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Hypnotic Myths

Even though hypnosis has been around officially since the 1700s (Franz Anton Mesmer), there are still questions as to its validity and benefits. For the most part, these questions stem from fear and ignorance. Regarding this subject, it is generally assumed that what you don't know can hurt you. People's viewpoints on hypnosis vary according to what their experiences have been and what they've heard.

I am a stable, responsible, levelheaded, intelligent person. I am also a licensed hypnotherapist. One of the requirements for finishing hypnotherapy training was to go out and practice what you've learned; my obvious targets in this endeavor were primarily my family and friends.

My oldest child staunchly refuses to have anything to do with hypnosis, even now (I've been a hypnotherapist for 6 years.). She is not a child; she is in her early 30s and is a successful video producer. Still, she says that she's not going to do something that might get her "lost somewhere and unable to return."

My second child has volunteered to be hypnotized by me numerous times. He loves the experience. He enjoys how relaxed it makes him feel, and he believes that he derives great benefit from it.

My third child is aloof about the whole subject. He doesn't validate or discount it one way or another. He's just 'to busy' to give it a try.

I am curious about people who draw conclusions about hypnosis when they haven't actually experienced it in some way. It baffles me how a person can discount it when hypnosis has not negatively impacted them or someone they know.

I've had people tell me that hypnosis is "the devil's work", yet I know of pastors who practice hypnotherapy in their counseling practices. I've had professionals say to me, "Yes, but does it actually work?" Well, does dieting actually work? Does imagery actually work? In order for something to "actually work" the user has to have a certain amount of belief in it. So, whether or not hypnosis actually works depends on the belief of the subject and to some degree, the skill of the hypnotherapist.

-You cannot "get lost" while hypnotized. There is no place to "get lost" to. You do not leave your body or your mind behind and go off somewhere.

-No one can "put thoughts into your head" or make you do things that you would not ordinarily do. Your own core values cannot be violated by another; if, under certain circumstances, you could be moved to bark like a dog or cluck like a chicken, then a hypnotic suggestion to do so would not violate your core values.

-Others cannot take over or control your mind. Your mind has 2 components: the conscious mind, which is the objective part, assists you in making daily decisions and analyzing data. The subconscious part is subjective, and this is where your creativity and abstract thinking lie. The subconscious is inclined to believe what you tell it. For instance, if you think something, then to your subconscious mind, that is so. It does not analyze facts; if you think it, then it accepts it as fact. If you think that others can control your mind, then for you, that is true. But only because you allow the idea to be a fact for you.

-Anyone can be hypnotized. What happens when you're watching television and someone tries to get your attention? Have you ever been driving down the road, only to look around and see that you've gone much further than you thought? When you focus your concentration to the point where everything else is screened out, then you are in a state of hypnosis. Hypnosis narrows your focus and concentration. You do that when you are intent in a conversation, or performing any activity that decreases your awareness of things outside of yourself.

Hypnosis is not a mystery. It is not evil, and it is not mind control. It is simply a way to temporarily bypass the rational mind in order to facilitate desired changes. Many, many people have successfully undergone hypnosis and achieved their goals.

Copyright 2004, All Rights Reserved. You may use this article in part or in its entirety as long as you include the resource box. Please notify me if you reprint. Thank you.

About The Author

Rita Ballard, C.Ht. is a hypnotherapist licensed in the state of Washington. Trained in the Erickson methods, Rita uses hypnotherapy to assist others in achieving their goals. Of primary importance are the spiritual aspects of a person: who they are and what they mean to themselves. The movement towards self actualization is the passion behind Rita's work. Visit her website at www.ritaballard.com, or email to: hh@ucmax.com.

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