Hypnosis and pastlife regression have become quite popular especially after wide media coverage. These procedures elicit natural curiosity in large segment of population. It is observed that common people have one or the other myths regarding hypnosis. Before commencing hypnotherapeutic work, it is recommended that one should clarify the myths and explore expectations of the client which may be based upon misconceptions as they can create barriers in effective hypnotherapy.
- Hypnosis is NOT sleep: The term hypnosis is derived from the ‘Hypnos’ (Sleep). Therefore, some people think that hypnosis is a form of sleep. This is a myth. If a person tries to talk under sleep; his sleep would get terminated. Sleep and communication can not be done simultaneously. Whereas, when a person is under hypnosis, even lengthy communication can be done with him without termination of hypnotic trance.
- There is NOT total loss of awareness in hypnosis: The total loss of awareness is observed in coma and generalized anesthesia. A person who is comatose or under the influence of anesthesia, can not know what is happening to him and in his surroundings. You can not talk to a person in such a state. Whereas in hypnosis; a part of awareness remain active. A hypnotized person remains partially aware of himself and his surroundings. This at times, causes a misconception in a subject that since he was aware of the surroundings; he was not hypnotized. Retention of awareness is not the criteria to determine the trance state. In a state of total loss of awareness no psychotherapy can be done. For doing psychotherapeutic work; communication with the client is essentially required which is possible only when a person retains awareness. Hence; goal of hypnosis is not to produce any kind of total loss of awareness. If a person comes with an expectation of unconsciousness then he need be informed that an anesthetist could make oneself to experience the state of unconsciousness not the hypnosis.
- It is NOT Hypnotic mind control: Some people may think that through hypnosis, a hypnotist can take control of one’s mind and get immoral or criminal acts done or he may become slave of the hypnotist. This is not true. Under hypnosis, a person can not be made to break his moral code. The suggestions of the hypnotists are acceptable to the extent they are permitted by the moral code of the individual. Since a part of awareness remain active under hypnosis; all suggestions are evaluated by this aware part of the mind and allowed to accept only when they are in congruence to the moral code.
- One Can NOT Fail to exit: A few persons remain afraid of being hypnotized because they think that they can get stuck in hypnosis infinitely. It is not possible because hypnosis is a psycho-physiological state achieved by psychological procedures. If a person in deep hypnosis is left alone; he would either pass into natural sleep and come out of it or directly exit the hypnotic state. The idea of getting stuck is simply baseless.
- Being hypnotized is NOT an indication of weak mind: A mentally challenged person, a brain damaged individual or a person with chronic schizophrenia may be considered as the person of weak mind. It is difficult and often impossible to hypnotize persons with such a condition. Hypnosis is best accomplished in persons of average or above average intellectual functions.
- Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy is NOT the same thing: Hypnotic trance is a state of awareness just like a waking state or a sleep state. Passing into sleep and awakening does not involve any therapy. Similarly, getting into hypnotic trance and coming out of it does not involve any therapy. Hypnotic trace provides a special platform under which psychotherapeutic work is conducted. So, hypnotherapy is hypnosis plus therapeutic utilization of hypnotic trance.
- Hypnotherapy can NOT cure Every illness: No therapy on the earth can cure all the illness. Hypnotherapy can be used for a variety of psychological and psychosomatic conditions. But it can not cure all illness, for example, AIDS, cancer, disabilities, schizophrenia and neurological impairment.
- Deep hypnotic trance is NOT necessary for therapeutic effects: Psychotherapies can be effectively conducted even in waking state. The deepest level of trance is required for surgical procedures where the goal is to induce anesthesia. Therapeutic work can be done in lighter state of hypnosis.
- Formal induction is NOT essential for hypnotherapy: Successfully hypnotherapy can be done without using formal methods of hypnotic induction particularly in highly hypnotizable subjects.
- ‘Sadhna’ is NOT required to acquire power of hypnotizing others: You can find some literature which advise you that if you do some sort of ‘sadhna’ like ‘tratak’ you would be able to acquire the power of hypnosis. It is a myth. No sadhna is required. The hypnotic trance can be achieved by using well defined procedures. Any person of an average intelligence, who knows the procedure can hypnotize others and learning of such a procedure is a job of only a few hours. However, learning of therapeutic utilization of hypnotic trance would require considerable understanding and supervised training.
- One can NOT vomit dark secrets of one’s life under hypnosis: A person in hypnotic trance remain partially aware of his mental state and the surroundings. Whatever is asked from him in this state; it gets filtered from this partial awareness. There are subjects who withheld solicited information during hypnotic trance but later on voluntarily shared such information.
- The power of hypnotizing does NOT rest with the competence of a hypnotist: Many people think that it is the power of hypnotist which hypnotize others. It is a myth. Whether a person would enter a hypnotic trance; depends upon subject’s own hypnotic susceptibility. There are individual differences in hypnotic susceptibility. Some persons enter lighter state, others medium and a few deeper level of trance. Hypnotic susceptibility is a characteristic of the subjects which determine whether a person would be able to enter hypnosis and the depth of it. If a hypnotist hypnotizes 100 persons; you would find that some persons went into deeper levels; some in lighter state and majority in a medium trance state. Hypnotist is the same; giving the same instructions but there are variations in response of the subjects; and these variations are the result of subjects own hypnotizability not the power of hypnosis.
- A person in a deep trance state may NOT reveal true events: Trance depth is associated with vividness of imagination which may convince a subject or a hypnotist about the reality of the experience. One should remain alert while handling a deep trance state; that because of increased suggestibility at this level, a subject may pick up contextual cues and integrate with the on-going experience. A demonstration was conducted for this phenomenon. A person while narrating a scene of forest; scent was sprayed over his shirt; he immediately began narrating that there were beautiful flowers and the forest was full of fragrance.