I asked her if she had ever experienced hypnosis before. She said it made her feel uncomfortable. I asked her why it made her feel uncomfortable and she explained what the ‘therapist’ told her:
“He told me to take off my top and cover myself with a towel before lying down on the massage bed. He proceeded to massage me, he said that this will help induce a deeper state of trance. It made me feel very uncomfortable”
There it was right there, the dark side of our industry. Now, some would argue that she could have said no and that she is a grown woman who should know better, but who really knows better when it comes to a hypnotherapy session? Definitely not the first time client who may already be a bit apprehensive toward the use of hypnosis. It think it can be analogous to a child killing someone with a gun because the child did not have any info on how a gun works and what it actually can do. To say that the child should have known better, is ludicrous. From what I could gather from the info she provided, it seems like this ‘therapist’ gained her trust in the first session and then this incident took place in the second session. Of course the third never happened. From the stories I have heard from leaders in the field, this is not uncommon abuse of an authoritative figure’s power. It happens in the industry. This occurrence does not just stain the hypnotherapeutic world, but across all disciplines we will find those with less than good intentions. It is important to acknowledge this without judgement.
Hypnosis works! There are many studies that one can Google that sides with the use of hypnosis. There are also many that says hypnosis is ineffective and one study even claims that hypnosis does not exist. If you are reading this then I have enough faith that you have sufficient computer literacy skills to search for these studies yourself. Hypnosis does not work for everyone. Neither is hypnosis the magical epitome of a therapeutic process. It requires a bigger understanding of life and the interaction of life to apply tools. Hypnosis is no different. There seems to be a misconception that, because we are in a therapeutic modality, it means that only this therapeutic modality is valid. It is a necessity for anyone who uses hypnosis as a therapeutic tool, to be absolutely 100% committed to their craft. This does not mean that we should negate or even belittle other therapists and their methods. The ego can be a tricky companion to have and makes a terrible master, but we need this ego to promote ourselves and our belief in hypnosis. Without our absolute conviction in what we do, we are already planting a seed of doubt in the ability or our amazing tool to grow and flourish amongst the thousands of people who need it.
So what do we say to ‘therapists’ who abuse their position? Do we give them the cold shoulder? Do we name and shame them? Do we go on a vendetta against all who may bring the modality into disrepute? No, we inform the public and hone our skills to perfection. We apply these skills with empathy and professionalism. These ingredients should negate the dark side of the industry and eventually give very little breathing space to those that would think to use their skills for ominous purposes.