What is Hypnosis?

posted in: Hypnosis, Psychology | 0

Hypnosis. What is Hypnosis Really? Hypnosis is many things, a concept, a state, a skill, a tool, and a lesson. When you really try to break hypnosis down, you are left with the fact that nearly all acts of communication are Hypnosis. The act of hypnosis is using the way the brain understands words to assist it in relaxing, and when the brain is in that relaxed state, all suggestions that are given to the subject become more than 25 times more influential and effective.

While you have someone under hypnosis or you yourself are under hypnosis you are able to override or surpass the critical mind, the skeptical voice in your head that questions nearly everything that goes on in the outside. By surpassing that you are able to communicate directly to the subconscious mind which is the part of your brain that literally does everything you aren’t thinking about. It’s possibilities and potential are unlimited. If you change something within the subconscious mind it will happen with you having to do anything consciously about it.

Beliefs and Your Reality

When you are able to communicate with the subconscious you are able to correct limiting and unnecessary beliefs that you have created for yourself in the past. Your beliefs create your own reality, and that is the truth that most people do not realize.  By changing your beliefs you can literally change any part of your life that you want to change by simply tweaking your own reality of how everything works. You create your beliefs within your subconscious mind through your experiences and what you are told by those you trusted completely when you were young. The subconscious mind has mainly one goal, one purpose, and that purpose is survival.

So an example of how it functions would if you were little and you fell into a pool and didn’t know how to swim so you almost drowned. This experience would of course terrify you, and this feeling of fear will be linked with water because you almost died. Your mind will make that connection and you will later in life most likely have a phobia of swimming and you won’t remember why.

Another example would be if you saw something traumatic and during that traumatic experience you heard the sounds of a bell ring. It is possible for your subconscious to associate these two things together and in turn you will have fear of the sound of ringing bells. This is an example of a useless and limiting belief that hypnosis could easily help you to rid yourself of.

How Hypnosis Works

Hypnosis is being in a relaxed state and this is accomplished through focusing your conscious mind on one thing so strongly that eventually you are able to bypass it because it is no longer focused on being skeptical. There are different states your brain is always in. There is:

  • Beta: The waking state, in which you function throughout most of the day.
  • Alpha: This is a more relaxed state in which you can communicate with the subconscious mind. In this state, essentially, the brain is simply operating at a slower pace.
  • Theta: The best state to give suggestions in and this state in nearly identical to the state in which you have dreams while you sleep. The is the ideal state, but there is only a thin line between this state and Delta and it is quite hard to keep someone within this state for extremely long periods of time.
  • Delta: The sleep state, in which your conscious mind is completely shutdown and you yourself are completely unconscious. It has been argued whether or not suggestions are still as effectively received within the Delta state, so argue that this is also a great time to give suggestions because the conscious mind is no longer blocking the way. Others argue that because the conscious mind is completely shutdown, there is no link, nothing tethered to the present moment and therefore none of the suggestions are received.

The brain is never completely in one state, it is always changing. Some portions will be in Beta, others in Alpha, but never is one state spread throughout the entire brain.  The more you go in and out of each of these states, the more control you have over what state your brain is mainly in, which can be very handy.

Ways to be Put Under Hypnosis:

As stated above, a state of hypnosis can be accessed through magnified concentration, but that is not the only way to bring someone into hypnosis. The conscious mind can be shutdown through a few or methods.  Overall the back round of these other concepts is focusing, however it is on what do you get the person to focus that assists them in overcoming their consciousness. Overload, Confusion, Disorientation, Focal Point, Pattern Interruption, Indirect suggestion, Loss of equilibrium, and Shock.

Common Misconceptions about Hypnosis

Public flamboyance, and the way hypnosis is portrayed by “professionals” in the stage hypnosis, entertainment, andmedia industries has contributed to the understandable misconceptions with and about hypnosis. Throughout the rest of this page allow the main incorrect beliefs about hypnosis to be completely nullified so any of your fears regarding the subject will also be completely diluted.

Does a person under hypnosis go completely unconscious and become unaware of everything else going on in the room?

Man in relaxed position.

This is a very common misconception about hypnosis, because in reality, you really never lose your awareness or fall asleep in hypnosis. It’s actually quite the opposite; you become more aware and focused than usual which is indeed what allows the increased reaction to suggestions given during the session. The supposed creator of modern hypnotism, James Braid, chose the term “hypnosis” after the Greek word hypnos for “sleep.” However, after later realizing that hypnotism was not based upon being unconscious or sleeping, he tried to use the term “monoideism” to convey hypnosis as a state of magnified concentration on one (mono-) idea (-ideism), but the term “hypnosis” had already stuck.

The sensations that take place during hypnosis have a large range and everyone can have different experiences. It’s most likely you will enjoy a feeling of deep calmness and relaxation.

Does a person not remember what happens during the hypnosis session?

Again the case is quite the contrary as was stated above, and you’ll be aware of exactly what is going on before during and after being hypnotized. Of course amnesia is a possible, but is only suggested for therapeutic purposes where a traumatic event has taken place and it is not in the best interest of the client to keep said memory. The direct request of such a therapy must be portrayed for the therapist to go through with it and is still quite a simple and relaxing process.

The process of hypnosis can indeed produce a dreamy feeling as you may feel yourself drifting between sleep and consciousness, because hypnosis does take place at the state in between those two states. It is also normal for your mind to wander at times, not always focused on what the hypnotist is saying, and this is completely natural, because it is just the same as the state you are in when you dream at night. After the session it’s probable that that you have a fading memory of the session because your focus was somewhere else so don’t worry.

You’ll be aware of everything while hypnotized and afterward, unless specific amnesia is suggested for a therapeutic purpose.  It’s possible that you’ll have a “dreamy” feeling, or feel as if you are drifting back and forth between sleep and wakefulness throughout hypnosis.  It’s normal for your minder to wander at times.  After hypnosis it’s likely that you’ll probably have a fading memory of the session, similar to emerging from a deep daydream or a nap.

Can a person can be hypnotized against their will?

No, this commonly held, incorrect idea has been created by stage hypnotists who are very skilled at creating the illusion that they have a magically mysterious power over other people. There is, indeed, no such power or ability. Hypnosis is a state of consent and teamwork, in which the client has all the control and can snap out of the state at any time they choose. “The only control the hypnotist has over you is the control you allow him to have.” The best way to see it is that the hypnotist is a simple guide to help you acquire that state of relaxation through techniques he or she knows that were created to help stimulate and enhance your state of mental concentration.

Can everyone be hypnotized?

It’s not about whether anyone can be hypnotized, but whether or not you allow yourself to be guided into hypnosis. Literally everyone can and has been in hypnosis, it’s process that you go through when waking up and a process you go through when going to sleep. Also usually when watching Television people will go into a “tranced-out” state. If you have ever noticed yourself crying during a sad movie, or laughing in a while watching a sitcom it was because you got so into the story that it became real for you and thus you were hypnotized, this is a simple example of being in an altered state.

Does a person need to be completely relaxed from head to toe to go into hypnosis?

The level of your physical relaxation is not the only thing that impacts your ability to go into hypnosis. Hypnosis is truly defined as an “altered” state, so literally being in any state that is different from your normal state of consciousness allows you to be more receptive to suggestion.

Can a person can get stuck in a trance forever?

This is simply impossible due to the fact that trance is a state between states, so eventually you will either fall asleep or just wake up, those are the only two ways you can go. Both options are usually quite refreshing as well.

Characteristics of Hypnosis

Research over the last 40 years shows that hypnosis techniques are safe and effective. Furthermore, a growing number of studies show that hypnotherapy can treat headaches, ease pain of childbirth, aid in quitting smoking, improve concentration and study habits, relieve minor phobias and serve as anesthesia – all without drugs or side effects.

Hyper-Acuity of Senses

Hypnosis narrows the area of focus for perfect concentration. While in such a state, perceptions are more accurate and active. The logical mind is stimulated and heightened as well. In such a narrowed field of attention, smell, taste, and sight are easily improved.

Hyper-Acuity of Memory

Hypnosis-recall is a miraculous demonstration of the hypnotic potential. Hypnosis can create a prodigious memory. It is possible to recall past impression and circumstances and even relive past events that have long been misplaced by the conscious mind. This is due to the fact that the subconscious mind records every sensation and thought that has ever been experienced or created. Likewise, just how memories can be recalled, they can also be removed or forgotten with hypnosis if the situation calls for it.

Reflexes and Nerve Responses

It is possible for the pulse rate to be slowed down, blood flow regulated, childbirth time determined, body parts anesthetized, and other automatic body functions controlled. One can manifest a curative outcome or even create a symptom that did not exist before. One can have a burn mark vanish or suggest a burn and have redness appear on the part of skin suggested. Temperature is another example of a controllable function in hypnosis.

Fixation of Attention

Hypnosis creates extreme focus by limiting the area of concentration until attention resides on only a miniscule field of awareness. The main variable in creating this concentration depends on the suggestions given or better yet, received.

Altered Reality

A person deep within the state of hypnosis sincerely believes the suggestions he or she is given without question. Any sensation or experience from the past may be recalled to enhance a hypnotic hallucination. Someone can be made to believe that when they eat an onion it tastes and feels like a peach and their subconscious mind will draw up a memory of whenever that person ate a peach and the person will then relive it in the present time.

Post Hypnotic Responses

Some suggestions given during trance are suggested to be preformed after the subject comes back to full consciousness. Often in this situation, the subject doesn’t even remember the suggestion.

History of Hypnosis

Group Hypnosis began with ancient civilizations. Many group rituals, such as mass chanting and meditation to a steady drum beat were parts of religious ceremonies. There was healing of the mind before any medical practice. The term Hypnosis comes from the Greek ‘ypnos’ which means sleep because of the Trance State. However Hypnosis is not sleep because the subject stays alert, can talk and move, and the brain waves differ.

The first type of hypnosis to be accepted and experimented with was animal hypnosis. In the 1600′s, people calmed chickens hypnotically by various means, such as balancing wood shavings on their beaks or tying their heads to the ground and drawing a line with chalk in front of their beaks. In France, farmers learned to hypnotize hens to sit on eggs not their own. In the mid 1800′s in Germany, traveling shows went from town to town with birds, rabbits, frogs, salamanders and others. In Manchester, a famed event was LaFountaine hypnotizing a lion. In the late 1800′s, Hungarian hypnotist, Volgyesi hypnotized all the animals at the Budapest zoo. Scientists and biologists such as Preyer, Verworn and Emile Mesmet studied animal reflexes (like paralysis from fear) that might cause such phenomena.

Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), a physician from Austria, has been widely acknowledged as the ‘Father of Hypnosis’. He believed that there was some kind of quasi-magnetic fluid in the air we all breathe and that the body’s nerves would somehow absorbed this fluid. As an intelligent doctor, his prime focus was how to efficiently treat his patients, and he considered all diseases to be caused by the blockage of this magnetic fluid from circulating through the blood and nervous system. Curing disease for him was as simple as correcting the circulation of this fluid.

In the beginning, he used a magnet, then later the palm of his hand, which he would pass over someone’s diseased body in an attempted effort to restart the magnetic flow. The hand, and later the eyes, was believed to unblock the liquid by passing his hand over the affected areas and reacting by increasing its amount and flow. Through this the term ‘animal magnetism’ was created, and the procedure would be referred to as “Mesmerism.”

The Marquis de Puysegur (1751-1825), a pupil of Mesmers, was able to use ‘animal magnetism’ on a young peasant boy who then entered into a state of sleep while strangely enough still having the capacity to communicate back and forth with Puysegur and respond easily to his suggestions. When the peasant boy ‘awoke’ he couldn’t recall anything of what had just happened. Puysegur pondered that the will of the subject or client and the operators’ actions were definitive variables in the success or failure of ‘mesmerism’; in other words, psychological influences, internal and external were undoubtedly important in the entire process.

John Elliotson (1791-1868), a physician from England who held a chair at University College London was expelled from his medical profession as a direct result of his procedures with animal magnetism. During the same time a James Esdaile, a surgeon who operated on his patients using a ‘mesmeric sleep’ as his choice of anaesthetic. Since this point the medical profession was completely therefore divided on its opinion of the usefulness and ethicality of mesmerism.

It wasn’t until late in 1843 that the terms ‘hypnotism’ and ‘hypnosis’ were branded by James Braid (1795-1860). He was a surgeon from Scotland who worked in Manchester. He found that most experimental subjects could enter into a trance if they were simply told to fixate their eyes on a bright object, such as a silver watch.

He believed that there was some type of neurophysiologic process that was involved. And he found that hypnosis was very useful with disorders where there were no organic origins to the disease or issue that could be identified (e.c. headaches, skin problems etc.) He showed that a lone stimulus such as a word or an object was enough to bring his subjects.  Back into trance No one really knew how or why the process of hypnosis ‘worked’, but the important thing at the time was that it did.