printable article

Originally published October 10 2009

Common Misconceptions Mistaken Hypnosis

by Steve G. Jones, Ed.S.

(NaturalNews) Hypnosis has long been misunderstood due to the negative portrayal of hypnosis as a form of entertainment. Hypnosis can be separated into two very different classes: Clinical hypnosis and stage hypnosis. Clinical hypnosis is used to help people improve themselves and to help make positive change a reality. Clinical hypnosis helps people overcome fears, reduce anxiety, stop smoking, and boost confidence. Stage hypnosis is more like a magic act. The stage hypnotist pre-screens participants who are highly suggestible and will perform well on a stage. Due to the publicity of stage hypnosis, the public tends to have a negative outlook on hypnosis (Mongiovi, 2008).

Many people are skeptical of their ability to be hypnotized, before they ever give hypnotherapy a try. Others are under the impression that the ability to be hypnotized lies in the hands of the hypnotist. However, this is not true. It is the individual's capacity that allows him or her to experience hypnosis. The majority of people fall into the range of moderate hypnotizability. There is a small percentage of the population that is not suggestible at all. Likewise, there are some people who are very hypnotizable; these are usually the kind of people you will see in a stage show.

Another misconception involving hypnosis is the fear that the individual undergoing hypnosis will relinquish all control to the hypnotist. This is not the case, the individual is always in control. Hypnosis is simply a state of consciousness that allows the individual to have a heightened ability to focus and concentrate. Individuals are in control, but they are less critical and more open to suggestion. This is because under hypnosis, the subconscious mind is targeted and the conscious mind is in a sort of sleep mode.

Some people think that hypnotizability has to do with personality or intelligence. No studies have shown a correlation between the ability to be hypnotized and personality and intelligence. However, research has shown that people who have hypnotic-like experiences in their everyday life, are more likely to be hypnotized (Kihlstrom, 2000). People who are very imaginative, visual, and creative tend to be more hypnotizable. Another misconception is the fear of not being able to get out of the hypnotic state. Hypnosis is a natural state that is easy to get in and out of because it is simply a state of heightened concentration (Byrne).

Due to the great deal of research on the topic of hypnotherapy, it is now known that it has many benefits outside the field of entertainment. Although misconceptions are common, with education people are realizing the full scope and benefits that hypnosis has to offer.


Byrne, P. Hypnosis misconceptions. Retrieved on October 2nd, 2009:

Kihlstrom, J.F. (2000). Hypnosis and health. Retrieved on October 2nd, 2009:

Mongiovi, J. (2008). Hypnosis myths and misconceptions. Retrieved on October 2nd, 2009:

About the author

Steve G. Jones, Ed.S. has been practicing hypnotherapy since the 1980s. He is the author of 22 books on Hypnotherapy. Steve is a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, American Board of Hypnotherapy, president of the American Alliance of Hypnotists, on the board of directors of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Lung Association, and director of the Steve G. Jones School of Clinical Hypnotherapy.
Steve G. Jones, Ed.S. is a board certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. He has a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Florida (1994), a master's degree in education from Armstrong Atlantic State University (2007), and is currently working on a doctorate in education, Ed.D., at Georgia Southern University. Learn more at:

All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing LLC takes sole responsibility for all content. Truth Publishing sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. For the full terms of usage of this material, visit