Random Person: “Are you really a Hypnotist?”
Me: “No, I just enjoy lying to people by embroidering the word ‘Hypnotist’ on my jacket!”
You would be surprised the amount of times I’m asked that, especially while on tour. Also, I don’t actually respond like that to random people. Clients with a sense of humor or family/friends who haven’t seen my jacket before, but not random people.
Regardless, each and every month one of the top three questions I’m asked:
“Can you really hypnotize people?”
The simple answer is YES & I explain how using the following steps… (click here to watch the demo video this picture comes from)
1- Induction: this is where the person enters into hypnosis (what society simply labels “relaxation). Easiest comparison I can make, when you close your eyes each night to wind down and prepare for sleep, you are entering this state. Closing your eyes enables your brain to take somewhat of a break as it’s no longer stimulated by visual images at this point.
2- Deepener: Just like when your mind begins to drift and your body continues to physically relax, same thing with hypnosis. The major difference (that a surprising number of people don’t consider) is the following step.
3- Script: The script is the part of hypnosis where the hypnotists talks to you and gives you a command for either comedy stage hypnosis or hypnotherapy. See the difference here? When closing your eyes and relaxing in bed, you eventually fall asleep but during hypnosis you’re still conscious and awake (how else would you understand what we say?)
4-Trance Termination: Anyone decent as reverse engineering may correctly predict this to be the last step with the hypnotist terminates a person’s trance. It’s at this point the person opens their eyes again and, at least as my students and I practice, are made to feel less mentally and physically stressed.
Understanding the bare basics of each step above, hopefully you have a more realistic idea of what hypnosis is actually doing. Though it’s not difficult to understand why so many are scared of it. After all, stage hypnotists have made the notion that volunteers will be made to do outrageous things such as (the cliche that annoys me the most) cluck like a chicken.
Additionally, stage and street hypnosis have made those ill-informed on the subject fear that they too will be made to act questionably if asking for a hypnotherapy session (I’ve literally had people worry I’ll make them cluck during a hypnotherapy session *sigh*). The answer to these last two paragraphs is: No.
As a traveling stage hypnotist, I do my best to avoid cliche routines most other hypnotists do (i.e. chicken routine). Instead, I now start my shows providing skeptics their own unique experience which makes them heckle me less during the rest of the show while simultaneously education them and the audience what hypnosis really is.
Likewise, I also conduct my hypnotherapy sessions differently. Years ago I had the idea to have 4-6 different packs of cigarettes in my office so if someone aspiring to smoke ever paid for a session, I’d offer them “one last smoke” before the session began. The catch was if they took the offer, I immediately sent them on their way with their money and new pack of smokes saying something along the lines of, “Come back when you no longer find that an appealing offer.”
In conclusion, yes hypnosis is real; yes you can be hypnotized; yes you can hypnotize yourself.
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