Is Hypnosis Mind Control? Brainwashing?

Question: Erick, what’s your take on Project MK Ultra or Project Monarch, the alleged CIA “mind control” programs.

What is Mind Control?

hypnosis mind control brainwashing skull
Is hypnosis mind control being used in top secret government programs?

Mind control can be defined as a coercive process to get an individual to think or act a certain way by impairing their ability to think independently.

The idea is that it’s possible to manipulate an individual’s thinking, behavior, emotions or decisions through outside sources without their consent or intended cooperation.

This is specifically achieved through indoctrination, removal of choices, physical confinement, drugs, etc.

Is Hypnosis Mind Control?

Hypnosis is NOT “mind control” because it’s not a coercive process.

The typical “man on the street” associates hypnosis with mind control, because that’s how hypnosis is often portrayed in movies.

No wonder so many people have a fear of hypnosis!

The hypnosis induction itself is a joint, cooperative effort between the hypnotist/coach and the subject/volunteer.

During a stage hypnosis show, it appears as if the hypnotist entertainer has an ability to make the hypnotized volunteers do virtually anything.

Of course, this audience perception actually adds to the entertainment value of the performance and makes hypnosis seem all the more mysterious.

The on stage experience of the hypnotized volunteers is actually more like a state of comfortable daydreaming.

They feel good, and they’ve willingly volunteered to experience hypnosis phenomena within certain boundaries. What are those boundaries?

Prior to asking for volunteers, the Stage Hypnotist gives a short pre-talk explaining the myths and misconceptions of hypnosis.

This pre-talk sets the boundaries for the program. The Stage Hypnotist’s opening comments create an “implied contract” about what is going to occur for the volunteers during the hypnosis show.

Usually, the implication is that the volunteers are going to experience some bizarre and unusual hypnotic phenomena, but no moral or ethical lines will be crossed.

If the Stage Hypnotist were to breach the implied contract made with a volunteer, they would generally pop out of the trance state feeling like, “Hey, I didn’t sign up for THIS?!” They could choose to walk right off the stage.

What About Brainwashing and Hypnosis?

People often confuse hypnosis with brainwashing, but they are not related.

Again, the hypnotic trance results from a volunteer who has free will working with a coach to achieve their goals (i.e. lose weight, experience trance phenomena, etc).

On the other hand, brainwashing is the result of removing a person’s free will and limiting their ability to make choices to the point where they cannot discern true “reality”.

Specific brainwashing techniques might utilize confinement, sleep deprivation, torture, and drugs.

Funny That People Assume Hypnotists Know About This Stuff?!

Interestingly, I was not aware of the MK Ultra and Project Monarch programs you’ve mentioned despite being a full-time Professional Hypnotist for over a dozen years. I had to look them up on the internet!

These programs seem to be focused on mind control through coercive physical and mental manipulation, brainwashing, and mind altering substances.

While these might be the focus of clandestine government programs, that’s not the stuff of today’s hypnosis world!


18 comments on “Is Hypnosis Mind Control? Brainwashing?

  1. this is an interesting subject and one which sometimes gives me great angst. what is disturbing to me is the idea that a person in a trance is so able to be mentally manipulated that they can be made to forget their own name, how to count or to read. for example, watching subjects not be able to move their own limbs because they were told that they could not or not being able to move a plastic chair because they were told it weighs 1000 lbs. is not this a form of mind control when one’s perceptions, thoughts and actions can be directed by someone else’s words?

    i would like to think that someone who is of strong will would be able to easily reject these suggestions and not conform to the directions they are given and remember their name, how to count or be able to move their limbs under trance despite being told that they cannot. i would be greatly ashamed and disappointed in myself if i were to lose control over my own faculties and body and unable to function normally due to the mere suggestions of someone else.

    • Working with a Hypnotist is a collaborative effort initiated by the subject. The subject WANTS to experience unique phenomena. The Hypnotist is a coach that shows the subject how to engage their own creative imagination with incredibly strong focus.

      • thanks Erick. i have heard this said many times before but still do not understand it. how is being told that you are not able to do something you have done your whole life and then not being able to do it not a form of control? It seems that it would take a weak mind to not be able to perform simple thoughts or actions simply because of someone’s words.

  2. I was curious about this subject and see that you state they’re unrelated. But, I was actually looking into the idea that if a person is too strong willed for hypnosis and cannot achieve such, how does that play into brainwashing? It was just a curiosity question.

    • It’s a general public misconception that only certain “types” of people can be hypnotized. If I’m seeing clients, everyone who walks through the door is capable of achieving the trance state.

      Fear and resistance become a non-issue, because the client is highly MOTIVATED to make a change. So, we work together to make that happen.

    • Actually no- BRAINWASHING is causing someone to adopt radically deliberate beliefs through systematic, forcible pressure, often done over time.

      HYPNOSIS is NOT a forcible or even a coercive process. It’s two people working together to help the subject achieve their desired results. It would be accurate to say the Hypnotist is acting in the capacity of a coach to help get them there.

    • In my opinion, the answer is, “Yes.” However, it is unethical and requires techniques not employed in standard hypnotherapy, and few practitioners are even aware of them.

      While not a hypnotist, I consider myself to be familiar with hypnotic techniques. I’m a retired forensic medical examiner who has consulted in incidents of sexual manipulation and to help decondition individuals who have been ‘hypnotically violated’.

      Brainwashing can be very subtle, starting with a relaxed consensual hypnotic experience, and then gradually progressing to involuntary relinquishing of free will. In erotic hypnosis, sometimes referred to as recreational hypnosis, hypnotists often build up sexual tension in their subject until natural arousal causes them to relinquish control. Mantras such as “I obey my master” actually embed a submissive belief system in the subjects. This is what I consider “hypnotic brain washing”. Many women who participate in these erotic hypnosis sessions are in the nude modeling industry (but not all), and predisposed to undress. However, they are often also unwitting victims. It is highly unethical, as the women unknowingly become conditioned to return for future ‘control’ and even perform sexual acts.

      So, in my opinion there is a very fine line between hypnosis and brainwashing. Brainwashing can occur after repeated mantras, sexual stimulation and repeated ‘deepening’ of the hypnotic state.

  3. How do you feel, or what do you think on the subject of hypnosis as it relates to summoning evil spirits through such things as voodoo, witchcraft, or black magic?

    • Hypnosis is a cooperative endeavor based on science and human behavior. Because I’m knowledgeable about how it works, I don’t relate it to the world myth or fantasy.

  4. Love to know more about your training and courses I have a strong interest in this field and I’m currently looking into some upgrading in training thanks again

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