Hypnosis, Helpful or Harmful?

As a Behavioural Change Specialist, I help people change the responses, reactions and patterns of behaviour that have prevented them from having the life they deserve.

These blogs are intended to offer some useful perspectives and practical tips for us to expand our thinking, and enjoy the benefits that we discover as we do.

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Follow the below link to listen to the brief discussion that we had on the "Mind Matters" show on the "Miller Time Sunday Breakfast Show".

Miller Time Podcasts:


Hypnosis, in its simplest form is, communication with the intention to influence.

While making use of Hypnotic techniques, we use what we naturally do with a deliberate purpose to assit client to integrate the changes they want in their lives so that the new behaviour becomes their natural way of being.

While in a state of Hypnosis we makes use of sensory based information ( What we can see, hear, touch, taste and smell), combined with our imagination to create "experience". The neurology of our body and our unconscious mind experience this and respons to it as if it were real. We use these expereinces and various hypnotic techniques to help the client create a new automatic response to the situation at hand that will allow them to achieve their outcome.

Hypnosis has been described as a state of trance that shifts a person into a state of being open to suggestion. Once we have established with the client what specifically they aim to achieve, checked that it aligns with their value sytem and made sure that the change would be ecolgogical in their lives, We can then make use of this suggestive state to reinforce the changes that the client has chosen. The main aim of hypnosis in therapy is to integrate the conscious change on an unconscious level and bring about permanent lasting change.

Hypnosis has been described as a state of trance that shift a person into a state of being open to suggestion. We make use of this suggestive state to reinforce the changes that the client has chosen as an appropriate solution for their challenge.


There are many misconceptions about Hypnosis that leave people weary of the subject and some become outright fearful. Here are some of these most common mis-conceptions.


In the same way that a knife is simply a tool which can be used to lovingly prepare delicious meals for loved ones or to do harm. Hypnosis is simply a tool, the way it is used makes it either helpful or harmful.

My personal opinion is that the best way to protect oneself against ill intended manipulation is to empower oneself with the understanding of this tool so that we can recognise and choose whether or not we wish to accept the suggestions given to us.

In a hypnotic trance we are always aware of what is being said to us and can choose to accept or reject an idea that raises question in terms of our values. What is useful to be aware of is that our values can be used to manipulate our thinking to bring about change which is why it is useful to be aware of hypnotic language and techniques so that we can protect ourselves against uninvited manipulation through advertising, political agenda, sales techniques etc.. This same ability to influence can be extremely helpful in the hands of a well trained therapist or practitioner working with us to shift limiting beliefs, fears, habitual reactions or behaviour that have become problematic to us.


This misperception is usually based on what people experience while watching hypnotic stage shows intended for entertainment or from what they see in movies. In the context of a hypnotic stage show, the purpose of these events is entertainment and to make us laugh. Its is easy for the stage hypnotist to identify who want to “play”, who in the audience is comfortable and open to their suggestions. Audience participants are usually volunteers or people selected based on the observations that they are actively engaging and are willing to be part of the show and play along. These participants will feel confidant that these shows are harmless fun and good for a laugh. If the hypnotist delved into deeply personal vulnerable issues they would be out of business in a heartbeat as people would lose trust, so there is the reassurance that the manner in which the hypnotic state is handled is going to be conducted within socially acceptable boundaries of fun.

As for movies, they are simply based on the director’s imagination and how the portrayal of hypnosis fits into their plot. It has little to do with reality.

Hypnosic techniques are based on how we naturally influence and are influenced in our day to day lives deliberately and unintentionally. What is reassuring to know is that directed hypnotic suggestions are only successful in achieving long term change when the suggestions aligned with our personal values.


While it is common for traditional hypnotherapy to be conducted in a state of deep relaxation where the client relaxes into a trans state with their eyes closed this is not the only form of hypnotic trance. Hypnotic trance can be induced conversationally with our eyes wide open while we are actively engaged in activity.

A trance state can be induced through language, the use of stories, the use of physiology, spacial association, our sensory input, changes in perspective and many more ways that allow us to influence experience. As mentioned previously by understanding how we naturally influence we are able to influence in a purposeful and deliberate manner. This act of influencing with deliberate intention is a form of hypnosis. Many of these techniques are shared as part of sales, marketing, communication, parenting, relationship and teaching courses. Hypnotic techniques are used to engage an audience watching movie or stage.


The only barrier to a person being unable to be hypnotized is an ineffective or inexperienced hypnotic practitioner. If you are capable of following an instruction or following a story, you are capable of going into a hypnotic state. Milton Erickson is known to have mastered the skill of making use of a clients resistance to hypnosis as a means to induce an even deeper hypnotic state, by working with their resistance rather than pushing against it.


While hypnosis can be a highly effective way of helping us do and achieve things that we have not been successful at achieveing before, this is done by removing the obstacles and limiting beliefs that have prevented us from doing what is necessary to achieve our goals. The changes that we choose to make in order for these changes to occur will still result in our version of the "new way of being". We will adjust our behaviour to achieve our goals but it will be our own version of the new behaviour. We will always retain our values and basic nature in how we achieve the changes that we desire.


This is simply a fictitious idea that has been expressed as part of a movie plot. It is not possible for a person to get “stuck” in a trance state.


Hypnosis can be a highly effective tool for assisting a client to bring about long term change

It is important that when Hypnotic techniques are used, that they are used with a solid understanding of what the practitioner is doing and why they are doing it. It is important that the practitioner is skilled at establishing a thorough Well-Formed Outcome which pays attention to making sure that the work is being done in alignment with the clients values, that the suggested changes are coming from the client in their words and according to their values, beliefs and goals. And that close attention has been paid to the ecology and implications of the change on the clients life.

BEWARE of any practitioner, conusellor, therapist or hypnotist that offers“advice” rather than asking questions that allows us to find the solution for ourselves. If a therapist starts offering advice and telling you their solution to your problem, I would thank them for their efforts and find a better trained practitioner or therapist.

A good practitioner or therapist always ask questions to elicit our best solution. The solution MUST come from the client if it is to be effective, ecological and bring about lasting change. Too many therapists believe that their role is to offer advice, the only thing advice is useful for is reinforcing victim mentality and feeding the ego of the person dispensing the advice.

Another thing to be aware of is the practitioners use of language. I have been to a hypnotist who was exceptionally skilled at inducing trance but his lack of knowledge of hypnotic or mindful language resulted in suggestions that were well- intended but ended up directing the mind towards suggestions that were harmful rather than useful. While I cant teach hypnotic language in a blog you can check out the “Mindful language” blog that I shared previously for some language patterns to watch out for when working with a therapist, coach, or hypnotherapist


SELF TALK: Understanding the effectiveness of hypnotic language we can become more aware of our own language, what we are telling ourselves and and how to use language more effectively to achieve the things we wish to achieve for ourselves.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION: Hypnosis is in its simplest form communication with the intent to influence. Learning the art of hypnosis will assist you to be a more effective communicator in all areas of your life.

RELAXATION AND MINDFULNESS: The ability to induce self-hypnosis is a great way to relax, reduce stress and explore some self-introspection allowing us to go through life with a more mindful approach. The ability to change our experience that can regulate or neurology. means that we can more easily manage stress which has been known to can cause any number of mental and physical imbalances if left unchecked.

SAFEGUARD FROM MANIPULATION: No ONe wants to be left open to manipulation. Whether we like it or not, advertisers, film makers, sales professionals, religious leaders, attorneys, politicians, public relations professionals, managers and many more, are skilled in the art of influence (manipulation), by getting a better understanding of how we are unknowingly influenced we are equipped to chose what we wish to accept rather than be left open to manipulation.


Yes we do, however as we aware of how powerful hypnosis can be, we only teach hypnotic techniques to individuals that have completed the Inspiritu NLP Practitioner training as it is important to us that practitioners they are equipped to use it in an ecological and useful and safe manner.

I hope that you have found this information useful and that you can apply the general concepts to a multitude of creative ideas to make learning easier and more fun.

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