|Gregory Rasputin, Priest/Hypnotist/Seducer|
at the Court of Imperial Russia
Whenever I would give a talk on hypnosis to psychology classes, I used to point out hypnosis does not automatically turn you into a zombie or a robot, or weaken your will, or make you dependent upon another person, because you can always refuse to comply with any suggestion you are given. However, what is against your will may not be the same thing that is against someone else's will.
One day, during the ten-minute break between classes, a girl came to my desk and told me that for the past twenty years, her father used to hypnotize her mother and tell her what he wanted to have for dinner the following evening. She would dutifully prepare the meal without remembering that she had been given a suggestion to do so under hypnosis. The couple had currently separated, and her mother had gone to visit her husband in order to plead with him to reconsider. Since the daughter was aware of this part of her parents' relationship, what was going on was obviously no secret.
Although it is not possible to diagnose someone I have never met, people with a diagnosis of dependant personality disorder usually want to be told what to do, and they will often go to great lengths to maintain a relationship which is in danger of breaking up. Her mother was always eager to please her husband, and was pleading with him to return the marriage to where it was before. Nevertheless, since she did not have to do any of these things, unless she actually wanted to do them. It is quite likely that her parents' relationship would have remained much the same, regardless of whether or not hypnosis was present to act as a catalyst.
As Steve Lynn and I put it in the conclusion of our chapter in the American Psychological Association's Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis,(Gibbons & Lynn, 2008), the nature and success of a particular induction is not as important as the characteristics and personality of each client we encounter. For more information on the role of hypnosis in catalyzing changes in behavior, see Gibons & Woods (2016).
Gibbons, D. E., & Woods, K. T. (2016) Virtual reality hypnosis: Exploring alternate and parallel universes. Amazon Books, 2016. (Both print and Kindle editions are available.)