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Addressing Misconceptions

Addressing Misconceptions
During the Pre-talk, you can allay any fears or misconceptions the
client may have about hypnosis. The most common misconception
is that the client expects to be ‘out’ to the point where they will
have no memory of the experience. That does not happen unless
you give a specific suggestion to forget.
A light trance will likely feel no different from relaxation. Since
trance is a normal, natural state, clients will have a feeling of famil-
iarity no matter how deep in trance they go. Tell your clients,
“Don’t expect to ‘feel’ hypnotized. Trance is not about being
zonked out. It’s a normal, natural state. But do expect to feel very
relaxed.” It is sometimes useful to point out common examples of
trance from the client’s everyday experience, such as the driving
A more serious concern for some clients is based on the miscon-
ception that somehow the client is giving over control to the
Hypnotherapist. Hypnosis is not power over another person, but
rather a complex interaction between Hypnotherapist and client. It
is a cooperative act. As you did the Utilization Exercise in the pre-
vious chapter, you probably noticed that most of the exercise was
a process of becoming synchronized with your partner. Whether
or not you were aware of it, the two of you were sending waves of
energy toward each other, synchronizing and coming together,
like a dance. Think of hypnosis as two people cooperating toward
a mutual end, which is to establish better communication with the
Unconscious Mind.
Make sure your clients understand that they are in control: all
hypnosis is self-hypnosis. This is an important concept for you-
and your client-to understand. Hypnosis is something that the Hypnosis: A Comprehensive Guide
client will do with himself, for himself. If a client says, “You can’t
hypnotize me!” he is right. He is the only person who can hypno-
tize himself. He is the only one who moves himself into trance.
You as Hypnotherapist are a facilitator or guide. Since all hypno-
sis is self-hypnosis, the client is always in control.
Clients accept only the suggestions that are consistent with their
values and beliefs. A client cannot be made to do something in
hypnosis that they would not normally do. And a client will not
follow a post-hypnotic suggestion to do something in conflict with
their values and beliefs.
In the Pre-talk, I often tell a client, “During hypnosis, you need to
know that you are in control. If I ask you to stand up, you will
probably do it. But if I told you to go rob a bank, you would not
do that.. . unless that was your mode of operation in the waking
state.” If the control issue has been very much on the client’s mind,
I say “At every moment during hypnosis, you’re in control. In
fact, you will notice when we reach the deeper stages of hypnosis,
they are set up so at any given moment you can say ‘No, I don’t
want to do that.’”
Another occasional concern is that of the client who asks, “What
happens if I get stuck in trance?” My response is, “Pray for it!”
People in Zen monasteries meditate for years, pursuing deeper
and longer trances until they have a moment of enlightenment and
become ‘The Buddha.’
Actually a client you assist into trance will not get stuck; you can
readily lead them out at any time. In fact, if the client stays con-
scious during trance, he can bring himself out.
I can easily put myself into deep trance … and sometimes fall
asleep. When this happens, I have a wonderful deep sleep and
wake up at the end of it. You can do deep trance with yourself. You
can either set an alarm to ensure against overtrancing, or choose to
just fall asleep and have a nice nap. Whatever way you choose to
go into a deep trance of self-hypnosis is the perfect way for you.
Pre-Talk and Suggestibility Tests
Helping the Client Understand Trance and its Benefits
The more your client understands about the trance state, the
better they can play their role in the cooperative interaction that
helps them achieve trance. Once you have observed the level of
their curiosity and interest, it may be useful to briefly explain
hypnosis in terms of the Mind/Body connection and the healing
possibilities that are made possible by opening up communication
with the Unconscious Mind. The client can play their role best if
they understand that rapport with you will ‘open the door’ to
rapport with their own Unconscious Mind.
Critical to success in therapy are the client’s confidence and trust
in the Hypnotherapist. You can establish trust best by asking ques-
tions to get a clear understanding of what the client wants to gain
through your guidance. Questions about the client’s intent will
show your support more clearly than any statements you can

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