The sad truth is that hypnosis is a fairly misunderstood practice. When many people think of hypnosis, they think of either:
A) The myth of the “evil hypnotist,” taking away peoples’ free will, and hypnotizing them into doing something immoral, or humiliating, or-
B) The stage hypnotist who will get them to behave out-of-character in public for the purpose of entertainment.
But the truth is far more optimistic, complex, and useful than either of these images would suggest. For one thing, readers can rest assured that there is no way for people to be hypnotized in to evil activities (as the story goes with the villainous hypnotist). And stage hypnosis differs greatly from the clinical hypnosis that is used in treating medical conditions. Clinical hypnosis is, in fact, a valid medical tool that is potentially beneficial to numerous people for numerous things.
What’s The Difference Between Stage Hypnosis and Clinical Hypnotherapy?
Stage hypnosis is showy and entertaining, and is used for entertainment purposes only. People act out characters or behaviors for the sake of humor.
Clinical hypnotherapy on the other hand is a very subdued process. The person being hypnotized keeps his or her eyes closed the whole time. He or she generally doesn’t act anything out (beyond perhaps an “anchoring” gesture, which will be explored elsewhere.) Plus, it is a tool, verified by scientific evidence, which helps people all over the world with a variety of medical conditions, including everything from pain management, to smoking cessation, to anxiety, and weight loss.
How Does It Work?
With the help of a clinical hypnotist, people are able to enter a highly relaxed and focused state, in which they are receptive to positive hypnotic suggestions. In this way, they are literally changing their minds about their approach to certain issues pertaining to their health.
Can You Be Hypnotized?
A lot of people naturally assume that they cannot be hypnotized simply because they would never, of their own volition, engage in stage hypnotism. (After all, someone who is naturally shy would never willingly be hypnotized into clucking like a chicken in front of hundreds of people; it would be far too embarrassing.)
But what people don’t realize is that, those who choose to engage in stage hypnosis want to engage in it. It is a form of entertainment that attracts participants with exhibitionist tendencies, and their willingness is key to the effectiveness of the stage hypnotist’s work.
There are also those who assume that they cannot be hypnotized as they think that hypnotism implies either a placebo effect at best, or weak-mindedness at worst. Neither of these things is true. In terms of the placebo effect, recent scientific studies have shown that hypnosis has been more effective at treating anything from warts to impotence compared to those treated with placeboes.
Lastly, to dispel the myth of weak mindedness, it’s worth clarifying that there are only 3 qualifications necessary for you to be capable of entering a hypnotic state. You must have:
· The ability to focus for an extended duration
· An IQ higher than 60
· An openness to the process of hypnotism
As you can see, even those who are strong of will, and highly intelligent, can be ideal candidates for all that hypnosis has to offer.
When you become familiar with the facts of hypnosis, it becomes clear that, while our culture often relegates it to the realm of illegitimacy, the truth is that hypnosis is a highly effective medical tool. It is available as a drug free option to numerous people, many of whom assumed previously that they would not be appropriate candidates for the practice.