Only the weak-minded and gullible can be hypnotised
Hypnosis is a natural state of consciousness that all people experience at least twice a day, as they are waking up and falling asleep. Some people find it easier to relax than others. Similarly, there are people with imaginative skills that are more developed than others. Having the ability to relax and imagine are essential to achieving the hypnotic state, and because all people can relax and imagine, all people can achieve hypnosis. It is the trained therapists duty to deliver a process that will work best for the individual client's needs.
The hypnotist has "power" and can exert their will over me
"It is absurd and grandiose to believe that we can control another individual and those who become hypnotists believing this will be greatly disappointed. Hypnosis always requires the cooperation of the client. In fact, one can consider all hypnosis to be self-hypnosis, with the hypnotist functioning as a guide or facilitator." (Battino and South, 2006)
If I allow myself to be hypnotised, I could reveal my secrets
All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Though the therapist can guide a client into hypnosis, it is the client who decides whether or not to follow the process. During sleep, there is always a part of the psyche that is aware of the body's surroundings. This is a survival mechanism that protects against outside physical threat. When in a state of hypnosis the client will feel relaxed and deeply at rest, however, there will be a part of the psyche that is alert to potential physical, mental and emotional dangers.
Ernest Hilgard's (1977) work at Stanford University demonstrated a principle known as "The Hidden Observer" which indicates that there is a part of the client that monitors the hypnotic process and that will protect them from responding in a manner that violates their ethical and moral standards.
Hypnosis is not a truth serum.
I don't want anyone to control my mind
The hypnotherapist is a facilitator or guide in the therapeutic process. All change and behaviour comes from within the individual and cannot be controlled by an outsider. If the hypnotherapist were to suggest something that did not align with the client's personal values or beliefs, the suggestion would be disregarded by the client.
Hypnotherapy requires an interest and engagement in one's internal process. No one can change your life, except you.
I could be made to cluck like a chicken
People participating in stage hypnosis are willing participators. This means they are willing to entertain those around them, and for this reason, will cluck like a chicken upon hypnotic suggestion. Suggestions that do not align with the client's values, beliefs, and inner reason cannot instigate changes in behaviour.
If I become hypnotised, I might not be able to wake up
Sometimes people do not wish to come out of hypnosis and might even fall asleep. This is a perfectly normal response to being relaxed and comfortable. Often resistance to waking from hypnosis is a sign that the client requires more rest. Time permitting, I am happy to allow my client's the space they need to do their inner work and healing. Once a sufficient amount of rest is achieved the client will awake feeling refreshed.
My will may be weakened during hypnosis
Hypnosis is non-addictive. Evidence suggests that people find it progressively easier to enter the hypnotic state through repeated hypnotic trance. There is no evidence to conclude one's will may be weakened, allowing them to be controlled by the hypnotherapist, should they repeatedly experience hypnosis.
My mental health may be in danger
Hypnosis is contraindicated when clients show signs or have been diagnosed with psychosis. Similarly, hypnosis is contraindicated with people who have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder or dependent personality disorder. It is best that these clients seek hypnotherapeutic assistance from a psychiatrist. If a client displays signs of inertia or detachment I cannot engage in trance work as hypnosis is likely to exacerbate these conditions.
When hypnosis is contraindicated:
- Pathological Tendencies
- Children under 3 years old
Bi-Polar, narcolepsy, or patients exhibiting suicidal tendencies are likely conditions regarded as contraindicated and best treated by a psychiatrist or psychologist.
Just as you have a dentist to take care of your teeth, a hairdresser to maintain your hair, and a doctor to tend to your physical body, you may have a hypnotherapist to assist you in creating change and a psychiatrist to support your mental wellbeing. Please advise your mental healthcare professional/s should you be concerned about the contraindications of hypnotherapy.