Is hypnosis real, and how powerful is it?
This is a question that probably enters everyone’s mind when they are considering the subject, including hypnotherapists when they are looking to learn about it. There are a number of reasons for this, all of which are understandable.
No 1 - most information regarding hypnosis and hypnotherapy that is available to society is likely to be misinformation. The general consensus from people who have not experienced its true power, is that the subject or client is not in control whilst they are in hypnosis, and the truth is that nothing could be further from the truth (See earlier blog posts for more information on this). This misinformation develops due to the perception that is gained from watching people dance around on a stage or follow the hypnotist’s orders unquestioningly.
Secondly - there are lots of opinions on what hypnosis actually is by the ‘experts’ in the field, so it is difficult to separate the truths from the untruths. The definition of an expert is ‘a person with a great knowledge or skill in a particular area’. It stands to reason that any person who has a great knowledge or skill in a particular area, will speak, act and be able to give demonstrable indications of that knowledge or skill. If a person can not do that, then it is fair to say that they are perhaps not an ‘expert’, as if they were, they would be making the most of what they knew for themselves. So, many self proclaimed experts may be found wanting, if they were to be asked to demonstrate their belief in hypnosis to another.
In addition - there are hypnotherapists who believe in the fact that some people cannot be hypnotised. Yet it is widely accepted that hypnosis is a natural state of mind, so unless the person is unnatural in some way, they have the natural capacity to respond to hypnosis. All of my learning from the people who have really demonstrated their belief in hypnosis, coupled with my own experience over the last 8 years, in which I have been working with the mind, tells me that this in misinformation. That is not to say that there are not different levels of response to hypnosis in a particular time and with a particular person, however people who do not respond readily are doing so for a reason, and it is not because they cannot experience hypnosis. There are a number of factors at play, such as the ability of the client to allow a response (some feel like they must remain in control and logically understand everything, which in reality means they are actually being controlled by fear, rather than being in control). There is the experience of the hypnotherapist and his or her belief in hypnosis, and importantly how able they are to convey that belief to another person’s mind. The age, sex and impression of the hypnotherapist may inhibit the client’s response for some reason, and there are others. However, the hypnotherapist is being paid to help the client to experience hypnosis and then work with the state to achieve therapeutic change, so it is unfair of the ‘expert’ to transfer that responsibility on to the client. The therapist must help the client to understand the inhibition and show them how to respond by approaching hypnosis in some other way. To tell the client that they cannot respond to hypnosis is a failure on their part, and is likely based on a lack of training, experience and belief in themselves.
So as you can see, the question over hypnosis remains in the mind of many, about how powerful it is and about their ability to be hypnotised. I also questioned this when I was starting out and training. The way I answered the question and came to understand the power of hypnosis was by testing it myself. I needed a deep filling replaced, so I decided to test hypnosis by having the work done without the use of chemical anaesthetic and without any pain or discomfort. I was fortunate to meet a willing dentist who allowed me to video the procedure and gave her thoughts on her experience afterwards. Here is the video that you can watch.
The answer to the question of whether hypnosis is real or not is absolutely yes, and it is powerful enough to block the pain signal, which is normally associated with the dentist’s drill and more. The truth is that hypnosis is as powerful as the limit of the human mind and hypnotherapy is the targeted use of the mind for therapeutic change. We have not found a limit for the potential of the human mind.