I recently recorded a webinar where I spoke a bit about my training within Cognitive Hypnotherapy, one of the big reasons why is because I get so many questions and messages either telling me or warning me just how unbiblical hypnotherapy is.
And it makes me laugh because it seems that most alternative practices that are now embraced within the Christian community were once held up as “not of God”, EFT and mindfulness springs to mind and I even had someone take the time to leave a comment on my blog post to tell me that vision boards are satanic. Really???
Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely quite a few alternative practices that I would personally stay away from especially if they tell me that they’re calling on spirits to heal etc but actually hypnotherapy and let me add, Cognitive hypnotherapy isn’t one of them.
And I get it, I really do. Before I had experience for myself I would definitely have stayed well away from hypnotherapy. It took me 5 years of praying, seeking and asking to take such a bold step that I knew would generate so much controversy. It would have been so much easier if I had gone down one of the lines that were already paved but hey God knows why.
So I want to answer a few points raised as found on “Got Questions” around Christians and hypnosis.
1. Hypnosis/hypnotism makes you lose control.
The first thing to point out is that they are not talking about hypnotherapy but more “hypnosis” and hypnotism as they see it. During the course of my Cognitive Hypnotherapy training, I have never lost control of my reasoning or will not even once. One of the main reasons why is because you are WIDE awake. In fact, one of the main differences between Cognitive Hypnotherapy and traditional hypnotherapy is the belief that deep trance is not needed for change to take place. As such studying Cognitive Hypnotherapy has actually made me more aware of who I am and what beliefs belong to me and what beliefs belong to other people that I may have taken into myself as my own. Plus, you can be sure that I am definitely on the lookout for anything that smells like it’s not from God. In a funny roundabout way, it’s made my faith walk stronger because it’s helped me understand where the voices of fear and doubt have come from and what to do about them. I find it an extremely practical way of bringing down any thoughts that are not of God.
2. It makes you yield up your control to another human being
Hmmmm this point is about willingly giving our control over to someone else and how the only person who we should yield control over is God. It makes me wonder how many times in our lives have we given control over to others or felt/acted out of control. Honestly ask yourself how many times you have done this in your everyday life, where you have let even just the thought of someone influence you to such an extent that you feel or act like out of character or lose control. Did they swing a wristwatch in front of your face and say “you are feeling very sleepy?” I highly doubt it. Yet you “yielded up your control” over to them. I say this to show that this has nothing to do with the hypnotist/hypnotherapist and more to do with our subconscious mind taking over. People say that your subconscious/unconscious mind is active 90% of the time which means that you are actually in control the 10% of the time when you are focused, paying attention and mindful. During that 90% of the time, it is better to ask the question of WHO is in control then, and the answer would be all the people whose beliefs and thoughts have been implanted in your mind since you became aware that 1 + 1 = 2. The truth is “hypnosis” happens around us all the time, every day mostly without us even realising it. In fact, the word for hypnosis is found in the Bible and in one instance it’s used to describe the “trance” that Believers are in because they are wrapped up in the cares of the world.
3. Hypnosis leads to an altered state of consciousness
Yes, that’s true but no it isn’t. It’s true because it does. It accesses the 90% of the part of your mind that we call the subconscious/unconscious mind but we access it naturally throughout the day anyway. Think of being engrossed in a really good book or watching something on TV, daydreaming or having your mind drift away whilst washing up or driving, this same state is even accessed during prayer and meditation (yes it happened to people in the Bible too). It happens even when we don’t think it’s happening and that’s why things like subliminal messages and embedded commands work. How do you think advertising works? Why do you think music sticks so easily in our mind? Most of the time we are wide open and absorbing all kinds of things from the world around us and integrating them into ourselves and this is exactly HOW the enemy works and plants seeds. You don’t have to be asleep to be in a trance, because we can be wide awake and it’s already happening and we’re living our life believing the trance we are in. I speak about how the word hypnosis is used in the Bible to illustrate this point in the webinar I mentioned above.
4. Hypnotism is often promoted as a simple way of “refocusing” ourselves and finding the answer within us.
I’m not sure if the writers are referring to hypnotism as they say because this has not been my experience of Cognitive Hypnotherapy at all. Cognitive Hypnotherapy has helped me to let go of things that have been stopping me on my journey of being ALL that God has created me to be. Because we’ve been in a trance for most of our lives from our formative years it’s no wonder how easy it is for us to believe those lies that result in depression, anxiety, insecurity, low self-esteem, poor confidence etc. Isn’t it God who said that He didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind?
And to be honest, that’s why I also decided to get into it, I believe that Cognitive hypnotherapy is a great opportunity to a) help reverse the original trance they were placed in through indoctrination b) see how awesomely they have been created in the first place and understand how the mind works and c) point them back to the One who created them that way.
5. Many of the techniques used in hypnosis are shared by mystical, philosophical, and religious systems
I haven’t come across any of those yet and I’m only two months from qualifying. What I do know and have seen is that Cognitive hypnotherapy comes from a wide range of evidence-based approaches including CBT, Cognitive Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Gestalt Therapy and NLP amongst others. The type of hypnotherapy we use is based on understanding how we create our reality through our thinking, beliefs and words – no more, no less. Does that mean that there are not hypnotherapists out there that integrate other techniques into their practice? Of course, there are, and THAT is where discernment is needed. Like most things, if all the Christians stay away from something then obviously there’s going to be a higher prevalance of non-faith-aligned techniques bolted on and labelled as something.
When I explain Cognitive Hypnotherapy to people they say “well, it doesn’t sound like hypnosis” but my question is, do they really know what hypnosis or hypnotherapy is or do they only think they know?
In it’s purest form, hypnotherapy was birthed through observing how individuals use verbal and non-verbal language to shape and create their own reality and then using suggestions to fix the problem. Can this be used for ill as well as good? Absolutely. It depends on the person who’s practising: their skill, personality type and belief system. Yet there needs to also be an awareness that we are being hypnotised every day, both by others and also by ourselves without our knowledge or permission. Politicians speak about hearts and minds all the time, this isn’t just words, they know how to speak to the hearts and minds of people.
I honestly believe that Cognitive Hypnotherapy is an approach that can be easily aligned with Christian faith and that’s why I am so passionate about using it in a way that honours God and respects, empowers and heals people.