In his book The Practical Application of Medical and Dental Hypnosis, Erickson, along with Hershman and Secter, dispel a number of prevalent myths about hypnosis which should set at rest the minds of anyone concerned about experiencing it within a clinical setting with a trained professional for health-related purposes.
- Clinical hypnosis is distinguished from stage hypnosis. You won't be made to do anything embarrassing, immoral, illegal or otherwise contrary to your values. Even in stage hypnosis people do the bizarre things they do because they have volunteered to cooperate with the entertainer.
- Hypnotists do not have special powers. Hypnosis is a common phenomenon in all human beings. We all experience hypnotic phenomena naturally every day.
- Hypnosis does not work miracles but it is a "genuine, honest and earnest discipline of learning and effort." That said, it is often very effective at assisting people to make the significant and lasting changes they wish to make.
- Hypnosis does not mean unconsciousness. We do use the word "unconscious" to refer to all the natural and automatic processes of the brain and nervous system which are more than the few items that one can keep in conscious awareness at any one time. Hypnosis is not the same as sleep, coma or general anesthetic.
- Hypnosis does not involve the surrender of the will. It involves cooperation between the therapist and the client/subject. People experiencing hypnosis remain in control and able to make choices and respond appropriately, free to accept or reject any suggestions given.
- Hypnosis does not weaken the mind.
- Hypnotizability does not mean gullibility.
- Hypnotized persons will not reveal secrets that they would not otherwise reveal.
- One cannot get stuck in hypnosis. Sometimes people do enjoy it so much that they are reluctant to leave the experience but everyone does eventually emerge. At worst, a person may fall into natural sleep and then awaken refreshed.