Updated: Jan 5
If hypnosis was mind control, every single health care professional—every psychologist, weight loss specialist, medical doctor—nay, every human would know how to do it. Everyone would be living their ideal life immediately. If that were the case, everyone would be happy, joyous and free all the time. But that is not how hypnosis works.
Hypnosis works as a gentle approach to move the mind toward the positive outcome in a way that helps a person to empower themselves. Hypnosis must be agreed upon by both parties. It is not something that one person is subjected to, and the other person is told, “This is how you will live your life now.” That’s not how it works.
We have had a poor example of hypnosis because of fictional characters on television, in movies, and stage hypnotism. Even if it is a TV show where a hypnotist goes out into the streets and hypnotizes people, you do not know the whole setup before the event. You don’t know how that whole thing was set up previously. You don’t know their connections to each other. They say they are strangers, but they may not be. It’s just for entertainment.
The same thing goes with stage hypnosis. Not to say that a participant is planted in the audience per se, but it is possible that the hypnotist has done a test already to find out if that person is hypnotizable or who in the audience is hypnotizable, and to what level or degree. They would not call somebody up on stage who is analytical or difficult to hypnotize. That hypnotist has done something to discover how suggestible each person is.
Also, stage hypnosis is limited to a very finite amount of time. People will not cluck like a chicken for an indefinite period if the hypnotist falls asleep or dies. That’s not how that works. It is something that happens temporarily.
Use Suggestions to Create Accountability
Even if a suggestion is good, healthy and useful, it will only be effective for as long as it is useful to the client. So even something that could have been very helpful for a finite amount of time may not be something they continually act upon. It is something that they can use. It’s just like a tool in the toolbox so that clients can start to feel relief and start to see their own power and then work on themselves as they go along.
An example of this not working well is when someone says, “Oh, wow. I forgot to smoke. Those suggestions really worked for me. And then, as soon as I remembered, I remembered to smoke.” So it was only useful to the client for a certain amount of time. So instead of that client saying, “Oh. I remember. I just didn’t smoke. And I just remembered that I have totally forgotten to smoke.” And then they say, “I’m going to stick with this.” It’s something that they have to do for themselves. Hypnosis is not a cure-all. It’s something the client has to continue to solidify for themselves.
Use Pre-Talks to Myth-Bust
The predicament that hypnotists often encounter is forgetting to set the clients’ expectations in their pre-talk, as well as adding the important coaching element that says, “Okay, when you notice that you start to remember that you had smoked, perhaps you begin to forget again.” So it is not mind control. Everyone has their own well-being, their own welfare. It is so important in your pre-talks with your clients that you myth bust around any of this fictional nonsense. Your clients need to know that this is truly a therapeutic approach that needs that dynamic loop between the practitioner and the subject so that you can work together. You can use the power of the mind, but you cannot control the mind.
Pay Attention to Your Influences
The bottom line is you are in control of your emotions. You are in control of your mind. You are in a level and state of hypnosis every day. Whether in a hypnosis session or in everyday life, you will hold on to those suggestions you encounter that are repetitive, habitual, and offer you the most value. So if you drive down the same street every day, and you see the same billboard every day, you might be more prone to follow that billboard’s directions because it’s something you see every day while you’re in a hypnotic state because we go into a hypnotic state when we drive. That’s how we drive so automatically. It’s unconscious competence. We often forget how we got from point A to point B or how much time has passed during the drive when we are driving. It’s because our mind is driving for us, and it tends to be very open to suggestions during that time. So be aware of what you’re listening to on the radio, the different commercials you are privy to, the billboard signs and so on. Notice if you start to have any craving or automatic response to things. Look around at your consistent daily environment and notice if any repetitive visual stimuli may influence you regularly due to your routines getting into your subconscious mind.
Make Conscious Choices
Whenever I hear someone say something on the radio like, “Don't you think it’s time to get new car insurance?” What I always do is I actually respond with, “No.” Or “No, I don’t think that.” Or, “No, I don't do that.” Or, “No, that doesn’t seem like it’s fun to me.” Or, “No, I’m not thinking about that.”
If I want to say no, I say no out loud so my mind can hear me so that when those commercials come up, I stop those patterns of suggestion. It becomes fun to be constructively skeptical in that way. It is a way of practicing being more consciously aware of your surroundings and the myriad of suggestive agendas we’re constantly being subjected to, such as with advertising.
It’s not a matter of saying no for the sake of being negative or defiant, but for taking ownership of your mind and being a deliberate creator. Saying no when you mean no and yes when you mean yes—whether out loud by yourself or in replying to others' requests—will positively influence your mind’s clarity, discernment, and even your self-esteem.
Because I’m in the car in a hypnotic state, I'm not going to allow anything to get into my subconscious mind that I don’t want to be there. So when we have experienced things that are very repetitive in our lives, it is the job of the hypnotist to help us regain control over our own minds and not a matter of the hypnotist controlling our minds. This is where we get the idea of being dehypnotized, not hypnotized.