To continue this occasional series, I thought I’d touch on a common misperception about hypnosis. It’s the idea that the subject must be so weak-willed that they are overcome by the hypnotist and subject to their will and the suggestions or thoughts implanted by hypnosis. I’m not going to discount that this than can happen, I can only draw from my own experiences and how they relate to me.
At the outset I’ll state that despite session amnesia I have a fair inkling if a thought, idea or concept I am thinking about has surfaced from the sub-conscious as a result of something suggested or planted under hypnosis. Also, I admit that there may well be some thoughts for which I don’t recognise the source to some degree, but these will be minor things. No more than asking the question; is a thought triggered from an overheard conversation actually yours, or belonging to those other people ?
Am I not worried about this ? Is someone taking control of my thoughts and turning me in to a zombie ?
Well, that’s the myth, isn’t it ?
My stance and clear response to this came during a recent hypnosis session and continued to be refined afterwards.
Her actual words were hazy but the theme was not a new one. She reiterated a suggestion that she can plant thoughts and suggestions such that they become mine.
The conscious mind is usually a side-lined spectator during hypnosis, spinning tractionless on whatever takes it’s fancy. Here, it was as if the sub-conscious said “here you go, this one’s all yours”.
I have an analytical mind, it is always seeking root causes and this was an assertion it was best placed to analyse.
My mind, comprising both conscious and sub-conscious is unique, as is everyone else’s. No one can replicate or control the processes by which my individual mind thinks. When its given a problem or concept to process and understand it is in full control of that process. For an idea planted as an hypnotic suggestion to gain traction it has to pass the sniff test of the ego. Is it right or good ? Is it compatible with my own morality ? Is it compatible with my sense of self ?
These are concepts that are part of my core which is below the level at which hypnosis applies.
Undoubtedly I’ll have some bias towards reaching the conclusions she wants me to, but that’s far from being a given. Sometimes I’ll reject them and at other times I’ll reach an interpretation she doesn’t expect.
If you’re led down the path of wondering if you’re in control of your own thoughts, that’s a path to madness and existential crisis. I have no doubts that my mind is my own, the power in her hypnosis is in having the influence to partially set the agenda in getting me to think about new concepts and deciding to accept or reject them.
Whose thoughts are they ? Mine, emphatically, mine !