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Hypnosis -- Scary or Exciting?

By Danika Good
On February 3, 2016

Photo by Lindsay Dahl


OTTAWA--During Chris Jones’ hypnosis show on campus last Tuesday, many students and staff experienced it first-hand.

Unfortunately, many people make assumptions about hypnosis based on what they see on a stage, creating feelings of skepticism and hesitation. So, for all you skeptics out there, your peers are here to tell you what hypnosis is really like.

The show started by having everyone with closed eyes and hands out in front of them. He told the audience to imagine there was a helium balloon in one hand and a rock in the other, and to feel their hands rise and fall with the objects.

At this moment, Jessi Gunnels, senior, knew she was hypnotized. Jones eventually told everyone to go to sleep, and the ones who had fallen victims to his hypnosis fell into a sleeping slump.

It is typical for entertainment hypnotists to "weed out" participants this way. While most people can be hypnotized, not everyone will allow themselves to be hypnotized in a public setting.

“The worst part was feeling out of control, and for those that know me, that was difficult,” said Sydnee Krueger, Student Activities Coordinator.

While this is a typical response to hypnosis, the truth is, you actually do have control over what you do while hypnotized.

Myth: You can be hypnotized to do things against your will.

Fact: According to the National Association of Hypnotists (yes, that is real), it is very difficult to get someone under hypnosis to do something they normally would not do. They are, however, more open to suggestion. A part of the subconscious monitors what is being done and prevents participants from doing anything that goes against ethical and moral standards.

“Being hypnotized was like being in one of those sleeps where you can hear everything going on around you, but still so deeply asleep you don't wake up,” Gunnels said. “Oh, and you don't have much control over your body. I remember during the beginning phases of hypnosis I had an itch on my face and could not get my hand to lift up to my face.”

“It felt like a mix of dreams jumbled as one until I woke up and realized it actually happened,” said Jsaquan Alexander-Riley, junior. "I only remembered I was [hypnotized] because of all the people around me asking questions, but during it, I didn’t know I was. If no one asked me a question, I probably wouldn’t have known I was."

Alexander-Riley’s response is typical of those hypnotized, but Jones specifically told participants that they would not remember anything until they walked out of the building. Truthfully, participants could remember most of what happened, though it appeared to be a dream.

Myth: You won’t remember anything the hypnotist says.

Fact: While people under hypnosis appear to be in a daydream or have a blank stare, some enter a state of extreme focus and listen more carefully. Because their subconscious monitors what happens, they are typically able to remember most of what was said and done while hypnotized.

“I did not remember what had really happened until the next morning, plus a lot of people had made a point to tell me some of the funny things I had said,” Krueger said.

Gunnels and Krueger agreed that the best part about their experience was that Jones told them they would feel as if they had taken a three-hour nap. Alexander-Riley, on the other hand, enjoyed thinking he was Donald Trump for part of the show.

So, what if you are skeptic but are still curious about hypnosis? The people who tried it on our campus said go for it!

But they did caution you to remember that it is in good fun, and it is best if you don’t mind a little attention and minor embarrassment.

Is hypnosis for you? Now it’s your turn to decide.

Information taken from the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association



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