I really enjoy having conversations with people who think differently than I do. Not only do I learn a lot by listening to their worldview, but many have become my friends. These friendships help me grow as a disciple because they help me discover my assumptions, prejudices, and places where I lack knowledge or experience. It’s not that I agree with everything they say, but as their worldview collides with mine I am forced to reexamine my thinking about scripture, life, faith and dozens of other things (it’s often the case that I learn the most when we disagree!). It is my hope that sharing these interviews will challenge and help you grow too. I encourage you to read with a heart full of grace and a mind in pursuit of truth.
While you read, ask yourself questions like:
- What can I learn about faith and life from this person?
- What can I take away from this that will help me grow closer to Jesus?
- What assumptions have I been making about this topic? Why did I assume that?
- What is my emotional reaction to this? Why?
- Are any of my personal prejudices being revealed?
- Are their conclusions scriptural?
My first interview is with my good friend Adam who is wonderful Christian, father, husband and a “Consulting Hypnotist” Certified with the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH) who practices in Ottawa, Ontario Canada.
(The responses are all directly from Adam without any editing by me.)
1. Can you tell me a little bit of your Christian testimony?
A lot of people I know have come to Christ out of some major life event or crisis…not me. I have always felt that there was more to life than “just this”. I was at an Anglican church for the Baptism of my wonderful God Daughter when during the service before the Baptism I suddenly began to get the most spiritual feeling come over me and I knew that there was a God. From that moment on I began my spiritual journey by buying a NIV bible and devouring it word for word, from Genesis right through to Revelations.
I remember calling various churches asking lots of questions from Pastors and church staff. The date I don’t remember , but I gave myself to Christ one afternoon in my living room when I went on to my knees and asked Christ for acceptance and forgiveness. The one thing I’ve realized for sure about being a Christian is that everyday and every step in a Christian’s life is one of learning and discovering. It never ends. It’s not supposed to. I guess that’s why it’s really called the Great Mystery.
2. In your own words, what is “hypnotism”?
First of all it’s greatly misunderstood. Most people get their understanding of hypnosis from old T.V shows.
My first recollection of hypnosis was from an episode of Gilligan’s Island. The professor tried to hypnotize the Skipper so he could recall how to fix the radio and make it a transmitter. First of all I have to say that for a guy who could make electricity and generators from coconuts and and bamboo but can’t fix a transistor radio, I don’t REALLY think wants off the island. But I digress…
Hypnosis is ,simply put, a very relaxed state of mind where your unconscious mind can see and remember things so much more clearly than the conscious mind can. The unconscious mind, when very relaxed, can remove mental barriers that can prevent an individual from succeeding.
For example: a child is told he is not very smart and will never amount to anything in life. The child remembers this and the conscious mind believes it. The child grows up believing this. When hypnotized a persons unconscious mind sees the stumbling blocks of those hurtful, mean words and can remove that negative thought process, with the hypnotist guiding the individual and helping that individual to see the truth, the individual removes the negative blocks and sees things in its true light.
Hypnosis is in essence just a very relaxed state of mind where when asked, the mind can focus on specific things to the exclusion of everything else.
3. Hypnotism isn’t something Christians talk about (or practice) very often. How did you get into it?
I became involved in hypnosis honestly; my mother is a hypnotist and my great uncle was an FBI agent during a time when the power of the mind was a very big thing with world governments, be it “Remote Viewing” or reading of minds, etc. I have found this all very interesting and studied it. I’ve come to believe that the good Lord gave each one of us a mind and, unfortunately, we don’t utilize it as well as we should.
4. How have you used hypnotism to help people?
I have helped people to quit smoking, gain confidence, fight ailments such as IBS, and constant uncontrollable blinking. Some of these people have asked if I could incorporate faith in the hypnosis session, where it is re-enforced that God works in all helping, even through hypnosis.
5. Some Christian teachers have a problem with hypnotists and hypnotism for various reasons (including that Franz Mesmer, the “father of hypnotism” was apparently an occultist). Have you struggled with whether or not to practice it?
Ahhhh…once again little understanding of hypnosis rears its ugly head…
First and foremost hypnosis is NOT mind control! As a matter of fact if under hypnosis a person were asked to commit an act that they just morally couldn’t do THEY WOULDN’T DO IT! You can’t get a hypnotized person to do something they don’t want to do.
“What about those people on stage who get hypnotized and do funny things?” Remember the class clowns in high school, the extroverted person you know, the comedian of the group? Those are the ones who clamour to get on stage. They WANT to be the class clown…Hey, add some alcohol and it can help turn the introvert into a extrovert. In short, these folks aren’t doing anything they don’t mind doing.
So Mezmer was an occultist. I don’t know. Maybe, but so what. I know doctors who have performed abortions. Should we ban doctors from practising medicine? What about police officers who are on the take? Ban law enforcement people? How about politicians? Ever heard of a politician that was on the crooked side? Should we ban politicians then? (OK. You got me on that one.) What about Priests and Pastors who molest children or fleece their flock for all the money they have? Ban religious leaders?
Every profession has it’s small share of bad apples but most are genuine and sincere…out to help and do right. Hypnotists are no different. We have training and sincerity that can help everyday people with everyday problems. Like all people, whether we choose to do good or evil is an individual choice that God has given us all to make.
6. One site I went to said that hypnotism is problematic because of the transfer of control over to another person leaving the individual susceptible to suggestion. That seems to go against a number of scriptures (Galatians 5:22-23; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8). Is hypnotism biblical?
Again as I have explained hypnosis IS NOT mind control. Yes we as hypnotists can help people achieve the goals THEY want to achieve by using positive suggestions and guidance but hypnotists CAN NOT make anyone do something they don’t want to do. On the contrary; hypnosis can help people do what they want to do.
God commanded us all to be disciples and go and tell the story of Jesus and to spread the Good Word to every beast on earth. Is this not a type of hypnosis that we get people to focus on us and tell them the truth? Hypnosis is a way to help people be free negative binds, sometimes sinful binds. Are we not supposed to do that as Christians?
7. How do praying that God changes us and hypnotism work together?
I would recommend hypnosis to all people in Christ as a way to help free themselves from sinful bondage or feelings. It’s important to remember that hypnosis itself is a gift from God and is to be used to help.
Praying for guidance, clarity and success goes a long way in all things including hypnosis. I would venture to say that faith grounded people will stand to gain more from hypnosis than non-faith people simply by the virtue of having God with them on the inside.
8. What advice would you give to a believer about how to get over bad-habits?
I always say that to overcoming anything negative, including bad habits, should start and end in prayer. Pray for guidance. Pray for a means of success. Pray with thanks at the successful conclusion. Pray even if you don’t feel you’ve succeeded. If you’ve prayed and you haven’t succeeded yet then your mission has not come to its conclusion. God will never lead you astray.
9. Is there anything else you would like to share about hypnotism?