This is another misconception fuelled by Hollywood fiction and ridiculous TV and stage shows.
Those of us who grew up watching Paul McKenna might think otherwise; it seems as if he had total control over the participants on the stage as they clucked like chickens or danced with broomsticks.
But this isn’t mind control. It’s the power of suggestion, combined with emotional intensity and absorption.
Before the cameras rolled, McKenna – like any stage hypnotist – would have tested the audience for their ‘hypnotisability’. He would have chosen only those that passed the tests. In other words, people who were highly hypnotisable.
The fact is that some people are better at hypnosis that others; McKenna would work with people who…
- were highly suggestible
- had a very good imagination
- were probably extroverted so didn’t mind making a fool of themselves
- didn’t want to spoil the show so would go along with anything he suggested
It made for great TV. Of course, expectation plays a huge part in this as well. If you’re going to a hypnosis show you expect that there’s a good chance you’re going to be hypnotised.
So, can a hypnotherapist control your mind? Not without your permission.
That being said, take a look at the next question: is hypnosis dangerous?