Q: Isn’t hypnosis just a way to take over a person’s free will and make him or her do whatever the hypnotist wants?
A. Fortunately for all of us, the answer is no. People who are given hypnotic suggestions that are contrary to their deeply held beliefs and desires will simply reject such suggestions. In our clinical setting, of course, patients are only given positive, healing suggestions–many of which are agreed upon by the patients in advance of the hypnotherapy session. Not surprisingly, such suggestions are almost always welcomed.
Hypnosis, then, acts as a magnifier of these positive suggestions, as the patient is able to focus clearly on the positive changes desired, while ignoring other thoughts that could interfere with such healing.
Yet almost every media and cinema representation of hypnosis involves some nefarious individual bent on bending the will of some poor victim through hypnosis. This perception has become ingrained in our public consciousness over the years to the point that the average person assumes it is true. This is most unfortunate, because most clinical hypnotists–like others who practice healing arts and sciences–are interested only in helping individuals to marshal their own subconscious resources to affect positive change and healing.
This is not to be confused with stage hypnosis, whose end is to entertain an audience. I will have much more to say on that in answer to future questions.
Meanwhile, please rest assured that hypnosis cannot subvert the strong will of the individual. In fact, it is primarily because hypnotherapy patients have such a strong will to change and heal that hypnosis is such a wonderful and effective treatment modality!
Keep those questions coming!