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
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
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
The Uses and Abuses of Hypnosis