Hypnosis: Real or Fake

When it comes to hypnosis, it is hard to distinguish real from fake. Unfortunately, hypnosis has been promoted in the media as a way to manipulate or completely control another human being. In fact, it is far from that, hypnosis being mostly not more than a therapeutic method.

When we think about hypnosis, the first things that come to mind are: mind control without the will of the other person, the fact that somebody else is able to do whatever they want with you, that they can even make you behave like a hen, for instance.
Moreover, in some of the movies presented in the media, the hypnotist appears to be the person who induces the trance in order to accomplish their own objectives, manipulating the client for their own interest.
In order to understand the real hypnosis, it is necessary to note that hypnosis is not more than a therapeutic technique.
The benefits of hypnosis can be amazing, but they don't have anything to do with things beyond natural understanding, as the hypnotist himself has no paranormal abilities. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth, the technique itself being taught as any other therapeutic method.
The hypnotic trance in fact is nothing more than an altered state of conscience, one of deeply relaxed, attentive, receptive concentration created by suggestions (by stimulating the imagination). It doesn't differ much from other states that we experience during our daily life when our consciousness is limited (for example while watching a TV show when we are very absorbed by it).
What we need to say in the first place is that, during the hypnotic trance, we will not do or say things that we don't want to do or say. It's just that, sometimes, our subconscious wants a different thing from what we want. So, while the consciousness will hide an unwanted content, in order to protect us from it, during profound relaxation, this content can be accessed (while deep inside ourselves we might wish to communicate it, for our own good).
Secondly, the myth that we have no idea about what is going on during the hypnotic trance is false. The same way we feel when we are watching TV (being absorbed by a show, to follow the example before) we know what is going on around us even if our reactions are limited (If somebody enters the door we will know that, even if our attention will not be focused on that action).
Another important aspect is that the therapist has no supernatural powers. Usually, therapists who get to be good hypnotists are those who have learned a hypnosis technique and have practiced it a lot. On the other hand, it is true that there have been cases of mass hypnosis in our history; but, in these cases, it is more about the mass contagion effect than the mystical powers of the one inducing the hypnosis.
A very important point that also supports what was stated before is that hypnosis is not for everybody. In other words, if a subject doesn't want to be hypnotized, he will not be hypnotized.
Still, the persons who are easily hypnotized are generally more creative, more imaginative, they have a higher IQ and are less resistant as they are less fearful about themselves or of experiencing new things.
Another important aspect is that hypnosis can also be used as a self-help method. Once the technique has been learned, the client can use autosuggestion in order to diminish their problems and increase their coping, healing mechanisms.
Maybe it is important to obtain more information about this technique, so as not to let it be surrounded by mystery. Thus, we can receive the benefits of hypnosis, as it can provide a real improvement in curing or alleviating pain, in augmenting our abilities etc.

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Posted on 22:March:2010
I have once been hypnotized and it's true what they say: first time, it is very hard to convince the person that they were actually under hypnosis. I think one finds the relaxed state quite natural, without realizing the contribution of the hypnotist, which is to help the "hypnotee" to let go of his ordinary mind-content and focus on the issue. I think it is a sort of "guided" meditation.

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