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Myths of Hypnosis

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Hypnosis is a mysterious magic power

Hypnosis was accepted as a science by the American Medical Association in 1958. There is nothing supernatural or magical about hypnosis. The fear people have of hypnosis reflects lack of knowledge, fear of the unknown or historical prejudice.

Only weak willed and unintelligent people can be hypnotised

In truth, the opposite is true. The stronger the will and the more intelligent the easier it is for a subject to enter into “state”. Everyone goes in to and out of a trance state many times a day: daydreaming, watching television, working at a computer, becoming so absorbed that you lose track of time, etc. Willingness, time, circumstances and the competence of the hypnotist are all factors in a person becoming hypnotised. I believe the ability to be hypnotised, or hypnotise yourself, is a skill. Some people have it naturally, like a child prodigy in music, and some need to practice in order to develop the skill. The majority of people fall in the latter category.

A subject can enter a hypnotic trance and not awaken

Impossible! Impossible! Impossible! If you understand the concept of hypnosis, you will understand why. It’s as ridiculous as believing a person can get stuck, forever, watching television. Even if the hypnotist were to walk away or drop dead in the middle of a show, the subjects would either open their eyes immediately or drift off into a normal sleep.

People who are hypnotised can be made to do anything, even if it’s against their will

Numerous studies have shown that participants will only act in a way that is congruent with their values and morals. People will only do, on stage, what they would normally do, given the right circumstances. Of course, people can be manipulated, lied to or coerced into doing things against their morals or values but you don’t need hypnosis to do that.

Hypnosis will cause you to reveal your deepest hidden secrets

This is one of the biggest fears that stop people from participating in the show. Hypnosis is not a truth drug which somehow breaks down the will of the subject. People, in a hypnotic state, always know what they are saying and what they are doing and will not do anything against their will or moral values.

When you’re in a trance, you are unaware of everything

The word “trance” is confusing enough. Dictionary definitions of trance range from ” a state of absorption” to “a stunned condition”, from, “dazed” to “stupor”. No wonder people are confused. Different people have different reactions to being in a trance state: Some people feel a sense of heaviness or lightness. Some people feel a tingling sensation and some feel nothing. The most important thing to remember is, in a trance state, you are aware of everything. In fact, your senses are heightened and your awareness is at a peak.

Hypnosis is dangerous and should only be used by specially trained physicians

Hypnosis is a tool of communication not medicine. Physicians practice medicine. Hypnotists practice hypnosis. Many physicians have embraced hypnosis and use it in pain control. Psychiatrists often use hypnosis in combination with psychotherapy.

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