Saturday, May 27, 2006

Hollywood Hypnosis

Fear #1: It must by like what I see on TV. (Or in the movies.)

I grew up watching Boris Karloff and Vincent Price moviews and while I don't recall seeing hypnosis explicitly portrayed, I definitely saw evil wizards casting spells with mysterious gestures, crystal pendulums, and the seductive monotony of the villian's voice.

Years later, in Telefon, I saw Charles Bronson turn into an assassin when someone whispered a hypnotic trigger over the telephone.

Creepy! And it has no relation to real hypnosis.

Hypnosis is not black magic or brainwashing. It is a naturally occurring state of mind that we pass through repeatedly all day long.

Hypnosis means our subconscious receives a message (suggestion) and begins to act on it without resistance, rejection or interference from the conscious mind.

This happens every time you come to a stop light. Do you consciously think, "Red means stop. I remove my foot from the gas, downshift, apply pressure to the brake, take the car out of gear, adjust my speed so that I come to a stop leaving space between my vehicle and the vehicle in front of me, before reaching the intersection."

Probably not. Your foot just moves.

A friend of mine said, "That's not hypnosis. That's a reflex."

Were you born with driving reflexes? Didn't you learn the behavior consciously at first? Maybe it has been a long time since you first climbed into the driver's seat of a car. Do you remember having to concentrate on every move? You had to practice again and again until you could do it with unconscious ease.

You probably don't remember learning to walk or talk, but that's another example of something you do now - automatically, reflexively, without conscious attention - that you had to learn with effort and practice.

Hypnosis is a tool for accelerating that "unconscious competence" and changing your behavior so that you can do it automatically, without struggling, using willpower, or arguing with yourself.

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