Hypnotherapy: Snap out of it

Don’t live in a daze about hypnotherapy —it isn’t a way to control your mind, but a way to clear blocks to a healthy life

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Hypnosis is more natural than we think it is. It is something that occurs every time one dozes off to sleep. This is when the conscious mind hands over the control to the sub-conscious.

Similarly, when we wake up and aren’t fully aware of our surroundings, we are in a natural hypnotic state. This is when the control is gradually returning to the conscious mind.

Often, we are so absorbed in watching TV that we are unaware of our surroundings and our responses are totally with the programme, this too is a state when the mind is under hypnosis.

Thus, hypnosis is nothing esoteric, but a state that occurs naturally many times a day—a time when our mind is narrowly focused on a single stimulus such that all the other stimuli fade off. Our minds are, therefore, accustomed to it.

In clinical hypnotherapy, the hypnotherapist inducts the subject into a hypnotic trance with the help of suggestions. Under trance, the frequency of our mind increases from beta to alpha, theta, delta and even deeper states.

In the state of consciousness, logical and analytical thinking is muted. The vibration increases and you get connected with your sub-conscious memories, which resonate at these higher frequencies—depths of your mind that are essential to reach for therapeutic results.

Research shows that the conscious mind accepts signals up to 16 bits per second, whereas, the sub-conscious receives 11 million bits per second.

Hence, a hypnotic trance is an opportune condition to look for the source of problems in the sub-conscious and clear negative emotions attached to them such as fears, phobias and other emotions that disrupt your life. Thus, in many ways, hypnotherapy is like meditation.

However, people are scared of trying out hypnotherapy as they don’t know what it really is. They have false ideas about it in their mind that inhibit them from taking advantage of hypnotherapy, which can be life-transforming. Here, I’d like to discuss some of the common misconceptions I have encountered as a qualified hypnotherapist.

11 Myths about hypnotherapy

1. Hypnosis can be forced on a person or cast like a spell against her will

No one can be hypnotised or made to follow any suggestion that contradicts with the person’s values in any way against her will. A client relaxes herself with the help of the therapist’s suggestions.

The therapist does not do it alone, but you do it yourself by co-operating with the therapist. A therapist merely navigates you through a hypnotic trance through guided imagery, trance music and direct or indirect suggestions.

You are expected to have complete faith in the therapy and the therapist to allow a relaxed state to build and follow suggestions. Resistance caused due to wrong notions, doubts, fears, challenges, conscious analysis, sub-conscious triggers and apprehensions, inhibit the trance state from being induced.

Discussing the myths and fears with the therapist during the consultation, prior to the therapy session, helps eliminate them.

2. Hypnotherapy is unsafe and can harm a person’s mind. A hypnotherapist can brainwash anyone

Hypnotherapy is totally harmless. It is not the same as brainwashing or mind control, which are done without consent. It is a therapeutic technique, which allows removal of negativity in a safe manner.

When your sub-conscious mind is being addressed and the source of the problem rooted there is being traced, a fair amount of control is with your conscious mind as well. The analytical part of your conscious mind still allows you to think and judge.

Therefore, you are still in-charge of yourself and your abilities. Your secrets can never be probed into against your desire. Your mind is wakeful and alert enough not to receive and act on any suggestion that doesn’t agree with you. At any stage of the session, you are so much in control that you can interrupt the session if required and return home.

3. You are forced to sit in one position for long, so you feel tired later

In deep hypnosis, your body goes limp, loose and numb. You are so relaxed [just like in sleep] that you lose the desire to toss and turn.

However, whenever necessary, the therapist gives a suggestion to move and turn to maintain the level of consciousness you have achieved. With another appropriate suggestion, you can even drink water or answer a nature’s call.

As for feeling tired, the moment your mind rises beyond the beta state, it starts relaxing and your body feels energised. Some people even feel euphoric after a session.

4. Hypnosis is an occult and esoteric art. It has no scientific basis

Hypnosis is neither a supernatural nor a magical art. It neither falls under any esoteric and occult phenomena nor does it make you follow religious, spiritual or any other belief systems or doctrine.

It is a therapeutic tool recognised and approved by The British Medical Association, The American Medical Association, and courts of law in India and abroad.

5. The trance is induced with the help of medication

Consciousness is altered with the help of guided imagery, direct and indirect suggestions or trance music like isochronic and binaural sounds, chants and mantras. These methods increase the frequency of the mind, taking it beyond beta into alpha, theta, delta or even deeper states.

There is no need of using medication. Drugs are used in narco tests/narcosynthesis/narcoanalysis to bypass conscious resistance and unwillingness of the person. This technique does not fall under the category of a therapeutic procedure and instead is considered an illegal torture.

6. A person can get stuck in a hypnotic state

To reiterate, under hypnosis you are consciously alert to a great degree and can enter or exit the hypnotic state any time you desire and allow yourself to be guided through it. A human mind, in any case, is accustomed to naturally going in and coming out of a trance.

Therefore, you cannot get stuck or lose your mind in hypnosis at any stage. Throughout the session, you are in conversation with the therapist and not left on your own. After the session, you have complete recall of the experiences you had during hypnosis.

7. Hypnotherapy can only help cure mental illness

The root cause of every physical, mental or emotional problem is in the sub-conscious or super-conscious mind. With the help of hypnotherapy, a therapist is able to help a client tap into these areas and address the condition completely and successfully.

Hypnotherapy can successfully address and eliminate physical ailments as well. Many well-known medical practitioners are even using it to cure acute and chronic ailments.

8. Hypnotherapy helps dull the effect of pain but doesn’t cure anything

Hypnotherapy not only addresses pain, but also eliminates the problem. It allows access to that area in the mind where all types of conditions are rooted.

Thus, with the help of this therapeutic modality, one can successfully address and eliminate the cause and its manifested physical, mental and emotional effect and not just the pain alone.

9. Only chronic cases require hypnotherapy

The words acute and chronic merely indicate passage of time. Irrespective of how much time the illness has prevailed, it still has its roots in the same place—the sub-conscious. And that’s where hypnotherapy helps you reach. In fact, if you try hypnotherapy when the problem is acute, you’ll be free of it soon.

10. Hypnosis should not be used in cases of severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia

Like in other conditions, the root cause of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorders also lies in the person’s mind. These conditions manifest due to certain causes in the sub-conscious as well as the super-conscious zones.

Medicines are unable to reach these places and only keep the symptoms suppressed. With the help of hypnotherapy and its applied branches, a therapist is able to even tap these areas and release the causes.

Hypnotherapy has been successfully used in treating schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, manic depression and multiple personality syndrome.

11. In a hypnotic state, you become unconscious

In hypnosis, your awareness gets heightened. Since your conscious mind is still wakeful, you are alert and conscious throughout the hypnotic state, and not asleep or unconscious. You are fully conscious of your self, your surroundings and are oriented to people, place and time.

Hypnotherapy has been successful in almost all areas of physical, mental and emotional conditions the world over. It takes into its fold the body and mind of a person and much more.

It is complete in all ways as it goes into the areas of the person’s zone no medical doctor would even consider looking into—the conscious, sub-conscious as well as the super-conscious mind. Now that you know facts about it, approach it with an open mind.

Take note

There is also what is known as self-hypnosis. This is when the client takes himself into a state of trance. However, it is normally never deep enough for therapy. Audio tapes are not true self-hypnosis because a recorded voice guides you into hypnosis.

Do not practise hypnotherapy on your own without the help of a qualified expert or therapist. While in trance, you may experience sub-conscious reactions that may need skilled help to resolve.

Some individuals may relive the past trauma when they access those experiences and need to be guided to be an observer so that they don’t suffer from them all over again.


This article first appeared in the November 2011 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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