One thing that stops many people from benefitting from the incredible power of hypnosis is the idea of it being used as “mind control“.
Cue scary music. Let’s talk about myth of mind control.
Often people have some false impressions about hypnosis being some form of mind control. The hysteria created by the George Du Maurier´s evil hypnotist character “Svengali” in the 1894 novel Trilby can still be felt today by the practicing hypnotherapist.
In this novel (a bestseller of it’s time), the hypnotic relationship between Svengali and the heroine Trilby O´Ferrall created the modern public perception of hypnosis. This work inspired The Phantom of the Opera and countless books and movies have propagated this idea
Why? It’s sexy and it sells.
The way many stage performers and mentalists use this dangerous allure as a type of persona and marketing tactic has brought the archetypal “evil mind controlling hypnotist” into the collective consciousness and created a whole host of popular misconceptions about what it can be used for.
People ask me “do you have the power to make me do something that I wouldn’t normally do?” I really don’t like answering questions with questions, but this one…
Do you allow other people in your life to have the power to get you to do something you wouldn’t normally do? Parents? Politicians? What about religious figures? The issue here is not hypnosis: it’s trust.
The therapeutic relationship is one of trust. I trust the client to give me the best information about their particular condition so I can help them, and they can trust that I will use all of my skills and experience to help them.
I make sure that they understand that hypnosis is a natural, safe, scientifically proven way to use the mind’s own abilities to affect positive change in ones life. All the work I do has a strong base in scientific evidence, my own experience and previous and ongoing training.
If people are particularly apprehensive, I might choose to point out that according to de-classified (Project MK-ultra) documents, the CIA and soviet KGB spent many years and a lot of resources trying to use hypnosis to control people. The fact is that they were unable to do it, and the mindless controlled people we see in movies like Frank Sinatra (or Denzel Washington) in The Manchurian Candidate are purely a work of fiction.
I might humorously point out that if it was so easy to control people’s minds, then why am I not ¨king of the world¨ yet? Why don’t I find the richest person I know, hypnotize them and have them give me all of their money? Hmmm?
I would also like to mention that even in stage shows with accomplished professional hypnotists, people will not respond to suggestions that are against their personal morals (the most well-known case is of Paul McKenna and the participant who would not dance in hypnosis because ¨it was against their religion¨).
If the idea of mind control scares you, good! It’s all around you (politics, advertising, etc.).
But if it stops you from trying a powerful process that can only improve your life, then please think again!