Misconceptions and myths of hypnosis

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But does Hypnosis actually work? 

Hypnosis is often put in the same basket as quackery and entertainment by people who have never undergone a quality hypnosis session with an experienced accredited practitioner. I often get asked if ‘it works’, I say yes of course, however it also has lot to do with the motivation and desire of the client to change as well as the skills of the therapist. People often go into hypnosis expecting an instant change from a single session and when it doesn’t happen, they blame the therapist rather than looking at their own unrealistic expectations, and the fact that they may have several layers to dissolve to get relief from their issue.

A misconception is that Hypnosis is mind control, since the time of Mesmer, the public has believed that the Hypnotist has the ‘power’ and can exert their will over the person being hypnotised. Stage hypnotism and its variant unhelpful portrayals in films, make controlling the subject a huge issue. Of course, the typical viewer of stage and screen has no idea how the hypnotist can ‘make’ seemingly normal volunteers do all these strange and silly things and thinks the hypnotist has a mysterious power that make people do things at will. 

I can assure you that the relationship is a co-operative one and that you cannot force someone to relax or concentrate or make changes unless they want to. If someone doesn’t want to go into trance, they won’t. The hypnotist merely directs the client’s experience, it’s the client’s choice whether they choose to permit the session to continue and at any time the client has the power themselves to wake-up or discontinue. 

This fear of control also leads into the next misconception, the belief that you are asleep or unconscious when in trance. People are afraid that they will be unconscious or asleep when in trance and therefore they lose control and anything can happen to them. People in trance are not asleep they are in a theta brain wave, which is a sleep wave, but they are not ‘asleep’. From an outsider’s viewpoint a person in hypnosis may look asleep – they are relaxed, have slower breathing and not moving and usually have their eyes closed. But a hypnotised person is always aware of something, be it the hypnotist’s voice or the sounds from the street or the feel of the chair beneath them. If a person was asleep when in trance then hypnotic suggestions wouldn’t work and behavioural changes couldn’t be applied. Clients will be aware of many things when they are in trance, even if they are in a deeply relaxed state, they will be able to respond to the hypnotist’s voice and wake-up when directed.

Another misconception is that you can get ‘stuck’ in hypnosis or not wake-up. This goes back to the notion that one is asleep or unconscious during trance. It’s like the analogy of reading a good book. How many times have you got ‘stuck’ into a good read and become absorbed in it to the exclusion of your surroundings. Yet, when someone calls your name or the telephone rings you are able to focus your attention again on your normal surroundings. This is just like hypnosis – the client has the free-will to initiate or terminate a therapy session whenever he or she chooses. 

Another misconception is that Hypnosis is hazardous, unfortunately 

there are inexperienced hypnotists, whom have not trained at the Academy of Hypnotic Science, who inadvertently misdiagnose an issue or make promises they can’t keep with ineffective treatment, and a person has a ‘bad’ session as a result. There are charlatans in every profession. At the Academy, the Therapists are trained to a high standard, and accredited by the Government, therefore are ethical and professional at all times. We advocate that if a client’s issues are ones the Hypnotherapist aren’t comfortable treating then they will refer them to someone else. The client then is able to trust that they are being helped, and the therapist is being realistic and open with their client at all times. 

Occasionally a client will ‘abreact’ during a session. This involves the client becoming very upset or distressed or even angry. As a Therapist, this is ‘gold’, as it’s when we have found an underlying issue that we can now work with in a safe environment. We teach at the Academy how to manage these abreactions, assuring the client, that this is a normal occurrence when challenging deep seated fears and making behavioural changes that sometimes there is a reaction. A strong emotional reaction to an unpleasant memory or ‘unfinished business’ is part of the process of change.

Contact us on 1300 790 265 or at info@sia.edu.au if you require any further information about the sector.

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