The Promotion of Confusing Hypnosis Half-Truths
Hypnosis is a powerful tool that must be used with care, understanding and integrity.
By Ivan Tyrrell

(From the article, The uses and abuses of hypnosis)

A half-truth is just as dangerous as a lie, even if offered with the best of intentions. Unfortunately a great many half-truths are spouted about hypnosis, and practitioners need to be careful not to promulgate them. They include the following.

“Hypnosis is a natural state of relaxation and concentration, with a heightened awareness induced by suggestion”

It isn’t. As I have described, it is an artificial means of accessing the REM state, which can even be done violently by capturing attention with a sudden loud noise or startling movement.

“Hypnosis is safe with no unpleasant side effects”

It is far from safe. It is an extremely powerful process and anything powerful can be used to do harm as well as good. Some people feel dizzy or uneasy, even after a relaxing session. They may feel psychologically unnerved about being ‘out of control’, particularly if they didn’t like the suggestions that were made to them. The literature is full of unpleasant or even dangerous effects that have been experienced after hypnosis. They include extreme fatigue; antisocial acting out; anxiety; panic attacks; attention deficit; body/self-image distortions; comprehension/concentration loss; confusion; impaired coping skills; delusional thinking; depression; de-personalization; dizziness; fearfulness; headache; insomnia; irritability; impaired or distorted memory; nausea and vomiting; uncontrolled weeping and many, many more.

“You will be aware of everything that is said to you”

Sometimes that is the case when someone is in a light trance but very often it is not, and that again parallels with dreaming since we don’t remember most of our dreams. When people go into a deep trance, they often have no memory of what the therapist said. That is not to say that they didn’t register it, but they cannot consciously recall it.

“A hypnotist cannot influence anyone to do anything against their will”

We know simply by delving into the history of hypnosis of many examples of unwanted influence. There are many modern day incidents, some of which are recorded on CCTV cameras, such as cashiers being hypnotized and handing over the money in their tills because they were put into a trance state, or people being shocked into trance and robbed in the street. Indeed, we have only to think of advertisers and politicians and rabble-rousers and gurus – all artificially induce the REM state in the people they wish to influence.

“A person’s own ‘moral code’ will protect them from doing anything against their own best interests”

There is no evidence that people can be relied upon not to do things against their own best interests and masses of evidence that they do so all the time. People’s moral codes are as flexible and changeable as the climate.

See also:
The Uses and Abuses of Hypnosis



 The Uses and Abuses of Hypnosis