I call it the chicken question. It’s nearly always there in new clients’ minds and I’m not the only one who has to deal with it. I have a friend who practises as a hypnotherapist on the South coast. Stage hypnosis shows are very popular in his area. He experiences a lot of resistance to hypnotherapy from people who have seen them. They genuinely believe that a hypnotherapist will make them cluck like a chicken. Or bark like a dog. Or even burst into song in the middle of Waitrose (I told you he lives on the South coast).
A hypnotherapist will not make you do any of these things. A hypnotherapist cannot make you do any of these things. No-one can make you do anything under hypnosis that you don’t want to do. Read that sentence again – it really does bear repeating. And if you haven’t inwardly digested it then read it one more time.
Stage hypnotists have developed the skill to very cleverly identify those audience members who are happy to make an exhibition of themselves. Under the influence of hypnosis they can easily persuade these people to act the fool for the entertainment of others. They go to see the show in the full knowledge that volunteers will go up on stage and do odd things. Then they volunteer – the hypnotist isn’t going to have a lot of difficulty getting them to bark or cluck or quack.
Hypnotherapists, on the other hand, are skilled at using the hypnotic trance state to help our clients to bring about changes that they desire. We help people who are stuck in some way to change their behaviour and move on. By doing this we help people to build confidence, to change unwanted habits or to handle unpleasant feelings. We aim to make people’s lives better. To do anything else would be morally and ethically unacceptable.
So no – I will NOT make you do anything you don’t want to do. I will not make you cluck like a chicken. Even if you ask me to!