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Can Left-Brained People Be Hypnotized?

Mar 3, 2008
These days there is a lot of evidence that we are all truly "whole-brained." We don't rely exclusively, or even primarily, on the left or the right side. (There are also lobes to be dealt with, but that's not our purpose here.)

Yet many people like to classify themselves as almost-exclusively left- or right-brained, no matter what current research states. It's not so different from taking pride in, or finding fault with, being a Capricorn vs. a Libra, with the particular characteristics claimed for each.

What interests me lately are the "left-brainers" who think of themselves as almost-entirely factual, logical and analytical and claim they cannot be hypnotized because of it.

These folks arrive at my office rather regularly for a hypnosis session.

(Interesting, yes?)

So first I endeavor to discover what makes them believe they are unhypnotizable and, in that case, why they come to me. Of course it's because they have an issue they deeply desire to resolve and have reason to believe that hypnosis would be useful.

If only...if only they could be hypnotized....

Let me mention that in the tests administered to me throughout the course of my life to determine left-brainedness (analytical) or right brainedness (creative and imaginative), I've tested "left-brained" without exception. Yet all my careers have required creativity and imagination above all.

And I excelled at them.

Why? (Hint: I am not a genius nor did I find a way to beat the test.)

Before I answer that question, let me pose another: Why is it said that people with an analytical bent are less hypnotizable?

The answer appears to be that they are black-and-white thinkers, relating to what is "real" and "true," that is, tangible, demonstrable, "proven." And that they cannot conceive of--or imagine--that which is not currently extant.

Were this the case, it would be easy to understand why hypnosis might be counter-indicated.

Most people come to a hypnotherapist to create a habit not currently in their repertoire (i.e., being enthusiastic and facile when publicly speaking) or to eliminate a habit that is a regrettable part of their daily lives (i.e., overeating or smoking).

To achieve the goal, they must have some mechanism for perceiving themselves as having, doing, or being something they don't currently associate with themselves.

For example:

- A smoker needs to be willing and, ultimately, able to perceive himself as a nonsmoker.

- An athlete needs to allow the possibility that she could be accomplished, talented, or successful to a degree in her sport.

- A person desiring love and relationship must allow himself to perceive those as real possibilities.

- Someone who overeats and wants to eat less (and perhaps weigh less) must, on some level, imagine herself sitting down to appropriate portions of appropriate foods, and feeling sated.

The trick is that these must be perceived when they are currently contrary to fact.

It's about taking a mental--and likely an emotional--leap. Can a "left-brained" person do that?

Think about every inventor you have ever heard of since fourth grade. Every engineer, strategist, architect, scientist and mathematician you've met.

Were they not analytical, interested in facts and what was currently demonstrable?

Yes they were. But they were also able to perceive that which was not yet in existence. That which could potentially solve a problem as yet unsolved. And they could mentally create--"imagine"--potential solutions that were not yet physically realized.

In that moment, they naturally suspended analysis and judgment. They had dwelled in those a moment before, and would return to them a moment after.

That quick trip away from analysis and back again may have been instinctive, learned or even forced upon them (likely by themselves). But it did happen.

Which is exactly what the analytical people who come to me choose to do. Because they want to stop smoking, lose weight, write a book or learn to ski. In hypnosis, they will, by choice, suspend the belief that they cannot do those things.
And whether they do it by visualizing, or by sensing and feeling, or by telling themselves in words they are eloquent, or attractive, or promotion-worthy, or slim, they certainly step out of "What Currently Is" to "What Could Be."

They do something to make that change.

And you can do the same. At will, you can set aside, for the moment, your tools of analysis and set upon your mental "desk" your tools for dreaming up something.

Now why did I consistently test left-brained and then spend my life writing ad copy, jingles, songs, plays and short stories--not to mention hypnosis scripts? Because I didn't--and don't--buy into limitations described by research that may change its point of view every three years.

And what does it all mean to people who call themselves analyticals and want to use hypnosis to help create their dreams?

For the moment, they get to make a choice. They choose to stop believing only in what has already happened (and is therefore considered fact) and make up instead what they want to happen now.

In other words, they envision a possibility and create it, allowing it to morph along the way. Certainly the greatest architects were well-trained in subjects we would think of as analytical, scientific, and mathematical. But somewhere within these studies, or perhaps within their minds, was the possibility to create something that hasn't existed yet, something new.

If you elect to limit yourself, you have my permission.

But what would it be like if you could move between these worlds at will: fact/fantasy, assessing/generating, judging/projecting, locking down/freewheeling?

The same way, in Sleeping Beauty, Aurora's gown changed colors as the fairies zapped it pink to blue....blue to pink...while she waltzed with her prince, confidently dancing between two worlds.... 2008 by Wendy Lapidus-Saltz. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Wendy Lapidus-Saltz is a mind coach who uses hypnosis and other techniques to help people break unproductive habits of thought and action, and create productive new ones. Based in Chicago and an expert at phone sessions, she specializes in smoking-cessation and issues of love and relationship. For more info on her programs visit http://www.nonsmoker4life.com and http://www.hypno-attraction.com or call 312-640-1584 for a brief consultation during business hours, Central time.
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