Hypnotherapy myths and misconceptions

When I first qualified as a clinical hypnotherapist, many of my friends and family were excited for me. They were also intrigued (in a healthy way), wondering how hypnotherapy works and what really happens when someone is under hypnosis. Some, however, were a bit more sceptical.


I often had comments such as: 

  • “I’m scared of what you could make me do whilst I am in a trance.”
  • “What happens if I can’t wake up?”
  • “Will it really help?”

Some have even referred to hypnotherapy as mumbo-jumbo! I empathise with those thoughts and appreciate that some people are dubious about the idea of hypnotherapy. But, for those who have never experienced a sense of deep relaxation, I honestly don’t think there is anything else quite like it.

Hypnotherapy not only calms and soothes the mind but it also enables reprogramming and refocusing on oneself. It is so relaxing and profound that I challenge everyone to try this therapy at least once and to feel the benefits afterwards!

The main reason people are hesitant about trying hypnotherapy is because of live shows, films and entertainment on television making a mockery of this deeply relaxed state of mind. It is believed that someone can be hypnotised against their will, when in fact, it is quite the contrary.

Hypnosis cannot be successful if there is no equal participation from a patient.

When a reference is made to hypnotherapy, it immediately conjures up images of an individual who is unable to control themselves in an unconscious state of mind, whilst being instructed to behave in a ridiculous manner, purely for the amusement factor. This is one of many misconceptions around hypnotherapy.

What is the history of hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is one of the oldest forms of psychotherapy and has been used since the latter part of the 18th century. It was created by a German physician called Franz Mesmer who began treating patients in Vienna and Paris.

The process he developed was to induce dreams, which could then be interpreted to get to the source of the problem. With this history in mind, it baffles me that hypnosis is still so misunderstood by many.

Common myths about hypnotherapy

There are various myths around hypnosis, one of the greatest being that, during hypnotherapy, the patient is never in control and is unaware of what is happening to them. Secondly, some believe that whilst they are in a trance state, the hypnotherapist will read their thoughts and secrets without them knowing. Finally, it is believed hypnotherapy is only about past life regression.

All of these myths are completely incorrect and, in fact, hypnosis can bring huge benefits to many areas of life and help people to overcome challenges they are facing. Examples of situations where hypnosis can really make a difference are weight loss, anxiety, giving up a habit such as smoking or overeating, chronic pain, phobias and insomnia.

There is no proof that hypnotherapy works

Out of all the myths about hypnotherapy, this is the most untrue of them all. It's been proved time and time again by respected psychoanalysts (both historically and present-day) how successful hypnotherapy is within their work and they have independently recommended this form of treatment. Examples of organisations include the British Medical Association, British Psychological Society, American Medical Association and American Psychological Association to name but a few.

Frequently asked questions

Is hypnosis safe?

Of course. Choosing a qualified and fully insured hypnotherapist means that you are very safe. Hypnosis is very effective and is quick at achieving the desired resolution compared to other types of therapy.

Do you have to be mentally weak for hypnosis to work?

Quite the contrary. If you are able to concentrate and be creative, then hypnotherapy is likely to be a successful treatment for you.

Is hypnotherapy a mystical practice?

Absolutely not. It is a clinical practice just like any other form of psychotherapy. Using hypnotherapy, a trained clinician helps to successfully treat a wide variety of mental, physical and emotional issues by adopting deep relaxation. It enables focus and concentration by addressing issues at the root of the problem and offering positive suggestions to reach a solution.

Are you asleep or unconscious whilst under hypnosis?

You are neither of these. Whilst it may look like you’re asleep during hypnosis, it’s actually a deeply relaxed state where you are still aware of your surroundings and your thoughts. People can experience hypnosis in various different ways.

Is hypnotherapy a lengthy commitment?

It has been proven that even one or two sessions of hypnotherapy can make a difference to any challenges that you may be facing. Depending on the severity of the situation, several sessions may be required but you are likely to notice a difference even after the first session.

I’m sure there are many more myths and misinterpretations about the practice of hypnotherapy. If you would like me to try and answer any other questions or to explain misconceptions of your own, I would be happy to help. I am keen to educate society about hypnotherapy and its benefits in a positive way.

Why not try hypnosis for yourself to understand how it works and to see what a difference it can make to your life?

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Solihull, B91
Written by Angela Cain, D.M.H, D.Hyp, CPNLP - Clinical Hypnotherapist
Solihull, B91

Angela Cain Clinical Hypnotherapist
D.M.H, D.Hyp, CPNLP,

I specialise in stress and anxiety especially in teenagers and young adults. I use a unique combination of treatments and therapies including E.M.D.R, NLP, Meridian Tapping and Hypnotherapy.

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