Does Hypnosis Work?
- Chris Harrison
- 6th December 2008 - Updated 9th October 2013
It’s amazing how many people I meet, who ask 'does hypnosis work?' and then with absolutely no experience of hypnosis, state that that either hypnosis doesn't work, or that it 'won’t work on them’.
I've always wondered why this is.
In most circumstances people are more open-minded, and I can’t think of a different arena where people believe that they will have a response that is so different to other people. With no experience of hypnosis how do people reach such a conclusion?
Now while it is good to remain skeptical but open minded until you have some experience of a subject that you don't understand, it is puzzling that some people can already have a view as to their own response to hypnosis when they have absolutely nothing to go on.
I believe that this attitude is comes down to three reasons:
Firstly people are scared of hypnosis and so dismiss it. This is due to the fact that the view they have of hypnosis is based on what they've seen in the movies and on TV (a little like my image above) where the hypnotist has complete control over the subject - and that is a scary proposal for most people. People with this contorted view not only convince themselves that the answer to the question 'Does hypnosis work?' is no, but if given evidence will still say that 'hypnosis wouldn't effect them'. Their fear of losing control means that they can't entertain the thought that someone could control them so they maintain their view. Hypnotising people with such views is quite entertaining as they will often rationalize the events into something such as 'I was playing along', 'I was just relaxed' - anything to avoid the 'H' word.
Secondly, there are a lot of very questionable therapies and therapists out there. Unfortunately when you have little to go on, it's human nature to bunch them all together and trust no one - so hypnosis is bunched in with crystals and homeopathy.
Thirdly, the marketing and presentation of many therapists and hypnotists is on a par with snake oil salesmen, and how can anyone take a subject being promoted in such a way seriously? This is an issue that I think may end up ruining many potentially quite powerful personal development systems (NLP and EFT to name two). There are far too many poor therapists and coaches trying to fleece potential clients with no regard for the clients or the field they're discrediting. Just today I read some outrageous marketing from an 'international' organization (that has two employees) and offers multiple certifications in something that means nothing to me at all - which exactly what those certificates will be worth too.
Ah well sorry for ranting (it's not that unusual), but back to the original question: Does Hypnosis work?
In the sense that hypnosis is a process for moving a client into a specific state of mind where they are much more amenable to suggestions that can help them resolve their issues – then yes, hypnosis does work.
Of course that doesn't mean that every therapist will be successful with resolving a specific issue such as weight loss or smoking, but then that isn't the fault of hypnosis - nor is it the fault of the client.
Even if you're not interested in using hypnosis for personal change, self-hypnosis is a great way to experience very relaxed states of mind that you may not have experienced before.
If you still believe that hypnosis is about controlling people, swinging watches and goatee beards then please check out What is Hypnosis?