Yes, you can actually hypnotize someone, but there are many myths about what hypnosis is. I studied with a teacher (Antonio Capavones) who always said: “I can make you act like a chicken, with and without hypnosis.” In this way, he wanted to convey to us that hypnosis is a method or process that depends on suggestions, and those suggestions in the end are always linked to self-suggestion, so it depends a lot on how much you resist, how certain you are, or how capable you are. Really give it to that suggestion and to the person making it to reach the hypnotic process or not.
Hypnosis is used as a therapeutic method, along with other treatments, in many cases. The problem here is that there is not much certainty about its true authenticity. We have published scientific studies on the cases in which this treatment works, but we have not published enough studies on the cases in which it does not work. This doesn’t just happen with hypnosis, it happens in science on a general level. The area that seems to work best is a technique to relieve or reduce pain, combined with other treatments. It is widely used, for example, to quit smoking, but we cannot talk about certainty, because we do not have enough studies to prove its effectiveness.
Hypnosis is a technique that can give good results when combined with other techniques. For example, in eating disorders, impulse control, or pain perception. There are other third generation psychotherapies, e.g Complete focus of mind, They also work with suggestions. The basis of it is the suggestion through words, what is important is the use of the word, any words and at any time. Language, the word, is used in many (if not most) psychotherapies with very good results.
As for who can be a hypnotist, the training I did was for psychologists and doctors only. But there are also hypnotists who use this technique for presentation and are not health professionals. The one thing you should be clear about is that if someone tells you that they are able to force another person to do something or stop doing something by hypnosis alone, you should be skeptical.
Then there is what is called regression – bearing in mind that this is not scientific – which is what those who practice it call the process that would lead a person to relate to his past life or experiences. This is not scientific at all, and helps us talk about one of the big problems with hypnosis which is that you can conjure up false memories in someone (although false memories can also be conjured without hypnosis). This is why it is important to be careful and aware of the type of suggestions being provoked and the role the person occupies as a professional.
As we said at the beginning, what hypnosis is all about is autosuggestion, or self-hypnosis. That is, hypnosis in the end depends more on the person being hypnotized than on the hypnotist. This is also why there are some people for whom hypnosis is not recommended. Can you encourage someone to go into a psychotic break with suggestions? Yes you can, and not just with hypnosis, but with any suggestion technique or guided meditation, bad results can be achieved in certain situations and with certain people or moments. This depends not only on the hypnosis, which would act as a stimulus, but on the mental state of the hypnotized person. Of course, this can also be done without hypnosis.
For all these reasons, not everyone can be hypnotized. The hypnotized person must be open to receiving suggestions. The hypnotist may try to convince you, but if you decide too firmly that you will not listen to the suggestions, he will not succeed.
Gemma Fernandez Blanco Martin She is a clinical psychologist, doctor of applied creativity, professor, and researcher at the intersection of psychology, art, and technology. Professor at the University of Applied Sciences (HU) in Utrecht (Netherlands). One of his lines of research focuses on virtual environments and hypnosis.
The question was sent via email byMaria del Carmen Passaro
Formatting and writing: Victoria Toro
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