The Simple Truth About Hypnosis
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Thanks to stage and television, most people have a lot of misconceptions about hypnosis. That's too bad, because hypnotherapy is a modality that can help many people to make the changes that they've been struggling with. So I'm going to clarify just what the simple truths are about hypnosis.

The Definition Of Hypnosis

Hypnosis is a state of hyper-suggestibility where the conscious mind and the subconscious dissociate. It is a state of consciousness where the hypnotized client is more likely to agree to the hypnotist's suggestions.

You have been in hypnosis many times in your life without even realizing it. If you've ever watched a sad television show and reacted with a tear in your eye, you have been in the hypnotic state. You entered a state of amplified suggestibility where you uncritically accepted the suggestion of gloom on the TV screen and reacted with a sad emotion, evidenced by your tear. In other words, your ability to reason, which is controlled by your conscious mind, was bypassed. You did not reason that the show was just a play; you accepted the action as being genuine. So you reacted with real passion and shed a tear.

Who Can Be Placed In Hypnosis?

Hypnotherapists have found that all normal people are hypnotizable to a greater or lesser extent. Subjects with less than a 70 IQ generally can't be hypnotized. People who are actively psychotic, by and large, cannot be hypnotized. Most senile people are difficult to hypnotize. I have found in my own hypnotherapy practice, dealing with a large number of retired people up to 85 years of age, that self-hypnosis is a potent and beneficial technique for most people. A person's motivation is the key to his or her success.

Do I Have To Be A "Deep" Subject For Success?

For the curative applications of hypnosis we most often deal with, hypnotic depth of any kind is not required. You can be the lightest possible subject and still obtain all of the benefits from hypnosis that the deepest subjects will obtain. I believe that over the years, far too much importance has been placed on how deep a subject is. If the hypnotic subject is deep, it could be of benefit. This however, may not necessarily be the case. In fact, with the latest hypnotic methods - like Ericksonian self-hypnosis and state of the art NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) - hypnotic depth is one of the least imperative aspects which contribute to success.

Are There Any Dangers In Self-Hypnosis?

There are, on the whole, no dangers to the practice of self-hypnosis. It is impossible to "get stuck" in self-hypnosis. The most awful thing that could possibly happen while a patient is in the hypnotic state is that she might fall into a natural state of sleep for 20 or 30 minutes. She would then wake up rested and no longer in a state of self-hypnosis.

Misconceptions About The Hypnotic State

There are many misconceptions about self-hypnosis. Most of them can be attributed to stage and television shows. As luck would have it, it's on account of the fact that the television can hypnotize you that these misconceptions are so strongly ingrained in people's minds.

Is Self-Hypnosis A State Of Sleep?

The most widespread misconception about self-hypnosis is that it's a state of sleep. Nothing could be further from the truth. Hypnosis is a state of keen awareness. The subject is wide-awake and aware of everything around her. This misconception comes from the stage hypnotist's use of the word "sleep" as equivalent to a state of hypnosis. When the old-time hypnotist swung a pocket watch in front of his subject's face, he told his subject that she was getting "sleepy." Then he told his subject to "go to sleep." What he meant was to go into a hypnotic sleep, not a natural sleep.

Is There A Hypnotized Feeling?

Another misconception is that there is a "hypnotized feeling." There is no "hypnotized feeling." I repeat: there is no "hypnotized feeling." Most people feel very relaxed when in the hypnotic state, as relaxation seems to be the essence of hypnosis. Some people feel heavy. Some people feel light. Some people have other sensations and feelings. Other people have absolutely no feeling that they are in a state of hypnosis, and believe they haven't been hypnotized when they most definitely have.

Can The Hypnotherapist Control Me?

NO! The hypnotist cannot make you do anything against your will. There is always an observing ego state. Should the therapist make an offensive suggestion, this ego state would reject that suggestion. Additionally, you will probably come out of the hypnotic state if the hypnotherapist makes an offensive suggestion.

Can The Hypnotherapist Force Me To Divulge My Secrets?

You will not give up any secrets while in a state of hypnosis unless you want to do so. The hypnotist does not have any control over the matter. Quite the contrary, the subject has more control over herself, since, at this time, she can directly communicate with her own subconscious. The subject can easily decline any suggestion the hypnotist makes, no matter how simple or complicated the suggestion might be. The subject can open her eyes, exit from the state of self-hypnosis, and walk out of the room at any time she chooses.

Must People Tell The Truth When In The Hypnotic State?

No! People can lie when in a state of self-hypnosis.

Do Hypnotists Have Special Powers?

This is a common misconception. The hypnotist does not have any special powers, nor does he have any special "vibrations" with which to magically render you into the state of hypnosis. Actually, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. The hypnotist leads the subject into a state of hypnotism. In other words, the ability of self-hypnosis is within the subject.

Why Do Some People Fail To Reach Their Goals When Using Hypnosis?

Perhaps the biggest reason for the failure to reach one's goals through self-hypnosis is an inadequate amount of practice where self-hypnosis is concerned. The primary cause of the return of a symptom or a "relapse" is the early discontinuance of self-hypnosis with the hypnotherapist or recorded program. While self-hypnosis is important, it is generally hetero-hypnosis (hypnosis with the hypnotist) or use of a hypnosis recording which has the greatest impact upon the subconscious.

This is because of the training and experience that the hypnotist has versus the lack of training and experience of the client. Some people are penny wise and pound-foolish. They mentally set an amount of time that they are willing to spend for help. And then they prematurely cut off their sessions because; "I didn't lose 50 lbs. in two days, so it isn't working."

If a therapeutic method is really helping one to make their desired changes, then it is priceless and it should be continued. It is for this reason that it is wise to have follow up self-hypnosis sessions, even after a symptom seems to have disappeared completely. Self-hypnosis should be an ongoing affair on a daily basis. Ultimately, your success is up to you!

Will I Be Better Off Hiring a Hypnotist, or Will Purchasing a Recorded Program Work Better?

That is a wonderful question. Normally I would recommend that you employ the services of a reputable hypnotist. The reason is that by meeting with you, a good hypnotist / NLP'er will be able to customize his approach to your personality and your favored representational system - the way take in information through your senses to make sense of suggestions and react to them.

Most of the recorded self-hypnosis CDs and downloads available at this time are based on Traditional Hypnosis, and consist of only one (or maybe two) sessions, at that. Traditional Hypnosis is nothing more than a set of direct commands: "If you eat a brownie you'll barf." "You won't have cravings and urges." This technology has a poor track record because our generation has been trained to question everything. That's why you, your friends, and your kids usually do the opposite of what they are told to do. It is what is known as a "polarity response."

That said, having sessions with any hypnotist / NLP'er who has enough experience to be able to actually help you can cost a great deal of money. There are some hypnotic programs, available on the Internet, based on Ericksonian Hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) that have overcome the shortcomings of Traditional Hypnosis alone. They've managed this by utilizing a mix of Ericksonian Hypnosis, NLP, Traditional Hypnosis, and Video Hypnosis technology.

These are all methods that are designed to do away with the resistance factor. In fact, Video Hypnosis and the NLP technology upon which it's based do not utilize suggestion at all. These technologies rely on using the thought processes that have created a problem to eliminate it!

Look for vendors who offer these technologies in multi-session products. These are programs that generally have six to eight different hypnosis or NLP sessions, so the subject is exposed to a broad range of technologies. It takes a lot of work to make it through this type of program, but the high success rates achieved are well worth the effort.

Alan B. Densky, is a clinical hypnotist certified by the NGH. He has authored four books and dozens of articles on hypnotherapy and NLP, and is the developer of the Video Hypnosis technology. Visit his Neuro-VISION website for free hypnosis articles, newsletters, and MP3s.