In the past few weeks I’ve been getting a lot of clients who walk into my office, sit down and tell me “OK, here I am, please fix me quickly…”
Not only do I find it alarming that they think they are “broken” in some way (nobody is “broken”), but also that they wish to be separate from the actual process of change that they wish to have in their lives.
As Albert Einstein said:
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used to create them.”
After asking around and getting quite a few opinions on the matter, it seems the majority of people are under the impression that hypnosis is some kind of “magic bullet” that can be used by the hypnotist to quickly set things in order without the participation of the client/subject…
This is both correct AND incorrect… Allow me to explain…
For obvious reasons you’ll rarely hear of a hypnotist talking about the pitfalls of hypnosis. I’ve even noticed in many instructional hypnosis books how the authors will do their best to keep stacking all the pros surrounding hypnosis in their favour, since, let’s face it, the more powerful the subject/volunteer and the public assume hypnosis to be the greater the effect it has on them…. AKA the power of belief.
The relationship between the hypnotist and subject can be a rather strange albeit interesting one, wherein the subject will do everything they can to follow the suggestions given by hypnotist and provide him/her with the information the subject thinks the hypnotist desires. This is more than enough reason for most judicial systems around the world not to accept information gained under hypnosis.
As the psychologist R.W White points out: The goal for the hypnotic subject is to,
“…behave like a hypnotised person as this is continuously defined by the operator (the hypnotist) and understood by the subject.”
He and many others believe that the subject’s motive is,
“…submission to the operator’s (hypnotist’s) demands. He understands at all times what the operator intends, and his behaviour is a striving to put these intentions into execution.”
And as one of my personal favourite hypnotists, Ormond McGill, writes in his book, ‘An Encyclopaedia of Stage Hypnotism’:
“…the subject will also strive to please the audience as much, or even more so, than he might the hypnotist.”
The very best of all subjects are obviously then those in whom fulfilling the desires of the hypnotist and/or the audience is the strongest. Yet very few are willing to admit that this subconscious urge to give the hypnotist what he/she hopes to find has created endless problems for hypnotherapists.
Most recently in cases of ‘Satanic’ cult and parental abuse in children as well as the emergence of the idea of ‘Alien Abduction’.
Look for evidence of aliens, devil worship, child-abusers, or past lives in the right subject and you will co-operatively create that evidence within them. Despite the objections of many hypnotists (particularly those working with ‘alien abduction’ and past lives regression), people can very easily be ‘led’ during hypnosis into saying and believing all kinds of things that have, in actual fact, never taken place.
If you (as a hypnotist) were trying to find out if your subject had been, say abducted by aliens, you might describe the subject as lying in bed prior to the ‘abduction event’.
You might eagerly and unwittingly say at one point, “Can you see any strange lights in your room, or anything else unusual?“
Nine times out of ten this will result in the subject subconsciously understanding that lights are what you’re looking for and thus reply, “Yes!”
Ask them if there are any hospital-type tables, equipment or aliens in the room and you’ll get all of those things and more.
Whilst at the same time, subjects who do not reply in agreement will feel that they have somehow “failed” the hypnotist and in some cases, that they have lost out on an opportunity to get their ’15 minutes of fame’.
In ‘regression hypnosis‘ (one of the most over-hyped uses of hypnosis), lies the perfect opportunity for the subject and hypnotist to create a mutual delusion together. It’s very telling, that a high proportion of those regressed to a past life will turn out to have been a priest, priestess, king, queen, prince, princess, monk, Pharaoh or some other important character or another, rather than a lowly commoner or slave in this previous existence.
If a hypnotist asks a good subject to remember a past life, then they will do their best to do just that; calling on every memory and experience to create an acceptable reality in an attempt to satisfy the suggestions given by the hypnotist.
With ‘past lives regression’ there’s an open invitation for the subject to become exactly who he/she wants to be seen as and to create an imagined past that says that once, in some way or another, they were more than the person they appear to be now. Even though this may be nothing more than the Barnum effect in action.
So, does all this mean that hypnosis is merely “play acting” or “social compliance” by the volunteer/client/subject?
Although many disbelievers will argue that those who are hypnotized are merely ‘playing along’; in over a decade of being involved with hypnosis and suggestion I have witnessed MANY occurrences where the hypnotized person/persons have performed extraordinary feats that would otherwise be impossible for them to accomplish whilst in a ‘normal’ state of mind.
At the beginning of this post I mentioned that the notion of hypnosis being a “magic bullet” is both correct AND incorrect. How can I make such a statement?
Since it is my personal belief that all physical discomforts and dis-eases are psychosomatic in nature, I also believe that with the right state of mind anything can be accomplished, both physically and metaphysically.
This then brings us to the question; “Is hypnosis a ‘cure-all’ ‘magic bullet’?”
Magic Bullet? Perhaps
The only way? Not at all, as I have explained HERE
The exploration of the power of the human mind is only in its infancy and currently we still have a long way to go before we understand its full capacity.
As for hypnosis and the tremendous benefits it holds…
My opinion is that the only limitations are those which exist within the beliefs of the one being hypnotized, and even then, there are ways around those limiting beliefs…
But more on that in a future post…