Is hypnosis “mind control”?

You are in control of your mind at all times during hypnosis, so in this sense, hypnosis is mind control, but is actually self-control.

The American Psychological Association (APA) describes hypnosis as a cooperative interaction in which the participants respond to the suggestions of the hypnotist. Essentially, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis and a hypnotist is merely a guide in the process. You cannot be made to do or say anything against your will by hypnosis. You are aware of what is happening and have the ability to choose to participate or not participate at any time during the process.

Some people develop an impression of a hypnotist as a person who is controlling the mind of someone else based on their experience as an audience member of a stage hypnosis comedy show. In reality, however, the idea of the hypnotist controlling people’s minds in a hypnosis show is part of the illusion that enhances the entertainment value. All stage hypnosis participants are willing volunteers who are aware of the actions they are performing at all times. If it seems they are acting an a silly way, contrary to the way thay might act under normal circumstances, this is because they are so deeply relaxed and focused on the hypnotist’s instructions that they actually experience a loss of critical, self-consciousness that might inhibit that behavior. A good stage hypnotist creates an experience for participants that allows them to be so relaxed and carefree they enjoy being silly and playful without self-judgment. Still, the illusion of the hypnotist having control over the behavior of a group of people lends to the humor and good fun of the event. Unfortunately, this illusion and erroneous depictions in Hollywood films or fiction books also lend support to common misconceptions about what hypnosis actually is.


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