Dispelling
the myths

Hypnotherapy is the practice of promoting positive development and healing. It is an altered state of awareness, which enables patterns of behaviour to be reprogrammed in our subconscious.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not a state where you can be made to do something you don’t want to. Nor is it a state of deep sleep. This is quite simply a myth, and one which stage hypnotists help to encourage.

Quite simply, hypnotherapy aims to reprogramme the mind to help overcome negative thoughts, replace phobic responses, overcome suppressed emotions and irrational fears.

Hypnosis is a naturally occurring state, one in which you remain relaxed while your mind becomes highly focused. It is a normal state that we go into many times a day. The client who is hypnotised can break away from the hypnotic state at any time and open their eyes and leave the room, if they wanted or needed to.

However, it remains a highly focused state where you are more alert and very safe and in which suggestions can be made to help make a positive change. In this trance-like condition, you are concentrating on the hypnotherapist’s voice and as your conscious mind is suppressed, your subconscious mind is opened. Hypnotherapy is not about the client being made to do something – quite the opposite. It is about empowering you so that you can change and grow.

Many clients experience time distortion and express that the perceived time is much shorter than the real time, not dissimilar to our experience outside of hypnosis. When one is waiting for a pleasant experience to come about the perceived time seems to drag, while on the other hand when experiencing a pleasant experience time seems to rush by.

One of the most important aspects of the client/therapist relationship is empathy and rapport. Without either, the client may resist change. Russell focuses on empathy and rapport building before ever considering hypnosis, as this is paramount to successful treatment.

Thankfully the days of hypnosis being linked with swinging watches and being able to control your mind are long gone. So if someone tells you they robbed a bank because they were hypnotised, you know they were not being honest with you!

Of course, the biggest myth surrounding hypnosis is that in the hypnotic state you can be made to do things against your will. How many of you have seen a stage hypnotist show purporting to show this in action?

The stage hypnotist will use techniques to extract people from the audience who wish to comply and who have a desire to be extrovert. The hypnotist may ask the audience to clasp their hands and imagine that they are glued together. The hypnotist then suggests they can't separate them. It is the compliant members of the audience who can't separate them, thereby giving unconscious permission to the hypnotist to bring them on to the stage and perform more entertaining feats for his guests. This is NOT a technique used in hypnotherapy.