Hypnosis Myth #2: “A Hypnotist Has Complete Power Over You”
For the first part in this series, please Read About Myth #1 Here.
Several years ago, I was doing an interview about hypnosis and how it can help a person. The journalist asked me a question that may well be on your mind too, “Is a hypnotist in control over the person, and isn’t there a danger that they might make them do something they don’t want?”
I replied, “A hypnotist can’t make you do things you don’t want to do. You will only do what is in accordance with your values.” The journalist, Abbie (pictured above) was surprised to discover how much she enjoyed the experience of trance.
After a lifetime working with clients, here’s what Milton Erickson concluded:
“The subject is not, as is commonly and wrongly believed, without will power, or under the power of the hypnotist. Instead, the relationship between the subject and the hypnotist is one of interpersonal cooperation based upon mutually acceptable and reasonable considerations. Hence, the subject cannot be forced as a function of hypnosis itself, to do things against his will, as is sometimes claimed. He can be aided in achieving possible desired goals, but …extensive and reliably controlled studies discredit the possibilities of antisocial use of hypnosis. . . .”
Sometimes when people contact me, they are worried that they won’t be in control if they learn hypnosis.
I always explain, “You will be more in control during trance. Think about it. You’ve had your problem for a very long time. Doesn’t that mean you’ve been out of control? Wouldn’t you like to try something different that could put you back in the driving seat?”
Furthermore, to gain any benefit from hypnosis you must understand this vital point:
Hypnosis and successful therapy depends on co-operation and mutual respect. No therapist can make you do anything. All they can do is support you to find the necessary internal resources and abilities to achieve something you already want. Hypnosis happens to be a very effective way of doing this when you are already motivated to change.
Here’s how Erickson put it:
“Actually, the important consideration in inducing hypnosis is that the subject be willing, cooperative and interested in learning a new experience.”
One last thing: it is true that there are forms of influence and hypnosis that could be manipulative and are routinely used by politicians, marketers and cults, and many other groups. However, these can only be effective when used without your knowledge. In fact, most hypnotists will be at pains to explain that you will be aware in your sessions, you will hear everything that is being said, and it is your choice to participate. Whew!
A hypnotherapist has no power over you because all clinical hypnosis is a form of self-hypnosis, meaning you can to choose to accept what they are saying. So you can relax, safe in the knowledge that the trance you go into will be the best one for you!
That leads on to an intriguing myth, which is…Hypnosis Myth #3: “Hypnosis is dangerous”. Look out for the next article to find out why!
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