The Public Perception of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy

An hypnotic illustration with question marks

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard it said (or implied) that hypnosis is some kind of evil, strange and mysterious phenomena that is all about messing with somebody’s mind. I’ve also heard it said that hypnosis is about taking someone’s personality, changing it about and adding irrelevant and harmful things, all done in a very manipulative way.

Wow! What power us hypnotherapists would have if any of this were even the slightest bit true. Of course, there are many myths and misconceptions about hypnosis – and guess what? They are all wrong! Although it is not surprising that many people should think this way. I’m sure you’ve seen examples from stage hypnosis shows, where participants are often ‘made’ to dance around like chickens, impersonate Elvis Presley, and countless other silly things. Stage hypnosis is not a con, but the truth is that it is not quite what it seems. It does however give hypnosis a certain reputation that can be hard to counter with logic and reason.

The media rarely portrays hypnosis in a good light. The way in which it is presented almost always comes from a total lack of understanding about what hypnosis really is. Whether it is on TV, in the papers, or in a Hollywood movie, hypnosis tends to be sensationalized and is almost always shown in a negative way. Of course, hypnosis is not the only thing that is given negative treatment by the media. After all, people seem to prefer negative news. Maybe negative news is more interesting, or maybe we’re just used to it because it’s all that gets delivered to us. Whatever the case, since news in general leans towards the negative and there is a media bias toward sensationalism, it is unlikely that you’ll hear much about the benefits of hypnosis in any mainstream coverage.

Generally, the media still treats hypnosis as something mystical and mysterious. Movies portray it as scary, dark and unknown. Just think back to how many times you saw a person in a movie hypnotized by a swinging watch or by a hypnotist commanding the person look deeply into their eyes. Even the greatest affirmation ever created; “Every day in every way,  I’m getting better and better”, if used, is generally mocked. In Hollywood movies, hypnosis is somehow aligned with occult powers and such, which is utterly ridiculous.

The good news is that I think there has been a general improvement as of late. These days, doctors and psychologists are much more appreciative of the therapeutic benefits that hypnotherapy can offer. As such they are far more likely to refer patients to a hypnotherapist for treatment, often for a wide range of issues. There is also a growing awareness among the public of the good work that hypnotherapists can do to treat physical, emotional, and behavioural issues. For example, the average person on the street is often aware of how effective hypnotherapy can be to help a person stop smoking. Yet the misinformation about hypnosis still lingers and because of this there is still a stigma attached to it.

The widespread misconceptions about hypnosis can be quite difficult for a hypnotherapist to work past. Because of this I almost always ask my clients whether they have visited a hypnotherapist before or experienced hypnosis in some way, and what their thoughts are about it. It helps me to check out what our starting point is, so I know what sort of preconceived notions may need to be overcome.

The internet has opened the door to so much information for just about anything. There’s still much misinformation surrounding hypnosis, but you can read much about hypnotherapy, hypnosis and self-hypnosis on our website. We’ve put together a collection of very informative topics relating to hypnotherapy for you to read at your leisure. The more information you have; the more you have the opportunity to understand just what is possible through using self-hypnosis and what a power tool you have inside you to make so many great changes within your life.

If you are interested in using hypnosis but are expecting something out of the movies, then you will not find anything like that in our self hypnosis CDs and MP3 downloads. Within the framework of self hypnosis we use hypnotherapy based on reliable research and proven psychological techniques that have nothing to do with miracles or divine intervention. Our self hypnosis audio programs are not weird or wacky and they don’t particularly take people on a spiritual journey. What they do is help condition you to utilize your own healing process and guide you towards a particular behaviour you want to take on, or take you away from one with which you struggle.

We hope you find what you’re looking for!