Over the years since becoming a hypnotherapist, I have occasionally had fellow Christians ask me questions along the lines of: ‘Is hypnosis compatible with being a Christian?’ ‘How can you be a hypnotherapist and a Christian?’
I understand these questions. If you’d told me 20 years ago that I would change career and retrain as a hypnotherapist, I would have thought you were out of your mind. I shared the concerns and misunderstandings that some Christians, and indeed non-Christians, sometimes have.
Is hypnosis about emptying your mind?
Sometimes Christians worry that in hypnosis, you somehow empty your mind and leave it open to evil influences. This is not what happens in clinical hypnosis practised by a professionally-trained therapist. In fact, for hypnosis to be effective, you have to focus your mind on thoughts, ideas and images that will be helpful in achieving the outcome you want. Of course, anything can be used unethically, but in my experience, the vast majority of hypnotherapists are caring people, who want to help others have a more fulfilling life.
Is hypnosis a form of mind control?
Another concern is that hypnosis could be used as a form of brainwashing or mind control. Again, this is not what happens in clinical hypnosis practised by a professionally-trained therapist. In fact, hypnotherapy is about empowering the client and enabling them to gain a greater control of their mind. As one famous hypnotherapist said: ‘All hypnosis is self-hypnosis’. The hypnotherapist’s role is to guide the client into hypnosis and help them to use their mind in a positive way to bring about the changes to their thinking and behaviour that they want.
All hypnosis is self-hypnosis
The truth is that hypnosis is a state of mind that we all experience on a daily basis. It’s the state of mind that you go into when you daydream. It’s the state of mind you go into when you’re absorbed in looking at something on your phone, or on TV, or captivated by something you’re reading. You’re so wrapped up in your thoughts and the images you’re looking at that you’re not fully aware of what’s going on around you.
We talk about being ‘tranced or zoned out’. That’s hypnosis. If you’ve ever had the experience of driving a very familiar route, arriving at your destination and having no recollection of the detail of the journey, you’ve been in a hypnotic state. I would also say that, when you’re really caught up and focused in worship or prayer, that too is the same state of mind as hypnosis.
Be careful how you focus your mind
We’re all suggestible and can be open to influence – after all, that’s how advertising works. You certainly do need to guard your mind and be careful what you focus on and think about. God has created our minds with amazing complexity and processes. Hypnosis is part of those processes and taps into the same mental facility as the placebo effect. The placebo effect is so powerful that, if you give someone a pill, which they believe contains medicine to cure them, the body will produce the necessary healing effect, even though the pill has no medicinal content whatsoever. In hypnosis, when you help people to focus on how they can think, feel and behave differently, it can have a very powerful effect on bringing those positive changes into reality.
How hypnosis and faith can work together
When I’m working with a Christian client, our shared faith and spiritual beliefs are central. I will ask God for any words, insights or Bible verses to feed in to sessions. Biblical images and stories are rich sources to include in the hypnosis part of the session. Hypnosis is a wonderful way to reinforce our head knowledge of what the Bible says and transfer it to a deeper, heart knowledge and belief. It is a way to truly meditate on the word of God and to ‘be transformed by the renewing of your mind’, as Romans 12:2 encourages us to do.
How could hypnosis help you?
To find out more about how hypnotherapy could help you, click here to contact me and book a free 30-minute phone consultation.
(Image credit: Mentatdgt, Pexels)