Hypnosis

The
Encarta Encyclopedia defines hypnosis as,”altered state of consciousness and
heightened responsiveness to suggestion; it may be induced by normal persons
by a variety of methods and has been used occasionally in medical and psychiatric
treatment. Most frequently brought about through actions of an operator, or
“hypnotist”, who engages the attention of a subject and assigns certain tasks
to him or her while uttering monotonous, repetitive verbal commands; such tasks
may include muscle relaxation, eye fixation, and arm leviation. Hypnosis also
may be self-induced, by trained relaxation, concentration on one’s own breathing,
or by a variety of monotonous practices and rituals that are found in many
mystical, philosophical, and religious systems.” Another generally reliable
source Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines it as,”a sleep
like condition psychically induced, usually by another person, in which the
subject loses consciousness but responds, with certain limitations, to the
suggest
ions of the hypnotist.” As I stated earlier, these two sources are
very reputed and the general population believes that they are correct. Yet,
however often they may be correct, in this case they are not, or at least not
completely. Not according to the scientific community at least. My sources
for this statement are The World Book Encyclopedia, The Wizard from Vienna:
Franz Anton Mesmer, Applied Hypnosis: An Overview, American Medical Journal,
and Hypnosis: Is It For You? Although they state it in different ways they
all basically agree that nobody can give a very accurate definition or description
of hypnosis, or hypnosis. Although some may get the definition partly correct,
the chances of doing so completely are very, very low. So although I will
probably not be able to give a totally accurate account of hypnosis and its
workings, I will try.
Although evidence suggests that hypnosis has been
practiced in some form or another for several thousand years, such as in coal
walking, the earliest recorded history of hypnosis begins in 1734. It begins
with a man named Franz Anton Mesmer. Although he was eventually disavowed
by the scientific community because of his unorthodox methods that made him
seem more of a mysticist that a scientist, he is generally known as the father
of hypnotism. Mesmer called his methods Mesmerism, thus the word mesmerize,
but the name didn’t stick, it later changed to hypnosis, its name being derived
from Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep. He believed that hypnosis was reached
by using a person’s “animal magnetism”. He used “mesmerism” to cure illness.

In
1795 an English physician named James Braid, who was originally opposed to
Mesmer’s methods became interested. He believed that cures were not due to
animal magnetism however, but the power of suggestion. This was the generally
accepted opinion of the scientific community.
Then in 1825 Jean Marie Charcot,
a French neurologist, disagreed with “The Nancy School of Hypnotism”, which
followed the guidelines of James Braid’s ideas.Charcot believed that hypnosis
was simply a “manifestation of hysteria”. He revived Mesmer’s theory of animal
magnetism and identified the three stages of the trance; lethargy, catalepsy,
and somnambulism.

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Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849-1936) was not a scientist who
worked with hypnosis. Although he had nothing to do with the hypnotic development
itself, his Stimulus Response Theory is a cornerstone linking and anchoring
behaviors, particularly NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming).

Emily Coue (1857-1926)
a physician, formulated the Laws of Suggestion which are greatly used in the
hypnotic community. Her first law is The Law of Concentrated Attention: “Whenever
attention is concentrated on an idea over and over again, it spontaneously
tends to realize itself”. The second law is- The Law of Reverse Action: “The
harder one tries to do something, the less chance one has of success.” Finally,
the last law is The Law of Dominant Effect: “A stronger emotion tends to replace
a weaker one.”
Milton Erickson (1932-1974), a psychologist and psychiatrist
pioneered the art of indirect suggestion in hypnosis. He is considered the
father of modern hypnosis. His methods bypassed the conscious mind through
the use of both verbal and nonverbal pacing techniques including metaphor,
confusion, and many others. He was definitely a major influence in contemporary
hypnotherapy’s acceptance by the American Medical Association.

There are
many misconceptions about hypnosis that are totally without basis. Such as,
“Hypnotized persons will tell secrets or will always tell the truth.” The
truth is, hypnosis will not cause a person to tell information the do not want
to tell and a person under hypnosis can purposefully lie or remember in a distorted
fashion. Another myth about hypnotism is, “Hypnosis won’t work on highly intelligent
people.” In reality innate characteristics such as intelligence do not at
all effect hypnotism. Any person however can resist being hypnotized either
actively or passively, if they desire. I believe that hypnotism would be a
more commonly used method in medicine if it were not for all the myths going
around about hypnotism. They are probably the result of the very limited knowledge
of exactly how hypnosis works.

Hypnosis has been used to treat a variety
of physiological and behavioral problems. It can alleviate back pain and pain
that comes from burns or cancer. It is controversial as to whether this actually
works or not, but it is believed that it can be used to insure normal and safe
childbirth. Hypnosis sometimes is employed to treat physical problems with
a psychological component, such as a circulatory disease known as Raynaud’s
Syndrome. It has also been used to initiate behavioral changes, for example
cigarette smoking, overeating, insomnia, and the overcoming of phobia’s. Although
hypnotism has shown its uses as a fairly valuable medical tool, in this modern
“technological age” there are very few physicians who use it.

The major use
of hypnotism in modern days, is entertainment. Performed as a sort of “Magic
Show” it is used to cause some people to laugh, and some people to be amazed.

Hypnotism has come a long way since 1734 and who knows what future developments
will be made in this field? It may become a commonly used medical tool, or
it may come to be thought of as a completely useless “magic trick”.
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Hypnosis

Albert Einstein reckoned that humans use only about 10% of their brains.

According to some reports, while hypnotised, we could gain access to the other
90%. Every human being who is mentally sound can be hypnotised to some degree.

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You can use hypnosis for a lot of things, for instance to control weight, pain,
sleep, and to raise confidence. You can also use it to quit smoking, develop
concentration and memory. In fact, you can use it for anything that depends on
your own efforts. I) ORIGINS OF HYPNOSIS: The art and science of hypnosis is
both old and new. *Old because it was used in ancient time and has a pedigree
that stretches back to the beginning of mankinds conscious development *New
because only over the past 100 years has it been subject to the full force of
scientific scrutiny, after discovery that the unconscious mind, emotions and
personal history directly affect a person’s state of mental, emotional and
physical health. A) Old origins _ Hypnosis has existed very early in religious
rituals. However, the earliest known description of hypnosis date back 6000
years to rites performed in Egyptian sleep temples. _The Indus Vedas ,a
knowledge sacred book written around 1500 BC, mentions the use of hypnotic
techniques and procedures. _According to some specialists, accounts of what we
would now call hypnosis can be found in the Bible and in the Talmud. _In the
past, hypnosis is always associated with the occult: witchdoctors and shamans
(medicine man)practised hypnosis :ritual hypnosis and dance were integral
elements of shamans communication with spirits. B) New origins- modern use
of hypnosis There are two leading men in the scientific study of hypnosis: _
1734-1815: Franz Anton Mesmer, born in Vienna. Mesmer is considered the father
of hypnosis. He is remembered for the term Mesmerism which means a person
who is raptly attentive, or who is temporally deprived of his normal conscious
qualities. He described a process of inducing trance through a series of passes
he made with his hands . He succeed in treating a considerable variety of
ailments. _ 1932-1974: Milton Erickson, a psychologist and psychiatrist
pioneered the art of indirect suggestions in hypnosis. He is considered the
father of modern hypnosis. His methods bypassed the conscious mind through the
use of both verbal and non-verbal pacing techniques including metaphor ,
confusion, and many others. He has immensely influenced the practice of
contemporary hypnotherapy. II) HYPNOSIS: A) Curent examples As long as there as
been human beings, there has been hypnosis, we use this commonly occurring state
of mind, unknowingly, all the time. It is just natural for us. _ For examples if
you have ever watched a television program or movie and become really absorbed
into the program, you were probably in trance. This trance is what caused you
not to hear your mother calling you to dinner. _ Advertisers understand this,
they use television programs to induce a hypnotic trance and then provide you
hypnotic suggestions, called commercials! _ Another common instance of this
naturally occurring state of mind is when you are driving down the road, with
your mind focused on some other task, and last thing you know: you have
forgotten to turn. That is called Highway hypnosis. B) Definition _
Definition: Hypnosis is a mental state of heightened suggestibility,
characterised by trance like sleep. The basis of hypnosis is the fixation of the
subject attention upon a gradually narrowing source of stimulation, until he is
attendant upon only the direction of the hypnotist. _Techniques: This is
variously achieved by repetition of instructions in a low, level voice, or
having the subject fix his gaze upon a light in an otherwise dark room. The
subject remembers nothing of what he did during the hypnotic period. But certain
effects may be suggested to continue after the subject returns to consciousness,
these are called post hypnotic suggestions. _major purpose: During hypnosis, the
conscious mind is distracted, so that new, positive suggestions are more readily
accepted. According to the specialists of hypnosis ,these new constructive ideas
substitute negative old ones, therefore creating permanent beneficial changes in
your life. C) Hypnotherapy: _ What is hypnotherapy? Hypnotherapy is basically
the use of hypnosis as a medium for psychotherapy. People will either be
hypnotised by a therapist (hetero-hypnosis) or taught to hypnotise yourself
(self hypnosis) as a way of achieving personal insight. _ How does hypnotherapy
work? Essentially, there are two main aspects of hypnotic trance which are used
in psychotherapy: 1) The subconscious mind is more open to positive suggestions,
made by yourself or the hypnotherapist. 2) The mind may express itself more
directly and more spontaneously Through thoughts or images. _ What benefits can
be achieved through hypnotherapy? Some of main benefits of hypnotherapy can be
classed as follows: Personal development, cessation of habits, management of
anxiety and stress, and psychological and emotional well-being. _ You could
conquer your phobia: Phobia is an anxiety about a person, place or thing which
con not be voluntary controlled. A simple phobia, one which is focused on a
single feared object such as spiders is rarely called for treatment, but it can
have little impact on the patients quality of life. You could quit this
phobia with 3 sessions of hypnotherapy: -first session: uncover the cause of
patients phobia. -second session: the hypnotherapist uses behavioural
techniques to enable patient to approach spiders in his imagination. -third
session devotes to supportive therapy with positive imaging and post hypnotic
suggestions. The hypnotherapist encourage people to touch spiders in real life.

_ Hypnosis to stop smoking: It is the subconscious motivation to smoke that must
be changed in order to quit smoking. Hypnosis made it easy and you have no
withdrawal symptoms. It does not work the same for everyone: many people have
found quitting smoking with self hypnosis to be easy and painless, but for
others, it is difficult no matter which method is used. _ Hypnosis for pain
control: The experience of pain is a combination of the type of pain, tension,
fear and anxiety. Often tension and anxiety can intensify the pain. By
relaxation of the body, there is a natural reduction of pain. By proper
suggestion in the hypnotic state, the experience of pain can be reduced or
eliminated for periods of time. It is good to teach clients self hypnosis and
imagery so that the client can use it when needed. _ Hypnoanesthesia Reuben
Percarve achieved the first major surgical operation of this kind to be done
anywhere without conventional anaesthetic. He is responsible for the
Hypnoanesthesia in the surgical operation performed in Quebec. The patient was
operated successfully for the appendix. His recover was excellent without any
side effects normally associated with this type of surgery. III) WRONG DANGERS
OF HYPNOSIS: _ What if I can not wake up? It never happens. Getting out of
hypnosis is never a problem. You will put all of your efforts into getting into
a hypnotic state, not getting out of it.. The worst that can happen is that you
drift off into normal sleep, in which case you will wake up just as you would
any other time. _ Will I lose consciousness? No, you will no more lose
consciousness in the hypnotic state than you did when you were paying complete
attention to your reading. To someone else you will appear to be asleep because
your eyes are closed and you are relaxed, but you will know that you are not
asleep like at night. _ Can I be hypnotised against my will? No, no matter, how
will you have learned to go into the hypnotic state, you can always refuse to do
so if you desire. _ If I am in the hypnotic state and someone suggests me to do
an immoral act, will I comply? No, it is unlikely that a person could violate a
concept of morality to which he is strongly attached. CONCLUSION: Today, there
are many legitimate university based on studies of the various phenomena of
hypnosis and it is not uncommon for dentists and physicians to use it in their
practices. There is no magic by any of us, hypnosis will not make you stronger,
good looking, irresistible to girls or boys, a world class athlete and a genius.

The fact is that hypnosis eventually becomes everything anyone could reasonably
expect. It is a great way to do anything that depends on your own efforts.


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