You’ve seen it in the movies or on TV: the evil mesmerist casts a hypnotic spell over someone and they turn into robots obeying their master’s commands, or someone under hypnosis reveals a deep secret that solves a murder. That’s all very good and makes great fiction, but it has nothing to do with real hypnosis.
How do I know? I’ve spent a decade training, studying, and practicing hypnosis. I’m certified as a hypnotherapist and as a trainer of hypnotherapists. I’ve hypnotized thousands of people. So let me start by sharing what hypnosis isn’t.
Hypnosis isn’t sleep. I know, you do look like you’re asleep when you’re hypnotized, but that’s because you’re deeply focused on just one thing rather than many things. Hypnosis isn’t some sort of truth serum or polygraph. If you were hypnotized and a hypnotist asked you to reveal some deep secret you didn’t want to share, you would simply open your eyes and emerge from the hypnotic state.
You do not lose control when you’re hypnotized. I can’t make you quack like a duck or bark like a dog. Of course, if you’re attending a hypnosis show and want to be silly, if I give you a suggestion to quack you might do it just to have more fun.
Some people believe that only weak-minded people can be hypnotized. Actually, just the opposite is true. To be hypnotized, you simply have to follow directions. The more intelligent, creative, and imaginative you are, the easier it is for you to be hypnotized. Oh, and by the way, hypnosis isn’t dangerous, either. There are records of hypnosis going back thousands of years, and nobody has ever been harmed. You can’t get “stuck” in hypnosis.
When you’re hypnotized you’ll hear everything, and you’ll remember what happens. And although some hypnotists imply it, they don’t have any secret powers to control you. Oh, and hypnosis is definitely not a tool of the devil!
So what exactly is hypnosis?
We each have a conscious mind. It’s logical, makes decisions, and is good at doing one task at a time. We also each have an unconscious mind. Unlike the conscious, it simply stores and accepts what comes into it. The unconscious also controls our beliefs and habits, generates emotions and feelings, and tends to resist change.
Let’s say you’re a smoker. Consciously, you decide to quit. You tell yourself “I’m never going to smoke again.” If your unconscious received this message directly, it would make it happen. But there’s a third part of the mind that hypnotists call the critical factor. It filters and interprets everything. It says, “Hey! Smoking is more addictive than heroin. You can’t quit.” That’s the message your unconscious receives, and that’s why so many people fail to change their behavior and stop smoking.
Hypnosis is the bypassing of the critical factor so you can directly communicate with the unconscious. Hypnotherapy allows you to send acceptable messages to your unconscious, starting the process of change.
Hypnosis can’t fix a broken arm. But hypnotherapy can, quickly and easily, help you change your beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. It can help you stop smoking, lose weight, get over long-held fears such as the fear of flying, public speaking, or going to a dentist. It can allow you to tap into the unlimited memories held in the unconscious. Often, our beliefs and misconceptions about reality keep us from becoming who we can really be. Sometimes, our beliefs even manifest as physical problems. They cause us to sabotage our own success and happiness. A few visits to a trained and experienced hypnotist, or learning self-hypnosis, can help you achieve all of the goals in your life, and even change the way you look.
If you want to try a hypnotherapist, remember to ask about his or her training and experience. And if you ever go to see a hypnosis show, remember, it’s just entertainment. Real hypnotherapy is a profound, life-changing experience.
Donald Michael Kraig graduated from UCLA with a degree in philosophy, and has become a certified hypnotherapist and Master NLP practitioner. His book, Modern Magick, is the most popular step-by-step course in real magick ever published.