What Is Hypnosis And What Are The Myths Surrounding Hypnosis?

Written by Terry Elston

There are many myths surrounding hypnosis, so this article is set to clear some of these up.

30 years ago, hypnosis was still seen as cranky and there was not much clarity between stage hypnosis and hypnosis used for therapy.

These days, hypnosis is generally accepted and you can even get it on The National Health. So how did it get a good reputation from where it was?

Paul McKenna gave the industry a break when someone blamed him for their own ab-reaction to some stage hypnosis. When the case went to court, the court ruled that all hypnosis was self-hypnosis. That makes life a lot easier for hypnotists here and shows the correct use of cause and effect in the relationship between therapists and clients. 

What is the difference between stage hypnosis and hypnosis used for therapy?

 
You could say a lot or a little depending on what the intention is of the hypnotist. I have used an element of stage hypnosis on an NLP training. There was a Korean man who believed his English was poor and he has a great fear of presenting: I performed a handshake trance which takes about three seconds to induce.

I then told him his English was good and his fear of presenting had gone. He went straight to my presenters chair, and spoke elegantly in English about how he was confident to perform now in front of others!

Normally though, stage hypnosis is purely for entertainment and hypnosis used in therapy is simply called hypnotherapy.

Both forms of hypnosis, both stage and therapy requires the client to accept certain suggestions. And it is the client doing all the work, no matter how much it looks like the ‘magic’ of the hypnotist. 

Can you be Hypnotised?

 
There are large individual differences in response to hypnosis. Hypnosis has little to do with the hypnotist’s technique, and very much to do with the individual’s capacity, or talent, for experiencing hypnosis. Most people are at least moderately hypnotisable. However, while relatively few people absolutely cannot be hypnotised, by the same token, relatively few people fall within the highest level of responsiveness (so-called hypnotic virtuosos). There is some controversy over whether hypnotisability can be modified.  

Some clinical practitioners believe that virtually everyone can be hypnotised, if only the hypnotist takes the right approach. Similarly, some researchers believe that developing positive attitudes, motivations, and expectancies concerning hypnosis can enhance hypnotisability.

I trust this article has cleared up some old myths around hypnosis.

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