Maybe you’ve read an article about the wonders of hypnosis: how it can eliminate negative habits like smoking and overeating; boost performance in sports, career, and artistic endeavors; help people sleep, let go of fears like public speaking, improve the odds of conception, and even make childbirth easier.

It seems like there’s nothing hypnosis can’t do-and no one who shouldn’t be using it, right?

But that’s not altogether true.

There are a few people for whom hypnosis is not advised for a variety of reasons, and others who might just want to think twice about making an appointment with a practitioner. Are you one of them? Find out now:

-Are your expectations unrealistic?

You may have heard that hypnosis can change your life. It can. And sometimes, yes, it feels like magic. But it isn’t magic. And it requires willingness and a bit of effort on your part-particularly in knowing what you want it to do for you, how you’ll know it worked (what specific, tangible results you expect), and in being willing and able to follow instructions.

Sometimes homework is assigned to make the hypnotic suggestions real in your life.

For instance, I hypnotize many of my clients for dating and relationship success. I then request that they do some real-world experimentation to assess improvement and where they still need work.

After hypnotizing a client I’ll call Joan to feel as attractive inside as she looked outside, I asked her to attend a large and a small social event and notice how she felt in each. We discovered that she needed more reinforcement to feel confident and desirable in a smaller crowd.

We met for a special session that focused specifically on that circumstance, and I gave her one conscious-mind exercise to do while dressing for her next event.

Today she is happily dating a great guy and still using the exercises we designed for her when she deems them useful.

-Is someone pushing you into using hypnosis?

Don’t waste your time and money on hypnosis if it’s not something you want to do. Do it because there’s something in your life you want to change, enhance, or improve. Do it simply to experience the process. Do it to learn self-hypnosis so you can coach yourself to relax, improve in your sport, open up to others, attract people to date, or do well in a job interview.

Do it because you enjoy new experiences.

Do it because a friend of yours got so much out of his hypnosis session.

Do it because you meditate or use creative visualization, and you heard that hypnosis is similar, but often more powerful.

Do it because it’s cool.

Because you read about it or saw it in a movie.

Do it because your boss stopped smoking through hypnosis and claims it saved his life.

Do it because a film star did it in his personal life and raves about its success.

But don’t do it because someone is pressuring you. It’s the wrong reason and it could taint your experience of something that could be worthwhile in the future.

-Are you unwilling or unable to follow the instructions the hypnotist gives you during the session?

If your personality or worldview is such that you can’t or won’t follow instructions, a hypnosis session could be a waste for you.

It’s okay to be skeptical about hypnosis given the misconceptions of the past (now much of medicine embraces it), but if you are bent on resisting what the hypnotist says, there’s no need to book a session.

The practitioner does not claim to be a magician, wizard, or enforcer. She is trained in a

procedure that works very effectively when you cooperate, and less or not at all when you don’t.

To get optimal results for your hard-earned dollar, be honest, follow instructions, and reap the benefits for years to come.

You may do so well that you choose to learn self hypnosis for maximum autonomy and independence. And wouldn’t that be useful almost everywhere in your life?

-Are you simply trying to prove hypnosis doesn’t work-or doesn’t work on you?

Hypnosis works, if you want it to, and follow instructions, and are working with a practitioner who knows what she’s doing and with whom you feel comfortable. Hypnosis usually doesn’t work if you don’t want it to. (For many people it’s also useful to arrive at the session relatively free of caffeine.)

That’s that. So if you’re coming to prove that you are not hypnotizable, save your money:

You ARE in control.

You CAN keep it from working.

Now use that session fee for something else. There is no need to prove your unhypnotizability further.

However, if you do want to use hypnosis to improve your life, and you’re simply worried that you can’t be hypnotized, and you truly want to, try this: find a good hypnotist you feel comfortable with, be open, ask your questions, share your worries, and then just relax and follow instructions.

-Do you have epilepsy?

In the past, those with epilepsy were strictly advised not to enter the hypnotic state. The reason was that in people prone to epilepsy, hypnosis could conceivably initiate a seizure. This does not happen to people who do not have epilepsy.

Interestingly, Science Digest (online; Feb 15 2008 issue) describes a scenario at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital where they induce hypnosis specifically to determine whether a child’s seizure-like movements are epileptic or non-epileptic. If hypnosis brings on the seizures, the child is considered epileptic.

If you have experienced what appear to be symptoms of epilepsy, and would like to use hypnosis, ask your doctor if it’s okay before proceeding. Ideas about this may vary among the medical field, and it’s important to get the opinion of someone both knowledgeable and trustworthy.

-Are you ready, willing and able?

Go to it. Bring your thoughts, questions, hopes and desires. Enjoy the experience.

To find a reliable professional near you, contact the National Guild of Hypnotists and make use of their free referral service: 603-429-9438 in Merrimack, NH. They will be more than pleased to give you a referral, often by specialty if you ask. ©2008 by Wendy

Lapidus-Saltz. All rights reserved.

Who Shouldn’t Be Hypnotized – Are You Among The Few?