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Hypnosis: Myth & Reality

By: Pradeep Aggarwal

Hollywood hype would have us believe that a hypnotist can control and direct our actions, and that we can be made to do all sorts of unimaginable things under hypnosis. Following is a list of some of these common myths which must be clarified before we proceed further.

The hypnotist can make you do things against your will .

Absolutely False. The hypnotist has no powers over you at all, and cannot make you do things against your will. All Hypnosis is really self-directed and self-controlled. The hypnotist merely guides you into a hypnotic state, and feeds your mind with care­fully worded suggestions. If you feel uncomfortable with these suggestions, you may reject them at will. Hypnosis is essentially a matter of cooperation between the hypnotist and his subject, not some form of power the hypnotist possesses which will compel the subject to submit to his or her will.

Once under Hypnosis, one can't come out of the state on his own .

If you are under hypnosis and the hypnotist suddenly left the room, two things may happen. You will either realize that the hypnotist is no longer talking to you, and will open your eyes, feeling fresh and alert. Or, you may drift into natural sleep, in which case you will wake up after a few minutes (or hours). So, the subject can come out of the trance on his own.

Only weak-minded people can be hypnotized.

False. Hypnosis has nothing to do with will power. People often confuse hypnotibility with gullibility. There is no connection between the two. On the contrary, the more intelligent a person is, the easier it is for him to be hypnotized. To be hypnotized, one needs the abilities of concentration, imagination and vivid visualization.

Under hypnosis, the subject is totally unconscious .

At all times during the course of a hypnotic session, you will be able to hear and to think. You are aware of what is going on around you. Although your body is very relaxed, your mind is actually more alert than usual. Many people are worried by stage hypnosis and the fact that the subjects, many of whom do ridicu­lous things during the session, seem to have no knowledge of anything around them. The unfortunate part of such an activity is that it often frightens away those people who could really bene­fit from hypnotherapy, but are afraid of losing control.

Under hypnosis, one can be made to reveal his secrets.

As mentioned above, under hypnosis, the subject is fully alert, in fact more alert than usual. The hypnotist can only guide the subject to remember forgotten memories. Whether the subject will reveal them to the hypnotist is entirely at his own discretion.

Hypnosis is dangerous.

Untrue. It is quite the opposite. Hypnosis is a safe and natural process. One fact that most people are unaware of is that we undergo Hypnosis several times in our daily lives. For example, while driving along a highway, very often, people suddenly dis­cover that they have lost consciousness for several minutes. This is actually an example of momentary hypnotism. However, someone with epilepsy should never be hypnotized.

One needs special powers to be hypnotized.

Any average person with the willingness and patience to learn, can master the skills of hypnosis. Like other skills such as playing the piano, or learning a foreign language, some people are “naturals”, and become accomplished with little training while others can increase their abilities through regular prac­tice. A good, confident voice is an advantage, but not a must. Of course, children lacking an understanding and appreciation for the subject (usually below the age of 5) may not respond to hypnosis in the desired way.

The user might become dependent on hypnosis .

You cannot become dependent upon hypnosis because it has no physical effects on the body. However, many people look forward to their daily hypnosis exercises because they become totally relaxed and awaken refreshed.