5 Myths Of Hypnotic Suggestion

5 Myths of Hypnotic Suggestion

Hypnotic suggestion can be a confusing concept. But it is much simpler than you might realize. Most people misunderstand the idea of hypnotic suggestion and that is a big mistake.

In fact, I've noticed there are some real myths that people have about hypnosis. Of course, movies and television shows are largely to blame. Most of what you see on TV and movies isn't real

So, let's get into it, shall we?

Myth #1 - Hypnosis Is Mind Control

First of all, hypnosis is not mind control. It's a psychodynamic loop between the hypnotist and the hypnotic subject. It's not any different than two people getting into a great conversation. In fact, that is why conversational hypnosis works so well!

I know that in movies and TV shows bad guys are often portrayed as evil geniuses with mind control powers. This is a common trope because it speaks to a primal human fear.

It's just not true. In a hypnotic trance, people still act according to their own will. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis, so the person in trance can reject any suggestion at any time.

It might look like mind control, but it's not. People do what they do in trance because they want to and they find it useful or beneficial.

At a hypnosis show, getting up on stage and pretending to bark like a dog is a great way to get attention and have fun. That might seem strange, but some people love to be part of a show.

Myth #2 - Smart People Aren't Suggestible

Intelligent people like to believe that they can't be hypnotized. Some people think they are too smart for that sort of thing. Boy are they missing out!

It turns out that IQ has no real impact on your hypnotic suggestibility. Super smart and super dumb people can both be hypnotized or persuaded to do any number of things.

Persuasion and suggestibility have nothing to do with intelligence at all!

In the fantastic book, "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion", Dr. Robert Cialdini tells many great stories about how he was duped into buying magazine subscriptions and such. The man is brilliant, but that doesn't stop persuasion from working.

When it comes to hypnosis, smart people are just as suggestible as anyone else. It's only their pride that says otherwise.

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Myth #3 - People In Trance Are Faking It

Okay, so when you see people doing strange things in a trance like setting, that can seem odd. But are they faking it?

Sometimes people do fake being in a trance. Again, if this is a hypnosis show, some people want to be part of the show. An experienced hypnotist will calibrate their subjects enough to tell the difference.

Setting those people aside, the interesting thing about hypnosis is that the things people can do in trance are amazing. And people aren't faking them either.

For example, old style demonstrations of full body catalepsy are quite bizarre. It would be difficult to fake such a thing. But, a hypnotist doesn't have to. People go into full body catalepsy when we sleep. That keeps us from acting out our bizarre dreams.

So, all a hypnotist needs to do is access said natural phenomena. People aren't faking it. Rather, humans are capable of far more than we realize. Which leads us to myth number four...

Myth #4 - People Would Never Be Weird In Real Life!

Context is everything, especially in hypnosis. When you see a hypnosis demonstration, you are watching a peculiar combination of context and rapport. So, while what you see might seem out of the ordinary, it's quite normal.

For example, when I go to a University Of Nebraska Football game, there are 85,000 people there all dressed in red. Periodically someone will shout "GOOOO BIIIIIG REEEED!" and dozens of people will shout back "GO BIG RED!" It's a lot of fun!

However, if I walk down the street in New York City shouting "GOOO BIIIG REEED!" I'd get strange looks or maybe even be arrested.

So, everything you see with hypnosis has a context attached to it. At a hypnosis show it is about being entertaining and having a good time. In a hypnotherapy office, it's about change work to solve problems like smoking, excess weight, or anxiety. And street hypnosis has the same context as busking or other street performance.

In those contexts, most hypnotic suggestions that work make a lot of sense. Outside of those contexts, they don't.

Myth #5 - Hypnosis Is About Tricking People...

Oh boy, this one is going to get me into trouble. Look, hypnosis is about the furthest thing from tricking someone I can think of. Hypnosis is a terrible way to trick people or fool people.

Hypnosis is the opposite of tricking people.

All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. And to induce a trance requires rapport.

A great hypnotist is excellent at building genuine rapport with people. Hypnosis is an exercise in empathetic communication more than anything.

So, instead of tricking people, a hypnotist is building a relationship with the subject that is powerful. Once the relationship is established, it opens the door to trance.

To be effective a hypnotist will focus on helping people, not tricking them. That is a big difference.

The Reality Of Hypnotic Suggestion

So, with those five myths out of the way, what is hypnotic suggestion really?

The best way to explain hypnotic suggestion is like this...

A few years ago when I was taking hypnosis class, I tested out a hypnotic suggestion. I told my friend in trance to get me a cup of water during the next break. I knew there would be a break in just a few minutes, but he would be outside of trance. So, this was a good test.

I didn't mention this suggestion after I made it. I pretended as if nothing special happened.

A few minutes later we had a break and my friend brought me a cup of water unprompted. I said thank you and smiled. It was a nice moment of friendship.

Later that afternoon we were practicing the roles reversed. He suggested I get him coffee during the break.

A few minutes later we had a break and I brought my friend a cup of coffee unprompted. He said thank you and smiled. It was a nice moment of friendship.

The Hypnotic Suggestion Epiphany

At that moment hypnotic suggestion made complete sense to me. When two people are in deep rapport, doing what the other person asks you to do makes total sense. It becomes something you want to do!

That epiphany simplified everything for me when it comes to hypnosis and suggestion. It's not magic at all. It's communication and friendship and rapport.

Hypnosis is an amplifier of experience, and helping someone you care about is the most basic and wonderful human experience of all.

Free Power Inductions Tutorial

This free video tutorial shows you exactly how to perform Rapid and Instant inductions. Take what you learn in the client interview and create lasting change easily.

3 Responses to 5 Myths Of Hypnotic Suggestion

  1. Mike Brody May 24, 2019 at 12:14 am #

    Thank you, for breaking it down to a simplistic level. I love your explanation on everything.

  2. Marcus May 24, 2019 at 8:47 am #

    I agree with your statements however, All hypnosis is not self hypnosis, is all education self education, or all surgery in hospital self surgery, it’s not, without the hypnotist to facilitate hypnotic trance, it’s not going to happen!

    • Chris Thompson June 25, 2019 at 3:18 pm #

      Your comparison to surgery is simply wrong, Marcus … And remember that these are models. The test of a model is it’s usefulness. -Chris