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Jun-25-2014 18:35printcomments

Misconceptions about Hypnosis

May the Trance Be With You! A 21st Century Look at Hypnosis

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(SALEM, Ore.) - When I meet someone for the first time I'll usually give them a firm handshake and make eye contact in a friendly way. If someone is introducing me they'll often add that I'm a magician and a hypnotist. Not every time, but often enough I'll notice the smiles of my new acquaintances fade slightly and their eyes shift away. Why? They're afraid I'll hypnotize them, and they usually tell me so.

So let's examine this misconception about the nature of hypnosis as well as some of the other persistent ones.

  • Hypnosis is mind control. False. If it were true I wouldn't be the one in my family who takes the garbage out. If it were true I'd be writing this piece from a condo in Hawaii generously donated by a wealthy patron who is also very free with his credit card. If it were true hypnotherapists would be making a whole lot more money than they do. The fact is a hypnotist can't make people do anything they morally object to.
  • What about stage hypnotists? Don't they make people do silly things? This is sort of true, but mostly false. Stage hypnotists do appear to make people feverishly disco dance like it was 1977, but understand those people volunteered to go on stage and knew perfectly well what would be expected of them. If a stage hypnotist suggests they boogie, they are only too happy to oblige. Even so, if you watch a stage hypnosis act you'll occasionally see a volunteer not participate in some of things that are suggested. Yes, the volunteers are really hypnotized, but they'd probably do the same thing if they had a couple of beers in them.
  • Hypnosis will make me tell my secrets. False. If it did, then I'd have a lucrative job with law enforcement extracting confessions. You can lie while in hypnosis just as you can fully awake.
  • I'm afraid I'll go into hypnosis and never wake up. Not going to happen. On very rare occasions people will enjoy the experience of hypnosis so much that they are reluctant to return to full wakefulness (these same people may be hard to get up out of bed in the morning), but given ten minutes or so they return with a smile on their faces.
  • Only people who are weak willed can be hypnotized. False. The more intelligent the client, the better his or her imagination, the better he or she can focus their mind, usually the higher their hypnotizability. People with very low IQs and weak wills can't be hypnotized because they can't focus. About one-third of the population is highly hypnotizable, one-third reasonably hypnotizable, and one-third doesn't hypnotize well. There's no way to tell which group you belong to without experiencing an induction. Even then having the right hypnotist using the right induction on the right day and the perfect time of day can make a difference.
  • Will I forget what happened during a hypnosis session? Maybe yes, maybe no. It depends. There are post-hypnotic suggestions that can try to persuade you forget only if you want to forget and it's beneficial to you. Hypnotists and hypnotherapists make audio recordings of all their sessions and give them to their clients for future listening and to make a record of what happened. Personally when I'm hypnotized I tend to forget the way I tend to forget dreams when I wake up.

So what is hypnosis? No one really knows, but we can create a model that works for our purposes.

Here's the definition I work with: Hypnosis is a method of communication used to seed ideas and plant positive suggestions in the subconscious mind for the purpose of improving our lives and relieving suffering.

Hypnosis is a naturally occurring state similar to daydreaming but more focused. It has been proven repeatedly in studies to be at least as powerful as pharmaceuticals in managing pain, but with no side effects.

We experience states similar to hypnosis all the time when we read a book and feel suspense, fear, sadness, or any other emotion; when we go to the movies and forget we're watching a flickering rectangle of light on the wall and believe we're witnessing real people working through conflict; when we space out on our way home from work each day yet arrive safe and sound.

The truth is a hypnotist is only someone who guides you to hypnotize yourself. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis.

Next time: What can hypnosis do for you?


Glen Bledsoe is a Consulting Hypnotist who practices hypnotherapist at Oak Springs Wellness Centre.

Glen Bledsoe has many interests and talents. Besides being certified as a Consulting Hypnotist by the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH) Glen is a magician-mentalist and belongs to The Society of American Magicians Assembly 59 and IIGNW (Independent Investigators Group Northwest).

Glen has spent nearly 25 years in education (MAT) as a K-8 teacher as well as taught both undergraduate and graduate students at Willamette University.

Glen is also a musician, an artist with a BA in Fine Arts from Indiana University, a writer with over 20 published books to his credit, a photographer whose work has been used by such diverse entities as Wired magazine, Willamette Week, Beaverton Applebees, Moog Synthesizers and Honda Motors as well as many print and broadcast news media in the greater Portland area. He has been a student of T'ai Chi Ch'uan for over half of his life.

Glen began to study hypnosis after he noticed that he had been accidentally putting volunteers into hypnosis when performing his mentalism routine.

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Christinef July 10, 2014 12:11 pm (Pacific time)

The best film of the year “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” A lot of positives !

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