If I have Aphantasia, Can I Be Hypnotized?
If you close your eyes, can you “see” or visualize a beach with a big red beach ball floating away? Maybe you can. If you can’t…there’s a word for that now you may or may not realize exists. It’s called aphantasia.
Some people are literally unable to “see” the above example I just described. All they see is blackness when they shut their eyes.
It’s not that they can’t memorize things. Far from it! A person with aphantasia simply has a different way of doing so.
It begs the question though: “If I have aphantasia, can I be hypnotized?” To best answer this question, it’s worth looking at this new way of thinking (or lack thereof, in a sense).
What Exactly is Aphantasia?
A, meaning “without,” and phantasia, meaning “a capacity to form mental images,” is where we get the term aphantasia.
In 1880, a pioneer of eugenics and a controversial psychologist named Francis Galton first described the phenomenon of aphantasia.
Dr. Adam Zeman, professor of cognitive and behavioural neurology, at the University of Exeter, published a study in 2015 called, “congenital aphantasia.”
If you close your eyes and you cannot see a beach with a big red beach ball floating away, how does it explain the fact you know what a beach looks like if you can describe one when asked if you have aphantasia?
Mental imagery isn’t necessary in memory, your imagination, creativity, or anything else you wish to accomplish.
If you wish to “see” things, you can draw, mind map, journal, or make a flowchart using computer software, for example.
Knowledge of aphantasia is truly still in the early stages, according to research. Neurologists believe that about 1 in 50 people, or 2-5% of the population, have aphantasia (i.e. they’re non-visual-imagers).
With neuroimaging, though strongly associated with the left temporal lobe, mental imagery requires use of large networks of brain pathways. This means aphantasia can potentially occur in different ways, in different people.
A person with aphantasia may actually have a visual memory, being able to describe in full detail how things looked. For example, “the cat has a long bushy white tail, green eyes, a diamond on its chest”—even though they are unable to see these images within their mind.
Many people who are unable to visualize in mental images may be able to think in sounds, while others remember physical senses. Many people with aphantasia are able to dream and be vivid dreamers, who you may not expect.
Again, it works differently, in different ways, for different people.
Going Back to the Original Question: Can I Be Hypnotized if I have Aphantasia?
As I mentioned, some people with aphantasia may be able to think in sounds or remember in physical senses.
As your hypnotherapist, I will use what tools will work toward what you are comfortable and able to try.
There are many other ways of inducing a hypnotic state, such as taste, smell, sound, feeling, movement, following the breath, body awareness, for example.
Although it’s more common to use visualization, this isn’t the technique to use in aphantasia’s case. Rather, I can help show you a complete sensory experience, so that you are able to grasp onto what works for you.
If you primarily interact with feelings and sounds, concentrating on those is the best way to ensure any changes throughout your hypnotherapy session.
With practice and a willingness to work on it in your hypnotherapy sessions, you can start to get a sense of things in your mind even though you have aphantasia. But that’s only if you wish to go that far. It’s about your comfort and how you perceive things. If you believe you can, you can, as the saying goes.
So, long story short…even if you may have aphantasia, there are lots of other techniques in hypnosis to guide you toward your goals, whatever they may be. You are just as capable of transforming your life as anyone who can visualize! What matters is whether you want to change, more than anything. And if that’s what you want, whenever you are willing, then I’m more than happy to help.
I hope this information does enlighten and encourage you, especially if you’ve got aphantasia. If you feel more convinced and ready about trying out hypnotherapy, I’m here when you’re willing to take that first step.
In the meantime, you can check out Fixing Sleep Issues with the Power of Hypnosis, especially if you’re currently having issues with your ability to sleep.
Whenever you’re ready, you can contact me about setting up hypnotherapy sessions.
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