ABSTRACT

When I was a 19-year-old undergraduate student studying psychology, I had an exciting opportunity to attend my first workshop on the topic of clinical hypnosis. I grabbed that opportunity with both hands! It was open to both students and professionals, and I was more than a little curious about the topic. Up to that point, the only times I’d ever seen hypnosis performed was in movies and television shows where it was consistently portrayed negatively as a scary form of mind control. In virtually every example of hypnosis I’d ever seen, people were apparently subjugated to the will of the invariably evil hypnotist. Under the hypnotist’s malevolent control, it seemed, they were either compelled to commit crimes or act silly, depending on the whims of the hypnotist. From exposures such as these, I skeptically wondered what possible therapeutic value hypnosis could have. Intuitively, though, it made sense to me that if you could influence people for worse, it should be equally possible to influence them for the better. I went to that workshop carrying the weight of a thousand questions.