Can everyone be hypnotised?
I have heard many people over the years say “I’m too clever to be hypnotised, or I just can’t be hypnotised.” The truth of the matter is usually more like “I don’t want to be hypnotised.”
Hypnosis doesn’t remove your free will, take away your control, or even place you anywhere you don’t want to be. But fearing these things can make it almost impossible for you to be able to relax and allow yourself to go into that calm, pre-sleep like state.
How many times have you on a long journey, had to snap yourself back to full alertness or awareness, and have become aware of the hypnotic effect of watching the road markings pass rhythmically by the car? Sometimes people feel this need to be in control, just as they are descending into a hypnotic trance, and they startle themselves, physically twitching, or they over focus on the sensations of relaxation, seeing swirling colours in their minds eye and get frightened.
So it is really important to understand the following things.
1. No-one can ever be made to do anything, say anything, witness, feel or accept anything under hypnosis that they wouldn’t agree to in a normal waking state. If under hypnosis the hypnotist suggested something which you felt was wrong or outrageous, your subconscious mind would instantly reject the suggestion. (This is also why a hypnotherapist checks to make sure that your subconscious is happy with your conscious decision, to give up smoking, or to reduce your sugar intake for example, because if your subconscious is not in agreement, it will just reject any suggestions made.)
2. No hypnotist can hypnotise you against your will – it isn’t chloroform!
3. You are fully aware of everything in the room, and going on around you at all times during hypnosis – no-one could touch you, move around, enter the room etc, without your knowledge. The easiest way to bring someone out of a hypnotic state, is to leave the room.
4. Clever people hypnotise really well because they can engage their imagination to really get into the experience, and make it vivid.
5. It’s not magic. It is the body’s normal relaxation reaction, handing over awareness from the conscious, critical mind, to the subconscious, doing mind.
6. Being under hypnosis doesn’t feel any different, than being really relaxed and comfortable, and engaged in your imagination.
7. Even if you are not a visual person, and cannot for example visualise your favourite film star or TV show, you can still be engaged in hypnosis, using your other sensory perceptions, so recreating feelings, smells, tastes, sounds.
However, there is always an exception to the rule and a person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol may find it particularly difficult to follow the instructions given to induce hypnosis, therefore struggling to be hypnotised. Which is why most hypnotherapists either don’t work with drug and alcohol addiction, or require abstinence before having the appointment.
So the good news is… If you are able to daydream, or visualise and engage your imagination; if you can relax and follow instructions; if you want to; there is a very good chance that you can be hypnotised.