HypnosisThe common view of hypnosis is that it is an altered state of consciousness, a trance-like state characterized by intense concentration, extreme relaxation, and high suggestibility. Many who accept this view also believe that hypnosis is the way of accessing the unconscious mind, thereby allowing the recovery of repressed memories, multiple personalities, and even memories of past lives. Since at least the 1960’s this view of hypnosis has been seen as a myth by scientifically-minded psychologists, who deny that hypnosis is an altered state which somehow allows the hypnotist to communicate directly with the unconscious mind. There are two distinct, though related, aspects to the mythical view of hypnosis: the myth of the altered state, and the myth of the unconscious mind as a reservoir of repressed memories, numerous personalities, past lives, and for some, mythical insights and occult truths.
Thoughts of hypnosis began in the 1970’s with an Australian physician Franz Mesmer who would rely heavily on the power of suggestion. Franz’s last name is where the term mesmerize came about. Later the term hypnosis emerged through an English surgeon named James Braid. Hypnosis is a Greek word, which means sleep.
Braid used it to describe the hypnotic state people would be in after hypnosis. We now know that hypnosis is not sleep, but an altered state of consciousness. Many people believe the hypnosis is mythical and magical.
Those supporting the mythical view of hypnosis often cite studies which show that during hypnosis the brain shows electrical changes and that the brain waves under hypnosis differ from those during waking consciousness.There are many problems with the realism of hypnosis. Many people feel that it’s brought up upon the troubled people themselves. One clue as to the falsehood of the common view of hypnosis is the fact that it usually occurs under very dramatically different social settings: The showroom, the clinic, the classroom, and the police station. Showroom hypnotists usually work bars and clubs, and their subjects are usually people those idea of a good time is to join dozens of hundreds of others in a place where alcohol is the main social bonding agent. The subjects of clinical hypnotists are usually people with problems who have heard that hypnotherapy works for relieving pain or overcoming an addiction, fear, weight problem, etc. Another group of people who get hypnotized are college students who take psychology classes.
Finally, some hypnotic subjects are people who have been victims or witnesses of a crime, but can’t remember enough details to help police investigators who encourage them to undergo hypnosis to help them remember.There are many facts that claim that hypnosis is not a reliable tool. Most of what is know about hypnosis, opposed to what is believed, has come from studies on the subject, not the hypnotists.
We know that there is a significant correlation between being imaginative and being responsive to hypnosis. We know that those who are fantasy-prone are also likely to make excellent hypnotic subjects. We know that hypnotic subjects are not turned into zombies and are not controlled by their hypnotist. We know that hypnosis does not enhance the accuracy of memory. We know that a person under hypnosis is very suggestible and that memory is easily filled in by imagination and by suggestions made under hypnosis. We know that confabulation is quite common while under hypnosis and that many states do not allow testimony which has been induced by hypnosis because it is intrinsically unreliable.
We last know that the greatest predictor of hypnotic responsiveness is what a person believes about hypnosis. Some things that hypnosis is used for are to help you lose weight, quit smoking, find out different things, reincarnation, and many other things. The most controversial is its use in past life regressive therapy. According to its advocates, hypnosis opens a window to the unconscious mind were memories of past lives are stored.
How memories of past lives get into the unconscious mind of a person is unknown, but advocates loosely adhere to a doctrine of reincarnation even though a doctrine does not require a belief in either the unconscious mind or memories of past lives. The only evidence that has been reported is the fact that while hypnotized many subjects report events from past lives.Hypnosis is an interesting subject in almost every person’s eyes.
Whether the whole concept is true, is not really known. It is said that people who believe in hypnosis are easier to hypnotize, while those who don’t believe can’t be hypnotized at all. There is still quite a mystery about the whole subject that everyone is waiting to be solved.