Hypnosis & Will: Have You Changed Your Mind?

Hypnosis & Will: Have You Changed Your Mind?

Recently, a couple of videos I posted created a tremendous amount of controversy. The videos showed people apparently being hypnotized without their consent–perhaps even against their will. If you haven’t seen the videos yet, take a look…

Hypnosis & Will

Those Videos Changed Minds

When surveyed before watching the videos, the majority of folks said you can’t hypnotize people against their will and in hypnosis, they won’t do anything against their will. After watching the videos, 60% said the opposite–you can hypnotize someone against their will! And 56.7% said you can make someone do something against their will while in hypnosis. 24.1% said that what the videos contained was not hypnosis.

Why Is It Important?

To me, this is a vital question. Most of us were told that you can’t hypnotize someone against their will. If that’s not true, what other things were we misled about with regards to hypnosis?

For me, the study of hypnosis and NLP has always been about getting better. Getting better at helping people, getting better at the techniques, getting better at making my life, and the lives of people around me better. Well, how can we fully use some thing we don’t fully understand? If you want to push the limits of what hypnosis can do, understanding where the limits are is vital.

Some of the comments about the videos were fascinating. There were a lot of thoughtful responses and a couple of strange ones. Here are some of the responses…

Second Survey Responses

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Can a person be hypnotized against their will?
No
Comment: No, but we can hypnotize someone secretly without getting caught using covert hypnotic techniques.

2. Can a person be made to do something against their will in hypnosis?
No
Comment: No, but we can make them do something they would not normally do by utilizing covert hypnosis.

3. What is shown in the videos is not hypnosis!
Disagree
Comment: I’ve study mentalism for many years and I enjoy watching Derren Brown’s performance. Although some of Derren’s routine are performed by magic techniques, I notice that the Russian Scam one was performed by some covert hypnotic techniques like the mirroring technique, the handshake induction, the hypnotic gaze induction…etc. Therefore, I believe that the Russian Scam routine IS hypnosis.

======================

1. Can a person be hypnotized against their will?
No
Comment: The techniques used are confusion techniques and it really has less to do with “will” and more to do with knowledge. To say the subjects were hypnotized or did something against their will infers that that knew what was going to happen, the didn’t want to have it happen, and they were made to do it anyway. That is not the case in either of the videos.

2. Can a person be made to do something against their will in hypnosis?
No
Comment: Yes and No. Again, we must define “will.” Both videos showed people being made to do things that we believe they didn’t “want” to do, but it is not that simple. I do believe you can get someone to do something without their knowledge (the whole point of conversational or covert), but to say it has to do with “will” is not fully accurate. The guy who gave away is belongings was totally confused, and in that instant we believe that he would not have wanted to give them away as he did, but Derren is one of the best at using confusion techniques and NLP (after all, he got the guy to do it twice!). I would still argue that it wasn’t about will, it was about knowledge.
3. What is shown in the videos is not hypnosis!

Disagree
Comment: If Hypnosis is a highly suggestible state (more suggestible than in a normal, conscious state), then what we saw was hypnosis.

======================

1. Can a person be hypnotized against their will?
Yes
Comment: I’ve been taught that you can’t hypnotize anyone against their will, but after watching the videos, it appears that I was wrong. However, in the second video, the hypnotist asks a question and gets an affirmative reply, which could be taken as permission. I personally think that’s going way out there to get that interpretation. Interesting and food for thought.

2. Can a person be made to do something against their will in hypnosis?
No
Comment: There was nothing that threatened the man and woman, nor did it go against any moral codes. Perhaps not in their best interests.

3. What is shown in the videos is not hypnosis!
Agree (I believe this person misread the question)

======================

1. Can a person be hypnotized against their will?
Yes

2. Can a person be made to do something against their will in hypnosis?
Yes
Comment: both questions one and two are subject to the law of the imagination, witch states”when the WILL and the IMAGINATION come into conflict, it is the IMAGINATION that always wins. Will is not in the way if you enter from the imagination the mind is an open door to a dimly lit room with lots of files and push button controls, be careful what you do.

3. What is shown in the videos is not hypnosis!
Disagree
Comment: The marks mind focused on what the leader wants it to be and every thing else fades away….looks like hypnosis by the definitions I’ve seen.

======================

1. Can a person be hypnotized against their will?
No

2. Can a person be made to do something against their will in hypnosis?
No

3. What is shown in the videos is not hypnosis!
Agree
Comment: these videos are complete BS, I mean look at them. Bandler visited this years ago… money and weapons work much better… These videos are so bad to the point that I’m going to unsubscribe from your list because I see that this is a poor marketing attempt by you. Cheers

======================

Read my responses to these comments in Hypnosis & Will–My Responses
Keith

About The Author:

Keith Livingston is the main instructor for Hypnosis 101. Keith has been studying hypnosis since he was a boy and doing hypnosis & NLP training since 1997.

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  1. Pingback: NLP & Hypnosis Blog » Hypnosis & Will Survey–My Responses
  2. 1. Can a person be hypnotized against their will?
    Absolutely not…!!! No person can be hypnotized against their will. Hence before a hypnotherapy session, it’s better that you get regular interaction with your therapist.

    2. Can a person be made to do something against their will in hypnosis?
    No. Never.

    3. What is shown in the videos is not hypnosis!
    Yes it is. Nobody says it as a Hypnosis.

    1. Hi Rona,
      Thanks for posting.
      I would (conditionally) disagree with you. For one, many of us have been trained to tell our clients that hypnosis can’t make a person do something against their will. If that’s not true then we are ethically bound to change what we are saying about it to our clients (at the least).

      Secondly, I think it’s the responsibility of ethical hypnotherapists to explore what’s possible with hypnosis–and what is not. For instance, if someone comes to you to stop biting their nails, why don’t they just stop on their own? There is no addictive substance in nails! Some inner motivation is driving the nail-biting behavior. Some part of them wants to stop and some part doesn’t. So, if we get them to stop, are we acting against the will of the part of them that wants to keep biting the nails? If hypnosis can’t make someone do something against their will, why are we working with habits?

      A lot of folks get very uncomfortable when I bring this subject up. It seems the main line of thought is basically “In my training I learned that hypnosis can’t make somebody do something against their will. I’m going to tell my clients the same thing so they feel safe. I’m going to stick with that story and ignore any evidence to the contrary.”

      Something to think about anyway.

      Keith

  3. Some say that nobody can be made to do anything against their will but will they allow you to hypnotize them?
    Everyone wants to beleive that they control their thoughts and actions but deep down we all know that our will can be influenced and directed and damn well.

  4. Hi Kieth,
    I know people tend to go for the delete button when “the Bible” is mentioned, but please don’t.
    hear me out, and consider something you may never have thought of before.

    I maintain that “the worlds oldest profession” is hypnotism. Satan used nlp and hypno on Adam
    and Eve and started the whole mess of us humans living in a prideful-ego which is one with the
    intelect and if you think you are in total control of your own will, guess again. there may be a few
    of us who are, but rare.(btw, I don’t claim to be one of the rare few, but now that I know this I may
    at least be looking in the right direction?)

    The whole reason I got into hypno is to learn as much as I can to help those I love first and
    foremost. But i’m finding only those who are ready will recieve it. I think the answer actually is
    what amounts to a therepy that is a sort of de-hypno that goes in after the soul and brings it out.
    I think it may involve something like EFT and a type of meditation.

    ask anyone you know who has gotten a tattoo recently if they did it as an act of their own free
    will or was it because they desperatley seek the acceptance and reinforcement of the crowd
    they hang with(“culture slave”)? then just listen to them and judge for yourself. the vast majority
    of us are slaves and in a walking trance.

    well that’s my take and I hope it stirs a little hypno controversy
    thanks,
    john

    1. Hi John,
      I personally don’t see any direct connection between hypnosis and religion at all. As near as I can tell, all religions use what hypnotherapists would categorize as hypnotic elements in their rituals. But so do satanists, I’m sure. Hypnosis and NLP are tools and like a hammer, can be used to build something or tear something down. You can’t say that a hammer is good or evil.

      Free will is a tricky subject. I see a lot of patterns people run that aren’t working for them. We all do a lot of things that aren’t logical. But I don’t think it’s the devil making us do them. That’s a little 14th century for me.
      Keith

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