What is Hypnosis?
By Jan Duncan Adv Dip Hypnosis AMD TFT
Although hypnosis is becoming more popular these days , and is even recommended to patients by such notable experts as Dr Graham Wicks , who is a senior medical specialist in hypnotherapy at Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital , there are still some old misconceptions floating around in the back of some people’s minds . I would like to set those minds at rest by addressing some of the most voiced worries.
Hypnosis is caused by the power of the hypnotist
In a clinical situation the hypnotist uses his or her skills to make acceptance of new suggestions by the client more possible , but there is no control over the client . Rather it is cooperation between hypnotist and client . If the client does not follow suggestions , no hypnosis will take place.
Only certain people can be hypnotised
There are definitely people that are more difficult to hypnotise than others , but they are not less capable than other people , simply less responsive for any of a wide range of reasons . They may fear ‘losing control’ , or are possibly have a hard time distinguishing between what are for them ambiguous internal states such as tension or relaxation , or even afraid of making changes etc . Once the nature of the problem is identified and resolved , the ‘difficult’ person is transformed from a poor subject to quite a good one .
Anyone who can be hypnotised is weak-minded
Since most people enter spontaneous , informal hypnotic states regularly , the ability to be hypnotised cannot be related to personality traits . This misconception refers to the Svengali image of the ‘ all-powerful ‘ hypnotist removing a persons will. In fact, research has indicated that people with higher levels of intelligence (IQ) enter hypnosis easier and are better subjects for hypnosis and hypnotherapy.
You can be made to do things against your will
Brainwashing and other untoward influences do exist , but the conditions necessary to effect such a powerful influence are not a part of the normal therapeutic practice .Controlling another person is possible under certain stringent conditions , but those conditions are not in and of themselves hypnosis and are far removed from the kind of hypnosis practised in a clinical situation.
You are asleep or unconscious in hypnosis
Hypnosis is not sleep , even though it may resemble sleep from a physical standpoint . From a mental standpoint , the subject is relaxed yet alert .Even in very deep trance , there is always some level of awareness of current goings on. It should be noted that the hypnotised subject will hear everything that the hypnotherapist says and will remember most of what was said throughout the session.
You can become ‘stuck, in hypnosis - lost in trance’
This is a rather popular myth that circulates about hypnosis and has been used to very good effect by Hollywood. Like much of what can be seen in Hollywood movies though - it is not based in any form of fact at all. Hypnosis is a state of focused attention , either inwardly or outwardly directed . It is controlled by the client , who can initiate or terminate the experience at any time they choose . It is absolutely impossible to get 'stuck' in hypnosis.
Hypnosis is a valuable tool to access the far reaches of the inner subconscious mind. With a willing subject and a skilled practitioner it is very effective at making simple and profound changes in the thoughts , emotions and habits that are the fabric of our lives.
To find a qualified hypnotherapist in other areas of Australia, it is a good idea to contact one of the national associations such as the HCA. These organizations have strict regulations that require members to attend regular training to keep their membership , ensuring that clients always have the benefit of the latest research and techniques.