5 Myths of Hypnosis Explained

Hypnosis is popular in Sheffield and all round the world. It has been around in some form or other for the majority of our time as humans. In the last few hundred years our understanding of hypnotic techniques and applications have massively increased. Despite this, many people still think some pretty strange (and untrue!) things about hypnosis.

Here are my top five things that people have got wrong about hypnosis….

Hypnosis Myth Number One: All Hypnosis Is The Same

There is a huge variety in the different styles and techniques that come under the banner of hypnosis. You could see two different hypnotherapists for the same issue and they may take completely different approaches to your issue.

The two main approaches when using hypnosis are ‘authoritarian’ and ‘permissive’. Authoritarian techniques are direct and instructive and often not that great for most people. It can feel as if you are being shouted at and being told what to do. This can lead to people rebelling against what they are being told to do, even if it is what they said they want to do!

Permissive hypnosis is more subtle and tends to work better with most people in most circumstances (in my experience!)

Hypnosis Myth Number Two: Subliminal Messages Work

This misconception has lingered for a while, not just in the field of hypnotherapy but also in advertising. By definition you are unaware of subliminal messages. If you do become aware of them then it isn’t subliminal.

If this method did work then if you fell asleep watching the news you should still know what happened in the world when you woke up. This does not happen. Read a great blog post on why subliminal messages don’t work here

However, when you are in trance you are not asleep. When you are in trace it is possible to hear messages and ideas without having conscious awareness of them. With this knowledge you could then find your thoughts, feelings and behaviour changing.

Hypnosis Myth Number Three: Not Everyone Can Be Hypnotised

Rubbish! Everyone can and does go into trance, pretty much every single day. A good hypnotherapist who takes the time to find out about you as a person (as opposed to just someone who wants to change something) and who has experience and a range of skills in helping people will have a much better chance of helping someone be in a hypnotic state of mind.

There is also an element of co-operation though. If you don’t want to be hypnotised you could sit there with your eyes closed and in your head just say “Nope, I’m not going to drift off, I’m not going to go into trance!” and it almost certainly won’t happen.

When a good hypnotherapist works with someone who wants to make an achievable change there is a great chance that change can happen.

Hypnosis Myth Number Four: You Are MADE To Go Into Trance By Someone Else

Nope again. You hypnotise yourself, all the time. For example when you convince yourself an injection will hurt and and imagine just how painful it will be before the event you make it much more likely to hurt. This is a sort of negative self hypnosis. A hypnotherapist will help you to go into trance but won’t make you do anything. Think of it as more of a partnership between you and your hypnotherapist.

Hypnosis Myth Number Five: You Are Not In Control When You Are In Trance

This is a big fear of some people and can mean that they never ask for the help of a hypnotherapist when it could be the most appropriate and useful method of personal change. The reason they don’t ask for help is because they are afraid that they won’t be in control.

Some people worry that they will blurt out their secrets when in trance. Some people worry that they won’t like the feeling of having someone else making their decisions for them (which doesn’t happen anyway).

This kind of thinking often affects people who describe themselves as “a bit of a control freak”. The truth of the matter is that people who like to be in control actually often make the best hypnotic subjects as they know themselves, their thought and feelings in a lot of detail which means that they can provide great insight into their situation which helps the hypnotherapist find the most appropriate and effective method of help.

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