Paul with hand on chin

There are many myths about hypnosis.

Let’s sort and debunk the real from the junk.

Hypnotists have special powers

Hypnotists have no special powers. We don’t even hypnotise you – you hypnotise yourself.

A popular saying in the world of hypnosis is “All hypnosis is self hypnosis“.

This means that a person can only ever hypnotise themselves. It’s you and not me that brings on the hypnosis. There’s no such thing as hypnotising someone but we use that phrase because it makes more sense to people.

When I write on this website that I am hypnotising someone, I really mean that I’m guiding them into their own hypnosis.

So what do hypnotists do then? What’s the point in paying one if you can do it all yourself?

A hypnotist knows how to guide others into hypnosis and what to do when they get there.

Knowing which tools to use to make changes to your life, and how to use those tools, is where the skill of my job lies. You can read more about these tools on my page about forms of hypnotherapy.

Hypnosis is fake and doesn’t work

I can promise you that hypnosis is real and it works.

Hypnosis is recognised by medical associations such as the NHS (National Health Service) and the BMA (British Medical Association). Other professional bodies around the world such as the AMA (American Medical Association) recognise it and approve it’s use.

Hypnosis is being used more than ever nowadays as doctors use it themselves or refer people to hypnotherapists. Some hospitals now have a resident hypnotherapist and many companies now hire hypnotherapists to stop their workers smoking to improve their health.

Some people refuse to accept the facts, like the woman in this video who doesn’t think she can be hypnotised…

This woman thinks hypnosis won’t work on her…

Supernatural things happen with hypnosis

It is at times reported that strange things happen when someone is in a state of hypnosis.

I have heard stories of light bulbs smashing and doors slamming shut. People claim to have spoken to deceased relatives or to have sensed or seen what they call a spirit in the room.

One very interesting thing happened at the college when I was training to be a hypnotist.

Two women were doing a session where they were practicing simple techniques like helping someone into hypnosis and then reading a script to them to improve their confidence.

They both heard a loud bang and the woman that had been hypnotised says that she felt like she had been floating above the chair and had slammed back down into her body.

I was in a room round the corner and heard the account straight from them. The woman it happened to had at times struggled to go into hypnosis and doesn’t make things up.

There are more things in heaven and earth…

Don’t look into a hypnotist’s eyes…

There’s no magic in our eyes. If you must know it’s the voice you should watch out for because that’s how we get people.

I don’t think is a very common myth these days but it comes from old films from the 1930s onwards. They portrayed hypnotists as having magic eyes that could transfix people and send them into a deep sleep.

That was just for effect in the movies but there is some truth in it.

Hypnotists can ask you to do things that will strain your eyes to make them more tired. That’s where the classic picture of a hypnotist swinging a pocket watch in front of your eyes comes from.

Making your eyes tired will make them close which then relaxes you and helps put you into a hypnotic state.

It’s all because of this that we have the next myth to deal with…

Hypnosis is sleep

No it isn’t.

The word Hypnos is Greek for sleep but this all comes from the pioneers of hypnosis misunderstanding what was happening.

They thought that people were sleeping but hypnosis occurs just before you enter what we would call sleep. It isn’t sleep because you’re still aware of everything going on around you.

Hypnotists often click their fingers and say “sleep!” to make people go into trance but again that’s just because it’s what people expect. It’s not even a trance, that again is just what people expect so it’s easier to call it that!

Hypnotists can make you do anything

No they can’t.

No hypnotist can make you do anything that you don’t want to.

So what about the TV shows where a hypnotist makes someone do something like fire a gun at someone?

They select one person out of THOUSANDS that apply. They very carefully interview them and select highly suggestible people, it might work with 1 in every 50,000 people.

Even then they have spent hours and hours beforehand hypnotising them, building them up to change their thinking, change their beliefs and after all of that they might, just might, do what they’re told.

This isn’t just my theory, I saw a show once where they openly showed you this whole process.

The hypnotist was going through the candidates saying “I can’t use you…I can’t use them…”.

They were looking for the right person that they could tell would be more likely to do it.

What about stage shows then? How come a hypnotist can make you dance like a chicken?

They can’t – the person wanted to dance like a chicken.

The very fact that you have gone along to a hypnosis show means that you have some interest in hypnosis and your mind is open to suggestion.

What about the video above with that woman? It’s not that she didn’t want to be hypnotised, she just didn’t believe in it. If you refuse and resist everything then you can’t be hypnotised.

A hypnotist can’t make you do anything you don’t want to.

Check out my page on what happens in a hypnotherapy session? or discover more about how hypnosis works.