HypnosisReality.com - Op-Ed, 010121

Of all the mysteries that have challenged and dumbfounded man over the millennia, arguably one of the most controversial and provocative has to be hypnosis. After thousands of years of practice in Asia and the Middle East and nearly 300 years of use in western society, it is hard to believe that it is still very much misunderstood to this day.

Generally speaking, the understanding of any particular profession logically tends to increase over time, but apparently not so for the hypnosis community. A profession that makes its bread and butter telling its clients to concentrate appears to have lost its own focus somewhere along the way, as there are differing opinions among those within the profession as to the real power of hypnosis. Surprisingly enough, basic core fundamental arguments still linger among researchers and practitioners. The fact that such discourse has lasted for so long is a curiosity unto itself, but there is more than one reason for the division, with simple professional inexperience and ignorance as part of the equation. 

In order to answer the primary question behind this article, you need to address two other questions first regarding the reality and nature of hypnosis.

Questions About Hypnosis

There are three things still being argued to this day...

1) Is hypnosis real?

2) How does hypnosis work?

3) Can hypnosis be used to abuse?

How such questions could still be bandied about and argued, despite nearly three centuries of use by western society, is very curious and also quite astounding. It boggles the mind as to why the answers to these questions aren't chiseled in stone somewhere, given how long they have been debated.

To answer the questions above, both one and three are yes, even though number three is the most hotly disputed debate, but number two is really the basic issue at hand. Here's why.

When it comes to the hypnotic-state, researchers and experts still cannot agree on whether it is a non-state or an altered state of consciousness - and all of this after nearly 30 decades of use. That's really quite extraordinary in and of itself, that the fundamentals of hypnosis cannot be agreed upon by those within the profession after all these years. To be perfectly fair though, there is hope for new understanding ahead on the immediate horizon through evolving applications of brain evaluation technologies, such as CT and MRI. These present technologies have already shed light on the effects of trance on the brain and along with other new emerging technologies, will eventually help to offer more definitive light on this long standing debate about hypnosis, trance and consciousness.

The more prominent point to take note of here is that after so many years, these debates are still taking place, within a profession that should have had it all figured out by now. This is testament to a disparity of unity in the hypnosis field regarding how hypnotic trance actually works. The fact that there are still questions today regarding its authenticity is truly incredulous, but right there along with it is the endless contention and debate over the true power that hypnotism actually holds.

Once again, the current division over this topic is startling.

For the record, the term hypnosis and trance have been made synonymous through misuse and misunderstanding. The reality is, the two are separate entities, with hypnosis being the tool and trance being the end result. One could also look at hypnosis as the vehicle and trance as the destination.

A little known fact that many don't realize is that hypnotic trance is not simply one thing, as in, all hypnosis has the same effect for everyone. The fact is, there are at least four known distinct levels of trance, ranging from light trance to out-cold comatose.

There are also those who are more prone to its effects than others (somnabulists). These people are by far at the greatest risk of hypnosis abuse, although evidence suggests that all people can be affected, to varying degrees.

One way to think about hypnosis is to think about how an electrical rheostat works, which is able to lower voltage to a light bulb and dim it lower and lower, until the bulb is out or off. Hypnosis is very similar to the rheostat, however, it attenuates the natural brain current (cycles per second) instead of AC/DC electrical current. It would appear the more you lower brain CPS, the brain sinks to a lower level of consciousness, until the subject is in a very relaxed, semi-conscious state. The brain can also reach a non-conscious state if taken too deeply into trance. It is at this point that the subconscious is left to function on its own.

When it comes to human thought processes, the conscious and subconscious are symbiotic systems that one would naturally assume are logically meant to operate and co-exist together. So when conscious thought is shut down, subconscious thought would appear to be all that is left. It could be argued that without active, aware conscious perceptions taking place in the brain, there would be nothing left to guard the subconscious or filter the information which it receives. Therein lies the danger of deep hypnosis in the wrong hands.

Given all that has been shown through research which corroborates antisocial behavior under hypnosis, as well as the overwhelming numerous historical victim news accounts, HypnosisReality.com believes the wealth of evidence points to altered-state theory as the only reasonable explanation for hypnosis trance. The non-state theory is simply unable to account for the multitude of victims already on record - cases already adjudicated in courts of law. To embrace the non-state theory would be to call these hundreds of women and children liars, arguably one of the most repugnant things that could be done to victims who survive such crimes. The non-state theory simply does not support the established facts on record, which should speak volumes to its overall viability as a valid working theory for trance.

The Question of Antisocial Behavior Under Hypnosis

Hypnosis was first introduced to the western world by Franz Anton Mesmer in the mid-late 1700s. Since that time, there have been a wealth of newspaper articles detailing hypnosis abuse, yet somehow, nearly 300 years later, we are still arguing that hypnosis abuse is not possible. The term "antisocial behavior" has to do with influencing a hypnotic subject to act in a criminal manner or to cooperate with full compliance and submission.

The long-time debate still rages over whether or not antisocial behavior while under hypnosis is possible, in spite of the fact that there is much historical evidence to substantiate the premise. Those with eyes to see, recognize the inordinate number of historical accounts of hypnosis abuse and they understand one thing, hypnosis abuse is real. This type of crime has been documented for far too long, with accounts going back well over two hundred years.

As pointed out by HypnosisReality.com, there are currently well over 170 documented cases of hypnosis sexual assault on record, which stand as a testament that hypnosis can be used to sexually abuse people and then to also cover up the assault - seemingly the perfect crime.

The fact is though, more hypnotherapists are being caught every year for this specific crime. Hypnosis abuse is so prevalent that multiple cases are now prosecuted annually, as these type of cases appear to be rising. Case in point, there were six hypnosis sexual assault cases in just 2020 alone. This is a very disturbing trend for society, but perhaps even more unsettling is the notion that for all of those caught so far, there are likely many others out there who have yet to be caught.

With these statistics in mind, the fact that anyone could still attempt to claim hypnosis cannot be used against another person is morally unconscionable and detestable because this is what helps to enable the deviant hypnotist, by lulling the general public and potential clients into a false sense of safety, which then makes them that much easier to prey upon and exploit. Those in the hypnosis profession who continue to perpetuate the lie that hypnosis cannot be used to abuse are unknowingly the biggest allies that the deviant hypnotist could ever hope to have. Their misinformation only serves to enable the immoral of their profession.

With the aforementioned thought in mind, those who willfully and wrongly say hypnosis abuse is not possible should be considered legally accountable for giving such dangerous false information. It's essentially the exact opposite of inciting chaos by yelling fire in a crowded theater, by instead falsely calming the herd when there is an actual potential threat nearby. In this vein, telling women not to worry about the potential for attack by unscrupulous men with carnal desires at heart is undeniably irresponsible, especially when they possess a unique skill-set that not only enables the crime, but also helps facilitate them in getting away with it.

Consequences of Misinformation

Given the shocking number of so many cases of documented hypnosis abuse over the years, it is hard to understand when a seemingly well-intended physician still dares to say that hypnosis abuse is not possible. Those who actually take the time to examine the historical record will recognize something different - an overwhelming number of hypnosis abuse cases that contradict those who say hypnosis abuse is not possible, yet doctors continue to perpetuate such a gross fallacy to this day. It is especially troublesome when you hear doctors from leading medical institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and even Johns Hopkins, all continue to echo the same garbage, without any thought for the consequences of disseminating such blatant disinformation.

Make no doubt about it - there are dire repercussions for making such a baseless claim because what it does is to help create the perfect conditions within the public for such crimes to take place. This is an environment that is conducive to exploitation by immoral hypnotists.

Saying hypnosis cannot be used to abuse the human mind has to be the most uneducated, ignorant comment anyone could make, when coming from a profession that actually uses the medium. Such an outrageously false answer might very well be the equivalent of a surgeon saying complications aren't possible during surgery - or perhaps a medical doctor saying that a misdiagnosis was simply not possible. Knowing what we do today, after the discovery of over 135 documented hypnosis abuse victims, a more appropriate analogy for such a false argument might very well be the equivalent of another age-old mistaken myth, you can't get pregnant while standing up.

The fact is, the ramifications of such harmful public misinformation come with grave consequences, as countless victims have fallen prey simply because they did not know enough to be on guard. This is indeed a direct consequence of telling a population over and over, ad nauseam, for decades, that such a deplorable crime is not possible. Truth be told, you have to expect casualties when you leave people within society open to be preyed upon like that.

You have to expect repercussions if you tell someone to drink water that is poison, but you tell them it's safe to drink. Strangely enough, this is very much akin to the early 1900s when they actually used to think that radioactive material was good for people and went so far as to sell radioactive water for healthy drinking. Great harm came to those who trusted medical authorities back then, just as is happening now to those who believe medical institutions and doctors who say hypnosis abuse is not possible.

Just for the record, the bulk of these unfortunate victims are women and children. For years the AMA, APA and other health institutions have failed to recognize and address the substantial number of hypnosis sexual assault cases. Given the amount of historical data that is available, this is right up there with gross negligence and medical incompetence. 

The question is, why does this environment still exist?

The Elephant in the Room

The topic of hypnosis abuse is literally the metaphorical elephant in the room for the hypnosis community, with one camp unable to see it and the other group trying to ignore it. There is a divide within the hypnosis community, where some literally have no idea of what is truly possible through hypnosis, while others are afraid to speak about it, out of worry of public outcry and what it could possibly do to business overall.

What exists today is a fractured hypnosis community, one that is still very much divided over the long standing debate regarding antisocial behavior under hypnosis. Again, the primary split understandably appears to fall along the lines of those who actually know better and those who don't, with the deciding factor appearing to be hypnosis skill and depth of experience.

The basic distinction separating hypnotherapists today quite simply boils down to two things, 1) those who have mastered the craft and understand implicitly the full reality of hypnosis, and 2) those who have not and are understandably ignorant of it.

Please understand that this simple characterization is in no way intended to undermine, diminish or slight those of lesser hypnosis training. It is simply meant to highlight why there is a split among the ranks. This is the delineating demarcation point for hypnotists. Professional versus amateur really means nothing when it comes to hypnosis skill. It all comes down to the degree of extensive training, which in turn generally applies to depth of trance. Some amateurs may seek a higher level of training than is needed by most clinical professionals.

The fact is, most PhD hypnotherapists are not taught deep trance hypnosis because such depth of trance is not necessary for the therapeutic modalities they deal with. When it comes to medicine, those using hypnosis as an analgesic, in lieu of anesthesia, are the ones who are primarily taught deep trance hypnosis, taking a patient into delta and infra-low states, although many birthing hypnotists do not even go so low. The fact is, the greater majority of hypnotherapists use the first two levels of trance, alpha and theta, while the hypno-predator works mainly in the deeper trance states so as to fully incapacitate and subdue their victims.

Now, as unconventional as this may sound to some, this simple distinction may be the best example of why there is a misunderstanding about deep trance hypnosis because there are varying degrees of skill within the profession that not all hypnotists are capable of. Most professionally trained hypnotherapists are not taught to take their clients into a super deep trance because they just don't need to go that low for the therapies they deal with. As such, they understandably do not know as much about the full possibilities of very deep trance.

The other side of the coin is this... those who do delve into the study of deep trance hypnosis have a knowledge and expertise that the clinical hypnotherapist generally does not possess. The unscrupulous hypnotist does know about deep trance because this is what they earnestly work at to learn. The deviant hypnotist specifically works to master deep trance and covert induction in order to subdue their victims. Their goal is to fully incapacitate and exploit.

Denial Enables the Crime

Let's be clear about one thing, denying that hypnosis abuse is not real is without a doubt one of the most irresponsible and reckless statements any health professional could possibly make. It's right up there with telling someone they will always be safe walking alone at night in a dark alley. Another perfect analogy would be telling small children that all adults are good people and should always be trusted. Saying that hypnosis abuse is not possible might arguably be one of the single most preposterous statements any healthcare professional could possibly make.

The sad thing is, there is an arrogant ignorance from many within the medical community regarding the denial of hypnosis abuse. If the numerous cases on record are a collective testament to anything, it's that every one of these naysayers are absolutely 100% positively wrong about personal safety while under hypnosis.

The fact is, it's hard to argue with facts. So when you see someone that is supposed to be educated, trying to do this exact same thing, you have to question whether there is motive involved or just blind ignorance. In these cases, you would do best to dismiss the messenger.

There are many in the hypnosis profession who do know better, however, for some reason they have chosen not to speak about the dangers of hypnosis publicly. If you put some thought to it, there might be two possible reasons for this.

  • Don't scare away any potential clients.

  • Keep it a secret to exploit people with.

To this day the AMA, APA and many major medical institutions are still saying that hypnosis abuse is not possible, yet nothing could be further from the truth. Whether the intent is deliberate or not, such an unjustifiable stance is tantamount to lying to the public and recklessly placing them in danger. These organizations need to own up to reality.

It is often said that ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking the law. The merits of such a tenured argument would also seem applicable to those who deny hypnosis abuse. The historical record is full of well documented hypnosis abuse cases and yet here we are, still putting innocent women and children at risk - because of what?

Is it ignorance or is it complicity?

It has to be one or the other.

There are some who understand and who have spoken out about how far hypnosis can be taken to exploit others. These noted scholars have been open about the reality of hypnosis and trance.  Others within the field need to follow the example set by these pillars of the field.

  • Dr. David Speigel, Stanford University

  • Dr. Daniel Brown, Harvard University

  • Dr. Alan Sheflin, Santa Clara University

There have been other researchers over the years who have also done their own studies to prove that hypnosis can be abused. Again, there is data available, if people would only just take a look.

Learning From the Past

With all the available evidence, why is there still confusion over hypnosis and trance?

Early on, Mesmer thought hypnotism was related to magnetism, yet over time hypnotists would eventually learn this was not the case. Mesmer's concept of magnetism having something to do with hypnosis was eventually rejected, but ever since then - arguably - it seems as if little else has changed as far as a thorough clinical understanding of hypnosis.

Other professional organizations may not have had everything correct at their inception, however, as they have grown over the years and become more educated about their particular field of business, their profession has accrued more knowledge.

For example... 

  • Astronomers of old used to believe the sun revolved around the earth, but as they eventually learned, this was far from the truth and astronomy eventually caught on.
  • Cartographers also used to think the world was flat, but over the years they too came to learn differently, having to eventually admit that our planet was indeed spherical in shape.
  • Bayer used to put heroin in their cough syrup in the late 1800s, but they soon learned it was probably not the best thing to do for consumers.
  • Even Coca-Cola learned that putting cocaine into their soft drink was not really such a good idea for consumers.

The bottom line here is this - no matter how misguided these other professionals might have been in starting out, they all eventually learned from their early mistakes and moved onward, but not so for the hypnosis community. It is still arguing over something that was proven long ago. It has continued to shamelessly maintain its bassackwards stance on hypnosis for decades, saying that hypnosis abuse is simply just not possible.

All you can really say to that is... that's a warped learning curve, by any definition.

The end result of such misinformation are the countless women and children, even men, who have been abused through hypnosis - and yet the lie from within continues on.

Intelligent thinking people readily recognize that such a dichotomy of truth and fiction should never hold the test of time, as it has for hypnosis, unless perhaps there is an organized effort behind its persistence. An industry eventually catches on as research accrues over the years, but so far, not for the hypnosis profession.

So, are hypnotists just stupid?


If you were to say uninformed or unequal in skills and/or experience, you would be right on the mark.

This, however, says nothing of the institutions and organizations that should know better, such as the AMA, APA, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins, to name but just a few. How far can you extend the naive-ignorance excuse, at such high levels of medicine?


As noted, hypnosis has been used for thousands of years in the far east, with close to 300 years of use in the western world. We are now in the 21st century and we are still telling women and children that hypnosis abuse is not possible, all the while these particular subsets of society are being abused the most.

The question has to be asked, why is the profession still in such disarray after so many years of practice?

  • No formal member alliance (too many splintered hypnosis factions)

  • No government regulatory overseer

With so many cases being prosecuted each and every year, society has a growing problem that few know anything about. We need awareness campaigns from women's advocacy groups as well as medical institutions and those from the hypnosis community. We desperately need others to step up as well, so that the word finally gets out and this no longer happens to unsuspecting, innocent women and children.

Along with this, we need new regulation of the profession, recognizing the dangers it can present when used irresponsibly. We also need new laws to recognize the danger of menticide and to set stiff penalties for those who engage in it. When an immoral hypnotist can maliciously do something like this to another person, against their will, there understandably needs to be some form of regulatory oversight for those who practice hypnosis.

The hypnosis community as a whole also needs to do far more to recognize and correct a reality that has been muddied by its very own members, whether by intent or unfortunate happenstance. An awareness effort from those within the hypnosis profession is necessary and would certainly go a long way toward transparency on this subject. Our leading medical organizations and institutions also need to once and for all step forward and do more to educate on the potential dangers of deviant hypnotists. It's time to own up to the danger, once and for all. Lastly, it's very important to note, hypnosis itself is not the evil at work here, it is those who misuse it for their own criminal or carnal desires that make it dark and evil.

Hypnosis professionals are long overdue in addressing their own problem. Until they do, the profession will continue to be plagued with contention, misinformation and more client abuse.

It is long past time for the world to know the true reality about hypnosis, once and for all.

Our women and children and our society all deserve far better.

See also:

An Unsettling Trend

A Note to the Hypnosis Profession: It's Time to Wake Up!!

A Hard Fact for Some Hypnosis Professionals to Admit: Hypnosis Abuse Does Exist




Darren Brown: Covert Hypnosis


Darren Brown: Covert Influence


The Uses and Abuses of Hypnosis


Unethical Covert Use of Hypnosis to Rape


Sexual Abuse and the Abuse of Hypnosis in the Therapeutic Relationship


Charges Against Hypnotherapist Raise Concerns About Safety of Hypnosis