Is Hypnosis Just the Power of Suggestion?

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One of the comments I get most about the subject of hypnosis is that it just boils down to the “power of suggestion.”  The implication here is that hypnotherapists and other practitioners of the hypnotic arts just take advantage of our natural tendency to yield to or mirror a suggestion–whether verbal or visual or taken in through one of the senses–apparently without even thinking about it.

A great example of this is that in many cases when we see and/or hear somebody yawn, we find ourselves yawning, or at least tempted to yawn.  We can all relate to this kind of suggestion, but what does it have to do with hypnosis?

First, let’s consider that the example above represents a random event that happens to suggest a behavior to the conscious and subconscious minds.  In most cases, no one yawns in order to get you to yawn.  Hypnosis, however, is a purposeful mental health intervention (when practiced by a mental health professional) that is designed to change unwanted behaviors or attitudes.  When a hypnotherapist encourages you to relax–by speaking softly, playing relaxing music, asking you to let go of tension in a muscle group, etc.–he or she is moving toward placing you in a state of deep focus that will enable you to make the changes you wish to make, utilizing the resources of your own unconscious mind.

Second, hypnosis modalities are based on research and experience of at least the past 150 years.  Many techniques have been documented that have freed people from crippling anxiety, fears, and unwanted behaviors.  Obviously, this involves much more than a simple suggestion.

Third, let’s realize that if hypnosis is limited to the power of suggestion, then all we would have to do to make a change in behavior is just to suggest it.  If you come to a hypnotherapist to stop smoking, will he or she simply grab a pack of cigarettes, crush it and throw it in the trash (modeling the behavior that is wanted), and say something like “don’t do this any more”?  Hardly.  While suggestion is certainly part of what a professional hypnotherapist does, it is far from the only thing.

Changing or eliminating unwanted behaviors, thoughts, and actions entails much more than a casual suggestion.  If you really want to make positive life changes, I suggest that you contact a qualified and certified hypnotherapy professional today!