Does Hypnosis Actually Work?

This is a hilarious question, and my guess about its origin is that it’s based on a perception of hypnosis like it’s presented in cartoons. When hypnosis is used in comics, it enables the “hypnotist” to control the subject. If you think that when hypnosis is “working,” you have total control over an individual, you are on the right track asking that question because, NO, it doesn’t work that way.

Another aspect could be stage hypnotists (if you have read other answers, you will know that stage hypnotists are responsible for many misunderstandings about hypnosis). When you make hypnosis a show, you have to entertain the audience, and one way of doing this is to show some hypnotic phenomena. If you are questioning whether these are true, the answer is yes. By using hypnosis, your mind can make potatoes taste like apples. Your mind can also let you experience that you cannot control your body with your consciousness.

So the phenomena are natural, but you must understand that they are not forced into the subject by the hypnotist. The hypnotist merely suggests that the unconscious mind is free to act upon. Whether or not the unconscious mind will act upon the suggestion will depend on many factors, including the beliefs and values of the subject. It may look like the hypnotist is in control, but the absolute power is within the subject.

There is also the question of whether hypnosis works for a particular problem, and there are many anecdotes about the effect of hypnosis. However, it’s very different if hypnosis will be the effect after just one treatment or if several are needed, and the success greatly depends on the hypnotist. It’s not evidence that hypnosis doesn’t work for a particular problem if you only try one treatment at one hypnotist!