General Hypnosis Overview

by Bob Walsh

Here’s another article from one of my readers, some general infos about hypnosis like studies that show that highly hypnotizable people show increased activation of the right hemisphere and other things…

Hypnosis and the placebo effect are “so heavily reliant upon the effects of suggestion and belief that it would be hard to imagine how a credible placebo control could ever be devised for a hypnotism study.” – R. Barker Bausell

This is a quote from a famous master researcher in the field of the placebo effect. Hypnosis is a social interaction in which one person responds to suggestions given by another person (the hypnotist) for imaginative experiences involving changes in perception, memory, and the voluntary control of action.

There are many fears and misunderstandings about the use of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, and the myths and mystery that surround it are totally undeserved by my opinion. Hypnosis, a totally natural phenomenon, is simply a very comfortable and relaxed state (hypnosis mp3 download) during which it is quite easy to converse sensibly with the therapist.

Almost anyone can enter the hypnotic state easily, with the exceptions of the truly mentally subnormal, very young children, and anybody under the influence of hard drugs or very large quantities of alcohol. It is inconceivable that any harm could befall anybody in this pleasant state.

Hypnosis is commonly induced with suggestions for relaxation and even sleep, brain activity in hypnosis more closely resembles that of a person who is awake.

Studies employing both behavioral and electrophysiological mechanisms have been interpreted as indicating increased activation of the right hemisphere of the brain among highly hypnotizable individuals. In any case, stage hypnosis seems to be done for entertainment purposes and is quite different from the more serious aims of those who work in a clinical setting: the hypnotherapists.

The subjects of clinical hypnotists are usually people with problems who have heard that hypnotherapy works for relieving pain or overcoming an addiction or a fear. There is nothing more magical, more efficient, more powerful than the subconscious mind. I was hypnotized once but not to overcome fear, but rather for a past life regression. I had a friend I dated prior to being married who had tried it, and when on a trip we went together to both try it again. My friend had had several regressions sessions and the tapes of the regressions seemed to give her some insight into some personal issues in her present life. She had several past lives to review, and unlike what I suspected they were all individuals who lived normal lives. For me I had only two past lives. Nothing special, but of interest to me was one was oriental and I do have a love of Asian culture, food, art, and people. The other past life was a French soldier killed in the wars during Napoleon rule. The sessions were taped, and I did enjoy listing to them and the details which seemed to come out.

I have never fully accepted the past life reality. I am a history buff and much of the detail could have been in my mind from the studies of Asia, or European history. But it was a lot of fun. I have heard that hypnosis is seen as a way to open up the unconscious mind where these alleged truths and insights have taken up residence. Scientific support for this view is lacking and few psychologists take this approach seriously. In fact you can self-hypnotize yourself too! When you hypnotize yourself, it’s often more practical as a stress management tool than normal hypnosis, as you do not need to have a hypnotist present.

Self-hypnosis helps you to relax your body, lets stress hormones subside, and distracts your mind from unpleasant thoughts, like using affirmations. Affirmations are the positive statements (based on rational thinking) that we make to ourselves to counter stress and unpleasant thoughts. It is very interesting how the hypnotics do it, what tools do they use, to make us “wander off”. Some, like using imagery – relaxing imagery. For instance one such example is drawing on pleasurable times in the past at a warm beach with the golden sun and puffy white clouds overhead. The most famous one and best proven and long term used technique is general relaxation where the subject is mentally guided through different parts of the body from their feet to the top of their head with instructions to relax each and every part.

A not so popular method is age regression – age regression to past lives. Anyhow any of these tools would be efficient, if it makes us go back there where our pain is. However, hypnosis is not always completely safe procedure. It sometimes happens that unexpected unwanted thoughts, feelings or behaviors during or after hypnosis show up, which are inconsistent and interfere with the hypnotic process. Hypnosis inappropriately or ineptly applied, with suggestions that do not take into account the subject’s psychological state or vulnerabilities, can result in short and long term deleterious effects. In general hypnosis is used in treatments of various diseases or mind pains, therefore it is for sure positive thing, although should be practised by only qualified hypnotists.

There are several organizations that purport to “certify” hypnotists, and many individuals advertise themselves as “hypnotherapists”, however, the most important credential is a diploma from an accredited university and state licensure as a physician, dentist, clinical psychologist, clinical social worker, etc.

Hypnosis is not a profession. Rather, it is a technique that professionals employ as appropriate. To conclude at the end, hypnosis is a scientifically verified and effective technique that can promote accelerated human change. With Hypnosis we can create desired changes in behavior and encourage mental and physical well-being. If you are one of those individuals seeking to make a positive change in their lives, you might as well try it, can’t loose anything!

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