I have been a practicing psychologist and hypnotherapist for over 15 years and I have seen that there are so many people who refrain from seeking much needed therapy purely based on misconceptions and myths surrounding hypnotherapy and other forms of psychotherapy. Today I’d like to address some of the most common myths and clear speculation around them.
Myth 1: Hypnosis means giving someone complete control of your mind
Fact: The general perception of hypnosis is based on hearsay and overextended theories. In reality, no one can control another person’s mind, unless that person let’s them. Hypnotherapy is a psychological therapy technique where the subconscious mind is accessed through “hypnosis’ for treating conditions including addictions, anxiety, stress-related illness, pain management, and personal development.
Hypnosis is a method by which a person is taken to a state of heightened conscious awareness. Once in this state, the hypnotist can suggest changes that could help solve psychological issues. The patients, at no point during the session will lose control of their mind. The subconscious mind will only accept suggestions it agrees to. Other suggestions will be automatically rejected.
Myth 2: Hypnosis is very dangerous
Fact: Hypnosis in fact is a state of heightened awareness and concentration. Studies conducted on patients under hypnosis show that they are awake, alert and very responsive. Hypnosis is a scientific process of communicating with the subconscious mind. It is the result of many years of research and practice by renowned psychologists such as Dr. Sigmund Freud and Dr. Carl Jung. It should in no way be confused with black magic, voodoo or any quack practices.
Hypnosis is very safe under expert guidance and patients can easily come out a state of hypnosis by simply opening their eyes, stretching or speaking. Did you know that humans go into a state of hypnosis at least twice a day, just before falling asleep at night, and upon awaking every morning, before getting out of bed?
Myth 3: Hypnosis can magically cure in one session
Fact: Hypnosis, like any other forms of therapy, is a mechanism to get to the root of the problem and then cure it through positive suggestion. Sometime hypnotherapy alone may not be enough to cure the problem entirely. Moreover it takes patience and effort from the patient to work towards being cured. If hypnotherapy could cure in one session, the whole world would have been a much happier place.
There is no history of any one being cured in one session. Hypnotherapists usually recommend multiple sessions over a period of time, sometimes combined with other therapies to ensure a complete cure of the problem. One has to realize that we are dealing with the problems of the mind and that takes time.
Myth 4: Under Hypnosis one can be influenced to do anything
Fact: While it is true that hypnosis can help reduce inhibitions and make patients open to suggestions, they can never be forced to do anything they don’t want to. Contrary to the myth, hypnosis cannot be used to trick people into confessing or doing illegal activities.
The success of hypnosis is based on the premise of patient being willing to use their discretion. Therefore the control lies with the patient at all points of time, with the hypnotist just being the enabler.
Myth 5: Hypnosis can only be performed on mentally weak, not mentally strong
Fact: The fact is that hypnosis can be performed on almost everyone, infact the smarter the better. Research suggests that higher the intelligence and self control, the easier it is to get hypnotised. The levels of acceptance and suggestibility may vary and a good hypnotist can get a sense of that in the first session itself. Hypnosis is all about concentration and awareness and that’s why it depends on the mental health of the patient involved.
Isha Jha is Founder and Chief Psychologist at Mind Ocean Wellness, a leading Psychotherapy & Behavioral training provider in India.