Many people’s perception of hypnosis is what they have seen or heard of from stage shows. They see people “under” the hypnotists “control”. People may be “made” to dance like Elvis, or think that they are a child again.
Hypnosis involves a person's ability to set aside critical judgment without relinquishing it completely, and to engage in make-believe and fantasy (Gill & Brenman, 1959; E. R. Hilgard, 1977). Hypnosis can help us to absorb suggestions that we want to accept, and can enhance our powers of visualisation. A small proportion of people can be hypnotised so that they almost believe what they can see a pink elephant, or an audience naked when they put on ‘special glasses’. However they are not really “under” anyone’s control. This is an illusion created largely by showmanship and peer pressure
A stage hypnotist will select the more suggestible and extrovert members of the audience. In fact they usually volunteer – meaning that they are willing participants. A large part of the illusion that makes stage hypnosis entertaining is that you think you wouldn’t do what the people on stage are doing, so therefore they must be under the hypnotists “control.” That is a misperception. Everyone on stage could stand up and walk off if they chose to. Only extroverts allow themselves to go on stage and perform. They know what they are letting themselves in for, and want to join in. Peer pressure sees to it that they continue. A stage hypnotist often declares that only unintelligent and boring people cannot be hypnotised. Can you imagine someone having the nerve to stop half way through a show?!
Most people cannot be hypnotised to the point of seeing things that are not there. For the majority of us, a hypnotic trance merely increases our powers of focus and imagination. This can help us to ‘talk’ to our unconscious parts of our minds. This is the part that is responsible for our habits and urges.
There is a large and growing tradition of hypnosis being used for therapeutic purposes, not just for entertainment. In fact therapeutic and entertainment hypnosis are two very different things. A clinical hypnotherapist does not aim to create the illusion of having people ‘under’ his control. His aim is to place suggestions in the unconscious mind the patient wants. Therefore if someone REALLY wants to stop smoking, then their unconscious mind will accept these suggestions, and it will help them. However, since the patient is not being controlled, he is free to reject these suggestions. That is why someone who does not really wish to give up smoking, lose weight, or whatever, will not benefit from hypnotherapy, apart from the relaxation side of it. Their unconscious minds will simply reject the suggestions.
Millions of people swear that hypnosis has helped them with many issues such as weight loss, quitting smoking, other addictions, confidence, phobias, stress, sleep, success, IBS, and many more things. I have been a clinical hypnotherapist for several years, and have seen this first hand and received many heart warming testamonials.
Many people are missing out on this powerful yet safe therapeutic tool because they are too afraid to use it. I hope for you to feel more comfortable and at ease with hypnotherapy as you learn from this site.