The one-eyed hypnotist

Hypnosis is a powerful tool and the television is a powerful hypnotic modality.

by Irene Conlan — 

Little Jimmie sits in front of the Saturday cartoons. You have selected his programs carefully to avoid violence, wild behavior and bad language. You know the programs are relatively wholesome, and you really need the time to get some things done. Little Jimmie loves it.

Lunchtime comes, and he begins to cry for the super-every-kid-eats-them-prepackaged-lunchtime-treat-in-the-red-and-purple box. You are not quite sure what he is talking about, and you promise to look for it when you go to the grocery store. But he is determined. He has to have that for lunch, and he has to have it now!

Why? Because the television is a hypnotist, and at every commercial break it tells him that what he really, really wants is a super-every-kid-eats-them-prepackaged-lunchtime-treat-in-the-red-and-purple-box from your local store. You may or may not give in and go to the store to fetch it. If you do not, you may have to listen to how he is the only kid who does not have that glorious red and purple box of lunch. If you do, you have reinforced the kind of behavior you really do not want to encourage.

Or, you visit your mom and, while you are there, a package is delivered and mom almost giggles with delight. She has been doing some late-night shopping. “Shhh, don’t tell dad,” she whispers. She opens the package and pulls out a necklace you know she cannot afford and will probably never wear, as she explains to you that it is 18-karat gold. There is a fancy, “time-saving” slicer/dicer gadget for the kitchen, some eyeglass cleaner, and something to kill mold and mildew. (Though she does not have mold and mildew, she might need it someday.)

Your mother, the ultraconservative shopper who always made a list and shopped for bargains, has been hypnotized by the shopping channels. She hears them say, again and again, how lovely it is, how much she needs it and how much money she will save if she buys it now. She has to buy now because this is absolutely her last chance to own this wonderful thing. And, in hypnosis, she buys.

You notice when you are in the store that you look for that latest cleanser or food item they were pushing on the TV commercials. After all, if the beautiful superstar on TV proclaimed to you that this toilet bowl cleaner works the best, it has to be true, doesn’t it? (You do not stop to wonder when she last cleaned a toilet.) And after hearing repeatedly that this is the greatest collection of ‘50s or ‘60s music of all time, you dial a toll-free number and give out your credit card number for music you did not really like the first time around. You have an excuse: you were in hypnosis when you bought it.

Hypnosis is a powerful tool and the television is a powerful hypnotic modality. Those of you who could benefit from clinical hypnotherapy to stop a debilitating habit or improve your life in some way often protest that you “cannot be hypnotized” or that you do not want any part of hypnosis. And yet, you are in hypnosis almost every day.

Think about it the next time you are bombarded with the hypnotic suggestions of the one-eyed hypnotist, or find yourself trying to cope with the behaviors of others who are under its spell. Turn off the TV and experience the real deal in a productive, positive way.


Irene Conlan has a master’s degree in nursing, is a certified hypnotherapist and a certified past-life regression therapist.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 2, April/May 2007.

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