The way it’s portrayed in the movies, hypnotism involves a kooky therapist waiving a pocket watch back and forth in front of a patient, repeating the phrase, “You are getting very sleepy!” The patient falls into a trance, and does whatever the doctor says. This is yet another example of things you can’t believe on TV.
Despite the fact that Hypnos is the Greek word for sleep, hypnosis actually has nothing to do with sleeping. Sleep requires eyes to be closed, hypnosis does not. Common assumptions are that hypnosis is a game, a nap, or a sort of pseudo-science. However, it’s more of an enhanced state of focus and heightened suggestibility used for self-healing, pain, and health problems.
Kids can also be hypnotized. They are naturally imaginative, therefore it is easier for them to slip in and out of a trance. Most kids respond well to hypnosis treatment for behavior problems and bad habits.
Therapists generally don’t hypnotize their patients using just a watch. There are many ways to help a patient fall in and out of hypnosis.
“Hypnotists use a variety of techniques to help people go into hypnosis. There are verbal and non-verbal methods, visual fixation, confusion techniques and on and on,” wrote Paul Ramsey, board certified hypnotist and professional instructor, on a message board.
Hypnotism can cure many conditions, from mental disorders to bad habits. One thing it can’t cure is the inaccuracy of movies!
[Sources: Quora.com; North Carolina Society of Clinical Hypnosis]