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Hypnosis Myths Busted:

Dr. Steve G. Jones

Dr. Steve G. Jones,

Hypnosis Myths Busted: 6 Misconceptions that Keep People from Transforming Their Lives Through Hypnosis

Have you ever thought about using hypnosis to help break a negative (AKA - "bad") habit, improve your skills, or decrease emotional distress?

Chances are, you’ve given it at least passing thought. You might have even bought a few hypnosis mp3 downloads and used them once or twice. But, if you’re like most people, you’ve been hesitant to really commit to hypnosis, because you’ve heard all kinds of crazy stories and plain nonsense about this type of treatment.

So, I’ve written this article to help you separate fact from fiction. It is intended to be used as a tool, to help you make an objective decision about whether hypnosis is right for you and your situation. So, let’s look at six myths that have spread throughout cultures, and the truth that these myths conceal.

Click on each myth to reveal more:

Myth 1: I’m too skeptical/mentally strong/objective for hypnosis to work.

It’s fairly common for people to believe that they are somehow beyond the influence of hypnosis and hypnotherapy. In some cases, these are people who simply assume they can’t be hypnotized. In other cases, people believe that they know all the “tricks” of hypnosis, so they can’t be affected by a recording or a live hypnotherapy session.

The truth is, though, that virtually all of us are capable of achieving results through hypnosis. You might believe that you’re fully conscious and that the suggestions you’re hearing are having no effect… but as long as the hypnotherapist is properly trained, there will still be positive change going on under the surface.

Just to illustrate my point: I’d like you to close your eyes and think of a big, juicy cheeseburger (or a veggie burger, if you prefer). Envision the thick burger patty glistening with juice, nestled perfectly in a sesame seed bun with bright yellow mustard peeking out around the edge of the top bun. Take a deep breath and savor the aroma. In your mind, take a bite and experience the savory taste of the burger contrasting with the fresh, acidic flavor of the onions and tomatoes. Feel free to modify this experience to your particular preferences in food.

Did you experience the senses I described? Chances are, your mind conjured up the sights, smells and tastes just as if the burger (or whatever delicious food you chose to imagine) was actually right in front of you. You might have even noticed your stomach growling. For another example, imagine slicing a lemon in half and smelling, then tasting the lemon. This time, you might have noticed saliva gathering in your mouth.

If you successfully “experienced” the burger and/or the lemon – even for just a few seconds – congratulations! You have the ability to benefit from hypnotherapy! You’ve also just realized that hypnosis is nothing you haven’t experienced before – any time your mind is absorbed in something that isn’t actually there, you’ve achieved a hypnotic state to some degree.

(By the way, many people who can benefit from hypnosis consider themselves logical, skeptical, and strong–willed. And they are. If you are one of these people, understand that experiment you just did simply shows that these traits do not prevent you, or most people, from absorbing the suggestions and cues of hypnosis therapy (hypnotherapy).)

Myth 2: Hypnosis is a form of mind control.

Thanks to dozens of Hollywood movies portraying hypnotists as having some sort of “special power” that they can use to control others (usually against their will), many people today believe that hypnotherapists are actually performing “mind control” during hypnosis sessions. If you have believed in this myth in the past, it’s definitely understandable that you’d be a little hesitant to use hypnosis for yourself!

However, done correctly, hypnosis can be a powerful way to change behaviors – even those that you have felt unable to change on your own through conventional methods. You’ve probably even met a few people (or heard stories about them on television, the Internet, etc.) who have made dramatic shifts in their personal behaviors after undergoing hypnotherapy. Coupled with the “Hollywood” portrayal of hypnotists as ruthless puppet masters, these people’s stories can make it hard not to believe that hypnosis is mind control.

But the truth is, a hypnotist cannot make you think or do anything at all, especially if it is a thought or action that runs counter to who you are as a person. Your mind hears suggestions presented during hypnotherapy and evaluates each suggestion just as if you were reading a book or a news article. You don’t lose your sense of identity during hypnosis, so your mind will simply filter out suggestions that are incompatible with your core beliefs.

This holds true regardless of whether you are sitting in a hypnotherapist's office or practicing guided meditation with the help of mp3 downloads. Either way, at a core level, you have complete control over which suggestions you accept.

If hypnotists do not possess superhuman mind control powers, then you might wonder how they can effectively help patients. Hypnosis can take years of practice to master, and professionals who offer this service typically have a good understanding of psychology and know how to craft suggestions that can get to the root of a patient’s challenges quickly. Even so, you will still be able, at a subconscious level, to evaluate statements and suggestions and reject those that are not in alignment with who you are.

Myth 3: You are rendered helpless under hypnosis.

Like the myth of hypnotic mind control, the idea of being unconscious or asleep during hypnosis is pervasive in today’s culture. Typically, people worry not only that their hypnotic state will render them unable to reject suggestions presented by the hypnotherapist, but also that they’ll be unable to return to normal consciousness at will.

In most cases, this fear is connected to the “fight or flight” response that is automatically triggered by our limbic brain (the part of our brain that we share in common with other animals) in response to emergency situations. The myth assumes that the flight aspect of this response is somehow disabled because of the person’s hypnotic state. So, as the assumption goes, if a dangerous situation occurs under hypnosis, they will be powerless to leave or address the source of the danger.

Fortunately, there is no truth to this belief. Although the hypnotic state is different from the normal, fully alert state (called alpha), you still have your fight or flight response intact under hypnosis. So, if something "bad" were to happen to you while under hypnosis, you would respond as you normally would while fully alert.

Think about the last time you were driving down a long stretch of highway and found that you’d driven quite a distance without really being aware of it. It might afterward feel a bit as though you “fell asleep at the wheel,” since your brain was not actively cataloging every second of the trip and recording the experience in your short-term memory.

But that’s not the case. Instead, you slipped into a mildly hypnotic state in which you remained fully functional. You still navigated traffic successfully and kept your vehicle on the road. And if an “emergency” had occurred (for example, you discovered you were rapidly approaching a slow-moving truck), you would have snapped out of your hypnotic state and promptly taken necessary action. The same is true with hypnosis sessions.

Myth 4: Hypnosis is only for making people “cluck like a chicken” and other silly things.

This is one of the most pervasive (and wildly inaccurate) myths that has ever been developed regarding hypnosis. That’s because virtually all of us have seen or heard about a stage hypnosis show in which audience members were “hypnotized” in front of a crowd and then directed to make animal sounds or perform other silly acts, for the purpse of entertainment.

Stage hypnotism is great for creating a spectacle and entertaining an audience. (Afterall, how entertaining would it be if you paid to see a hypnotism-based show and no one did anything crazy?)

Yes, most of those people were actually in hypnosis (although there are always a few who are faking it, just to have fun). The participants of a stage hypnosis show are chosen by the stage hypnotist (a trained professional) after they are given a hypnotic suggestibility test.

The difference between hypnotherapy and stage hypnosis is that one is designed to help people and the other is designed to entertain people. Although, I do have a few frineds who do professional hypnosis shows on stage and add few positive suggestions for the participants at the end of the show. This is always nice to see. It's a sort of "thank you" for allowing the audience to be entertained by them. It also helps the audience to connect the dots - to see that the same technology that entertains them can also help them improve their lives.

Thanks to the science of hypnotherapy, hypnosis is effective for much more than entertainment. Patients around the world have experienced dramatic results by using hypnotherapy to deal with a wide range of issues, including:

Myth 5: I simply can't change.

This myth can dramatically affect a person’s willingness and ability to experience hypnosis in the first place. However, the truth is that hypnosis is quite powerful and can make a dramatic difference for many people. It can help you the reach goals you never even dreamed you could attain, end unwanted habits that have been holding you back for years, and even improve your overall outlook on life.

But, this can take some time. Think about it – you didn’t develop your current beliefs and habits overnight… so you may not change them overnight. This does happen, but to ensure the best possible outcome, I recommend listening to my hypnosis mp3s every night as you go to sleep for 21 nights in a row. If you skip a few nights here or there that's ok. After the 21 night, use them for 1-3 nights in a row as needed for a "booster shot" to remind your subconscious mind how powerful you are. And, if you would like a customized hypnotherapy session, in which you tell me exactly what you want to work on and I make a custom hypnotherapy mp3 just for you, that is available too.

The amount of time (and the number of sessions) it takes to create the change you want varies according to your personality, the duration and intensity of the habit/belief you want to change and numerous other factors.

Hypnosis takes patience – in some cases, it might be a few weeks before you begin seeing real results. But you’ll find that the freedom and empowerment you get from hypnosis are well worth the effort!

Myth 6: You have to be face to face with a hypnotherapist to get the benefits of hypnosis.

If you’ve been thinking about using hypnosis to address a challenge in your life or help you reach your peak potential, you might be put off by the idea of visiting a hypnotherapist. It can be incredibly difficult for most people to find time in their busy lives to travel to a hypnotherapist’s office, wait to be seen, and undergo hypnosis treatment..not to mention they have to share their deepeest concerns with a stranger in person.

Fortunately, traveling to a hypnotherapist’s office isn’t necessary. There are a wide range of options for recorded hypnosis sessions that you can listen to and benefit from in the comfort of your own home or office.

In many cases, recorded hypnosis sessions can help you more quickly than office-based hypnosis. That’s because you feel more comfortable in your own space, so it can be easier for you to access the hypnotic state needed to start experiencing positive change. Also, you can work these sessions into your personal schedule, so you can benefit from them any time of the day or night.

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