Hypnosis can help with anxiety

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Myths about Hypnosis

The Hypnotist will have control over me

Due to the media and stage hypnosis there is a general impression that hypnosis leads to loss of free will, consciousness and self control. This is simply untrue. Nevertheless, when you see hypnosis on TV you are not watching actors who are making it up – what you see is mainly genuine.

However, firstly, it is important to remember that TV is edited to create an entertaining programme. Secondly, people go to such recordings with friends, there is a party-like atmosphere created before the show and people encourage each other to perform on TV.

At the beginning of the show, before recording starts, the Hypnotist will select members of the audience he (and it usually is a he) will work with. The selection process will be something like this – he will ask those who want to take part to close their eyes and imagine that there is super-glue on their palms. He will leave them for a minute or so, and then suggest to the audience that the more they try and pull their hands apart the more they will stick. 85% or more will immediately let go. These people are not suggestible enough and will not make ‘good subjects’ for the purposes of Stage Hypnosis. (It doesn’t mean that they won’t be ‘good subjects’ for a Hypnotherapist, however, as it is a very different process).

The people who feel their hands are stuck are those he will work with. They are suggestible – often very trusting and highly imaginative, willing to please others and generally able to go into a deep trance. This 8 – 15% of the population, in party mood, are willingly, easily and happily transformed into a chicken to entertain their friends. And they make very easy subjects for hypnotherapists!

People can be made to do things against their will under hypnosis

Hypnotherapy cannot make anyone do anything that they really do not want. Amanda advises people not to give a ‘Stop Smoking Session’ as a gift, because the desire and motivation to change must come from the client. If the client really doesn’t want to stop smoking, they won’t. See also the question on False memory Symdrome below, for further detail

I won’t know what has been ‘done to me’ during hypnosis

Hypnotherapy is just that; it is a therapy. Nothing is going to be ‘done’ which would not be in your best interests, nor is against your will, nor which would be in any way damaging. Most people are fully aware during therapy (see What is Hypnotherapy? Also, you will be given a CD of the session to practice with at home, so you can listen again and again to what has been ‘done’. Any reputable hypnotherapist should be ethically bound by a strict Code of Conduct via Professional Membership; furthermore they will be insured, and be quite happy to talk to you about their methods, experience and training.

What about False Memory Syndrome?

False memory syndrome has been given much publicity in recent years. It can be brought about by inexperienced or badly trained therapists from any discipline, including counselling and psychotherapy. However, hypnotherapy has had a particularly bad press in relation to false memory syndrome because of the myth that it is impossible to lie under hypnosis, and that anything recalled under hypnosis is the absolute truth. People have contacted Amanda asking to be hypnotised and questioned to prove to a partner that they have not been unfaithful. Ethically, Amanda has explained that she is unable to help in these circumstances. However, it is sometimes possible for people to recall details that have been forgotten. There are no guarantees, but Amanda has (successfully!) been asked to help people remember where they last saw their keys and wedding rings!

I don’t want to be ‘Regressed’ to past bad times

Regression simply isn’t an essential tool for successful therapy. What is important is how the past affects you now. Amanda says that re-visiting bad times in great detail can be like picking the top off an old wound. It is new patterns of behaviour and new ways of dealing with problems that hypnotherapy can offer. (See What is Hypnotherapy?) Amanda’s methods don’t suppress symptoms and problems, but they do offer a lasting solution – it’s simply that regression isn’t always helpful or necessary.