As a hypnotherapist, this will not be the most fun article for me to write. After all, there are plenty of misconceptions about how hypnosis is “mind control”, and that it can make people do things against their will. And, I do not wish to throw any fuel on those fires.
Although hypnosis is a perfectly safe experience, it is possible for hypnotists to use it for hurtful purposes. It is like a hammer, which can be used to destroy a car’s windshield or build a house.
The reason for the warning in the title is that I recently saw a web video of a hypnotist teaching and demonstrating a covert hypnosis technique taken from the work of Milton Erickson and NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming). Erickson would only teach medical doctors or psychologists his skills because he was aware of the possibilities of unethical use. Aren’t we all glad that used car salespeople are not using hypnosis when they show us the ’99 Toyota with that *fascinating* cut crystal hanging from the rear view mirror?
The man in the video was teaching a technique called embedded commands (see my earlier blog post on Embedded commands here). And, he did a very nice job of explaining and demonstrating the technique. Unfortunately, he did not stop there.
He proceeded to brag about how he had used embedded commands to suggest to some people who had offended him in social situations that they would experience increasing pain, emotional and physical. The man seemed particularly proud of his toothache suggestions. I am so glad that his video has been removed from the website where it was posted.
This kind of video is truly distressing to a hypnotherapist like myself. I have dedicated over 22 years to helping people in Atlanta gain greater control in their lives, and eliminate undesirable habits and fears with hypnosis. And, now I feel like I need to warn people to be careful to choose ethical hypnotherapists, who will have the highest respect for their clients.
Thank goodness the man in the video is not practicing in Atlanta. Everyone that I have met here in the hypnotherapy profession as been caring and ethical.
The takeaway is, of course, that it is important to use the services of a properly trained and ethical hypnotherapist. If in doubt, you can always request a free initial evaluation which will give you a chance to determine if you feel comfortable with them and their professionalism.