The impact of hypnotic fascination

“I was at a hypnosis conference recently and I was talking to a chap who …”

All eyes at the table swivelled suddenly in my direction.

“Never mind the story! Talk about the hypnosis conference. Are you a hypnotist? What kind of people go to a hypnosis conference? Can you stop my mum from smoking…”

There’s something quite fascinating about the idea of hypnosis. It seems that we love to imagine that someone else could take control of our minds and make us do strange things… and perhaps, that we could even become the hypnotist, and have the power to control others’ actions.

Never mind that few hypnotists would claim to be able to make someone do something they wouldn’t want to do anyway. And never mind that we do many strange things without being “made” to do them.

The “look into my eyes” myth is one that people enjoy – just as they enjoy Harry Potter films. We love that sense of mystery and of magic.

One of the hot topics I found myself discussing at that conference was the degree to which the magical aura of hypnosis is important to the way it actually works. Do clients have to “believe in the power of hypnotism” in order to be affected by it?

And what does this imply for the way hypnotic services are marketed? If we present it as more ordinary, more accessible, less mysterious, do we make it less effective?

The technique I use and teach, X-Ray Listening (and the Clean Language on which it is based), is quite different to standard hypnotic techniques. It’s more like a conversation: the client remains fully alert, and there’s no suggestion that I’m going to “take control” of their thinking.

But that doesn’t make it any less effective: important changes happen very fast and tend to stay changed.

So my belief is that “belief” is not the critical factor that makes hypnosis work. It may be a critical factor in marketing it – but that’s another story.

What do you think? Please comment below.

  • This is part one of a series of blogs about the relationship between hypnosis and X-Ray Listening/Clean Language. Look out for more very soon.

2 thoughts on “The impact of hypnotic fascination”

  1. I would suggest that belief is a critical factor in all walks of life. Including more ‘conventional’ treatments such as drugs. The placebo effect is well-established.

    Language forms the basis of thought and any thought consistently held can be considered a belief.

    So someone skilled with language can help us to change the mental screen with which we filter reality and thus change the picture we are apparently ‘seeing’.

  2. Hi Judy,

    Great to see your video of the elephant metaphor and the congruence and poise you hold. That’s what comes from doing something you love!
    Certainly got me thinking with regards to the Mystery of hypnosis and marketing. Think I might put a few mysterious bits and pieces on my website to pique curiosity! Will let my elephant muse on it for a while…


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