Anyone who has seen a stage hypnosis
show will be aware that a part of the show is to observe the silly and embarrassing things people will do. I am often asked by clients or people who are interested in exploring hypnotherapy, can you make me cluck or walk like a chicken?
Most people believe that stage hypnotists “make” their subjects do things that they don’t want to do. But this is far from the truth.
It’s impossible to make someone do something against their will or their morals while they’re under hypnosis. The subconscious will simply reject the suggestion.
When the CIA in the USA expended considerable funds, developing ‘project Bluebird’ looking at the possibilities of using hypnosis in their work they generally failed to establish any use for their projects. Jason Bourne fans may notice the similarity i.e. Project Blackbriar.
From the moment the show is advertised to the arrival of the audience, the stage hypnotist will be working hard to create a sense of what is possible; unlike a professional hypnotherapist he will try to use the misconceptions of the volunteers and audience. The most suggestible will be chosen using a range of tests, they are there to have fun, they expect to be asked to cluck or walk like a chicken and they will comply. They will do almost anything, and this is the important part, provided it does not conflict with their built in moral code. Nonetheless they may well do things that would be too embarrassing or scary without the opportunities created by the show.
Hypnotherapy on the other hand is a mutually agreed contract between a therapist and a client for the therapist to facilitate work with the subconscious mind. Goals are agreed in advance with the clients full knowledge. Hypnotherapists are bound by professional and ethical standards to ensure that the powerful techniques are only used to work on agreed issues. If anything new emerges the client can choose to explore it or not. This is why such care is taken to ensure you are setting goals that will be affective in changing the feelings or behaviours the client wishes to address in a way that ensures the client is ultimately in control of the therapeutic experience.
If you have any questions about hypnotherapy, post them here and I will answer them…open dialogue is encouraged!