Unlike many of the new age therapies Hypnosis has a long and varied past, sometimes it has been an overt shaper of society and sometimes vilified as an evil influence. The hypnosis and hypnotherapy that we know today is far removed from the tools and techniques of the past and yet public perception is still clearly influenced by the historical misuse and misunderstanding of the power of hypnosis.
Over the last few years hypnosis has been misrepresented on TV crime dramas and has recently been the subject of its own game show on UK television. Although hypnosis can be a powerful tool it cannot make people do things that they don’t want to do, especially kill someone (sorry CSI, The Mentalist, Criminal Minds et al) and the viewing public should be aware that the incentive to win £5,000 ($8,000) is enough to make many a sane person behave outrageously even without the use of a ‘skilled hypnotist’…have you ever seen Fear Factor!
Hypnosis can help with fears and phobias, it has been shown to be effective with weight loss and IBS and can be very helpful when used in conjunction with other therapeutic approaches (CBT and Counselling) to overcome PTSD and other mental health issues. Conversely it is questionable whether it is useful in recovering lost memories, past lives or other pseudo-scientific applications.
The tools and techniques of hypnosis are available for anyone to learn if they have the will and commitment to the journey. Learning the basics are easy but becoming a skilled practitioner takes time.
The path to becoming a hypnosis practitioner (whether Clinical Hypnotist, Hypnotherapist or Stage performer) is both simple and hard at the same time. The tools and techniques of hypnosis are simple and can be taught within a few days, the ability to take this knowledge and become effective in it can take many years (even after more than 25 years I am still learning new ways to apply the skills).
You can teach yourself, or go on a training course. You can just read some books, watch videos, listen to audiobooks or attend a workshop or two. However you learn the basics is up to you, what is more important (and I can’t stress this enough) is actual practice of the skills that you learn. The more you use the skills the better you will become, and hopefully one day in the future you will be able to pass this knowledge on to the next generation of hypnosis practitioners.