A Real Clinical Hypnotherapist Reacts to Ben Affleck's "Hypnotic": Fact or Fiction?

Friday, May 12th, 2023 : Read 1,894 Times : 1508 words (Aprox 7 min read)

A Fast-Paced Thriller with a Psychological Twist... But is it Really About Hypnosis?

Ben Affleck's latest movie, "Hypnotic," has recently been released and is sure to be a hit. The film follows Detective Daniel Rourke (Affleck), who is searching for his missing daughter when he realizes that her disappearance may be connected to a string of unusual bank robberies.

Rourke witnesses a mysterious man manipulating innocent strangers into pulling off a bank robbery with nothing but a few muttered words.

As he races against time to find his daughter, viewers are taken on an intense journey of psychological manipulation and suspense. Soon, he engages the stranger — called a "hypnotic" for his ability to psychically manipulate the minds of others — who creates an ever-shifting altered reality.

But what does this thrilling story have to do with real-life hypnosis?

My name is Michael Stevenson, I'm a Certified Master Clinical Hypnotherapist and a Certified Master Trainer of Hypnotherapy with 25 years of experience.

As a practitioner of hypnosis in the real world, I was curious to see what this movie was all about. So my wife Kayla and I went to see it on opening night.

"Hypnotic" Movie: A Hypnotherapist's Take

The first thing to point out is that this movie actually has nothing at all to do with hypnosis or hypnotists.

The plot is actually about a group of psychics who can manipulate the inner minds of others.

They do so by using psychic abilities to create what's called a "construct" in the mind of their victims, which they then trigger with a few words.

While these people are called "hypnotics," they are not using hypnosis, nor anything related to hypnosis, in the movie.

Throughout the movie, these hypnotics cause people to do things against their will and even inflict harm on themselves.

Could a person do these things with real hypnosis?

Let's start with some basics: What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a state of heightened focus and absorption, usually coupled with relaxation, in which the subconscious mind becomes open to suggestion. [See What's it Like to Be Hypnotized, below]

Hypnotherapists use this technique to help people access inner resources, such as strength, motivation, creativity, and insight, or to more effectively address and resolve issues like anxiety and stress management.

It's important to remember that hypnosis is not about control or manipulation of another person’s will. The hypnotist does not have any special powers over the person in trance. Instead, it is all about working with the client's inner resources to achieve desired results.

It's clear that the movie "Hypnotic" bears little resemblance to real-world hypnosis.

While it may be exciting to watch onscreen, hypnosis should always be approached with respect and caution, as it is a powerful tool for accessing the subconscious mind.

Nobody has done more damage to the reputation of hypnosis and to people's understanding of this powerful human skill than Hollywood.

Starting all the way back in 1931 with the film Svengali — where the main character falls in love with a young girl and uses hypnosis to seduce and control her — the industry has mischaracterized hypnosis in trashy movie after trashy movie, portraying it as a form of manipulation.

The fact is, all hypnosis is "self-hypnosis."

Even when a hypnotherapist leads someone through a trance state, it is the client making the changes, not the hypnotherapist. Hypnosis does not allow anyone to control another person (if it did, the governments of the world would have put it in place long ago to control the masses).

Instead, it allows the hypnotherapist to guide the client to making their own internal changes using the power of their own subconscious mind.

The Most Important Prime Directive of the Subconscious Mind

The number one most important job of the subconscious mind is protection and preservation of self. This means that the mind is always trying to make sure its owner remains safe, and it will work fervently to protect the mind and the body from harm.

Since its primary function is preservation or protection, most of the things shown in the movie of people mindlessly crashing cars and killing themselves are simply not based in fact.

On top of that, the subconscious mind is highly-moral. It's where your values come from, and if a hypnotist or hypnotherapist were to give a suggestion that goes against a person's values, that person would either reject the suggestion or come out of trance completely.

Is Hypnosis Real?

Yes, hypnosis is very real, and everyone can be benefit from its use!

It's an altered state consciousness that has been used for centuries and can be beneficial in many ways. It allows access to the subconscious mind, which is not available during a normal waking state. This makes it useful for changing limiting beliefs as well as to people make positive changes in their lives.

Contrary to the popular belief that hypnosis is some "new aged" thing created by "hippies" and spiritual people, modern hypnotherapy has its roots in medicine and actually predates modern psychology.

The modern form of hypnosis (greek for "nervous sleep") was created by James Braid, MD, a British medical doctor. It has been used throughout time by other notable medical doctors including James Esdaille, Hippolyte Bernheim, William and Charles Mayo (founders of the Mayo Clinic), Milton H. Erickson, Norman Cousins, and Sigmund Freud, among many others.

Freud, an Austrian neurologist, was interested in learning hypnosis for the treatment of hysteria (now called PTSD). He attended the very first institute of hypnotherapy, The Nancy School of Hypnotherapy, in Nancy, France. He later credited hypnotherapy as an inspiration for his invention of psychoanalysis.

Hypnotherapy has an extensive scientific background and, contrary to popular belief, is scientifically validated and proven.

What's it Like to be Hypnotized?

Most people mistakenly believe that they will become "zombies" who blank out and do whatever the hypnotist says. These misconceptions come from bad Hollywood movies and comedy stage hypnosis show that are put on for entertainment.

In actuality, the hypnotic trance state is a very pleasant state of hyper-focus, usually accompanied by relaxation. People have varying subjective experiences of what trance feels like, but universally people describe a sense of peace, calm, and centered expansiveness.

You don't actually "blank out" or "lose time" at all in hypnosis. In sessions, most people report that they were very focused on the hypnotherapist's voice and could hear every word.

Afterward, the changes that they desired come easily and effortlessly, and often without any conscious thought or willpower at all.

People use hypnotherapy for everything from quitting bad habits, like smoking or overeating, to releasing intense fears (heights, flying, closed space, animals, bugs, public speaking, and more), to improving confidence, motivation, and performance in all areas of life.

The best way to know what it's like to be hypnotized is to try it! While a session with a hypnotherapist can cost several hundred dollars (and worth every penny), you can try hypnosis for free with my recorded hypnotherapy sessions at www.TranceOut.com.

I have free sessions available for stress relief, stop texting while driving, and easing grieving of a loved one, and premium sessions for nearly 60 other topics for $50 each (currently on sale for $17 /ea).

Want to Learn Hypnosis?

Hypnotherapy is a specialized field, and it takes specific training to become certified.

Transform Destiny's three-day training certification programs provide comprehensive training for individuals looking to become certified hypnotherapists.

Through the coursework provided in this program, participants will gain an understanding of the fundamentals of hypnosis and how it works within a therapeutic setting.

They will also learn how to effectively use hypnotic techniques to assist clients in achieving their goals. Additionally, they'll learn powerful hypnotic tests that can be used to assess client progress and measure success with hypnosis therapy.

By completing this coursework, participants will acquire the skills needed to practice hypnotherapy professionally from their own home or office and even potentially build an income off of it.

With successful completion of the course, graduates will receive a certificate in Clinical Hypnotherapy which recognizes them as experienced practitioners ready to help others reach new heights with hypnosis.

The comprehensive training covers topics such as what hypnosis is (and isn't), powerful hypnotic tests, how to help people with weight loss, smoking, releasing fears, building motivation, and much more.

If you're looking for a fulfilling career that has the potential to make you an impressive income, then hypnotherapy may just be the right fit for you. Transform Destiny's training program is designed to give you all of the skills and knowledge necessary so you can help others achieve success with hypnotherapy.

Visit the Learn Hypnosis... At Home! training page

Visit the Learn Hypnosis... Live! training page


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