Five Questions Everyone Asks About Hypnosis [Video]

Everyone has questions about hypnosis, and these five are among the most common:

  • “Will I cluck like a chicken?” Not unless you really want to!
  • “Can I be hypnotized?” Yes, if you have at least normal intelligence, and you want to be hypnotized. (If you’re seeing me for hypnosis, it also helps if you speak English and hear well enough to understand what I’m saying.)
  • “Is it true that people in hypnosis can’t move or speak or respond or remember?” No, that’s death! Hypnosis is relaxing and people often don’t feel like moving or talking, but they can and do. And amnesia for the session is unusual and easily reversed.
  • “Can I get stuck in a trance?” Not after I say the magic words to bring you out (revealed in the video!)
  • “Is hypnosis the same thing as mind control?” No. Hypnosis alone is terrible for mind control. Sometimes cults or governments have used hypnosis along with more conventional brainwashing techniques, but by itself, hypnosis is far less reliable than ordinary criminal methods like bribes, threats, and blackmail. That’s why you never hear of random bystanders robbing a bank through hypnosis.
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    Practical vs. Impractical Hypnosis

    I had a client recently who thanked me for focusing on the problem he came in to resolve. Apparently he’d been to see a New Age hypnotist in another town, who had taken him on a hypnotic guided tour of all sorts of beliefs and symbolism that didn’t resonate with him — and that he didn’t respond to. This wasted his time and money.

    Hypnosis doesn’t always use guided imagery and metaphor — classic “direct suggestion” specifies the outcome without using metaphor and without specifying the means, just the end: “you are now a nonsmoker” —  but when hypnosis does use metaphor or a guided hypnotic experience, the hypnotist has to use what resonates with the individual.

    For example, some New Age hypnotists use past-life regression with just about everyone. Past-life regression can be extremely powerful, but some people find the concept silly or repugnant, and won’t play along enough to get any benefit. The same goes for encountering spirit guides, or kindly aliens, or Jesus.These things are effective for some people, but a total flop for others. Continue Reading...

    How Long Does it Take?

    Some hypnotists claim to be able to do just about anything a single session. Sometimes they’re right! But some of their clients end up seeing me when the one-session approach fails.

    Let’s face it: people are different, and there aren’t any one-size-fits-all solutions. Hypnosis produces quick, lasting results, but often not that quickly.

    Rather than focus on ultimate speed, I’m looking for broadly beneficial results that last forever. If someone comes to me to stop smoking, I don’t want them to be one of those non-smokers who are white-knuckling it all the time. That’s a heck of a way to spend the rest of your life! I want smoking to become like riding a child’s tricycle — something they used to do, something that used to fit, and used to be fun, but you’ve moved on now and have new ways of having fun that are even better.

    So I pace things for maximum benefit, taking two sessions to work with even the simplest problems, and roughly five for the harder ones if things happen to resolve quickly, and maybe ten if they move slowly. People differ, after all. Continue Reading...

    How do Hypnotic Suggestions Work?

    “Look into my eyes. Your fear of spiders is fading away, fading away. You now like spiders.”

    That’s what we in the hypnosis biz call direct suggestion. It’s what most people think of when they think of hypnosis. Direct suggestion can be very weak or very powerful, depending on context.

    On the whole, telling people to change doesn’t work very well unless you also show them how to change. If you tell someone who has never used a manual transmission, “Just get into this 5-speed car and drive to Miami,” they’re likely to refuse. If you give them a lesson, it’s a lot different. Even if you ask them, hypothetically, how they’d go about learning to drive a stick shift so they can drive to Miami, it might turn out well. As soon as someone has serious thought to overcoming an obstacle, it’s hard to fall back into the previous state of, “I just can’t.” The more vividly you image the process of achieving success, the more energized you are to take the plunge and see it through. Continue Reading...

    How Safe is Hypnosis?

    Is hypnosis safe?” Hypnosis is safer than most things. Drugs carry the risk of side effects, surgery carries the risk of complications and infection, while hypnosis doesn’t.

    The most common issue with hypnosis is when the hypnotist goes solely for the symptom itself. Sometimes the symptom is just a nuisance and it will go away forever if the unconscious mind is asked to do this in a way it understands. Sometimes the symptom serves a purpose, and removing it can cause trouble.

    For example, what happens when a smoker who has forgotten how to relax without lighting up goes to see a bad hypnotist? His real problem is that his unconscious mind has built up a false belief that “relaxation is impossible without smoking.” The smoker likely doesn’t realize this consciously. He needs to replace this belief with something more helpful: that’s the key to solving his problem. But a bad hypnotist will ignore the belief and work only on the smoking itself. In this situation, three outcomes are possible: Continue Reading...