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Taking the Mystery out of Hypnosis


Much of societyís resistance to hypnosis is based on false beliefs perpetuated by a fear of the unknown. Iíve compiled and addressed some of my favorite myths to help clarify exactly what hypnosis is, and more to point, what it is not.

Myth #1 - Hypnotists have some kind of special power: Entertainment media plays a significant role in sensationalizing the word hypnosis. At the risk of demystifying the term, I submit that there is no trickery involved whatsoever. Skilled hypnotists operate from a basic understanding of humans and human experiences. The hypnotic state can be achieved alone, which refutes the point that hypnotists are somehow magical. It also suggests that anyone can induce hypnosis, either on themselves or on someone else. The real skill lies in how we use hypnosis to influence people.

Myth #2 Ė Only weak minded people can be hypnotized: Interestingly, concentration is the basis for achieving hypnosis, and the ability to concentrate requires a strong intellect. The greater your ability to concentrate, the better a hypnotic subject you will be. Suggestibility is unrelated to intelligence, and our susceptibility to suggestion is not indicative of weakness or gullibility. The decision to accept a treatment or service that you feel will benefit you is a conscious, calculated decision, not an act of weak mindedness.

Myth #3 - Hypnosis can only work on certain people: To this, I say, sureÖ if you really donít want to be hypnotized, you can certainly impeach the process. Certain people will benefit more from hypnosis than others, because they are motivated to get more out of it. Your level of suggestibility cannot be altered, but your commitment and the degree of concentration that you invest can and will influence how much you get out of hypnotherapy. Hypnosis works for everyone. Itís the degree that varies, and this variable is entirely up to you.

Myth #4 Ė You will be able to recall everything that has ever happened to you: If there is any benefit to you whatsoever in recalling certain specific times or events in your life, then a good hypnotist can help you do that. But typically, there is no real need to go back and remember the past. Hypnosis is a natural state of total relaxation. Regression is a different thing.

Myth #5 - You can be made to say or do something against your will: Hypnosis is a natural state of complete relaxation, not a state of sleep. In this relaxed state, you become highly susceptible to suggestion, but you donít become a different person. Achieving a state of heightened suggestion does not compromise your faculties, morals, ethics, or beliefs. Being hypnotized wonít lead you to say or do things against your will. If youíre asked to do something you donít want to do, you will simply refuse.

Myth #6 Ė People who are hypnotized become dependent on the hypnotist: Hypnosis when used as a form of therapy and carries no greater risk of dependency than any other form of therapy. While in hypnosis, youíre in full control of what happens to you. Hypnotherapy is a means of empowerment, achieved with the assistance of an outside entity. Itís not submissiveness, and itís not a surrender of control. You have the ability to pull yourself out spontaneously, at any moment.

Myth #7 Ė Hypnosis is bad for your health: The irony here is that the very essence of hypnosis is regularly recommended by physicians and psychotherapists. These trusted health professionals invariably advise us that we need to relax more, yet they seldom state how. When you are hypnotized, you are quite simply in a deep, natural state of relaxation.

Myth #8 Ė When in hypnosis you could get stuck and be unable to wake up: Hypnosis is a natural state which we all reach from time to time on our own, without prompting of any kind. There is absolutely no danger of getting stuck in this state. Itís about as likely as getting stuck completely asleep, really. The worst that can possibly happen is that you drift off into deep sleep for a few minutes, because you are in that bridged state between awake and asleep.

Myth #9 - Youíre asleep or unconscious when in hypnosis:If people were asleep or unconscious when in hypnosis, they would not be able to report on what they were feeling. In fact, you are fully aware of whatís happening, and you are able to recall your state of hypnosis. Some describe it as feeling heavy, some light, others just very relaxed. Typically, the body will feel as though itís gone to sleep, but the mind remains alert and receptive to the suggestion.

Myth #10 - Hypnosis is the devils work and is dangerous: In the past Iíve heard some religious people refer to hypnosis as the Ďdevils workí. Like anything else, hypnosis can be used for good or for bad, but it is left to us to find a trusted hypnotist. Hypnosis is a natural occurring state, widely used by respected health care professionals. There are lots of doctors who practice hypnotherapy. I doubt very much that they are in league with the devil.

As with other unknowns, we quite readily make assumptions or suppositions about things that we arenít sure of, and usually when we explore more closely, we find the reality is in fact quite different than the impression we had formed.

I hope Iíve managed to dispel some of the untruths about hypnosis, as it would be shame to deny oneself the benefits of hypnotherapy because of unfounded doubt or false impressions.

Hypnosis Recordings vs. the Real Thing

Iím often asked the question ďAre self hypnosis recordings really as effective as hypnotherapy with a real live person?Ē My answer is yes, absolutely.

Certainly, there are significant differences to be found when comparing self hypnosis CDs or downloads to one on one therapy, but they are just that, differences. What one individual considers a benefit may be seen as a drawback to the next person. It really comes down to each personís natural makeup, which determines what works for them.

For instance, in the case of live one to one hypnotherapy, a session can be concentrated on a particular problem, which may be a priority to you at a given moment, especially if youíre easily hypnotized. With recorded self hypnosis sessions, you do not have the benefit of focalized subject matter. There is no doubt that for specific problems, particular deep rooted problems, live one to one hypnotherapy is the best option.

On the other hand, to someone else, successful hypnotherapy may be dependant on the need to hear the message repeatedly. The law of concentrated attention and the power of suggestion in hypnosis are proven and very real. In this case, a recorded self hypnosis session is really the best option. You have complete control over when and how often to hear the recording. With live hypnotherapy, you do not have the benefit of repeated play, or the convenience of selective timing.

There is nothing preventing you from trying combined therapy, wherein you see a hypnotherapist in person, and also benefit from self hypnosis recordings in your own time. There is no system to conform to; itís really whatever works for each individual person. Each of us has to answer this for ourselves.

After several face to face hypnotherapy sessions, you may want to try a CD or a download, and see how it works for you. On the other hand, you may start with self hypnosis recordings, and after experiencing some degree of success, you may wish to have one or more face to face sessions.

From a cost standpoint, itís certainly worth trying self hypnosis recordings first. Itís far more economical than face to face, and if successful, you can save a lot of time and money by directing your own therapy. I always give my clients one of my own self hypnosis CDs to use in between therapy sessions, so that they get the best of both worlds.

There is also the added advantage that by repeated listening of a recording youíll have experienced the hypnotic state many times, which means youíll no what to expect from hypnosis in general. Some people find it hard to enter a state of creative relaxation on the first few attempts. Since youíll have experienced this many times from listening to a self hypnosis recording, it could save you both time and money should you wish to visit a hypnotherapist for live one to one sessions.

Iíve heard of a few hypnotherapists who question the effectiveness of self hypnosis recordings and I often get asked the question ďdo recorded hypnosis sessions actually work?Ē I say yes they do, without question. Itís like anything else; it may not work for everyone, but for those who are willing to listen regularly, it can be extremely successful. Hypnosis is about suggestion, the more you hear something, the more it penetrates. This is precisely why recorded self hypnosis sessions are so effective. Donít let anyone tell you differently.


Success with Self Hypnosis


There are many benefits to using self hypnosis. It can be used to overcome fears, fight addictions such as smoking, improve confidence and self esteem, and improve sports performance, to name just a few. In fact self hypnosis can be used to improve just about anything you want to in your life.

For some people self hypnosis is extremely easy and requires very little effort. Some take to it like a duck to water, while other people may need to experiment a bit more to reap the wonderful benefits it can bring. This article intends to help you get the most out of self hypnosis.

Self hypnosis can involve a little bit of trial and error at the beginning until you start to identify the conditions that best suit you as an individual. Variables such as the ideal body position, or the most opportune time of day are truly yours to determine based on your particular situation, schedule, and individuality. Itís important to remember that there are no fixed rules that apply to everyone. Everyone is unique and it is left to you to identify what works and how you can most effectively reach that desired state.

There are, however, a few elements which will help increase your degree of success with self hypnosis, regardless of individual needs. Some of the points I will address or based on listening to a recorded self hypnosis CD or download. However, Iíll start with the issues which should be addressed regardless of whether youíre listening to a recording or not.

A fairly obvious requirement is total relaxation, which usually requires reduced distractions. So it is very important to try and find a quiet place that limits or completely obliterates outside sources and choose a time when you are certain you wonít be interrupted. Ensure that if you have people at home, tell them to not disturb you for however long you want, unless of course there is an emergency.

Knowing that hypnosis is in fact an altered state on consciousness, it bears noting that the early morning may not be the best time. You may find youíre extremely alert and hyper-sensitive to distractions at that time. Instead, pick a time of day when youíre slowing down, or typically starting to feel fatigued. For most people, self hypnosis is best in the evening time, preferably more bedtime.

The most useful bit of advice I can give to a beginner is try not to try too hard. Self hypnosis requires concentration, but being overly focuses on being hypnotized will impair the process. Part of the self hypnosis process is being able to just let go and let it happen to you. Rather than focusing on achieving hypnosis, focus on nothing, and let the message make its way clearly and seamlessly, effortlessly, whether itís a recording or your own words.

Using a recording is a great for self hypnosis. One key factor in getting the most out of a recorded self hypnosis session is regular listening. Repetition is the key to successful suggestion and the more you subject your mind to the message, the more it will penetrate and impact.

Another important factor in getting the most out of a recorded self hypnosis session is to wear headphones. Not only are headphones great if youíre easily distracted, but they also promotes an intimacy between you and the voice on the recording, closing off outside noises, and facilitating a more direct route to your mind.

Like anything else, you will only get out of self hypnosis what youíre willing to put into it. If youíre determined to find ways to fight hypnosis and disprove its effectiveness, youíre unlikely succeed. This is essentially true of anything we do in life. But if you go into it with a clear open mind and youíre willing to invest the time to find your ideal hypnosis conditions, you can literally reap of benefits of self hypnosis on a fairly regular basis, even daily.


Self Hypnosis Recordings Ė Does the Length Matter?


There are literally thousands of different self-hypnosis CDs and downloads for sale all across the internet Ė from a wide range of sources. The quality of these recordings differs substantially. Many are home made recordings by good and not so good hypnotherapists. There are also some very good and not so good professionally produced self-hypnosis recordings. Apart from the actual quality of the recording or the voice, or the words said, they all differ somewhat in the length of the actual recording.

From my extensive experience as a one on one hypnotherapist, I can attest to the fact that a comfortable period of time in hypnosis for most people is around twenty to twenty five minutes, thirty minutes at the very most. Iíve seen people start to lose their focus, and get shifty and unsettled after that amount of time. The quality of the hypnotherapy can then be compromised by the faltering concentration.

The same guideline certainly applies in self-hypnosis. If a self-hypnosis CD or download is longer that half an hour, you wonít necessarily get more out of it, because after a certain period of time, your focus and your concentration starts to falter. This is definitely a case of quality over quantity. More content on a self-hypnosis session does not equate to better self-hypnosis.

People are also far less likely to be able to devote forty five minutes to an hour every day to listen to a self-hypnosis CD or download session without distraction. A shorter, more focused recording will be easier to schedule into the dayís routine on a regular basis. Also, we know that regular listening contributes greatly to successful self-hypnosis.

A shorter self-hypnosis session, say twenty to twenty five minutes, also allows for maximized use of suggestibility. The same message heard over and over again will penetrate and gain access, and have impact. An hour long self-hypnosis CD or download will take twice as long to achieve the same repetition level, and therefore requires far more work on the part of the listener.

Anyone just starting to experiment with self-hypnosis will likely lose courage after the first session with a longer CD. In frustration, they might decide never to try it again. Then theyíve been really been done a disservice, havenít they?

I should point out that Iíve conducted many sessions with clients that have lasted an hour or longer, but the entire block of time was not spent in hypnosis. I just know from experience that after a certain amount of time, people get become unsettled, and the effectiveness starts to wane.

I have authored a wide range of self-hypnosis CDs and downloads, and if I really believed that a longer self-hypnosis recording would be beneficial to the listener, then that is what I would produce. But as an ethical, sincere expert, I honestly feel that I would just be wasting peopleís money by charging them more for unnecessary surplus material. And more detrimental, Iíd be wasting their time making them listen to extensive recordings that wonít reach desired impact, when they should be spending their time focused on repeated listening of a quality self-hypnosis CD or download.

Can You Be Hypnotized?


A personís susceptibility to hypnosis is dependent on several factors. Whether these factors work together or oppose each other is entirely in the hands of the individual.

There are factors that are outside of anyoneís control. They come down to the individual makeup of each person. For instance, if someone is naturally susceptible to suggestion in their everyday life, they likely will carry along that susceptibility in the hypnosis process as well. Everyone is susceptible to some degree, but this is one of the variable that will contribute to a personís likelihood of achieving hypnosis easily.

But there are varying degrees of depth of hypnosis, and hypnotherapy doesnít require a deep state of hypnosis. It can be beneficial at varying levels of depth. The self hypnosis CDs and downloads that I have produced are designed to take someone from a completely awake state into some degree of hypnosis.

Susceptibility to suggestion is also impacted by repetition. The more you hear a message, the more likely you will be to able accept is as fact, to buy into it, whether consciously or not. This is also true in everyday life.

Some people take to hypnosis quite effortlessly, while others need a bit more practice. Their degree of susceptibility might be influenced by other conditions around them, and they may find they need just exactly the right circumstances to achieve hypnosis.

But the most important contributor to someoneís susceptibility to hypnosis is really their attitude. If someone tries it and has immediate success, thatís terrific. But if the first time you listen to a hypnosis CD and you do not achieve hypnosis, some people will stop at that and conclude that it doesnít work. Thatís unfortunate, because if people are willing to commit to listening to the recordings regularly, and to finding the ideal conditions for themselves, they will achieve some degree of hypnosis, which will benefit them.

Hypnosis is about suggestion, and there is a degree of suggestion to all forms of therapy. If there are any prerequisites to qualify someone as a candidate for hypnosis, itís attitude first and foremost. Sure other intellectual variances may factor in, like concentration and imagination, but they would likely affect the level of hypnosis, rather than the ability to achieve it in the first place.





 



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