Hypnotherapy Video #4: Can Anyone Be Hypnotized?
Can anyone be hypnotized?
Isn’t that a fascinating question? I get asked it a LOT.
People want to know both that they can be hypnotized, but also that they can’t because they want to know they are in control! Others wonder if it’s even possible. Some know it happens, but are doubtful it’s possible for them.
So what’s the truth?
The answer is both refreshing, encouraging and downright scary.
Before I explain why, let’s consider the following everyday scenario:
You get back from a day in the office or the kids have finally gone to bed…You’re sitting back after a busy day and a favourite TV show comes on. You kick back and your show comes on.
24? Mad Men? Game of Thrones? Breaking Bad? The Good Wife? The one that matters to you.
As you watch, after about 30 seconds, you forget about your day. You are excited about the characters. You wonder what’s going to happen and how they will overcome adversity. You start to imagine being there, observing what’s going on. The horror, pity and other emotions of the situation demand your full attention. You become absorbed in that.
I was watching Breaking Bad this one time and a couple of hit men from over the boarder in Mexico turn up to go and shooting Walter White’s Brother in Law. He was sitting in his car in the car park and I was on the edge of my seat.
It was intense!
Two hitmen – brothers – who looked pretty much invincible – were on their way. I remember wanting to shout out, “Hank, get the heck out there.”
You know what it’s like. You are there, you mentally drift in to the show, time passes and you enter that world. You temporarily disconnect from the stream of day to day consciousness, your day job and all the problems you have. You truly leave your worries behind.
For those few minutes, the rest of the world fades in to the background and you enter an exciting place where a new reality, a new focus and new things are possible.
How fast can this happen?
My personal observations are that it takes far less than 30 seconds for your conscious mind to switch off when you are watching TV.
Here’s an interesting experiment: the next time something is on the TV, go and watch other people watching the TV. See them glaze over. Observe their jaw relaxing and dropping. Notice that they get so focused and absorbed that they are not aware or much less aware of what is going on around them.
Fast Forward Hypnosis
It is also a state by the way when we are highly suggestible. Consider this: a lot of people now no longer watch the advertisements between TV shows – at least in the UK. The advent of TiVo and other boxes allows them to fast forward through the commercial breaks.
But of course they have to stop just before the program starts…So now marketers are getting their logo shown along with the channel logo, so-called “sponsored idents”. These are the channel or network logos that flash by very quickly to the unconscious mind prior to watching your program. These typically occur just before a program starts and as soon as it goes into an advertisement break.
Because effective suggestions are based on repetition and because the subconscious mind loves things it is familiar with, you have a situation where people are hypnotizing themselves by subconsciously familiarizing themselves with brands, as they enjoy the luxury of a modern day luxury of “fast forward”. This is a marketer’s dream…whoever came up with that was VERY clever, and probably very rich!
But it goes deeper.
Now as my my friend Kevin likes to say, “trance” and “hypnosis” are different. That would be correct. But trance can be a gateway to hypnosis as well as a sign of deep hypnosis.
If we define hypnosis as the bypassing of the critical factor of the conscious mind, and the establishment of selective thinking, then we have a good working definition. If we define trance as the absorption of your focus to the exclusion of all else, then we can see how relevant it is in our daily lives.
Now here’s the deal.
When people ask, “can anyone be hypnotized?” they are invariably thinking with reference to stage shows. In these shows, highly select groups of impressionable extrovert volunteers are encouraged to do zany things. You and I probably wouldn’t be up for that. It is childish and it doesn’t serve a wider good. It doesn’t help you become more confident, get the girl, get on a plane or get a new job.
But you are I go into trance all day long with the Ultradian and Circadian rhythms. That is absolute scientific fact. In those states we daydream and tend to zone out. We need that to function healthily.
When You Don’t Know, You Can’t Prevent It
You are I are also the victims of covert hypnosis all day long. Covert hypnosis is when suggestions slip by your conscious mind and you don’t even know it’s happening. One of my colleagues wrote an powerful up-to-date book on Covert Hypnosis and how to use it for greater good, to help others and to make change.
Here’s the thing. Most of us think that we are not susceptible to marketing. yet, Coca Cola spend over $1 billion a year on advertising. Do you prefer Coke or Pepsi? Did you know that most people, in blind tests, prefer Pepsi. But when you ask them, they will tell you something different. (I am no exception by the way).
Mark Thomas, comedian and activist, had a cool show a few years ago, He was hooked up to a brain scanner that showed more of the excitatory parts of his brain lighting up when he thought of Coke. That “red brand” is captivating and draws you in. More than that, we have an association that has been made been what you see (the red logo) and deep powerful emotional feelings.
It’s both clever and scary. It’s exactly why you and I buy certain brands – because we don’t think the adverts make a jot of difference. This has been dubbed “neuro-marketing” but it’s really good old fashioned Pavlovian conditioning. Create a link between what you see and what you feel.
When you’re shopping, do you find you are putting Lynx or other “brands” into your basket? We think it is because of conscious choice. But actually it is because of certain feelings we have. It is because we have been primed to act this way and because associations have already been created in what we have seen and heard.
When I face a talk a while back at Cardiff University, people were shocked and fascinated. Most agreed that their purchasing habits were manipulated by marketers. If they weren’t, there probably wouldn’t be a job for them!
This is usually subtle and cumulative.
How Many Positive Associations Can One Photo Create?
Again if you doubt this, take a look at the photo of Santa Claus on the left.
What associations spring to mind? Notice the “subtle” linking of so many positive happy childhood experiences with the act of drinking Coca-Cola and the logo on the right.
That’s Covert Hypnosis. And advertisers have been using this since the advert of behavioural psychology. In fact, one of the early developers of behavioural psychology, Watson, later when on to work in advertising and apply the new learnings after his academic career was cut short because of an affair (marriage had more reverence attached to it in 1920!).
So, what has this got to do with whether you can be hypnotized?
Here’s the thing: We know you go into trance all day long. You and I are also subject to cultural and marketing hypnosis. Just think about the remarketing that occurs when you are online. You go and look at a product on Amazon. Later on that day or week, you are on an entirely different website and you see the same product appear! Annoying? Sure. But doesn’t it keep it in mind. And doesn’t it add an extra level of emotion to the purchase? Whether we like to admit it or not, this works by and large. I wish it wasn’t because websites would be tidier and less cluttered but marketers know we want to buy…to consume!
When it comes to hypnotherapy, we have certain expectations, fears and things that we need to have resolved so we can make it happen. Hypnotherapy is very different because out guard it up, we are naturally cautious and we are ready to not accept it until we feel safe.
10 Reasons Why Hypnotherapy Is Worthy Of Your Time
Here are ten reasons why hypnotherapy is so different from standard covert hypnosis and why it is so empowering:
1) Hypnotherapy is a co-equal relationship between client and therapist. if they trust and respect each other, progress is quicker.
2) Unlike covert hypnosis, in this context you know it is coming! That means that would never go along with or engage in anything you didn’t think was a good idea. One of my colleagues likes to give the example of asking someone to stand on their head. If someone suggested this in trance, you simply wouldn’t do it.
3) To get the most out of hypnosis, it is helpful, at least in the beginning to train your conscious mind to allow suggestions in . By saying, “I like this suggestion. I know it is working for me, you do yourself a great service.”
4) Hypnotherapy is the place where you are most acutely aware that your subconscious is going to be nurtured and encouraged to support you to make deep changes. You know this, and inevitably in the beginning your guard is up…until you get comfortable with the process
5) Hypnosis is a process. You need to get comfortable with is and the therapist. Once that is in place, you can make progress. That goes for all therapy.
6) Having a proper chat or conversation before you decide to come along is wise because it prepares you to make that decision that you are ready to learn something new and allow suggestions in that will have a positive effect for you.
7) You are deciding and choosing this, consciously. When you decide to got for it, you can feel pretty good about the decisiveness and your decision to embrace change. You are in control. you are in the driving seat. No longer a victim of subjugation, dependence of the whims of others, you have made a smart decision to take care of yourself because you deserve it.
8) If you come to a well-trained and experienced hypnotist, they will take the time to help you gain long-term benefit. I like to teach clients at least a couple of ways to do self-hypnosis. That way you can take care of yourself long-term and give yourself the suggestions you need. Many of my clients like to join me for coaching and stay in touch through my blog, or Facebook or the YouTube Channel. But the key is for you to take control.
9) Hypnosis is enjoyable once you are properly educated. It is still a subject where it is not always easy to get quality information. That’s why I encourage people to sign up to my newsletter, get quality information and try a hypnosis recording. Call me for a free informal chat. Why? If you are going to commit to something radically different then you need to feel 100% at ease and have done your due diligence. That’s just a smart thing to do.
10) I think there is a huge potential for each of us to use these techniques to improve out lives. We know the power of the Placebo. We know that what we expect plays a huge role in your life. And hypnosis can be very good at doing that…at helping us help ourselves.
We all go into hypnosis all day long. As you watch the video below, consider where you naturally drift off.
Do you naturally relax and space out listening to music? Reading a good book? In front the TV.
Or how about this classic example…you set out in the car. You are driving along. You get to work. You have something of interest or important on your mind. You full think about it. Then you realise you have arrived at work and you remember nothing about the journey…You still got there safely.
What happened? You conscious (thinking) mind dissociated from the non conscious processes. The subconscious remembers all those automated procedures. They are drilled in through mirror neurons deep into your brain, so that this habit can done with little or no conscious effort. This is obvious very useful (and can have drawbacks!).
Imagine for a moment that you use this powerful “automation” part of you, your nonconscious mind, to automate the changes you want. What it you could go back, change the way you feel about certain events or situations…feeling awkward around other people, getting on a plan, over-eating?
And THEN use that same part of you to focus on creating new behaviours.
Now, hypnosis won’t do everything for you. The thing you learn is that you need to be an active agent. But by consciously choosing the type of hypnosis and the sorts of suggestions that you want to accept then you can get vastly different results. the therapeutic applications of hypnosis works to the degree that you feel comfortable, are ready, have no other health issues and are able to give yourself permission to go for it.
As you watch this video, just consider where you want to change and what you want to improve.
Hypnosis happens all the time to you and me, whether we call it that or whether we are aware of it. Studies in priming, for example, show that we could be affected to think positively or negatively a person based on whether we have had a glass of water or a cup of coffee. This works because we are not aware of it consciously. The great promise of hypnosis is that you can choose to use this naturally occurring process for yourself. Never again will you wonder whether you can be programmed, but instead you will be choosing the types of programming and the forms of change you want to experience.
Years ago, as I was learning about hypnosis, I knew I had to make a decision about how important making changes was to me. I asked myself 2 questions:
- Would you prefer to be influenced by accident or conscious choice?
- If you don’t decide to make a change now, where will you be in 5 years’ time?
Those two questions focused me on how important it was to consider change. Please enjoy this video. Drop me a line to let me know if you like it and with any questions you have.Google+