I recently had a performance at a middle school canceled due to “concerns” about hypnosis from some parents and faculty.
I have added this section to my site in hopes of educating and eliminating any fears or misunderstandings about what hypnosis is and is not. I am fully confident that once you review all of the information shared below, you will feel comfortable and at ease about you or your child experiencing the wonderful state of hypnosis!
*Will I lose control when in hypnosis? NO
When people are in deep state of hypnosis, they are fully aware of what is being said and what is going on around them. In fact, people who are hypnotized are hyper-focused about what is happening and what is being said. They have full capacity to choose whether or not they want to participate in the suggestions being given.
*Can I get stuck in hypnosis? NO
People cannot and have never been stuck in hypnosis. That would be like saying you can get stuck in a dream when you are sleeping. Nature needs us to be in different states of consciousness from the day dreamy state of hypnosis to the high-energy state of cheering on a sports team or dancing wildly at a party. We all need to change psychological and physical states often. So, people always awaken from trance although sometimes they may feel reluctant to when being in hypnosis feels so good and relaxing.
*Will you make me do something embarrassing during hypnosis? NO
You have full and total control of yourself and your choices when in hypnosis. Now, you may feel so good and so relaxed that you will allow yourself to have more fun when hypnotized. You can never be forced to do something. You will never do or say anything during hypnosis that goes against your moral code or beliefs. You are still the person you always are during hypnosis…just a more relaxed and focused you!
I have to add that it is always possible that a hypnotist out there may try to do something to make someone embarrassed or even something unethical. That is why it is very important to research the hypnotist you are hiring or going to see in a clinic. Research their websites, experience, and clinical training (if any). Make sure you can trust the hypnotist you are hiring.
*I’ve never been hypnotized. What does it feel like?
If you are a member of the human race, you have experienced hypnosis. Have you ever been daydreaming and snap back to reality and realize minutes have passed? Have you ever been driving and arrive at your destination and not recall anything about the drive itself? Do your children play video games or watch movies? You know they are experiencing a state of hypnosis when they are so focused on what they are doing, everything else, especially your voice, is blocked out. In fact, each time you go to sleep and each time you wake up you are going through a stage of hypnosis. Your brain passes through the Theta Brain Wave state. The Theta State is a state of very deep relaxation; it is used in hypnosis and during REM Sleep. The brain waves are slowed down at a frequency of 4-7 cycles per second.
Simply put, hypnosis feels like being very, very relaxed. That’s it. No magic potion, pixie dust, or mystical powers.
*Hypnosis goes against my religious beliefs.
Hypnosis is a major part (in one form or another) of almost all major religions. Most Eastern religions subscribe to some form of meditation (a form of hypnosis). The Catholic Religion practices the “Rosary” (which is a repetitive practice of moving fingers along a string of beads while reciting prayers)…a form of hypnosis. Most Protestant religions believe in deep prayer and communicating with God. Again, this is a form of hypnosis. Any practice that relaxes your mind and provides focus can be considered a form of hypnosis.
*Is hypnosis safe? Yes and No
This is a tricky question. One that I could probably debate for pages. Hypnosis in and of itself is not dangerous. You are in super relaxed state, with increased focus. In fact, it can be argued that the state of hypnosis is safer than your normal waking state. That being said, there have been instances of injuries during hypnosis shows. Now, these injuries have happened due to participants not following directions (for example, exiting off a stage without using the stairs as directed) and they have also happened due to neglect by the hypnotist. It is VERY IMPORTANT when you are looking to hire a hypnotist, ask about his/her approach to safety and protocol. For example, I always tape my seats together when doing shows. This will help prevent fingers from being pinched, smashed or possibly even broken. I’ve seen hypnotist shows with chairs being scattered in all directions and even the volunteers picking up chairs during skits. I have also seen hypnotists working on a raised stage, with no realization of volunteers getting close to the edge. As the hypnotist, my number one mission is to keep everyone safe.
Hypnosis is completely safe and fun as long as the hypnotist is responsible and safety concsious
*Are hypnotists certified/licensed? Yes and No
Although the general public continues to use the terms licensure and certification interchangeably, there are important functional distinctions between the two concepts.
License: A license is a state’s grant of legal authority to practice a profession within a designated scope of practice. For example, for me to practice counseling, I am licensed by the State of Michigan. To practice counseling without a license would be illegal and could lead to prosecution
Certification: Typically a voluntary process provided by a private organization for the purpose of showing an individual has successfully met all requirements for the certification. For example, in most states hypnotist are certified. Meaning they have met a private organization’s criteria for practicing hypnosis. The concern is that there are hundreds of organizations providing certifications and without a single governing body to oversee the requirements, they could vary greatly from organization to organization.
Only three states require licensure of hypnotists (Colorado, Connecticut, Washington). There are six other states that maintain explicit guidelines for licensure exemption for hypnotists (California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, Utah). All other states have no governing body or specific requirements for hypnotists to be licensed.
To simplify, all hypnotists are certified to practice hypnosis by some private organization. But not all hypnotists are licensed to practice mental health (psychology, social work, counseling).
For example, you can hire a certified hypnotist who is also licensed to provide mental health services or you can just hire a certified hypnotist. If you choose the latter, your hypnotist might be a cook or an engineer who learned hypnosis. I do not purport to say that one is better than the other for a hypnosis show, it is just important to understand what the difference is when hiring a hypnotist.