In a world where myths often overshadow reality, hypnotherapy is no stranger to skepticism. Many people have encountered objections claiming that hypnotherapy lacks scientific evidence or that it's nothing more than mystical hocus-pocus. However, it's high time we set the record straight and dispel some common myths about hypnotherapy. I've invited Dr. Hamad Shafqat to weigh in on some of these and provide some helpful citations at the bottom for those who need to research it more. Enjoy!
Myth 1: You must be weak-minded to be hypnotized
Contrary to this belief, hypnosis is a natural state experienced by all of us. We slip into similar trance-like states when we daydream, immerse ourselves in a good book, or get lost in our emotions. The strength of your mind has little to do with it. Instead, it's all about cooperation; whether strong-minded or not, anyone can be a good subject if willing to participate. 
Myth 2: Hypnosis can force you to reveal your deepest secrets.
Hypnosis doesn't unlock your deepest secrets against your will.  You can share or withhold information since your mind is fully awake and aware during a hypnotic session. In fact, people are more likely to get creative with the truth rather than spill secrets when under hypnosis. Courts don't accept testimony from witnesses in a hypnotic trance for this reason.
Myth 3: Hypnotherapy robs you of free will.
This myth stems from a misunderstanding of the process. Hypnotherapy is about helping individuals address underlying issues that affect their health positively. During hypnotherapy, your mind remains fully aware and in control. It enters a relaxed, trance-like state where the analytical mind takes a back seat, but your free will remains intact.
Myth 4: Hypnotherapy is mystical or supernatural.
Hypnosis is not otherworldly; it's a natural altered state of awareness. We experience similar states daily without realizing it. Hypnotherapy, on the other hand, is a clinical practice used to treat various mental, emotional, and physical issues. Trained clinicians perform it, which has been recognized as a medical treatment by the American Medical Association since the 1800s. 
Myth 5: Hypnotists control your mind.
In reality, no one can control your mind without your consent. A trained hypnotherapist provides suggestions based on your pre-hypnotic interview and your desires. Your subconscious mind filters these suggestions, ensuring they align with your goals.
Myth 6: Hypnosis is a supernatural or "miracle" cure.
While hypnosis is effective, it's not a one-time miracle. Progress varies from person to person, and wild claims of instant transformation are unfounded. It's a journey of gradual improvement. 
Myth 7: Hypnosis leads to a complete loss of awareness and memory.
Hypnosis isn't unconscious sleep; it actually heightens awareness, concentration, and focus. Most people report enhanced sensory perception during sessions.
Myth 8: Self-hypnosis is better than professional hypnotherapy.
Self-hypnosis can be counterproductive if not taught by a trained professional. It may reinforce negative beliefs, causing more issues in the long run. Hypnotherapy accesses the subconscious mind, while self-hypnosis lacks this precision.
Myth 9: Hypnotists perform embarrassing tricks on you.
This confusion arises from conflating stage hypnotists with therapeutic hypnotherapists. Stage hypnotists entertain by making participants act outlandishly. Hypnotherapists focus solely on therapeutic goals, respecting your boundaries in clinical settings.
Myth 10: Hypnotists use swinging watches.
While some hypnotherapists may use a swinging watch, it's just one of many techniques. Not all hypnotists employ this method, and it's far from the sinister stereotype often portrayed.
It's time to separate fact from fiction regarding hypnotherapy. With its growing recognition as an effective clinical method, hypnotherapy deserves a closer look, free from the misconceptions clouding its true potential.
James, R. (2016, March 3). Hypnosis – dispelling the myths. Roland James Hypnosis. https://www.rolandjameshypnosis.com/hypnosis-dispelling-the-myths/
Shah, N. (2023, August 30). Common myths and misconceptions about hypnosis and hypnotherapy. ICHARS. https://instituteofclinicalhypnosis.com/hypnosis/common-myths-hypnosis/
Williams CHt., P. (2022, August 24). Common myths and misconceptions about hypnotherapy. Advanced Hypnotherapy of Naples. https://advancedhypnonaples.com/common-myths-and-misconceptions-about-hypnotherapy/
Fox Stark, A. (2004). HMI College of hypnotherapy. Hypnosis. https://hypnosis.edu/articles/myths