Common Myths Or Misconceptions About Hypnosis Or Self-Hypnosis
1. One can be hypnotized to say or do something against one's will.
During the experience of hypnosis and self-hypnosis, the participant knows exactly what is occurring and what is going on around them. It is not a procedure of someone else hypnotizing the person in order to change them irrespective of their will. In fact, through the process of hypnosis, one gains more control over their own thoughts, feelings, behavior, and body. The hypnotist offers communication or suggestions that the participant can accept or reject. The capacity to influence does exist, and this does not only occur under hypnosis. Ethics are important in this process, in that it be designed to facilitate the person in accomplishing his/her goals.
2. Anyone who can be hypnotized must be “weak minded”.
Virtually all people enter into informal “trance” (hypnotic) states spontaneously in their daily living. The ability to be hypnotized has not been correlated with personality traits or IQ levels. Creativity and imaginative or visual strengths can enhance the process.
3. Once a person has been hypnotized, s/he no longer can resist it.
People had the mistaken idea that the hypnotist controls the “subject”. Instead, the hypnotic process is an interaction based on mutual power, shared in order to attain a therapeutic outcome desired by the participant.
4. One inevitably becomes dependent on the hypnotist.
The act of doing hypnosis or participating in the process does not foster dependency. Rather, it empowers and facilitates the person in using his/her own inner resources to resolve concerns.
5. Being hypnotized can be hazardous to your health.
Hypnosis and self-hypnosis are by their nature, positive mind/body experiences. The “trance” (hypnotic) process produces changes in the body system: These changes are healthy, reduce stress and discomfort, and create a relaxation response that improves health.
6. One is asleep or unconscious when in trance.
Hypnosis is not sleep nor lack of consciousness. It is more like a very relaxed physical state in which one still is mentally alert and actually concentrating on internal experience.
7. One can become “stuck” in trance.
The frame of reference for “trance” is to focus one’s attention by concentrating inwardly, instead of outwardly on the environment. It is in the control of the participant who can start or stop the trance. It is impossible to get stuck in a state of concentration. Again, the person is not in an unconscious state while participating in hypnosis.
8. Hypnosis is therapy.
Hypnosis is not therapy. It is a therapeutic tool that may supplement psychotherapy. Self-hypnosis is also a skill that one may develop to apply to a number of problem areas or personal growth goals.