Why Can’t I Be Hypnotized?

Firstly, hypnosis is a descriptor designated to identify the process that trained professionals use to assist a person to achieve a deeper level of focus than one does automatically or during meditation. This process is scientifically proven and highly effective to create desired changes in beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behavior to achieve mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being on the unconscious, subconscious, cellular, and core levels.

Secondly, your mind automatically achieves varying levels of focus while driving, reading, watching TV, listening to music, playing video games, meditating, etc. Therefore, your mind decides what to focus on and when. Thus, if you decide you don’t want to engage in a guided deeper level of concentration, then, you are wasting your time to attempt using the process called hypnosis to create a desired therapeutic outcome.

Thirdly, the practitioner who is assisting you to achieve a deeper level of concentration than you achieve while doing ordinary activities or meditation has no control over your mind. You have control at all times.

There are many people who practice hypnosis protocols who are poorly trained. I recommend that anyone who desires to achieve a positive outcome engage with a practitioner who is a board-certified hypnotherapist. The U.S. has four prominent and well-established certification boards.

National Guild of Hypnotists, Inc. (NGH) World’s Largest Association. https://ngh.net/

The National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists (NBCCH)Home

American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) American Society of Clinical Hypnosis

American Council of Hypnotist Examiners (ACHE) http://hypnotistexaminers.org/

There are many helpful, professional, well-trained hypnotherapists. It’s important to do some solid research before choosing the best hypnotherapist for you. Each certification board has a list of certified practitioners by state.

Last, but not least, there are many misconceptions and lies about how the mind works and how a deep level of concentration assists one to discover the cause of their distress. Here are a few of the misconceptions.

1. Hypnosis is useless, or a quick fix.

Hypnosis is helpful for everyone; nor is it a quick fix. However, previous research has found hypnosis to be beneficial in the treatment of health conditions from A to Z.

2. Hypnosis is a fad.

The use of hypnosis emerged in 1780. Franz Anton Mesmer (23 May 1734 – 5 March 1815) a German physician with an interest in astronomy theorized the existence of a natural energy transference occurring between all animated and inanimate objects; this he called “animal magnetism”, later referred to as mesmerism. Mesmer’s work attracted a wide following between about 1780 and 1850 and continued to have influence until the end of the 19th century. In 1843, the Scottish doctor James Braid proposed the term “hypnotism” for a technique derived from animal magnetism; today the word “mesmerism” generally functions as a synonym of “hypnosis”.

3. One is either hypnotizable or not hypnotizable at all.

This is a fallacy that is difficult to dispel. Remember you create what you believe. If you believe you are unable to go into a deep focus (hypnosis) you are right. If you believe you can go into a deep focus (hypnosis) or meditation, you are right.

4. Hypnotic and non-hypnotic instructions cause people to do things against their principles or values.

Stage hypnotists use suggestibility to fool the audience that one will quack like a duck or make weird noises at predetermined commands. What the audience doesn’t understand is that the stage hypnotist uses subtle and subliminal questions to only choose those who would perform these acts without being ‘hypnotized’. Therapeutic hypnotic suggestions are used primarily for weight reduction, smoke cessation, nail-biting, and other undesirable habits. However, suggestion hypnosis is seldom a long-term solution.

5. Hypnosis increases responsiveness to therapeutic words.

Suggestibility during a deep focus (hypnosis) is very small. What the hypnosis scales assess, is the responsiveness to suggestions usually used in hypnosis, “regardless of whether one receives a hypnotic induction or not.”

6. Hypnotizable individuals slip into a trance.

The sense of being in a trance is reported by the person’s perception versus a measurable construct. Suspended animation is a more accurate description.

7. Responsiveness indicates only faking or compliance.

Though compliance may play a role in responsiveness, imaging studies show evidence of the activation of brain areas related to the suggested events (e.g., visual areas activated in visual hallucinations), indicating hypnotic responses are real.

8. Hypnotists need to be highly skilled to produce responsiveness.

The image of the hypnotist as a magician who can hypnotize any random person is a myth. A deep focus (Hypnosis) requires only the ability to administer processes and basic social skills (e.g., to establish rapport).

9. The effectiveness of a deep focus (hypnosis) varies significantly.

No major differences between a deep focus have been found.

10. Peripheral awareness is significantly reduced during a deep focus (hypnosis).

This myth is reinforced by the American Psychological Association’s definition of hypnosis, which says hypnosis is a “state of consciousness involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness characterized by an enhanced capacity for response to suggestion.” Yet, available data suggest peripheral awareness is not strongly reduced during a deep focus (and certainly not due to trance).

11. Focused attention is key to an effective outcome.

Focused attention on a particular idea and inhibiting all else is not essential to the deep focus (hypnotic) response.

12. The effects of hypnosis are due to relaxation.

Hypnotic effects are not due to relaxation because even, for example, exercise-related hypnotic inductions have been achieved and found as effective as relaxation-based deep focus (hypnotic) instructions.

13. Hypnosis resembles sleep.

Though fatigued participants sometimes fall asleep (e.g., “Close your eyes”), participants are awake and aware of their environment during the process.

14. Hypnotic states resemble mindfulness.

While both can be associated with suggestion and relaxation, “a deep focus (hypnosis) steers spontaneous mental activity toward events,” while mindfulness requires metacognitive skills and “observation of spontaneous thoughts and emotions with an accepting, nonjudgmental attitude.” Indeed, more people are often less mindful.

15. Good markers of the relaxed focus (hypnosis) have been identified.

No reliable markers (e.g., eye movements, neural mechanisms) of relaxed states have been substantiated.

16. The involuntariness experienced during hypnosis is due to a trance.

The perception of involuntariness, the authors explain, is simply a “characteristic of response to suggestion.” It is a “byproduct of the fact that many everyday intentional behaviors are initiated automatically,” and assumptions regarding the involuntariness of hypnotic responses.

17. What myths, misunderstandings or lies have you heard about a deep focus therapeutic process (hypnosis)? Add yours in a comment below.

I am here only to be truly helpful.

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Podcast By Dr. Dorothy Neddermeyer

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