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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Hypnosis Myths

This article was written by William Hewitt on July 29, 2009
posted under Hypnosis

There are probably more myths, misconceptions, and misinformation about hypnosis than any other subject. This is due in large part to movies, television, and novels that make no attempt to be truthful in dealing with hypnosis. They are more interested in creating dramatic effect than in presenting truth. Drama sells! Truth doesnít sell. As a result, the public gets fed tons of drama, half-truths, and tons of false information about hypnosis.

Myth: The hypnotist can make you do things against your will.

Absolutely false. The hypnotist has no power over you at all and cannot make you do anything against your will. Hypnosis is really just self-hypnosis. All the hypnotist does is guide you into a hypnotic state, which you can easily learn to do for yourself, if you wish. The hypnotist is not a master, but a guide, and does not have any special power or magic.

Myth: You can get stuck in hypnosis and never come out.

False again. If you are hypnotized and the hypnotist left the room and never returned, your own mind would pull you safely out of the hypnosis in one of two ways. You would either realize the hypnotist was no longer talking to you, and you would open your eyes and be wide awake and feeling fine, or you would drift into a normal sleep for a few minutes and then wake up normally, feeling fine.

Myth: When hypnotized, you are in a trance and have no control.

Not true. First, hypnosis does not put you into a trance. You are always awake and aware of what is happening. Hypnosis is like a daydream state. You are awake and aware but are very relaxed with your attention focused on a specific thought or image. Second, you always have control. If the hypnotist told you to rob a bank you would just say, "No" and open your eyes. You would not rob the bank. Of course, if you really wanted to rob a bank anyway, then you would follow the suggestion to do so. The point is that it is you, not the hypnotist, who makes hypnosis work or not work.

Myth: Everyone can be hypnotized.

False. No one can be hypnotized against their will. In addition, people with certain mental or neurological conditions cannot be hypnotized. And about one percent of the population cannot be hypnotized for reasons that are not known. However, most people can be hypnotized if they want to be.

Myth: Hypnosis can cure anything or solve any personal problem.

No, hypnosis is not a cure-all. Hypnosis is very powerful and can cure, or aid in the cure, of a great many ailments. Hypnosis can also solve a great many personal problems. At times hypnosis can produce what seems to be miracles. But it is not the answer for everything. Hypnosis is a powerful, natural tool we all have available to us to help improve our lives in a great many ways.

Myth: Hypnosis is dangerous.

Untrue. It is quite the opposite. Hypnosis is safe and natural as will be explained more fully shortly.

Myth: Only weak-minded people can be hypnotized.

Again, false. The contrary is true. It is easier to hypnotize people who are intelligent.

Myth: Deep hypnosis is necessary for good results.

Not true. Any level of hypnosis from light to deep can bring good results.

Forget the Hollywood-type hype that depicts people walking around like zombies under the control of some madman who merely has to look into a personís eyes in order to put them into an alleged hypnotic trance. This is pure myth that has absolutely no basis in fact.

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