Back in 2014, Katy Perry was rumored to have undergone subliminal hypnosis to help her forget about an ex. The “Firework” singer was just coming off of her a breakup from crooner John Mayer, and apparently, she couldn’t move on from the relationship without any professional help.

To be fair, it wasn’t the first time that she used hypnosis. In 2011, Katy Perry admitted to successfully quitting smoking after seeking help. This is Hollywood fodder for the tabloids, of course, and the pop star never confirmed it. Nevertheless, it does make for an interesting hypothesis: can sleep hypnosis help you mend a broken heart?

Hypnosis in History

In hypnosis, an individual is put into a trance-like state where he or she is susceptible to suggestion. While recent research has proven that it can be used to alleviate pain or debilitating conditions, the discipline has very dubious beginnings. Back in the 1400s, European doctors experimented with magnets in order to induce healing. It’s hard to ascertain their effectiveness, but patients gave positive testimonies about their experiences.

Franz Mesmer (from which the term mesmerism, meaning hypnotism, is derived) was perhaps the first to experiment with the concept of hypnosis as he believed that animal magnetism—which espouses that animal and human possess the inner force—was the key to make his patients better. By the 1800s, some doctors were already experimenting with subliminal hypnosis during surgery.

By the 1950s, hypnosis has become an accepted alternative to cure selected illnesses and conditions, particularly in the UK. Both the British Medical Association and even Pope Pius XII gave their stamps of approval to the practice. In 1958, the American Medical Association followed suit.

Myths about Hypnosis

Subliminal hypnosis has received a bad rap from pop culture, particular in movies. You might have seen various films wherein a hypnotist or magician hypnotizes a person then makes them bark like a dog or cluck like a chicken when prompted. This is a myth that hypnotists passionately disavow.

In fact, the person doesn’t lose his ability to function. He is not asleep or unconscious. In fact, he’s still awake but in a very relaxed state, which makes him more pliant to suggestions.

Unfortunately, stage hypnotists take advantage of this fact. People who go up on stage while somebody shows off his skills to hypnotize them are usually pre-screened not just for their suggestibility, but also their innate need to get some attention or affirmation. The session between the hypnotherapist and the patient, meanwhile, occurs in a controlled environment and the objective is clear from the start.

Can You Forget Your Ex With Hypnosis?

Millions have been spent on advertising companies that use subliminal messages to make people patronize a particular product, so it’s proven to work. For instance, do you know why McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, or Sonic all use the dominant red and yellow colors? That’s because research has proven that both colors are subliminally suggesting to people that they are hungry. It’s the same with subliminal hypnosis or sleep hypnosis.

Back to the main question, however. Can you follow what Katy Perry did and undergo sleep paralysis to forget a former significant other? The short answer is no.

Research papers have shown that hypnosis won’t help you erase your memories. That’s bad news, especially if you really want to forget an awful experience that you had with a former flame. However, auto-suggestion techniques will help you deal better with the breakup, and move on quicker from the loss by having a more positive outlook on life.

People always wonder why women can’t extricate themselves from a bad situation, even when their husbands and boyfriends are already turning violent. No matter what advice they get, they always come back over and over again even if there is a pending risk to their lives.

Insecurity could be a factor or a lack of self-worth. Most likely, however, they are stuck in a loop. They already associate their husband or boyfriend with the pleasure center in their brains, and it’s stuck in their subconscious. One of the more effective ways to break the cycle is through sleep hypnosis or subliminal hypnosis. They are not aware of their actions because it’s in their subconscious. Hypnotherapists can then tap into that subconscious and break the loop through a series of suggestions.