I remember years ago when I met my husband, and I learned that he did hypnosis. I thought it was the craziest and least theoretically accurate technique out there. Out of curiosity, however, I began doing more research. The definition that my husband uses for most people is; “Hypnosis is the ability to focus on one thing whereby excluding all others”. According to the research I have done the average American adult is in hypnosis an average of 70 – 100 times a day. Examples of activities that we engage in (without calling it hypnosis) include: driving, texting, reading, cooking, working, showering, baking and exercising. It’s a normal and natural activity that people engage in everyday. The American Psychological Association defines hypnosis as a therapeutic technique in which clinicians make suggestions to individuals who have undergone a procedure designed to relax them and focus their minds. According to the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis the definition of hypnosis includes: a state of inner absorption, concentration, and focused attention.
In my personal life I have used hypnosis to overcome many things: self image issues, depression, anxiety and sleep issues. I have also used hypnosis to address issues surrounding fear and other medical conditions. I fell so in love with hypnosis that I decided to incorporate it into my professional life. After obtaining my clinical certification in hypnosis, I added it to my professional toolbox. And then it started.
It continues to surprise me what a fear-based society we live in. I don’t mean to sound critical, however I can’t tell you how many clients I have who have adamantly refused to do hypnosis. This makes no sense to me. Let’s review something I have covered in past blogs: 96-98% of habits and behaviors are housed in your subconscious mind. Hypnosis is the number one tool to access your subconscious mind. Therefore, if you want to make behavior or habit change doesn’t it just make sense to utilize hypnosis?
I want to honor the fear and misconceptions that many people are using as a guiding force in their life, by contrasting some of the common myths of hypnosis. There are as follows:
- It’s possible to get stuck in hypnosis: No one has ever gotten stuck in hypnosis forever. Do you know anyone who has fallen asleep and unable to wake up forever? It’s essential to keep in mind that. Hypnosis is a naturally occurring state that we enter and exit during the normal course of a day. You are already using hypnosis; the reality is though that most people spend time reinforcing their negative beliefs instead of creating the positive and wonderful future you deserve.
- Using hypnosis is giving up control: You are always in control, which is why most hypnotherapists will have a discussion with you about suggestions. Everything the hypnotist tells you while in hypnosis is only suggestion. The best description I have heard used is the hypnotist is like the tour guide in the museum, it’s up to you whether or not to follow where they lead.
- I don’t trust hypnosis, but I meditate: In it’s most pure form; meditation is clearing your mind of all thought. Is that really what you are doing? Because guided meditations are just another version of hypnosis. If calling hypnosis, meditation makes your feel safer I understand that. However, I thrive on understanding and knowing what and why I am doing things.
- Hypnosis opens a gateway to Satan: I was recently doing an Internet search about hypnosis and this theme kept coming through. I don’t even understand where this type of thought comes from, other than fear mongering. Remember that hypnosis is a normal, natural state of existence. This is just not happening. All of the accounts that I read were so unrealistic that I couldn’t even stand to read them entirely.
- I will be embarrassed: It’s crucial for us to differentiate between stage show hypnosis and clinical hypnosis. Stage show hypnosis is done for entertainment value. However, even in that entertainment you will never do anything that is against your moral or ethical fiber. The same holds true for hypnosis in a therapeutic session. There’s no point in a clinical setting, for the hypnotist to engage in embarrassing behavior. And if he did one of two things would happen: either you would come straight out of hypnosis and be confused, or you would come immediately out of hypnosis and be very angry…and not know why.
I encourage everyone I know to experience hypnosis. The first thing I typically ask my clients after a hypnosis session is, “When is the last time you felt that relaxed.” For some of them, it’s been years or decades, and for some of them it has never occurred. Relaxation isn’t necessarily the goal of hypnosis, but it is a very nice added benefit.
Jenn Bovee, LCSW is a spiritual psychotherapist and life coach. Jenn holds a clinical certification in hypnosis. Learn more about Jenn here: www.JennBoveeLCSW.com