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Hypnosis And The Media Misconceptions

When you see a hypnotist portrayed in a movie, the script was presumably not written by a professional hypnotist, but rather by a writer who is calling upon his own interpretation of hypnosis. Presumably, that interpretation has been fed over the years by misconception. The product of his script continues to perpetuate that misconception. And so on it goes. It becomes a self propelling cycle of misinformation. As for the media, we can’t really expect to see or read stories about the successes of clinical hypnotherapy.

There’s no media value to such a story. It isn’t sensational and it doesn’t merit a space in the newscast. We already know that media is fundamentally a business, and that producers have a mandate to achieve a certain readership level, and therefore choose their features based on what they know will get ratings. They have to be selective about the angle they choose to feature. This is true of any news story or subject, and hypnosis is no exception.

It’s an unfortunate reality in society that we feed on bad news and negativity, and drama. So what you see in the media is the sensationalism, and the burden of reporting factually on clinical hypnotherapy is left to those of us who know the difference, because everyone else is happy to believe what they hear. We’ve come a long way, no doubt about it. But the dated impressions certainly continue to prevail. While both stage hypnosis and clinical hypnosis continue to build in popularity, clinical hypnosis does not elicit the same kind of mainstream media attention as stage hypnosis does. Entire campaigns are conceived to promote the theatrical effects of stage hypnosis. That’s the purpose, to entertain. But clinical hypnotherapy doesn’t elicit that kind of attention because it’s not at all newsworthy, or dramatic, or sensational. It isn’t intended to awe an audience. Therefore it fades in the background and fails to make its essence understood, except to those who make an effort to find out.

The ongoing lack of awareness, lack of knowledge, or education on the subject is often evident in my therapy sessions. I usually investigate my client’s starting point before I proceed with their therapy. I like to assess their interpretations when they come to me, to identify what their expectations or fears may be. That way I know exactly where I have to start from, how many myths I have to dispel, how much foundation work I have to do before we can really proceed with therapy.


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