Hypnosis dispelling a few rumours.
Hypnosis is a form of treatment that often faces quite a lot of scepticism within the United Kingdom.
One of the reasons being it is not publicly accepted as a form of treatment this is due to a certain misunderstanding, which is associated with hypnotists; for example, that the hypnotist, will be able to possess your mind, and control every single aspect of changing you into this form of subservient being ready to do their will at the click of their fingers. The thing is: that is not the case. Hypnosis is a process where the client is very much within the control. The sophisticated structure of the brain, the subconscious and the conscious means that we have one of the most sophisticated defence systems around when it comes to processing negative suggestions. The body has a default position which allows it to process all forms of information and reject anything that would cause an individual harm. Quite simply put, you cannot via the process of hypnosis telling the individual to go and jump off a cliff. The brain will instantly reject this, as it has a strong sense of self-preservation. They may be thinking to yourself, what I have seen hypnotists on the telly make people do the most outrageous things, for example, maybe seeing people like Paul McKenna or the TV show "back in the room". What you don't tend to see with this particular form of TV show, is the amount of preparation that goes into the television show. There is a very strict process to do this and there are some key points to acknowledge:
- The person who is participating in this type of show is in it for recognition. They want to be on television, they want to be seen to be on television, and that is a very big lure for people to go onto the show.
- Any individual who participates in hypnosis, simply has the best alibi in the world, “I was under hypnosis.” This in its own right and justifies a bizarre behaviour, or something which is out of character, thereby allowing this individual to do things completely consciousness free; or more specifically, without having repercussions from friends or family; who would not want that? This particular form of faith works for the common man, as there is this miss loss of hypnosis which dictates that hypnosis is some formal supernatural power; however, science and the court systems have a different point of view. Quite famously, a case came to light whereby a bride, had murdered her husband brutally stabbing him to death. Her defence was that she was under it trance or a hypnotic state, however, through the above points mentioned, it was proven that she was in fact lying and was a very cunning murderess. In summation, it might be a good idea to convince your friends and family that you are in a trance and you don't know what you are doing, however, it won't wash with scientists or a court of law.
- The Milgram effect. Stanley Milgram was a psychologist, and he was massive in developing the psychology of compliance theory. Milgram saw at the end of the Second World War, thousands of people testify in the Nuremberg trials, stating that they were only following orders when they committed various atrocities. Milgram decided to test his own theory, by placing an actor in a room, having participants (normal working people) in another room with an authority figure. The process was that the actor would be answering questions, if you got the question right, he would move on to the following question, however, if they got it wrong, he would receive an electric shock. After the electric shock, the voltage would be increased to lethal limits. If the participant had any questions, a person in a lab coat, posing as a scientist would actively pressurise the participants by saying it was safe and using other tactics. The participant then heard a scream when the person was electrocuted, and finally, the experiment ended in silence, indicating that the actor had died. The participant did not know that this was a recording and that the wall body was harmed during this process until the debrief afterwards. Milgram discovered something quite shocking. Psychologists who have predicted the outcome of the results stated that only between one and 3% of the population would induce a lethal shock. This was to reflect the psychopathic population. What Milgram discovered was that 65% of the 42 men recruited (27 of them), went on to give a lethal shock and continued even after the simulated death. So, how does this work in a hypnotist's stage? Very simply, the hypnotist is seen as an authority figure, and therefore people don't necessarily want to disappoint the hypnotist, thereby doing whatever the advice. It is simply complied.
- The hypnotist will be incredibly selective about the people who appear on the show, they will only work with people who they know that they can suggest things to very easily and have a certain personality type. This makes them more entertaining to watch, and during the particular process, people who do not have this particular personality type will be filtered off the show one stage or another.
The way in which I use hypnotherapy is not for comic effect, as I use hypnosis for medical reasons. The strong difference between the two forces is while the hypnotist on stage will be looking for entertainment, I use hypnotherapy to induce a very strong relaxation; it allows the client to reflect upon their own life and the things that they wish to change in that life. So, for example, if you have an addiction to cigarettes, I will use various techniques to make you aware of cigarettes, make you aware that you want to give up and give you the tools that you need to succeed in your day-to-day life. Hypnotherapy is very unique within its own treatment setting, as it allows you to imagine, and explore things and utilise the full perception of the brain, which some talking therapies might find hard to do. That is why I use hypnotherapy as part of my toolkit when dealing with such issues as addiction, as it has a very high success rate as it engages the full potential of the client and their mind. Brian Turner