What Is Hypnosis
August 10, 2012 | Mark Cunningham
Interview with Mark Cunningham on Frank Talks Radio.
In part 1 of this six-part interview series Mark covers topics such as
- How he become a hypnotist
- Does hypnosis exist
- What is hypnosis
- The ‘scary’ elements of hypnosis
You can either listen using the player or read the transcript below.
Mark Cunningham interview Part 1 of 6
Introduction: This program does not represent the views of this station, and may be considered offensive to some listeners. This program may contain mature subject matter including frank discussions of controversial topics. It is intended for mature, open-minded audiences. Discretion is highly advised.
Frank: You’re listening to Frank Talks Pleasures and Lifestyles, and I’m Frank because I have to be. On today’s show we have the man known as Mark Cunningham, Renegade Hypnotist. One of the people who helped establish fundamentals in the seduction community, and today he’s on Frank Talks Pleasure and Lifestyles. Welcome to the studio, Mark.
Mark Cunningham: Hi Frank, how are you doing?
Frank: All right, and I’m going to start off with my first question, Mark. Where were you born, and tell me a few things about your upbringing, your time in the military that eventually led you to being a hypnotist.
Mark Cunningham: Well, Frank, actually, I’m a Midwestern American boy. I was born in Adrian, Michigan, which is not all that far from you, and I spent my formative years there up through high school.
Basically, I’m a shy, self-effacing, way too smart, physically underdeveloped, geeky and gawky kind of American upbringing. I did do a lengthy hitch in the military. That’s certainly true. Many people heard the stories that came out of that period, and after I rotated out of the military, then I did the multiple college degrees in Michigan State University up to the Masters level and moved on into the corporate world where I became a software architect. I eventually rotated out of that in order to become a full time professional hypnotist.
Frank: What was your first exposure to hypnosis, like when did you first see it in action and then start thinking, “Oh, this might be something I want to get into.”
Mark Cunningham: That’s kind of a trick question because once I found out what hypnosis actually was, it turned out I encountered it basically at my mother’s knee.
My first formal exposure to it was at the university where I had a full ride scholarship so I was rotating to all the academic majors and I’m very careful not to complete one so I could continue the scholarships.
As I was working through ‘Ps’, I was in Psychology, and I did an internship with the psychiatrist who was on the faculty, and he was working within large VA hospital. The Veterans Administration Hospitals in the States are the government hospitals that are meant solely for the veterans of the armed forces, and we were working with quite a few Vietnam era veterans. We were working with Post-Traumatic Stress disorder, and the things he was doing with hypnosis in terms of regressing back to traumatic episodes and losing emotional charge so they could go on and lead their useful lives, as well as he did this one fascinating project on time dilation.
It was with the Detroit Police Force, so that basically all these policemen who are all staff, running around sitting on their butts, drinking coffee, eating doughnuts and then suddenly thrust into a life or death situation. They would literally say “Shazzam” to themselves and the entire world would slow down as thought the entire world moved into slow motion. And the police themselves would be unaffected and they could just function normally. So of course they are moving in super-speed in real life.
When I saw this in action, I thought, “Oh my God, I’ve got to learn how to do this stuff.”
Frank: Now, let’s get some of the basics down here. When we are talking about hypnosis, what are we talking about specifically? Do you have a Major Mark definition of what is hypnosis?
Mark Cunningham: Yes, there is a thing that we call hypnosis, and what that is, it comes in two parts. The first is you induce a mental state to where you are no longer making critical decisions. That is you’re not making judgments. You’re not saying good or bad, this is me or not me, this is true or false. You’re simply in a realm of experiencing everything equally.
Now, the second part of the classic definition is establishment of acceptable selective focus. What that basically means is they are not being distracted by anything, they just zoom in on whatever is inducing that trance. But the reason this works is there is a principle of the mind called disassociation, and all that is, is our ability to use this mega powered human brain to do multiple trains of thought.
Now, some of these are directly related to the things that we are observing in real life that are concrete, that we can agree on, consensual reality. Most of them are not and so what we do with any hypnotic induction is basically bump the subject off the track of the consensual reality and move them into one of these disassociated streams of thought so that all of a sudden they are off on something that seems compellingly real, just as real as anything else, but it is not actually real in the sense that anyone else may see it, hear it or experience it.
Frank: I’ve got a question for you now.
Mark Cunningham: Sure.
Frank: One of the biggest criticisms about hypnosis is that it doesn’t actually work. It doesn’t really exist. But because the person believes that they are hypnotized, that’s what causes the effects to take place. What are your comments to those types of statements.
Mark Cunningham: Well, I’ll give you a two-part answer. The first is we aren’t really operating on things that are real anyway. I mean, think about everybody you know, your friends, your co-workers, they are all moving through the world with their own personal blend of reality that is not shared by anyone else, and yet there is sufficient overlap that we can go, “Okay, there is a span that we call consensual reality.”
But all of it are operating on our own little version of reality, and all hypnosis is, it is guiding someone into a new version of that totally made-up reality that serves the purpose of the hypnotist.
Now, the second thing is that this thing we call hypnosis has been verified. There are a lot of medical studies that are coming out now. They are showing how the brain functions under hypnosis, and they are going, “Oh, look, when someone is “hypnotized,” you see that part of the brain that’s involved in processing thought logically just lights up dramatically because that part has to work so much harder when a person is hypnotized.
Well, the hypnotist could tell you through experience that, yeah, that logical part is suspended and you move it into something called trance-logic which is why you can talk to someone who is hypnotized into virtually anything.
The idea that someone believes in it in the first place and so therefore hypnosis doesn’t really exist, it’s just someone who is just kind of going along with your suggestion. Well, if you think about that, that fits the description of hypnosis.
Frank: Okay, now we come to some of the scary elements of hypnosis.
Mark Cunningham: Oh good.
Mark Cunningham: A hypnotist talking on the radio about scary elements of hypnosis, I love this.
Frank: All right. Well, let’s see if we can get something to spark our listeners. If I’m in the process of trying to hypnotize somebody and I get them to strictly consider things they wouldn’t normally have considered, where are the concepts of free will and responsibility for one’s own actions coming in if people are so susceptible to hypnosis that they would end up doing things they wouldn’t normally be or have the capacity to do?
Mark Cunningham: We tell with all the beginning students that no one who is hypnotized will do something that violates their ethics or beliefs. In other words, you cannot make someone do something that they are not willing to do, even though they are hypnotized.
Now, that is a belief system that is appropriate for beginners, because after all, we don’t want beginners to get wildly adventurous with this stuff. So we tell them that, they go off and they are confident they can’t possibly mess anybody up and everything is fine.
Now, in the advanced classes, we tell people that, yes, the first law which is you cannot make anyone do anything against their belief systems or their ethics, that is true. But there is a catch, which is hypnosis has a very powerful effect on belief systems, and if you know this technology very, very well and you are sufficiently adept with it, comfortable with it, you can in fact change people’s belief systems powerfully. Thus you get them to do virtually anything that you might dream up talking them into.
It’s not something that is normally done. It’s certainly not done widely in a therapy situation, although you do work with belief systems, so when you get them to believe they are non-smoker, or that they can lose weight, or that they can accept themselves for who they are. It’s something like turning them into criminals, changing their base level sexuality, changing their ethics or morals, that’s something that’s typically done either over time or done when you have someone in physical isolation. There is an awful lot of studies in the use of hypnosis within cults, for example, to point out exactly how you can do this.
End Part 1