What if everything you thought about hypnotherapy was wrong?
Myth 1: It only works on weak-minded people, right?
Well... Have you ever daydreamed? Have you ever found yourself driving ‘on autopilot’? Or got ‘lost’ in a book or a film? Have you ever used your imagination? These are the same kinds of state of mind as being in hypnosis.
All kinds of people, with all kinds of ‘normal’ states of mind can engage with the process of turning their attention inward – and that’s all we’re doing in hypnotherapy. ‘Hypnosis’ is a spectrum of perfectly normal, natural states of mind which you put yourself into dozens of times every day. In these states, we can access the vast and beautiful treasure house of our own subconscious… If your mind is closed tightly against its own subconscious elements, does that really make you strong-minded?
Myth 2: I’m going to become like a robot, programmed and controlled by the hypnotist.
If you have ever seen a stage hypnotist, or even films like The Manchurian Candidate, you’d be forgiven for thinking that hypnosis is all about taking over peoples’ minds and ‘making’ them do strange or even scary things… So let’s draw a really clear line here: hypnotherapy is a therapy – it’s all about healing.
What I want as a hypnotherapist is to find and support your own inner programming which seeks your own greater health. I don’t want to add my own programme. I’ve seen Disney’s The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and I don’t want an army of robots doing my bidding – who on earth wants that kind of responsibility?
In other words, you are already a robot, with all kinds of programming and built-in control mechanisms. What is the point of adverts, press releases and the wealth of laws on the statute books, if not to seek to programme and control you? I’d prefer it if who you really are is put back in control of you as much as possible.
Myth 3: I’m going to be made to do things against my will.
There have been so many inaccurate portrayals of hypnosis in films that this comes up a lot! Here’s the reality: you are always in control during a hypnotherapy session. You are always able to end the conversation, or bring yourself out of the hypnotic state, or get up, or just say ‘no’ – or whatever you want. The hypnotherapist is there to serve your higher good. Your welfare is paramount. Your Will always has the final say.
Myth 4: I’m going to be unconscious and have no memory of the session.
Another one which comes up a lot as a result of misleading plots in films. It’s a bit like the idea that if you hit someone on the head they conveniently get amnesia; then if you hit them on the head again their memory comes back… The world doesn’t really work like that, but it makes for a good storyline. In reality, we want you conscious during your session so that we can talk things through. I don’t mind being paid while you sleep, but I suspect you might not feel that’s money well spent! Hypnosis is a completely different state to sleep.
And consider this: how much of a film do you remember when you come out of a cinema? It will probably be about the same when you come out of a hypnotherapy session, or any other kind of therapy session. In rare cases, some clients may sometimes spontaneously generate their own selective amnesia within a session, if they touch upon things which they are unable or unwilling to process at that time – but this is not caused by the hypnosis – they would also experience this in their ‘normal life’ if those matters were touched upon.
Myth 5: I’m going to be brainwashed.
Throughout the session, YOU are in control of your mind. If you feel like giving your brain a spring clean, that’s all on you I’m afraid. I don’t want to do any more dishes or laundry than I have to! What I’m interested in is helping your conscious mind reconnect with who you really are and what you really want from life – and then helping you find the path that takes you in that direction.
Myth 6: I might get stuck in a trance.
Does anyone ever avoid daydreaming or meditation because they’re worried they might get stuck in that state? No, because it just can’t happen – and it’s the same with hypnosis. Even if your hypnotherapist fell off the edge of the world while you were in trance, you’d either bring yourself ‘back’ very simply and naturally to your normal/default state of awareness, or you might fall asleep and then just wake up as normal.
Myth 7: I can just pay my money and magically become a different person.
Sorry, I can’t magically change anything for you. I’m not Voldemort.
However, in hypnosis you can access various parts of your subconscious mind, a part of you which has tremendous influence in everything you think, feel and do... If you choose to, you have the power to make great changes here. It can seem almost magical – but it’s your magic, not mine – and there might be all kinds of previously trapped emotions to process before the changes can blossom and flourish. Switching metaphors: butterflies do exist! But they have to process ‘stuff’ from their caterpillar days (in the chrysalis) before they can be reborn with their wings.
Myth 8: Hypnosis is dangerous, unnatural, or unholy.
As mentioned in Myth 1, hypnosis is actually a completely normal, everyday state of mind. It’s as natural (and as safe) as daydreaming, or engaging the imagination. Hypnotherapy, at least as we practise it, is holistic – it treats you as a whole person, a part of the whole universe. We believe that this ideal wholeness is indistinguishable from true holiness.
There is a great truism in hypnotherapy: all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Therefore it is as dangerous, unnatural and unholy as you are. If you’re scared of your own subconscious mind, don’t you think you should do something about that?