is designed and managed to bring the client to the other side and leave the client feeling more control in their lives, thus, leaving the feeling of greater health, energy, and life experience.

"One can become Stuck in a trance"
Trance is a state of focused attention, either inwardly or outwardly directed. It is controlled by the client, who can initiate or terminate trance as they choose. Again, the client is in complete control.

These are just a few of the common misconceptions about the work of trance and therapeutic hypnosis. If you have another question, concern, or story, please email me and I will respond to your questions.

Trance state is a gentle, yet extremely powerful process of moving stored memories, decreasing stress and discomfort, even pain. You are always in control and will experience rejuvenation and relaxation.

Next month we will explore some other perceptions, and begin to discuss Self-Hypnosis to control stress and pain.

Take care and continue growing.





Please refer questions or suggestions about this site to Webmaster @ Copyright 2008, Kathleen Bowman, all rights reserved.