An old Phenomenon: Hypnosis is an old phenomenon used in different cultures by saints and healers. But the concept of modern psychological hypnosis was first developed in 1843 by James Braid, a Scottish physician. Dr. Anton Mesmer of Austria also used an earlier form of trance for healing called 'Mesmerism', in eighteenth century. As per Dr. Milton Erickson, "Hypnosis is a particular altered state of selective suggestibility brought about in an individual by the use of a combination of relaxation, fixation of attention, and suggestion."
Natural State:The word hypnosis is derived from the Greek word ‘ hypnos’ meaning god of sleep. Hence, sometimes it is defined as a means of bringing on an artificial state of sleep to the participant. In fact, it is a state of changed consciousness during waking state. But it is not sleep at all. It is actually a natural state of mind induced normally everyday.
Changes during Hypnosis: Hypnosis is a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention in which measurable psychological and physical changes take place. The brain waves change from BETA to ALPHA and even THETA. Some physiological changes also take place in eyes, respiration and limbs.
Pleasant and Relaxed: Usually people under hypnosis report pleasant feelings of mental and physical relaxation, similar to those moments before we fall asleep at night. One may feel quite mellow, and may feel light (or weightless), or very heavy as if sinking into the chair. Sometimes under deep state, the feeling may be euphoric for someone, or like being intoxicated without the side effects. Deep hypnosis is similar in many ways to the kind of profound trance found in yoga or meditation.
Calm and Drifting: The person feels calm and peaceful, as tense muscles relax. Hypnosis is more of a drifting state. The person can hear, feel, see and talk unless suggested contrary.
Maintain control: The person retains all the power to select what to say or to do. The person won't do anything in a hypnotic state that is not acceptable in normal awake state.
Adheres to Values and Beliefs: The hypnotized person will not follow a suggestion in contradiction to the core values and beliefs. The hypnotist controls and directs the process only.
Act at Subconscious Level:Every human being has latent talent to reprogram emotions, attitudes and reactions. Hypnotic suggestions focus on the subconscious part of the mind that accepts them as a new reality as long as the suggestions are framed within the person's belief system, ethical and moral standards.
Access Subconscious thru Conscious Mind: During the hypnotic trance the conscious mind leaves a doorway to the sub-consciousness, which allows it to consider and accept new neurological connections, patterns of behavior and thoughts.
Use Educative/Therapeutic Processes: In a therapeutic hypnosis trance, it is easier to work on issues that are not controlled by the conscious mind. For example, you cannot possibly tell your body to stop the pain. However, with the hypnotic trance and some specific and proven suggestions, you can.
Mind a Creator and a Healer:Hypnosis can help with anything in which mind has an influence assuming that mind has power and ability to heal whatever it creates. It is now universally accepted that most of the diseases and behavioral disorders are psychosomatic in nature.
Wide Scope: Hypnosis is used effectively across the globe to induce positive changes in human behavior, such as, self-development, entertainment (demonstration/ stage shows), behavior correction and clinical purposes covering large number of issues, namely, Habit correction (study habit, nail biting, thumb sucking, bed wetting, smoking), Physical & Mental Health (weight control, mental hygiene, aggression management), Performance Enhancement (sports, stage, studies, sales), Anxiety Management, Confidence building, Foreign Energy Management, Regression, Marital Issues (Interpersonal relationship, Adjustment issues, Sexual dysfunction, Frigidity), Pain management, Obsessive Compulsive behavior, Depression, Clinical healing, Respiratory congestion, Phobias, Amnesia, Insomnia, etc.
Entertainment & Clinical Purposes:Hypnosisusually attracts attention as a stage show activity. No doubt, people use it for entertainment but its scope is very large. During the last a few decades hypnosis has started winning the deserved respect with the medical profession, especially due to its proven role in healing the body and mind. Many hospitals and medical practitioners use hypnosis for anesthesia for certain cases. It has proved of value within surgery, and in the wider sphere of pain management and in the areas of both sporting and artistic performance enhancement.
Potential Exploration:Hypnosis is used for unconscious exploration as well, to better understand underlying motivations or identify whether past events or experiences are associated with the problem.
Regression: Age regression is done to find traces/roots of a certain behavior in the present life while past life regression is done to help subjects overcome issues not having any reason in the present life. It is effective irrespective of the belief in incarnation.
Spirituality:Hypnosis is used for spiritual enhancement as well. People use it for different metaphysical purposes such as accessing spirit guides, masters, angels and also managing foreign energies (spirit release) effectively
Hypnosis a Common Thread in many Therapies: Hypnosis is used in many types of therapies such as, Hypnocounseling, Hypnotherapy, Past Life Regression Therapy, Inter-life Therapy (Life between Lives Therapy), Foreign Energy Healing (Spirit Release), Spiritual Healing, Dowsing, Radical Healing, Stage Shows, Self Hypnosis, Hypnoanesthesia and Hypnobirthing, etc.
Entertainment of the Audience: Stage Hypnosis is the part of entertainment business. The hypnotist invites volunteers willing to have fun and enjoy being in the limelight, and suggests them to do things, in hypnosis, which appear funny and entertaining to the audience.
Enjoyment to the Volunteers: Stage hypnosis provides opportunity to the willing participants to relax and act as per suggestions given to them for their enjoyment and entertainment of audience.
Business activity for the Hypnotist: Stage hypnosis is a good income generation activity for the hypnotist.
Therapeutic Activity: Clinical hypnosis is practiced in one-to-one seating in a clinical setting, such as, an office, a hospital, a clinic or a home. It is the serious use of the science of hypnosis for enhancement of the quality of life of the people.
Hypnocounseling and Hypnotherapy: All the techniques used for clinical purposes are covered under a broad title of Hypnotherapy or Hypnocounseling. A group of people categorizes both of them as two different techniques because of the use of two different unique concepts with lots of overlapping.
Different Therapeutic Processes: Hypnotherapy is the application of hypnosis for clinical purposes. Different therapeutic processes are followed for the healing purpose to help the client to establish new positive behaviors, releasing undesirable behaviors and gaining new insights.
Complementary to other Medical Systems: Hypnotherapy is a complementary approach to other medical systems. All hypnotherapy processes use hypnosis but not all hypnosis is hypnotherapy.
Self-Guided Process: Self hypnosis is the process of guiding oneself into the hypnotic trance without the facilitation of any other hypnotist. Each client is always taught self-hypnosis to use on a fixed periodicity basis for sustainable changes and developments.
No Direct or Indirect Side-Effects: The use of hypnosis is safe, harmless and effective. However, like any other disciplines, personal disappointments may arise because of unrealistic expectations or preconceived notions. The technique as such has not been reported causing any harm to any one so far. Unwise use of hypnosis may not be as effective as desired.
Willingness is Key: Any normal person can be hypnotized who is willing to be hypnotized but some people may take a little longer than others. The depth of hypnosis depends upon the person's ability to respond. Hypnosis can even enhance receptivity to hypnosis of the person with practice. It is a wrong notion that the people with weak will power respond easily to hypnosis. Anyone who can relax and follow simple instructions can experience hypnotic trance.
People Lose Control and Surrender their Will: Not at all, it is just like a dreamy state with a purpose while the person is awake. Hypnosis is not something imposed on people, but something they do for themselves.
Myths about Hypnosis
Hypnosis is just for Entertainment: Entertainment is just a fraction of uses of hypnosis. It has more serious clinical and counseling implications. Even stage hypnosis also serves some therapeutic purposes.
People Forget Everything: Majority of people remember most of the things done in hypnosis. Some forgetting is possible depending upon the depth of the trance. However, the hypnotist may also suggest to forgetting a few unnecessary things as a part of therapy.
Person may Remain in Hypnosis for Ever: Nobody can remain in hypnosis. In case a person is left in a trance, then the person shall either develop natural sleep and wake up after a while or come out of the trance automatically after a few minutes.
Hypnotist can make you do any Undesirable Behavior: It is incorrect because the hypnotist is not a master, but a guide or facilitator, and does not have any special powers or magic to force the client for any activity against her/his will.
Anyone can be Hypnotized Any Time: No, only the person willing to be hypnotized can be hypnotized. The people with certain mental or neurological conditions cannot be hypnotized. However, most people can be hypnotized if they want to be.
Only Weak-Minded People can be Hypnotized: This is willingness that matters and not weak-mindedness or strong-mindedness for hypnosis.
Results are Temporary: Some people think that the affectivity of hypnosis ends with the termination of hypnotic trance. It is false, rather particular mental orientation is developed and follow up acts are suggested to make the results sustainable.
Deep Trance is Necessary for the Desired Results: Interesting depth of trance does not matter too much for the results. However, in certain cases deep trance may be required.
Hypnosis can Heal Everything: Although hypnosis has quite wide area of operation but it is not a panacea to all diseases and problems. Hypnosis is a powerful, natural tool to help improve quality of life in many ways but within its limitations. It supplements most of other systems of medication and therapy.
Hypnosis involves Risk: Hypnosis is safe and natural. It does not have any direct or indirect risk or side effects.
Hypnosis is Magic: Hypnosis is a scientific process not a magic. However, its fast results sometimes make people consider it as a magic.
Only Certain Types of People can Learn Hypnosis: Any person with average mental abilities can learn and use hypnosis if the person has interest for it. It is a scientific skill that improves with practice. In fact practice sharpens all types of skills.
Hypnotism is officially recognized and approved by the British Medical Association, the American Medical Association, World Health Organization and the American Psychological Association.
Though Hypnosis is effective in a large number of issues and areas yet we do not claim that it is substitute to any medical system or therapy. Conviction of the client is important.
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