CHARACTERISTICS OF HYPNOSIS
It is my thought that the understanding of a subject is not just what that subject is, but more often, having an understanding and comprehension of what it is not as well. This statement applies directly to the study of the mind, and hypnosis in particular.
A person in Hypnosis is:
* In a total state of awareness
* A consenting participating individual
* Fully in control
* Comfortably relaxed
* Aware of their surroundings and what is happening
In fact, research has shown a subject that is in trance to be in a state Hyper-awareness. Scientists have speculated that the state of deep relaxation produced while in hypnosis prompts the brain to release chemicals called endorphins, natural mood-altering substances that can change the way we perceive pain and other physical symptoms. Some others feel that it acts through the subconscious, the part of the mind responsible for involuntary reactions ranging from blood pressure and heart rate to hunger.
Whenever you are in a relaxed, trance-like state, you are more receptive to suggestions that can help you react differently to negative situations, turn your attention away from harmful or unpleasant stimuli such as pain by way of disassociation, discourage unwanted behavior, and even change your pulse rate or body temperature. Hypnosis can also put you in touch with memories that may explain the origins of current problems and habits. Once you understand why you act a certain way given specific stimulus, you're in a better position to change the way you respond. Your mind can focus on productive solutions and hopefully overcome negative reactions.
A person in Hypnosis is NOT:
* Submissive to another’s will or power
* In an uncontrollable trance state
* Prone to reveal confidential information
* Act immorally or against their ethical boundaries
* Hypnosis is not a devious way of controlling the minds and actions of so called
“weak minded” people, nor is it a means of enticing people into performing immoral or unethical acts, persuading them subconsciously to join religious cults or even believing any specific way of thinking. It is not a panacea for mastering all pain and illness, accomplishing feats beyond the abilities of modern medical science, “proving” the theory of reincarnation and/or past lives, or proving that one has been abducted by aliens. It is not shamanism, crystal therapy, Reiki, massage or dozens of other “alternative” modalities. It is also not a special means of “channeling” the messages of New Age guru’s who then share their messages with their followers. Although these methods or modalities exist and may have their rightful place, and some may make USE of hypnosis, the author’s definition of hypnosis for therapy purposes adheres to the scientifically provable one.
So the question is, What is hypnosis?
“Hypnosis is a state of mind characterized by relaxed brain waves and a state of hyper-suggestibility. The purpose of hypnosis is to provide a means of bypassing the critical mind and accessing the non-reasoning, suggestible subconscious.”
Hypnosis and hypnotic suggestions have played a major role in healing for thousands of years. According to the World Health Organization, 90% of the general population can be hypnotized.
Hypnosis has also many aliases. Some of these are:
* Guided Imagery
* Guided Visualization
* Guided Meditation
* Stress Reduction imagery
* Healing Imagery
* Creative Visualization
* Past Life Regression
* Motivational techniques
In short, if the modality involves seeing something, i.e. pictures, in your mind to promote relaxation or change, it’s a safe bet it hypnosis in disguise.
Most of us have experienced this perfectly normal state of being before, although we may not have recognized it as trance.
Imagine reading a book…The pages are full of text, letters forming words on a page, but in our minds as we read, we are SEEING the characters, watching the plot develop. We know what they look like, what they are doing and interpret the words we are reading as a movie that exists in our mind only. The rest of the world, the rest of our life, is put aside for a moment of time and our focus, our concentration, is directed to an image that only we can see. Someone can talk to you and you don't even see or hear him or her. Whenever you concentrate that strongly, producing a narrowed state of awareness, you automatically slip into the natural hypnotic state. The rest of the world exists, we know it does and is going on around us, but for those few moments, we choose to let it go. This is a form of trance.
Have you ever had the experience of driving a car and arriving safely even though you are a bit surprised that you don’t remember much of anything that happened from the time you left your driveway to the time you pulled into your parking space? Most adults have experienced this at one time or another before. You got in the car and you drove. You should be able to remember the turns you made, the signs along the way, and the exits you took to get to work, but you don’t. The reason? You were in trance. T.V, movies, books, music, …the natural hypnotic state exists when you become so focused in what you are doing that everything else is blocked out.
There are several kinds of trance; one is what we call the dissociated trance. This means you have two very distinct “tracks” going on in your mind at the same time. In the case of driving your car to work and not remembering the commute, or the case of reading a book and not hearing the conversation that someone was trying to have with you. You don’t remember it because you were partially dissociated from the experience. The unconscious part of your mind was pretty much driving the car and the conscious part of your mind was “sitting in the passenger seat,” maybe having an imaginary conversation with your boss, your spouse, or wondering why the lady at the latte stand made your coffee too hot.
Whatever the conscious part of your mind was doing, it wasn’t driving the car or you would remember the signs, the roads, the commute and the other cars, but you don’t. The reason you don’t remember is because your conscious mind was distracted by thinking about other things it considered more important than driving.
The conscious mind was in deep thought. The unconscious mind was driving the car. We call this experience “dissociation” or “divided consciousness.” This is a common everyday trance experience that nearly everyone is familiar with. It’s that simple!
The hypnotic state, by itself, is only useful for the relaxation it produces. The real importance of hypnosis to the healing and emotional change process is that while you are in the hypnotic state, your mind is open and receptive to suggestions. Positive and healing suggestions are able to bypass the critical factor of the mind, (commonly known as the B.S. indicator) to sink deeply into your mind much more quickly and strongly than when you are in a normal, awake state of mind. I say positive suggestions because all research has demonstrated that while in the hypnotic state, you cannot be made to do anything against your moral values.
All of our habitual and behavior controlling thoughts reside in what is called our subconscious mind. It's called that because it is deeper than our conscious mind. It's below our level of consciousness. We typically, are unaware of the thoughts and feelings that reside there.
Imagine that there is an opening between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. Normally, the opening, that door, is closed until your brain waves slow down to a relaxed, alpha brain wave level. This happens when you are asleep. The door opens for short periods of time and ideas, images and thoughts come out of your subconscious mind. We call what comes out in your sleep, "dreams". When you are in a state of hypnosis, i.e. trance, the door also opens so helpful, BELIEVABLE suggestions can be directed into your subconscious mind or forgotten memories can be retrieved.
The hypnotic induction that hypnotist’s use is simply a way to help you focus your attention and concentration so you will go into that natural, normal hypnotic state. Once in a state of trance, the critical factor of the brain can be bypassed, the door opened and suggestions to help you can be given. The list of ways hypnosis has been used to help children, adolescents and adults is practically endless but does include: weight loss, stopping smoking, birthing, building self- confidence and self-esteem, improving academic performance at every age level, pain management, eliminating anxiety, fear and phobias, stress management, insomnia and other sleep problems and helping to heal physical problems.
One final note is that HYPNOSIS IS NOT DANGEROUS. You cannot be made to do anything that is against your ethical or moral values. A stage hypnotist might give you suggestions that might embarrass you, might not work or that might make you feel uncomfortable or self-conscious at the time. This is why people pay to see a stage hypnotist. To avoid this, Don’t go onstage! If you wish to “let the reins go” and have a goodtime without feeling self-conscious then by all means, go and enjoy. This is your choice. The one risk I know about involves falling asleep. If you are tired or if you become too relaxed, you may move from the state of hypnosis to the normal sleep state.
Some people worry needlessly about being “stuck” in a hypnotic trance. This is just simply impossible. If the hypnotized person is tired they will simply fall into a deep sleep and awaken refreshed, in no way harmed by their experience. This is also true for those who say they “fall asleep” while listening to a hypnosis tape. An easy question is to ask if they open their eyes as the hypnotist counts them back up. If they do, they were “Hypnotized” NOT asleep. A person in a sleep state will NOT respond to a voice counting numbers on a tape. Also the sub-conscious mind has absorbed everything that was spoken on that tape while the person was asleep!
One word of caution exists here.
In relation to this, never listen to a hypnosis tape while driving.
A common trait of trance is eye closure!!!! This is not a good thing for long periods and very dangerous to do while driving!!
It is very dangerous for you, animals and everyone else on the road.
Don't even listen to it if you are a passenger (unless with a personal stereo) as the relaxation suggestions could make the driver fall asleep.
Over the years, self-improvement and personal growth using hypnosis has helped millions of people change their lives permanently because it is a safe and powerful tool for changing your thoughts, feelings and habits.
Some comments on hypnosis…
“Doctors and psychologists state that there are no dangers involved with hypnosis: only in being ignorant of it."
"We can do more harm with ignorance of hypnotism than we could ever do by using hypnosis and suggestion constructively"
Dr. David Cheek, M.D.
“Platonof, an associate of Pavlov, who used hypnosis over fifty years on over fifty-thousand cases, reports as follows; 'We have never observed any harmful influences on the patient: which could be ascribed to the method of hypno-suggestion therapy, or a tendency toward the development of unstable personality, weakening of the will, or pathological urge for hypnosis.'"
Dr. William S. Kroger, author of "Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis"
"Hypnotism is a natural phenomena, and there are no known deleterious effects from its use." Dr. Louie P. Thorpe, Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California.
"As to self-induction, many thousands have learned it and I have yet to hear a report of any bad results of its use" Leslie N. LeCron, Noted Psychologist
Andre M. Weitzenhoffer, Ph.D., a highly regarded authority in the field of mind science, writes:
"As far as it is known today, hypnosis per se is no more dangerous than natural sleep. There is no evidence that hypnosis in itself weakens the will, damages the nervous system or in any way adversely affects the physical or mental well being of individuals."
Something to consider...
Could it somehow be harmful if a person did not learn how to use their mind in an effective and powerful manner?
Frequently asked questions about hypnosis.
Excepted from text by C. Devin Hastings
(1) What is hypnosis?
A: Hypnosis is extremely effective and powerful self-persuasion.
(2) Does hypnosis really work?
A: Yes. Doctors, dentists and many other leading health professionals document the power of hypnosis. It was approved as a legitimate medical and dental treatment method by the American Medical Association in 1958.
(3) Is a hypnotist a creep with a goatee and a monocle?
A: Not quite. A hypnotist is a motivational coach and a stress management consultant. They accomplish this by being a teacher and a guide. A hypnotist will teach you about your mind relative to how hypnosis helps and then she or he will guide you to a beautiful state of trance where you can empower yourself.
(4) Can I learn to hypnotize myself?
A: Easily. All it requires is good training. The truth of the matter is that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis.
(5) Is hypnosis dangerous?
A: Hypnosis in not brainwashing. There are those who think that hypnosis is dangerous because they believe that a hypnotist can implant false memories into someone's brain or alter someone's personality somehow. No one in a court of law has ever been able to prove that a hypnotized individual did something against their innate morals and values simply because they were in a hypnotic trance. When you're hypnotized, YOU have complete control of your actions, thoughts and feelings.
(6) Is hypnosis guaranteed?
A: Again, the hypnotist can't make you do something you don't really want to do. So if you don't really want to quit smoking, you won't quit. However, hypnosis can improve your odds of success considerably if and when you're ready to quit. Hypnosis can also make the transition of a smoker to a non-smoker easier and faster.
(7) Is hypnosis really like what they show on T.V.?
A: Yes and no. What you see on stage or in the movies is entertainment hypnosis. All of the people participating are volunteers who have agreed to follow the hypnotist’s suggestions. It is excellent bets that most of the people on stage are not even hypnotized; they are just going along with the fun.
(8) Do people really lose control of their mind?
A: Absolutely not. A person can't be forced into a state of trance. What is really interesting is that medical professionals have determined that when a person is truly in a deep state of trance, they have greater control of their minds and bodies than they do in a state of 'normal' or non-hypnotic consciousness.
(9) Can a hypnotist make a person do something?
A: Absolutely not. Nor will a person ever reveal secrets while in a state of trance. So, if you're thinking of hypnotizing your husband/wife and getting him/her to tell you his/her secrets, forget it.
(10) Is this Past Life Regression stuff a hoax or what?
A: Please remember that there was a time when all the greatest minds agreed that humans would never fly. Also, what would have been the common reaction 30 years ago to the idea of a TV the size of a wristwatch? Past Life Regression may someday fall into that same category. There are a number of cases that have been documented and apparently verified. It has also been shown to be useful in helping people to effect positive change in their present lives. At the very least, it is a fun an interesting topic of conversation.
(11) Can hypnosis be used medically?
A: Yes. Doctors and other health professionals have documented the astonishing effects of hypnosis time and time again. However no ethical or professional hypnotist will ever perform any medically related hypnotic work without proper medical authorization. To do so, even for headaches, is illegal and could be dangerous.
(12) Can hypnosis help me with?
A: Hypnosis has been documented to help many health, medical, emotional and motivation situations. A partial list of hypnotically treated conditions is: insomnia, smoking, anger, cancer, chronic pain, colds, bedwetting, fears, phobias, panic attacks, fear of public speaking, stuttering, blushing, stroke recovery, addictions, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, nail biting, skin disorders, depression, memory loss, trauma release, mental blocks, childbirth pain, impotence, sexual dysfunction, analgesia, poor eyesight, joint pain, arthritis, depression, hair loss, warts, high blood pressure, heart problems, stress, grinding teeth, suicidal thoughts, tumors, night terrors, poor spelling, obesity, recurring colds, migraines, PTSD, and more. In a nutshell, anything can be improved with hypnosis, not “cured”. We don’t “cure” anyone; we help people find their own “cures”.
Hypnosis itself doesn’t “cure” or for that matter, even make things better, but the TECHNIQUE of hypnosis in the hands of a trained professional can make life long changes in their clients by helping them achieve their desires.