Hypnosis: Myths vs. Facts
Myth: A hypnotist is an unusual person gifted with some mysterious power of the mind.
The hypnotist does not possess any unusual or mysterious powers of the mind. He is a person very much like you, except that he understands certain aspects of the human mind that are not known to most people. He has also learned to master the art of suggestion which he uses to guide the individual toward developing greater awareness and personal control in the hypnotic state.
Myth: Only gullible or weak-minded persons respond favorably to hypnosis.
Studies conducted at Stanford University have shown that intelligence is not an important factor in determining an individual’s ability to respond favorably to hypnosis. Although, statistically, there is some evidence to indicate that persons with higher intelligence and greater creative abilities tend to be somewhat more responsive to suggestion.
Myth: Hypnosis is dangerous.
In spite of scare articles in newspapers and magazines, there has not been one documented case of hypnosis doing harm to a person. There is no evidence that hypnosis will weaken the will, damage the nervous system, or in any other way adversely affect the physical and mental well-being of an individual. Research studies at Loyola University have shown that volunteer students hypnotized over 400 times experienced no adverse effects. On the contrary, there is some evidence to indicate that the hypnotic state is one in which the entire body tends to become self-regulating and functions with maximum efficiency. Some psychological disorders seem to correct themselves in hypnosis, even though no suggestions to that effect are given.
Myth: To be hypnotized means being put to sleep and being completely unconscious of your surroundings.
Hypnosis is not sleep and there is definitely no loss of consciousness at any time. The hypnotized individual is always aware of what is occurring; in fact, his awareness actually increases.
Myth: There have been cases where people have been unable to awaken from hypnosis.
A hypnotized person is not asleep; therefore, there should never be any concern about the person not awakening. Reports of persons remaining in the hypnotic state are exaggerated stories having no validity. The hypnotic state can always be terminated easily and quickly by the hypnotist or the individual.
Myth: While in a deep hypnotic state, an individual may reveal intimate secrets or embarrassing details about himself.
During hypnosis the individual is always conscious (unlike with chemical anesthetics or truth serums) and aware of everything that is occurring. Therefore, in the same manner that he guards his secrets while awake, he also protects his secrets while hypnotized.
Myth: In hypnosis you will blindly obey every command, good or bad.
In hypnosis the individual retains his ability to make judgments; therefore, he would never accept any command nor obey any order that he considers to be against his own best interests or contrary to his morals.
Myth: A person must be placed in a very deep hypnotic state before hypnosis can be of any value to him.
Eighty-to-ninety percent of the work in hypnosis is accomplished in the light-to medium stages of hypnosis.