Monday, August 10, 2009

10 Misconceptions About Hypnosis

I always field at least one or two questions and concerns from clients during a first session. I hope this brief list will help dispel some common misconceptions about what hypnosis is, and what it is not. Changes come about only when they are for your own highest good and wellbeing. And those changes can feel magical, even as they are within your reach!

1. You will bark like a dog. Corrective statement - You will not do anything to embarrass yourself. Most of us have seen stage hypnosis shows, seeing a friend acting out of character. Stage hypnosis is very different from therapeutic hypnosis. In stage hypnosis, your friend actually gives permission to themselves to give up their inhibitions in order to participate in the show. They decide ahead of time that it would be okay to bark like a dog in front of all of those people! In therapeutic hypnosis, you decide for yourself what you will and won't do.

2. You will be out of control. Corrective statement - You are always in control! All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Nothing happens unless you decide that it will. For example, I can tell you to close your eyes or breathe deeply, but you will not do either of these things without deciding for yourself.
3. You won't remember anything. Corrective statement - We retain and recall information even more clearly in a trance or hypnotic state. Some people hypnotize themselves while studying for a test or exam especially to recall info. You may feel as if you have relaxed deeply and that your mind wandered, but you will retain all information that is for your highest good and wellbeing.
4. Someone will implant negative thoughts or commands in your head. Corrective statement - You will only accept suggestions that are for your highest good or wellbeing. A thought or statement that is not good for you will go in one ear and out the other. For example, when working with someone who had one kidney (though I did not know it), I suggested that they would look forward to drinking lots of water. This individual needed to restrict their liquid intake and did not drink more water than was good for her.

5. Hypnosis is like truth serum - you will blurt out all kinds of weird things. Corrective statement - You are always in control and can still decide what you will or will not say. However, you will be more true to yourself, and your subconscious mind will dive deeper to consider information that you know, deep down, but may not have considered before in your conscious mind. This shift from subconscious to conscious mind only happens when the time is right for you to consider this information.
6. Hypnosis is a magic pill. Everything will magically change after one quick session. Corrective statement - While positive change can be very swift, it sometimes takes more than one session to reinforce and shift into the changes you seek.
7. The changes you make in hypnosis last forever. Corrective statement - The changes you make in hypnosis can last forever, but just as with any therapy, they sometimes require practice to be permanent. For example, if you are prescribed physical therapy, you can make permanent changes, but only as you continue to exercise the proper area. It is the same in hypnosis. Using the tools you learn in hypnosis sessions can help create permanent change, but only with your commitment.

8. Hypnosis is something that is done to you - you do not have to participate. Corrective statement - Hypnosis is a therapy that requires your engagement. Step one is showing up. The best results happen when you participate in your own wellness.
9. If you come for hypnosis one time and you are not "cured", you are a failure and unhypnotizable - or - conversely, if you are hypnotizable you might never wake up. Corrective statement – hypnosis is a natural state that we slip in and out of every day, giving us relaxation and peace that we all need. That feeling when we are drifting off to sleep is a trance state. It follows that as we slip in and out of this state naturally, that if you are in a therapeutic hypnosis session and somehow you are left in that state, you would gently come back to the here and now.
10. Hypnosis is a deep mysterious process which most people will never be able to understand. Corrective statement – Hypnosis is a useful tool that is available to us all and is a natural state in between full wakefulness and sleep.


  1. Hi Mary Beth! Your blog is very nice and very informative, dispelling the wrong notions about therapeutic hypnosis. God is Great. Best wishes.

  2. I wanted to follow your blog but the widget is not working.

  3. Thanks, Mahmood, for your comments. I had a lot of fun writing this one. These are really the things that people always ask me about. I guess it is easy to get nervous when dealing with their own mind - understandably! Take care and please try to follow again!
    Mary Beth