No you don't quack like a duck
One of the most frequent questions I hear from potential clients of Explore with Hypnosis, when I'm speaking during presentations and often in general conversations - "You're a hypnotist. Are you going to make me quack like a duck?" Another friend of mine, a Christian social conservative, asked me why I use magic such as hypnosis. Doesn't Christianity forbid the use of magic? These are just a few questions about hypnosis I encounter on a daily basis. What is hypnosis and what is it not?
The truth about hypnosis and hypnotherapy
Questions like these could be annoying. They could be exasperating - or better yet, they could be a great source of humor. For me, they are the latter. Depending upon the context, I might make some light-hearted comment in reply. I might ask about something crazy they might have done at another time having nothing to do with hypnosis. But beyond the humor, jokes and quips, what do I really need to say when people ask me questions like "what is the truth about hypnosis?" Just what is hypnosis, really?
Have you ever found yourself lost in a daydream? Have you ever had a moment when you were deeply engrossed in some activity and you suddenly realized - "wow, did two hours go by already?" Have you ever found yourself "in the groove" when you were in some sport or hobby? If you've ever done any of these, then you have experienced hypnosis.
When was the last time you got deeply into a good novel - or watched a movie and really enjoyed it? Have you ever shed a tear during a sad movie? Did you feel relieved when the hero narrowly escaped death? Did you find yourself identifying with the characters in the story? If you did any of these, then you have experienced hypnosis. In many ways, the process of hypnosis is no different than that of reading a good novel. It's merely the suspension of disbelief, along with selective focus - allowing yourself to "go with the flow," or to "Get into it."
When reading that novel, once you were into it, did you notice how you could picture the world the author was portraying? You could feel for the characters and perhaps picture whatever lesson the story was portraying. Now, imagine the possibilities for constructive change this process offers. Imagine how, getting beyond the barriers of disbelief and focusing on a healing or improvement goal, you can make positive change within your own mind.
On the other hand, when you were reading a book and/or watching a movie, did you suddenly find a spot where something stuck in your craw? Perhaps you said, "oh that's ridiculous, I don't believe this." Even while you had been into the story, your own discernment filter was still active. When it found something objectionable, it objected. In the same way, while in hypnosis, that skeptical filter in the mind is still active - always ready to step in if something doesn't match what you know to be true. The result, hypnosis is safe - the mind will not allow you to do or believe something you would not otherwise accept.
At this point, I hear many people ask, "well, what about during stage hypnosis shows, when people quack like a duck or do other rather dumb things. What's going on there?"
Watch a good stage hypnotist during a show. Notice how he carefully selects the participants, keeping only those who have vivid imaginations and a willingness to show off - the innate hams of the group. These are the people who, given the right circumstances, would be quite willing to do something outrageous. The trick is to allow the participant to feel safe doing just that, then let the fun begin.
People who have been stage hypnosis participants often tell me they knew all along that they were simply playing. They could have stopped at any moment but they were having too much fun. They simply felt like doing whatever they were doing on the stage.
I often get asked if I'm going to make the client quack like a duck. Frequently I reply that if the person really wants to do that, great. But please do that before coming to my studio, so we can focus on the work they came to see me for. This usually produces a smile or two and the conversation moves on to something else.
So, is hypnosis magic? Will hypnosis cause me to stray spiritually? Can it be dangerous? Could I be influenced by the devil? A surprising number of people ask me questions like these. My answer is to ask them, is reading a novel magic? Is daydreaming magic? They're the same process.
You are in a natural state of hypnosis for a few moments every hour or two as your attention span shifts, a phenomenon called the ultradian rhythm, a natural occurrence. When you experience a moment of spontaneous creativity - suddenly getting an idea - you are experiencing a momentary state of hypnosis. Hypnosis is not magic, and not spiritually or mentally dangerous. It is an everyday experience, a property of the mind that allows humans to be the creative, imaginative beings we are.
Hypnosis is an amazing gift. Yet it is also an everyday occurrence. It is a powerful capability of the mind, like being able to read, do arithmetic or play music. It is a wonderful capability and yet there is nothing magical about it. Hypnosis is a simple everyday property of the mind that allows us to achieve tremendous inner healing and change. And no, you don't have to quack like a duck...