This is sort of a Part Two to my previous post, about what is hypnosis in general, not just in hypnotherapy. I mentioned there that it’s simply the bypassing of your conscious brain functions, a naturally occurring state that happens several times a day, and your brain’s normal learning, problem-solving state. For some people, though, even the idea that some part of your brain can be “bypassed” can give people the willies, so let’s talk reassurances and see what hypnosis is NOT.

Hypnosis is NOT mind control.

Hypnosis can be presented on stage or in movies in a way that makes it look like someone is controlling someone else. Even in my own demonstrations in public, I’ve run into this misunderstanding. However, as deep as someone goes, they are still in control. They are still conscious and won’t do anything that they wouldn’t do in their normal waking state. I like to give the example that if I tell someone in hypnosis that they’re going to write me a blank cheque, they’re not going to do it.

Hypnosis is NOT sleep.

Sometimes it seems like a person is in a strange sort of sleep state. Even when doing instant and rapid inductions, a hypnotist will use the word “sleep” like a command. The only reason we do that, however, is simply because the subconscious interprets that word in a way that we can utilize. You aren’t actually asleep or unconscious …. You can hear and remember and understand every word being said. In some ways, you’re more awake and focused than normally.

Hypnosis is NOT only for weak-minded people.

This is a common misconception born of the whole “hypnosis is mind-control” myth. Truthfully, it takes no special skill to “resist” hypnosis … anyone who doesn’t want to be hypnotized isn’t going to be. On the contrary, it takes someone with more control, focus, and intelligence to be hypnotized. Studies have shown there is actually a correlation between intelligence and hypnotizability.

Hypnosis is NOT going to make you reveal secrets.

This is a funny question I get now and then, and it goes back to the original idea that hypnosis isn’t mind control. In fact, it’s been a long-standing principle of hypnosis since the early 1800’s that hypnosis is something the subject is guided in doing themselves, as opposed to something a hypnotist does to them. If you aren’t likely to give me the PIN to your credit card in a normal waking state, you won’t do it in hypnosis.

Hypnosis is NOT a state you can get stuck in..

Occasionally, people have trouble coming out of hypnosis. It’s not because they’re stuck, it’s because they’re enjoying themselves so much they don’t want to come back out. But they still come out eventually. No one has ever gotten “stuck” in hypnosis. Which is good, because hypnosis is a regularly occurring, natural state. People would randomly trance out and never come back if that were the case.

In Closing …

As I write this article, I’m coming off a string of exhibition shows where I am routinely told by showgoers that hypnosis is “terrifying”. I hope I’ve taken some of the terror out of it. Most of the people who know hypnosis is good are the people who have tried it, which means either we need to improve people’s understanding, or get more people to experience it. If you have any questions about how it can help, give me a call at (403) 630-3166, contact me here, or email me at