Everybody thinks they know at least a few things about hypnosis – after all, it is something which is ingrained into our popular culture. This supposed familiarity with hypnosis, largely due to this exposure via pop culture has resulted in many myths forming around hypnosis. I'd like to dispel a few of these myths today.

Myth #1 - When you are hypnotized, you are asleep.
Quite the opposite is true. A person who is hypnotized is hyperaware, but of specific images and ideas. There are certainly not asleep.

Myth #2 - When you are hypnotized, you can be forced to do something against your will.
In reality, you cannot be forced to do something which you do not want to do. Your critical capacities are reduced, but any changes in your behavior or thoughts have to be morally acceptable and safe to you. Even in a stage show, you are participating on a voluntary basis.

Myth #3 - Hypnosis is unnatural, and an altered state of being.
Hypnosis is not an unnatural state. Instead, hypnosis is a mental state where relaxation is used to produce a state in which it is easier for our conscious and subconscious minds to communicate with each other.

Myth #4 - Some people just can’t be hypnotized.
Anyone can be hypnotized if he or she is willing to be hypnotized. All anyone needs to do is relax and follow the hypnotist's instructions. There are drugs (including alcohol) which can prevent one from entering this state, however.

Myth #5 - You don’t remember anything that happened while you were hypnotized.
There have been no confirmed instances of amnesia following a hypnotic state. The subject of hypnosis has full recollection of what transpired while they were hypnotized.

Myth #6 - There is an official hypnotherapy regulatory body
There is no one single governing body which regulates the practice of hypnosis, nor is there one certification process for those who would become hypnotherapists. There are even some who call themselves such after as little as two days of instruction. The National Guild of Hypnotists, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychiatric Association do all have regulations pertaining to professional hypnotherapy.

Myth #7 - You can not talk while you are Hypnotized. Not only are subjects in a hypnotic state capable of speech, in many setting where hypnosis is employed (as in therapy, for instance) subjects are encouraged to talk.

Myth #8 - You can get “stuck” in a hypnotic state.
There is no documented case if this ever happening. If the hypnotist or hypnotherapist fails to bring you out of a hypnotic state, normal consciousness returns on its own within a matter of minutes.

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