Earlier this year, I received an unexpected call from the producer of a television series called Reasonable Doubt. He wanted to know more about the role of hypnotism in criminal court cases. I spent several hours stretched over 2 interviews explaining what hypnosis is and what it is not while the producer ran potential story ideas by me.
I watched the series, at his request, in the event they would need me as a guest hypnotist for a future series. He wanted to familiarize me with the show’s format. And while the jury is still out regarding this role, I feel privileged for the role I played in debunking some common myths about hypnosis, particularly amongst media influencers.
As I continued to research this rather compelling topic, I discovered some most impressive cases of hypnosis being useful in court settings – but that’s another blog topic altogether.
I’ve had so many people contact me by phone, email, or text over the years wanting to know all kinds of things about hypnosis. Can hypnosis help verify the factual accuracy of a memory or event? Uncover a truth? Determine for certain whether something did or did not happen? Somehow people are convinced that this one missing piece or obscured detail would give them answers, put the past to rest, spontaneously dissolve their presenting issue(s) and restore them to a state of inner peace and their lives to a state of order.
Yes, hypnosis is considered the gateway to the subconscious – and yes, in a deeply relaxed, heightened state of focus, your mind can pull up all kinds of things the conscious mind altogether ignores or glosses over. You may remember things you had long since forgotten or completely random things that may or may not seem significant. However, is not the verification of facts that is of “therapeutic value,” but rather the deeper understanding of how and why one perceives something as s/he does.
The role of hypnosis is not to sort out fact from fiction, but rather to get at the root of why you think, feel, or behave in ways that dishonor, disempower or misrepresent the authentic self. Even more importantly, the value of hypnosis is to help one adjust or replace these thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors so they are in better alignment with the authentic self. In a way, it’s like trying to uncover (or rediscover) the person or soul beneath the rubble of trauma or dysfunction.
Let’s take this a bit further and explore the meaning of the word memory and the role memories play in hypnosis. A memory is a perception influenced by attitudes, experiences, knowledge, stage of development, etc. It is NOT reality itself, but rather an interpretation. Bear with me.
If hypnosis is based on the belief that most of our current struggles are deeply rooted in childhood experiences (which we come to know through “memories”) – then wouldn’t it make sense to use hypnosis to revisit an earlier life event? To explore how the child version of you “remembers” or “interprets” life through his/her lens? How it made you feel, think, react, or behave? Wouldn’t it then make sense to ask the current, adult version of you to interpret this through a more mature and worldly lens – the lens of wisdom, knowledge, and resourcefulness? Because, YES, the answers are within you – which is one of the hallmarks of hypnosis.
There is so much depth and value to hypnosis – and my silent prayer is that those who stand the most to gain from this modality will continue to educate themselves and embrace the overarching principle of hypnosis, self-awareness and self-empowerment.
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