If you’re reading this article, chances are you already have built up an opinion of what you believe hypnotherapy to be. Maybe you’ve enjoyed watching a hypnosis stage show while in college or university. Or perhaps you’ve been amazed by Derren Brown’s apparent mind-reading tricks. It’s also possible that you’ve seen a movie where a hypnotherapist was used to extract information from a spy, or you associate it with Kenny Craig the hypnotherapist on the TV show Little Britain – ‘Look into my eyes’.
When hypnotherapy is depicted like that, it’s no wonder that you might think it’s all about mind control or simply used for entertainment value.
Hopefully, by reading this article you will be in a better position to understand some of the common misconceptions around hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy is the same as stage hypnosis
Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis to help people make positive changes to their lives whereas stage hypnosis uses it purely for entertainment purposes. Hypnosis is a perfectly natural state that we go into numerous times during the day. It’s like being in a daydream.
Maybe you can remember moments when you were driving and suddenly arrived at your destination without any recollection of how you got there. After years of driving experience, it becomes almost automatic, a habit deeply ingrained in your subconscious mind. In other words, you don’t really have to consciously think about it. This allows your conscious mind to focus on other things, like that crucial meeting you’re heading to. When you arrive at work, you’re clueless about the journey because your subconscious mind took over the driving duties. Effectively you were in hypnosis for the period when you were driving.
Maybe you can recall a situation where you were chatting with a friend, desperately trying to recall the title of a movie or book. No matter how hard you consciously racked your brain, you just couldn’t retrieve it. It was only later when you were relaxed and not actively thinking about it, that the name suddenly popped into your mind. Your brain seemed to go into a sort of hypnosis to retrieve that elusive name.
Hypnosis can be thought of as a natural state that our brain goes into many times during the day to help us problem-solve. During hypnosis, your brain becomes more receptive to suggestions, which is why stage hypnotherapists are able to guide their volunteers into doing various acts. It’s the heightened susceptibility to suggestions that allows the volunteer to be influenced.
In hypnotherapy, we employ hypnosis to help you bring about positive changes in your life. If you’re curious, you can click on the link below to learn more about the distinction between hypnosis and hypnotherapy, What’s the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is all a bit woo woo
Hypnotherapy is often seen as an alternative approach because it doesn’t rely on conventional medicine. That’s why some people label it as “woo woo,” using that term to describe practices that are considered unconventional or outside the norm of traditional medicine.
However, solution focused hypnotherapy is based entirely on neuroscience. It follows a well-researched structure that when followed enables clients to change the area of the brain that they spend a majority of their time thinking from. Instead of spending a disproportionate amount of time thinking from the negative, obsessional, emotional part of their brain, they are able to spend more time thinking from the positive, intellectual and rational part.
This happens through a process called neuroplasticity. Your brain is constantly changing, making new connections and building up new pathways. By changing your thought process and using hypnosis you are able to build these pathways and as a result, change your current way of thinking.
Hypnotherapy/ hypnosis is mind control
Hypnosis cannot force you to do anything against your will, but it can assist you in achieving your desired outcomes. It can be beneficial in helping you quit smoking, break bad habits, and accomplish positive changes. However, it cannot make you do something that goes against your will.
I can’t be hypnotised.
Everyone has the ability to enter a hypnotic state (hypnosis). As mentioned previously you will enter this hypnotic state many times to help you solve your day-to-day problems. Not everyone is highly suggestible to hypnosis though, which is why stage hypnotherapists will test the audience to see which people will be suitable to be used as volunteers.
Thankfully with solution focused hypnotherapy you just need to be able to close your eyes and relax. When relaxed your brain waves will alter. During this time the parts of your brain that are responsible for creating anxious thoughts will quiet down which will allow other parts of your brain to visualise, problem-solve and build up new pathways in your brain.
Perhaps you might be interested in reading some other articles in my ‘Hypnotherapy and you’ series including: