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An ongoing series of informational and somewhat eclectic entries

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Common Myths About Hypnosis

February 5th, 2017

I find the following to be something I run into quite frequently:

Myth: Hypnosis is VOODOO, supernatural or occult.

Fact: Hypnotism is scientific and a purely natural manifestation of the powerful human mind. In fact, many people enter into a waking hypnosis naturally when they are driving, sleeping, watching TV, daydreaming, or many other activities.


Here are several other common myths that I have taken directly from the International Medical and Dental Association, 2017.


Myth: A person can be hypnotized by a Hypnotherapist against their will.

Fact: A person must consent to being hypnotized. The hypnosis practitioner is merely a guide or facilitator. He/she cannot "make" you do anything against your will. In fact, during a hypnotic session, you are completely aware of everything going on. In other words, if you do not like where the hypnotist is guiding you, you have the power to reject the suggestions.

This is a commonly held idea that has its source in stage shows and other venues that capitalize on the “power” of the hypnotist. It’s worth noting that occasionally a similar issue is raised - “Can someone be hypnotized to do things they wouldn’t normally do?” Of course, the answer to that question is “Yes” when you consider that the purpose of hypnosis is often to do things differently than we have done in the past. However it’s notable that these changes are not against the client’s will. Hilgard’s (1977) work at Stanford demonstrated a principle known as “The Hidden Observer” which indicates that there is part of the client which monitors the hypnotic process and which will protect them from responding in a manner that violates their ethical and moral standards.


Myth: Under hypnosis you will always tell the truth and could even reveal personal secrets

Fact: You can lie under hypnosis just as easily as in the waking state. In fact, as hypnosis gives you greater access to unconscious resources, you may even be able to tell more creative lies when in trance. Additionally, you are in complete control of what you chose to reveal or conceal.


Myth: I won't remember anything the hypnotist says.

Fact: Everyone experiences hypnosis differently ... for some it's a state in which you are focused on the hypnotists words and listening more carefully, for others it's a little more like day dreaming and your attention may drift and wander from one thought to another ... sometimes not paying any conscious attention to what the hypnotist is saying. Either way is okay, and neither will be more or less effective than the other. It's simply a matter of your own personal style.


Myth: A person can get stuck in a trance forever.

Fact: No one has ever been stuck in a hypnotic trance. Hypnosis is a naturally occurring state that we enter and exit during the normal course of a day. There are no known or reported dangers with hypnosis when working with a trained practitioner. If the hypnotist fails to emerge someone from hypnosis, he/she will return to a fully alert state on their own. Depending on that person's need for sleep, he/she will either drift on into a natural sleep or simply emerge to full consciousness spontaneously within minutes.

When in the state of hypnosis, our brainwaves vacillate through the Alpha to Theta ranges. Any time you choose to emerge from hypnosis, for any reason, you are able to simply open your eyes and become fully alert. If you were practicing self-hypnosis before going to bed and ended in the Delta state, then it would mean you'd simply fall asleep.


Myth: Intelligent people can’t be hypnotized

Fact: Quite the contrary, studies suggest that people of above average intelligence who are capable of concentrating and who have a capacity for creativity and vivid imagination usually make the best subjects.


Myth: A person under hypnosis is asleep or unconscious.

Fact: Hypnosis is neither sleep nor unconsciousness, even though a common misconception is that you are asleep when hypnotized. The experience of a formally induced hypnotic state might resemble sleep from the physical point of view: slowed breathing, eyes closed, muscles relaxed, activity decreased. From the mental standpoint the client is generally relaxed and may be keenly alert, in a comfortable state where the person can think, talk and even move about if needed. But all clients are unique and can experience hypnosis in their own unique ways. Some are comfortable enough with the process that they find themselves drifting in and out of a more dream-like state. In some instances they might respond unconsciously, through ideomotor signals or other methods. Less often employed, there are certain few uses in which, under the direction of a specially trained hypnotherapist, the client can generate unconsciousness for the purposes of surgical anesthesia or the management of acute pain, or in certain emergency situations that might warrant it.

The Story of the Butterfly- a must share!

February 6, 2017

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.

One day a small opening appeared.

He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours

as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.

Then it stopped, as if it couldn't go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.

He took a pair of scissors and

snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.

The butterfly emerged easily but

it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it,

expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge

and expand enough to support the body,

Neither happened!

In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life

crawling around.

It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness

and haste did not understand:

The restricting cocoon and the struggle

required by the butterfly to get through the opening

was a way of forcing the fluid from the body

into the wings so that it would be ready

for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly

what we need in our lives.

Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us.

We will not be as strong as we could have been

and we would never fly.


- Author Unknown