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Josh and I went to a gala with a magician, and I was called on stage as a volunteer for one of the tricks.  (I know, I’ve been having great luck lately getting chosen from the audience, but to be fair, I had a front row seat this time.)

He first had six of us each hold a piece of string with a bolt, and he talked us through a trick where he made my string and bolt swing wildly in a circle even though my hand wasn’t moving.

He excused four of the people from the stage, and then he had two of us sit down on chairs about six meters apart.  He proceeded to hypnotize us, and I felt very strange while I sat in the chair.  He brought me out of it and showed me a bunch of cards, asking me to read what they said.  They were just a jumble of letters.  He would turn the card toward the audience, and they would all laugh, apparently seeing something else.  Then he would show me the card and it was just a jumble of letters that I couldn’t form into words.  Like A-P-P-L-S-O-S-S.

He put us back into a trance, and then he tapped my shoulder, but the other woman felt it.  Then he walked across the stage and touched her nose with the edge of a pack of cards, and I recoiled because I could feel someone touching my face.  (And everyone knows that I hate it when people touch my face.)  He brought us out and told us what had happened.  He was nowhere near me, but I had felt the cards travel down my nose, their edge making my whole face scrunch up.

It was such a strange trick.

I spoke to the magician at the end of the night, and he mentioned that I was very susceptible to hypnosis; that I went into that state so easily.  It made me wonder if it would be worth going to a professional hypnotist — a therapist who incorporates hypnotism into their work — to get over some of my fears.  I would love to live without some of my more annoying fears (like, I don’t know, fear of flying), but I’m also afraid of hypnosis itself.

It’s one thing to be in a room with hundreds of other people, participating in a magic trick.  It’s another to be alone in a room with someone and trust that they are changing my brain for the better.  What if I emerge with more fears?  I am not great at giving up control, and being in a vulnerable state like that, all alone, would definitely be about giving up control.

Have you ever tried hypnosis to get over a fear?  Did it work?


1 a { 05.24.17 at 9:00 am }

My parents did hypnosis to stop smoking. It (sort of) worked for my mom, but my dad just switched to smoking OPs (other people’s).

2 Cristy { 05.24.17 at 9:44 am }

So what makes someone more suspectable to hypnosis? I’m curious because I wonder if it’s universal or can change. Meaning it’s possible to be at a stage where one is open to hypnosis and change while at other times not so much. Or is it circumstance? Were you more open because of the situation, but wouldn’t be one-on-one? So many questions. Curious to here what you decide

And did you ever figure out what was written on those cards?

3 Working mom of 2 { 05.24.17 at 9:51 am }

Interesting. I’ve always wondered if I’d be susceptible to that. My gut feeling is no, I would fight it, but who knows. Yeah, I agree, it seems scarier to be in a 1 on 1 situation and give someone control over you.

4 MinnieK { 05.24.17 at 10:22 am }

My therapist used hypnosis to help me with fear/anxiety/flashbacks I was having related to an emergency surgery to deal with a ruptured ectopic. We needed to do one session and I was really surprised about how well it worked. I had done some self-hypnosis and guided meditation over the years, so maybe I primed the pump. (I just made that phrase up. I’m sure you’ve never heard it before.)

5 nonsequiturchica { 05.24.17 at 10:46 am }

Why not try it? What do you have to lose? You could make sure that whomever you see is accredited. What would someone gain by making you fearful of more things? You certainly wouldn’t recommend their services to anyone else.

Found this on hypnosis on Wikipedia: Research by Deirdre Barrett has found that there are two distinct types of highly susceptible subjects, which she terms fantasizers and dissociaters. Fantasizers score high on absorption scales, find it easy to block out real-world stimuli without hypnosis, spend much time daydreaming, report imaginary companions as a child, and grew up with parents who encouraged imaginary play. Dissociaters often have a history of childhood abuse or other trauma, learned to escape into numbness, and to forget unpleasant events. Their association to “daydreaming” was often going blank rather than creating vividly recalled fantasies. Both score equally high on formal scales of hypnotic susceptibility.

6 Kat { 05.24.17 at 11:14 am }

My mom is a licensed hypnotist and has great success rates with her customers. The biggest thing to remember when it comes to hypnosis is that you will NOT do anything you truly do not want to. All hypnosis can do is make suggestions, you are not under anyone else’s control. Like all therapy, hypnotherapy involves a lot of talking, problem solving and coming up with scripts that will help you.

7 Jenn P { 05.24.17 at 11:15 am }

What if you have Josh with you for the hypnosis? Might give you some security. I tried to go under hypnosis to work through some early childhood and past life stuff but I was really uncomfortable with the guy and his office reeked of cigar smoke and cologne.

8 Jill A. { 05.24.17 at 1:16 pm }

I think most people are frightened of the idea of being under someone else’s control. Hypnosis is not like that. Hypnosis is simply another way to learn to control your own brain. It is a tool, not a force. If it was a force, we wouldn’t need torture, brainwashing, interrogation of suspects. They could be hypnotized and it would all be over.

Also, if you find a way to get yourself to a hypnotist, you will be well started on overcoming your fears. You will have learned already to deal with the fear of consulting someone new. That’s a real fear, too.

I enjoyed my hypnotherapy. I still have the tape we made to ease into a relaxed state and still use what I learned there. I found it well worth while. Good luck, Mel!

9 Middle Girl { 05.24.17 at 9:44 pm }

I have never done it but am fascinated by the workings of it. If you decide to go ahead with hypnosis, I hope it works.

10 dubliner in deutschland { 05.26.17 at 5:26 am }

wow this is so interesting. I would definitely consider it but like you I also hate the idea of being totally vulnerable like that. I have watched some shows by Derren Brown who does lots of hypnosis and it really is incredible.

11 loribeth { 05.27.17 at 9:23 pm }

I have never been hypnotized myself, but very early in our relationship, dh & I went with another couple to see a hypnotist’s show. He would call for groups of volunteers and get them to do certain things, gradually winnowing the group down to a few people. The other guy with us, K., volunteered early on… the hypnotist put his group into a trance, supposedly, and then told them to clasp their hands & try to pull them apart. “You cannot pull them apart, no matter how hard you try,” he said. K.’s hands just fell to his sides & he looked at them with this bewildered expression. Everyone cracked up, and I still laugh when I think about it. I guess he just wasn’t susceptible enough. 😉 I say give it a try!

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