Q. Does hypnosis really help with pain relief?
Answer: A meta-analysis (a study of studies) in 2000 of 18 published studies by psychologists Guy Montgomery, PhD, Katherine DuHamel, PhD, and William Redd, PhD, showed that 75% of clinical and experimental participants with different types of pain obtained substantial pain relief from hypnotic techniques.
Drs. Patterson and Jensen indicate that hypnotic strategies are equivalent or more effective than other treatments for both acute and chronic pain, and they are likely to save both money and time for patients and clinicians.
Evidence suggests that hypnosis might be considered a standard of treatment unless the person fails to respond to it or shows a strong opposition against it.
Q. Is it true that some people can’t be hypnotized?
Answer: Although some researchers and clinicians claim that some people are not able to be hypnotized, everyone has the ability to be hypnotized because it’s a natural, normal state that each of us enter at least twice each day – upon awakening and falling asleep. We also enter a hypnotic state whenever we get totally engrossed in a movie or TV show. When the actors become the characters they portray in our minds, we are hypnotized. Also, whenever we are driving and daydreaming enough to miss a turn or freeway exit we know to take, we probably were experiencing a light state of hypnosis.
People may have this misconception because of an unsuccessful experience they've had with a hypnotist. People are responsive to different approaches, and if a particular approach has not been successful in the past, it's a matter of finding the way that works best for them.
Q. Is it true that you can be hypnotized to do things against your will?
Answer: The hypnosis practitioner is merely a guide or facilitator. He/she cannot "make" you do anything against your will. In fact, during a hypnotic session, you are completely aware of everything going on. In other words, if you do not like where the hypnotist is guiding you, you have the power to reject the suggestions.
This is a commonly held idea that has its source in stage shows and other venues that capitalize on the “power” of the hypnotist. It’s worth noting that occasionally a similar issue is raised - “Can someone be hypnotized to do things they wouldn’t normally do?” Of course, the answer to that question is “Yes” when you consider that the purpose of hypnosis is often to do things differently than we have done in the past. However it’s notable that these changes are not against the client’s will. Hilgard’s (1977) work at Stanford demonstrated a principle known as “The Hidden Observer” which indicates that there is part of the client which monitors the hypnotic process and which will protect them from responding in a manner that violates their ethical and moral standards.
Q. I’ve heard I won't remember anything the hypnotist says is that right?
Answer: Everyone experiences hypnosis differently ... for some it's a state in which you are focused on the hypnotists words and listening more carefully, for others it's a little more like day dreaming and your attention may drift and wander from one thought to another ... sometimes not paying any conscious attention to what the hypnotist is saying. Either way is okay, and neither will be more or less effective than the other. It's simply a matter of your own personal style.
Q. Can a person get stuck in a trance forever?
Answer: No one has ever been stuck in a hypnotic trance. Hypnosis is a naturally occurring state that we enter and exit during the normal course of a day. There are no known or reported dangers with hypnosis when working with a trained practitioner. If the hypnotist fails to emerge someone from hypnosis, he/she will return to a fully alert state on their own. Depending on that person's need for sleep, he/she will either drift on into a natural sleep or simply emerge to full consciousness spontaneously within minutes.
When in the state of hypnosis, our brainwaves vacillate through the Alpha to Theta ranges. Any time you choose to emerge from hypnosis, for any reason, you are able to simply open your eyes and become fully alert. If you were practicing self-hypnosis before going to bed and ended in the Delta state, then it would mean you'd simply fall asleep.
Q. I’ve heard that Intelligent people can’t be hypnotized?
Answer: Quite the contrary, studies suggest that people of above average intelligence who are capable of concentrating and who have a capacity for creativity and vivid imagination usually make the best subjects.
Q Hypnosis is contrary to religious beliefs
Answer: Hypnosis can be used to ease or remove pain, overcome fears, phobias, addiction and other problems. While a handful of religious sects have raised objections to hypnosis, today most religious groups accept the proper ethical use of hypnosis for helping people. Included are Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and most Protestant Christian Churches as well as Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and others. Hypnosis is not associated with any of the world religions. A professional and ethical hypnotist respects the faith of clients and will not use it inappropriately to influence a person's religious beliefs.
Q Will Hypnotized clients reveal deep secrets against their will?
Answer: There’s a myth that hypnotherapy can be used to manipulate clients to reveal facts about themselves that they ordinarily wouldn’t — that is false.
It is true that during hypnotherapy sessions, clients may learn things about themselves that they have previously forgotten or perhaps never consciously knew. This often assists them to discover a deeper understanding of actions, experiences and feelings that have been previously confusing to them. Clients reveal only what they are ready to learn about themselves during a hypnotherapy session. The mind is actually extremely conscious during these treatments, and the client is not asleep or unconscious. No one is ever forced to share anything against their will. We have observed over 30 years and tens of thousands of sessions that the subconscious mind has an amazing ability to censor what the client may not be ready to know!