Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hypnosis in the media.

Many of us have learned about hypnosis from what we have read in books or seen in movies.   Hypnosis has been featured in many movies such as: The Manchurian Candidate (1962 & 2004), Stir of Echoes (1999), Zoolander (2001), Donnie Darko (2001), Office Space (2001), and Shallow Hal (2001). In The Manchurian Candidate and Zoolander, individuals become sleeper-agent style assassins that kill without memory or remorse.   In Stir of Echoes, the main character becomes hypnotized to see a girl’s ghost and solve the mystery surrounding her.   Lastly, in Donnie Darko and Shallow Hal, the main characters utilize hypnosis to improve themselves.  

Hollywood exists to entertain people, not to educate people.   The “popular” image of a hypnotist swinging a pocket watch and telling someone that they are getting “very sleepy” does not occur in modern hypnotism and modern hypnotherapy.   The concept of a “weak” subject bending to the will of the hypnotist and mindlessly obeying orders is also a complete fiction without a basis in reality. 

This unfortunate stereotype showcases a host of misconceptions. Few, if any, modern hypnotists use a swinging watch.  Although most hypnotists attempt to calm subjects during the induction, relaxation is not necessary.  People have even been hypnotized during extreme duress to reduce blood flow from injury and during vigorous exercise.  Electroencephalographic (EEG) studies confirm that during hypnosis subjects are not in a sleep-like state but are awake.  Clients can always resist a suggestion and are always in control while in the state of hypnosis.  In an office setting, hypnotists can assess hypnotic state and depth by asking questions and performing tests utilizing muscle response.  

Take charge of your life.   Leave all of the Hollywood fairy-tales behind, and join the growing number of people who benefit from hypnosis.