The 2017 movie thriller, ‘Get Out’, shows the principal character, Chris, being hypnotised by his girlfriend’s mother, Missy, as she stirs a cup of tea, v-e-r-y slowly.  If you’ve never seen a cup of tea being stirred menacingly, this is it!  Later in the film we see Chris going back into his trance whenever he sees and hears the tea being stirred.  Other characters also seem to be in a permanent state of trance until a flash camera accidentally brings them out.  Then the real fun starts!

This misrepresentation of hypnosis makes for good entertainment but is very misleading. People can’t generally be hypnotised against their will, and equally can’t be taken back into trance against their will by stirring a cup of tea.  Sadly, some people are put off hypnosis because they think they’ll lose control, or make a fool of themselves, or blurt out something they shouldn’t, none of which is true.

Hypnosis is simply focusing on a single idea, allowing yourself to use your imagination.  Almost everyone has experienced hypnosis, while daydreaming, or whilst focusing on an activity to the exclusion of everything around you.  Hypnosis is usually undertaken in a relaxed state, though active hypnosis is also possible.  (If you find this hard to believe, have you ever found yourself exercising on a machine or driving somewhere, and not noticing the time passing or which route you took, because you were replaying something in your mind that happened earlier that week, or thinking about your next holiday plans?)

So why do we need hypnotherapists?  A hypnotherapist is trained to help you to go into hypnosis easily and quickly so you can resolve your issue, or try out a new approach in your imagination.  A good hypnotherapist will also teach you to be able to self-hypnotise, so you learn to do it when you need to.  More importantly, a good hypnotherapist will help diagnose what is causing your issue, can develop a treatment plan with you and during the hypnosis can give you positive suggestions to help you deal with your issue.