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Q. Can I Be Hypnotized?
A. It’s an excellent and common question. People, in general, are skeptical about hypnosis, and after seeing hypnosis portrayed in movies or a comedy performance I can certainly understand why.
So, before I cover movies and stage hypnosis, the short answer to the question “can you be hypnotized”, is a resounding yes! Ninety-nine percent of people can easily be hypnotized in a clinical hypnosis setting, that uses slow induction processes that can take 20 to 40 minutes.
However, the examples you have seen in movies and stage hypnosis may not be real. Certainly, hypnosis as I’ve seen it portrayed in movies and TV is very much not real and should not be considered when forming an opinion about hypnosis. It’s no more real in a movie than seeing someone get shot with a gun.
Stage hypnosis is a bit different. In those cases, the participants are either playing along or are truly hypnotized. I’d say it’s about 50/50. The way it works is that the stage performers are very skilled in selecting highly suggestible people from the audience.
For example, if the performer has everyone in the audience imagine biting into a lemon, and then afterward ask by a show f hands how many people’s mouths actually watered while they imagined it. Those who put their hands up are likely to be picked.
The thing is that highly suggestible people are more likely to respond to a rapid induction that is always used in stage performances where the performer will suddenly jerk the person's hand and use the other hand to close the subject's eyes as they say, “and sleep”.
About half or a 1/3 of those people will drop down into a mild state of hypnosis which is all the “highly suggestible” people need to be momentarily hypnotized and responsive to suggestions. The stage hypnotist only needs one or two of the dozen or so people they ask on stage to make the performance entertaining. Most often these people are truly hypnotized and do not remember how silly they were acting on stage afterward.
Lastly, let me just cover how stage hypnosis is so very different than clinical or therapeutic hypnotherapy. This type of hypnosis can be for just about anything from stop-smoking, sports performance, or even issues related to anxiety.
With Hypnotherapy the part of the session dedicated to putting a person into trance can take up to 30 to 40 minutes and is much more like guided imagery. And just to be clear the induction is the part of the session where you are put into a trance, as the remainder of the session can last another 30 to 40 minutes where the therapy is conducted.
In the 700 or 800 or so sessions I’ve conducted my success rate is about 99 out of 100 people can get into trance and receive the benefit from the hypnosis session depending on what they are wanting to work on. The key here is the “slower induction”, as it is designed to accommodate the many differences in a person’s ability to be hypnotized. Nearly all hypnotherapist practitioners are well versed in these slower induction techniques that are a lot like guided imagery