I remember before I became a professional hypnotherapist I read a book about UFO abduction and learned that one of the “tools” that these investigators use to gather details about reported abduction experiences is hypnosis and hypnotic age regression. I don’t know what to think of this, but as Fox Mulder’s poster on the wall of his office stated, “I want to believe.” I’ve seen the X-Files and enjoyed the show a lot. But, I’m sad to say that now, after years of doing hypnosis sessions and conducting thousands of sessions, not one person has reported an UFO abduction experience! I’m a bit disappointed really.
This lack of uncovering UFO experience while clients are undergoing hypnosis also goes for the many hypnotherapists who have worked at the Banyan Hypnosis Center for Training & Services, Inc. who have conducted thousands more sessions. Why is this so? Well, of course there is the distinct possibility that there is no such thing as an alien abduction experience. So far, that hypothesis carries the greatest weight with me, although I must admit that in the back of my mind I would love to have a client reveal such an experience while in hypnosis in my office. And, I would be most likely to see such a session as real evidence of alien abduction if it occurred in a specific way, under certain circumstances. Let me give you an idea of what that would be.
First, I would prefer if that person was a scientifically minded person who did not give UFOs much of a thought. This person should be mentally healthy and of normal intelligence. He or she should be coming in to see me for some unrelated issue such as smoking cessation, over eating, motivation, some exaggerated fear of public speaking, or such.
Then I’d like the regression to be spontaneous. By that I mean that while I was conducting an age regression for something else, i.e., to determine the cause of a fear of snakes, we wind up in the middle of the client recounting an alien abduction.
I have an open mind. I kind of hope that Bud Hopkins and other self-proclaimed UFO researchers are right about UFOs, not necessarily the idea that innocent people are being taken against their wills so that aliens can conduct experiments, usually of a sexual nature, from what I have read and seen on the television. No one would want to think that people are really going through those kinds of experiences. But the idea of life being “out there” is appealing in some way.
But, so far I have found no evidence of it. I’ve trained over 500 hypnotherapists over the last few years, and so far I can’t remember one ever telling me about such an experience. I have to ask myself honestly, why could this be? Well of course, the aliens could do some kind of brain work that keeps the “inductees” in a state such that deep hypnosis is unable to reveal the events, at least in any such case that may have come through our offices undetected.
But, other hypnotherapists seem to find these individuals who report such abductions all of the time. How could this happen? Now, I have to insert here that I am not an expert in the area of UFO investigation; I’m just sharing my thoughts on this phenomenon of people reporting UFO abduction. How it is at least curious to me, how after seeing thousands of clients, perhaps tens of thousands of clients, when you add up all of the therapists who have worked at our center, plus all of the graduates of our hypnosis training program, none of these well-trained hypnotherapists have reported a client who has revealed a UFO abduction when in hypnosis.
Everywhere they look, it seems like some hypnotherapists can “discover” that nearly every difficulty that an individual client may have has come as a result of an alien abduction. It seems that these hypnotherapists are magnets for such cases. Can it be that for some reason these cases just seem to cluster around those hypnotherapists? Perhaps there is an unseen power at work guiding the abductees to these hypnotherapists. It is possible. Or, they could be suggesting such events to their clients, either purposely, or accidentally. Remember that hypnosis is a state of heightened suggestibility, so the latter could certainly be the case.
Another possibility is that individuals who believe that they may have been abducted may seek hypnotherapists out who have experience working with those kinds of cases. In these kinds of circumstances, even the best trained and careful hypnotists could conduct sessions which reveal pseudo abduction scenarios. You see, any well trained hypnotist knows that clients tend to experience what they expect to experience when they are in hypnosis. So, with that in mind, if a potential client walks into a hypnotist’s office with the intent to re-experience an alien abduction, then it is likely that is exactly what he or she will experience, even if such an event never occurred. The events experienced in a hypnotic age regression session are not necessarily historically true. There is almost always some level of confabulation (distortion of the memory, usually adding information) in every hypnotic age regression experience.
One problematic aspect to such hypnosis sessions in which either a client is led into a confabulated experience, or one that occurs out of either the client’s desire to prove what they suspect to be true or fear to be true, is that, once a client has experienced this made up event, it is experienced in hypnosis as being true. As a result, after the individual emerges from hypnosis, then they will remember the event as if it were true, making any further exploration with that individual useless if your intention is to determine if the event actually happened. Now the individual will almost certainly continue to build on that hallucinated experience with similar experiences, resulting in more false memories.
Since I have not been fortunate enough to have a client who fits my requirements enter my office and recount an abduction experience, I wonder if others have. If so I would love to hear about it. I’d even much more like to be able to examine a recording of such a session so that I can examine it for signs that the client was being led by the hypnotist, and as such either purposefully or inadvertently suggested the experience to the client.
Again, I like to think of myself as an open minded individual. By some people’s measure, I do believe in some “strange” and “supernatural” things. I believe in a Creator. I believe in life after death. And, I believe that we come into this life for a purpose. And, I want to believe in aliens coming to our lovely little planet. But, I am sad to say that the more experience I have with hypnosis, the less convinced that such a phenomenon is occurring, or has ever occurred. Although I must admit that the lack of evidence of such phenomenon does not disprove it.
Calvin D. Banyan has a Masters Degree in Psychology, and is the CEO of the Banyan Hypnosis Center for Training & Services, Inc. He is a NGH Certified Hypnotherapist, Certified Instructor, and Fellow of the NGH. He also serves on the NGH Advisory Board, and Ethics Board.