As you venture into the marvellous world of hypnosis you'll begin to find that members of the public often have misconceptions, fears or beliefs about what hypnosis is and how they may respond to 'hypnosis'. It's your job as the hypnotist to dispel these beliefs in order to improve your chances of getting a subject under.
A great place to do this is either in your pre-talk or to simply ask your intended subject what they think hypnosis is.
Here we look at some of the misconceptions we've encountered and we also list our general responses to them.
1. Can you get stuck in hypnosis?
This is a common fear that people have and a question that we're asked time and time again. Our response is to generally explain that hypnosis is a natural state that we encounter in our daily lives, like those times when you're driving somewhere and you forget where you're going. Just like you don't get stuck in that trance you won't get stuck in hypnosis. In fact you could open your eyes any time you wished to do so.
2. Will I get turned into a chicken?
This question nearly always comes up and we're not really sure why? We guess it may be along the same thread as to why people to this day avoid the front row of a comedy show because they saw a show from the 70's or 80's where a comic picked on the front row however, in today's world this isn't the case.
We've personally never turned anyone into chickens and we've never seen a hypnotist deliver this suggestion. As it happens, comedy hypnotist Matt Hale recently had a show aptly called 'The Chicken Free Tour.'
Our response is to tell the subject that it's not something we do unless they want to be our first 'chicken' however, we prefer ducks.
3. I don't want you messing with my mind
Another common misconception. I personally remember a friends mother going white as a sheet and screaming at me to stop 'messing with her sons mind' when I got him to do an arm levitation the first time I performed hypnosis at a family party.
Our response to this is that hypnosis is a 2 way street and although it's about trusting me (the hypnotist) it's also about trusting yourself. We can't force you to do anything under hypnosis that you wouldn't do in a normal waking state.
4. Will I black out?
People often think that they'll black out and not remember a thing. Although this can be the case for a small percentage of subjects most people will often remember some if not all of the show.
We've sometimes had volunteers come up after the show to ask whether they were hypnotised. They usually say something like 'I could hear everything that was going on' or 'I knew what I was doing.' When dispelling this myth we often use the line in the first paragraph and explain that; 'You may remember what was going on or you may remember elements of the experience however, you won't completely black out, in fact, you may be fully aware of your surroundings.'
5. Only Gullible, Uneducated people can be hypnotised
There is no link between the intelligence of a person and their ability to be hypnotised. Our response to this would be to tell them that in order to experience hypnosis you have to be willing and ready to actively participate. Some responses may be to be-little or humiliate subjects that don't go under by insulting their intelligence suggesting that only smart people can be hypnotised.
We prefer to not go down this route and we'll often say just because it didn't happen today doesn't mean it won't happen tomorrow.
6. Will I reveal secrets under hypnosis?
You can lie under hypnosis just as easily as you can in a waking state. In fact hypnosis allows greater access to your unconscious mind which may enable you to tell even greater lies. You're completely in control of what you say under a state of hypnosis.
Have you had any other misconceptions that you've experienced? We'd love to hear how you dealt with them and what your responses were.
We hope you've found this blog useful. If you have a question you'd like answering or a subject of hypnosis/ hypnotherapy you'd like covering please feel free to email us: firstname.lastname@example.org or subscribe to our mailing list for further updates and new posts.