Hypnosis

Hypnosis

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Hypnosis and Meditation

Even though the term ‘hypnosis’ is drawn from the Greek word ‘hypno’ which literally denotes ‘sleep’, it is not this meaning professional hypnotherapists associate the term with it. On the contrary, during the course of hypnosis sessions, the individuals subjected to hypnosis are fully alert yet due to their transiting themselves into a heightened state of mind they are not disturbed by the distracting thoughts that surround their mind and reach a state of internal concentration which makes them prepared to receive suggestions willingly. It is possible individuals can be in mental states which may resemble like they are being in a ‘trance’ as reflected in some of their actions, as for instance, missing the correct turn in a highway while returning home after a tense day in the office or walking into a room forgetting as to what purpose they had entered into the room, but such a state is not considered as hypnotic trans. This is because these are all only ordinary mental state and in no way they can be said to be in a hypnotic state of mind. The trance that is talked of in hypnosis is the one in which your mind while being open, yet is unoccupied and quiet. Under normal circumstances, a qualified hypnotherapist would subject to his client to three steps, viz, (i) predicting (which is the approaching signs of trance), (ii) observing (as to what is happening with the client), and (iii) directing (subtly implanting suggestions on the hypnotized mind of the client to accomplish the desired outcomes).

Meditation is a conscious act of individuals to put themselves into a Trans. The term is derived from the Latin word ‘meditate’ which conveys a literal meaning of being moved to the center. In such a state, the activities of the brain moves from the outer cortex to the Hypothalamus which is situated at the center of the brain. Meditation typically involves three following steps, viz (i) focusing attention on a mentally conceivable object or on one’s breathing, (ii) remaining in a passive state of mind which allows passing of random thoughts and (iii) constantly repeating a word or term which could be associated with a mantra as believed in eastern world or a prayer in a western context. The primary objective of meditation is to achieve a quiet state of mind through which it is established to bring about positive benefits to the health and welfare of individuals.

Even though hypnosis is considered to have a wider applicability when compared with meditation, practicing meditation is also known to confer conceivable health benefits on its practitioners. This is because those who practice meditation also gain access to the automatic mind which has the ability to bring under control breathing, heart rate, undesirable habit formation and perpetuation of such habits, perceptions of brain towards pain stimulus. Through these methods, meditation enables the realignment of a person’s conscious repetitive routines to unconscious routines. It has, for instance, been scientifically established two brief sessions of meditation each day can significantly lower high blood pressure.

Further, hypnosis and meditation are considered to be complimentary to each other or have similar features which would become clear when we put forth the following facts.

  • Hypnosis and meditation put the individuals in a natural state that can be compared to a situation which is similar to the one which is felt before awakening and falling asleep.
  • Both of them have the ability to make the individuals fully absorbed into whatever they are doing at a particular point of time, say, similar to being completely absorbed in a movie.
  • Whether it is hypnosis or meditation, those who are plasticising either of them would come out of the trance stage. There has not been even a single case in which this action of their not returning to the original state of mind that has been reported so far.

Nonetheless, at least in the following respects, hypnosis and meditation differ from each other.

It is possible in hypnosis for an individual suffering from obnoxious habits to get rid of them in just two sessions where as it may take a lot more number of sessions and practice to achieve the same in meditation.

Further, since the scope of hypnosis is considered to have far wider applications in treating a number of dis-eases whether it is physical, mental, or psychological, it has attracted wider interest in the medical field.  The aim of a professional hypnotherapist is to improve the wellbeing of their clients by relieving them from the distressing conditions from which they are suffering by following a systematic and scientific steps already described. When a state of hypnotic trance is achieved, the chattering nature of mind is brought to a stop. The previous unruly busy-ness observed in the form of wandering thoughts is brought to a halt. This prepares the state of mind to transit from a troubled state to an observant state. When the observant-self takes over the individuals who are hypnotized, they become ready to relieve their perceived fears, painful memories that are stuck in their mind due to unpalatable happenings at some point of time in their lives which they are unable to bear in their weakened state of mind and an expert hypnotherapist accomplishes exactly the goal(s) which he/she wants to bring about in their clients after a conversation with them when they are in their natural state of mind.

On the other hand when it comes to meditation, many forms of meditation presuppose your acquiring a manta because it is the one that is used to chant repeatedly during the process of meditation in order to invoke inner quietness. In fact, there are individuals who are prepared to part with a substantial amount of $$$ to their masters (gurus) to acquire a particular mantra which they believe would confer the benefits on them. However, hypnosis does not presuppose the acquiring of any such watchword to practice it.

We may then conclude both hypnosis and meditation in their own ways have devised methods to create a state of mind where focused attention is made possible to enable human being to suppress their negative thoughts, activity, and perceptions or sensation wherein the outcome is realization of inner fulfilment. When a an inner fulfilments is achieved, it is manifested outwardly in health, wellbeing and a positive outlook towards life and an ability to face challenges it poses. However, hypnosis because of its broader scope offers more practical value visa-vis meditation.

 

Self Esteem Hypnosis

Self-esteem has a significant role to play in the successful therapeutic outcomes irrespective of the fact whether the nature of an illness is physical or mental or psychosomatic. This is because self-esteem is seen as a basic feature of mental health. In addition it also contributes to better health and positive social behavior because existing pieces of evidence of successful people suggest they are seen to be one having high-self esteem and also do not feel shy of stating it as one of the important factors that has helped them in not only achieving life satisfaction, and deriving personal satisfaction out of such successes by demonstrating an ability to cope up with challenging and many a times adverse circumstances. Such people also demonstrate distinct characteristics of being less anxious, less sensitive to criticism, ability to cope up with stress, lesser isolation and above all give high priority to attaching personal values in whatever they carry out whether it is under favorable, hostile, or exploitative environments.

On the other hand, low self-esteem does exactly the opposite to those individuals who are suffering from it. They constantly need a sense of approval from others, demonstrate a feeling of apathy and consequently are dogged by negative behaviors in their thinking and action. Such a demonstration results in their becoming isolated, submissive and eventually withdrawing from all that otherwise could have brought a sense of purpose and meaning to their lives. Such negative feelings arising out of low self-esteem take a toll in their health leading to physical as well as mental illness. All the scientific evidence available on self-esteem links it with anxiety in one way or another.

Fortunately for such of those who are suffering from conditions of low self-esteem relief is available in the form of hypnotism which combines the art of changing the self-defeating behavior of such individuals with the science of psychotherapy. Even though hypnosis has been in vogue in one form or another right from ancient times, scientific explanations of how it works is taking place in the last few decades only which too is advancing only on a gradual scale. This in no way undermines the effectiveness of hypnotic techniques in bringing about relief to those who are suffering from low self-esteem and the attendant consequences. What is needed at this stage is to propagate some of the demonstrated techniques that are available to show how they have been and helping and can help those who are in need of it in realizing the full potential of their lives. While determining the criterion of successful outcomes of hypnotherapy on self-esteem, if we take it as the one that has the major impact on bringing down the anxiety of the people suffering from it, then it can be considered to be falling under the category of ‘specific’, whereas, if we take the anxiety of the individuals can be traced to particular disorders they are suffering from as obesity, anorexia, it would fall into the field of ‘can be considered effective’. On the other hand, if the low self-esteem is due to anxiety in the form of   fear of public speaking, or taking an examination, depression, then it falls into the domain of being considered as ‘possible ’ in terms of reliefs it can deliver.

The applications of hypnotic techniques vary from situation to situation in delivering outcomes. This is because hypnotism works on a mix of factors that touches on the human lives as a whole, whether it be on their behavior or cognitive psychology or combination of these and many  other not so easily quantifiable factors which works on the psyche. We also have to remember that hypnosis could be applied to a variety of population right from a child to adult to senior citizens and it is also gender neutral. For example, by rehearsing positive self-statements which also contained an element of restricting negative self-statement by making those more adaptive are found to increase the self-esteem scores of participants who are afflicted with depression essentially arising out of self-esteem related factors. In one study that took an elaborate review of 400 Meta analyses   which focused on positive aspects of self-concept for a period of thirty minutes on each day throughout the duration of the hypnosis program, the positive benefit of the application of hypnotherapy was seen in the improvement of self-esteem via reduction in anxiety.

Yet another mostly talked about but leastly documented technique relates to the one known as ‘ego strengthening’. Its importance is seen in the holistic benefits it delivers to the affected ones by way of improved therapeutic outcomes, gaining of an exalted insight and consequent heightened clarity of thinking. The aggregated output of all these is seen in an improved self-esteem which in other words imply self-esteem is the resultant product of high ego strength. Scientific pieces of evidence are available from scholars in the field to prove that hypnosis protocols which aim at the strengthening of ego result in statistically significant increase in the mean self-esteem scores.

It may be interesting to know how higher scores of self-esteem is achieved via practicing ego-strengthening hypnotic protocols. It is posited that hypnosis has the ability to enhance all forms of psychotherapy at three levels. In the first stage, patients when they attain the relaxed- trans, become adaptable to accept the suggestions from the therapists, and absorb them without resistance into their unconscious minds. In the second stage, such learning and absorption become an integral part and parcel of their inner resources and in the third stage they are able to apply them towards a problem disturbing them and either get rid of them or handle them effectively without causing harm to their health and environment. Increased response to the suggestions of hypnotherapist is seen as a salient feature of hypnotism. A possible explanation for this could be found in the opinions of the scholars who believe that hypnotized subjects are favorably dispositioned in taking up the suggestions of the hypnotists and strive to implement them to the best of their abilities.

We may then conclude that hypnotic interventions may offer superior advantages over other therapeutic enhancement procedures for bringing about a better self-esteem. Nonetheless, we may need more evidence based facts to demonstrate the effectiveness of hypnotherapy especially on some of the limitations that are talked about it. For instance, there is an underling assumption in the application of hypnotherapy which is that it is difficult if not impossible to treat those subjects who are not in the first instance amenable to hypnotization. In other words, effectiveness of hypnotherapy seems to revolve around the concept of hypnotizability. When more scientific evidence emerges, the prefixing of this condition for achieving the benefits of hypnosis would hopefully get relegated to the background and the humankind may be able to reap the benefits this wonderful concept, viz, hypnotism, which blends arts with science.

Covert hypnosis

Covert hypnosis, created by Milton H Erickson, a psychiatrist by profession is a process wherein the hypnotists have the ability to hypnotize their subjects without their even noticing it. It is an extension of conversational hypnosis and involves the application of conversational tactics to transit the subjects into a suggestibility state where they do not show resistance to listen to suggestions. Choice of words, persuasive tone of language are the hallmarks of covert hypnosis and its uniqueness lies in the fact that it dispenses away with the requirement of use of body language.

Explained in a scientific manner the brain uses waves as modes of communication. Some of them are known as alpha, beta, delta, gamma, and theta waves. Alpha waves at 8-13Hz are found to produce a calm and relaxed state of mind. Beta waves operating at 13-30 Hz are known to carry the subjects into a state of intense concentration which is capable of enabling them to think deeply and analyze logically. Delta waves at 0.5-4 Hz induce a total state of relaxation similar to a state of deep sleep. Gamma waves operating at about 40Hz facilitate a high level of mental activity. Theta waves operating at levels between 4 and 7 Hz are known to take the subjects to a total state of relaxation and in such a state people are found to have the ability to slip into day dreaming. Theta waves are the ones which are considered to be most relevant for covert hypnosis because they facilitate the subjects to transit themselves into a trance state. When people during the process of being hypnotized slip into trance state the extent of their acquiescence to suggestibility is significantly higher.

Technically, covert hypnosis works on what is termed as the ABS protocol, where A signifies attention, B bypassing and C covert. Even though the words technical and protocol are used here, they are only to explain something better and not to complicate. For these reasons, in the next two paragraphs they are explained in a layman’s term wherein the first one expands the theme and the second explains the methods followed in applying such a theme.

In whatever you do in life, it is necessary to get the attention of the people to listen to you. Hypnosis is no exception to this. It is difficult to hypnotize a person when he/she is not in a listening mode and it is at this stage the rapport is established to facilitate their listening. The second task at hand relates to the bypassing the conscious part of the mind whose function is to critically analyze all suggestions and information given. If this stage is not crossed, the subjects do not enter into a state of suggestibility. Covert hypnosis achieves this by enabling the subjects to enter into a trance stage. The final and crucial stage is the covert hypnosis protocol. Covert stage stimulates the unconscious part of the mind to imprint the suggestions on the subjects.

A trained hypnotherapist typically applies the following steps in covert hypnosis:

  • Induce their clients to engage with them in a mode of conversation during which process the subjects come out with their thoughts and feelings.
  • Reassure them if need be even by touching their clients that they are listening in an intensive and empathetic manner
  • Once the listening process is over, they start conversing by carefully choosing only those words which their clients are comfortable to hear essentially  to create the rapport between the hypnotherapist and his/her client.
  • As soon as  the rapport is created, the hypnotist starts the to use suggestibility words in a positive persuasive but soft spoken manner which builds the confidence in his/her subject and once they are sure they have gained such confidence, they proceed to the next level of putting their clients into a state of trance.
  • When the subjects are in a trance state, the messages are passed on in such a manner that it gets into the subconscious mind of the subjects.
  • Covert hypnosis finally achieves its goal of bringing out the desired changes in its subjects by successfully programming the subjects’ minds to carry out the messages implanted therein.

 

The main criticism against covert hypnosis is that it is a subtle mind control technique, manipulative in nature that can distort the proper functioning of the mind by interfering with various mind waves described earlier in the article. When used in a negative manner, as for instance, in covert operations or interrogating persons who are alleged to have committed some crimes, it can destroy a person’s living. Other controversies  surrounding covert hypnosis rely on the presumption that evil thoughts could be implanted into the subconscious minds of these individuals because the hypnotist hypnotizes his/her subjects without obtaining their consent.

While it needs extensive amounts of research to establish or deny the criticism that covert hypnosis being used in military and covert operations, at least in regard to the controversies we can state that they project a distorted definition of covert hypnosis. What in effect covert hypnosis implies is hypnosis in the subjects could be produced without a need for their having to be hypnotized. Stated otherwise, in hypnosis nothing can happen without the consent of the people who are hypnotized. This logic to some extent can be applied in respect of criticisms too but substantiating it in such extreme cases is difficult.

Covert hypnosis is found in many walks of day today life. You would have seen many skilled orators through their power of speech leaving you spell bound. This in effect means they   have successfully implanted their ideas into your subconscious minds. Here, neither did you attend a pre-programmed hypnotic session nor underwent any hypnotic techniques. It just had happened while you were very much conscious. You would also observe covert hypnosis is used in writing by distinguishing while you found some material were boring making you to switch pages quickly, there are others which keeps you absorbed .Specifically, narrative accounts fall into this category.

Finally, covert hypnosis finds more applications in the fields of advertising, marketing, and selling. However, it has its uses in therapy also. The artistic part of hypnosis could be found more in the applications of covert hypnosis even though the basis of such applications is still scientific.

We can conclude by stating the source of convert hypnosis is conversational hypnosis and for that reason many of the techniques that are applicable to conversational hypnosis would also apply to covert hypnosis. Instead of duplicating them, we have given you the core points governing covert hypnosis with the objective of dispelling the fears and or misconceptions you may have so that you can take control of your lives by benefitting from it.

Conversational hypnosis

Conversational hypnosis is a therapeutic strategy that has been found to be useful as a form of communication therapy. Known otherwise as ‘narrative therapy, it was devised by Michael White and David Epston in 1982 and relies on ‘reframing’ which stated otherwise means re-storiying. The approach conversational hypnosis follows is to develop an alternative narrative of the life of the clients. The advantage of conversational therapy is that when such a re-storying is narrated by trained hypnotists, the clients find new and unique redescriptions of themselves which helps them in the repairing and rebuilding of their relationships In the process, the previously dominant story that hitherto has been lying deep-rooted in their lives become obsolete. The clients get a new breather of life where they see the problems and relationships in a newer positive perspective, because the negatives that have been disturbing their minds prior to the sessions get relegated to the background.

The uniqueness of conversation hypnosis is that it does not stop with just conversation of the hypnotherapist with his/her clients. They follow it up by writing letters to their clients after the conclusion of each session which redescribe from a new angle what was talked about in the preceding session. It is the recurrent theme contained in the letter that forms the crucial strategy in conversational hypnosis as it helps the clients in not giving up. The conversation combined with recurrent theme has been found to aid the clients in resisting their temptations to give up hypnotherapy sessions in the light of difficulties they face in overcoming their problems. We can illustrate this with a case in example of a youth who has been abused during her childhood by taking a leaf from O’Hanlon, an expert in the field of conversational hypnotherapy. The theme of the letter in this case would be towards reassuring the client by acknowledging that she has been abused but the exemplary courage shown by her would make her to emerge stronger from the ordeal and not weaker as perceived by the society. The contents would be framed something along these lines: ‘You, (the name of the client) have been over time strengthened in spite of the adverse circumstances to which you have been pushed into and while you were trying to overcome such sufferings, everyone around you have been attempting to weaken you by trying to make you a slave of such adverse circumstances, but  paradoxically such attempts had only strengthened your resolve to be your own person wherein your distinct identity has come into the fore’. ‘I, (that is the hypnotherapist) believe an evil has been perpetuated on you on account of which you were degraded, but, at no point of time, you were broken. To my (that is hypnotherapist’s) way of thinking, you (that is the client) are a heroine without your knowledge of being a heroism’.

Conversational hypnotherapy claims a special place in the field of hypnotherapy because it is found to be equally useful in helping children especially those who have been labeled with the painful term Attention-deficit Hyperactivity (ADHD). Hypnotherapists see it in a different light, vis-a-vis their counterparts viz, the psychiatrists, as for hypnotists it is a social construct that depends to a great extent on the ways they talk about. Narrative therapeutic experts like David Nylund, Victor Corsiglia etc have developed new ways and methods to talk with such children by encouraging them to describe their own views of their conditions to the extent they are able to do so. In their experiments they found varying expressions as in the case of a 15 year old child who stated that his ADHD was reflected in ‘being able to watch two TV-channels at the same time’ and the more significant point of that statement came from his next statement which was to the effect that he was able to pick up something from each channel’. The underlying line of treatment in conversational hypnotherapy whether it is in the cases similar to the one quoted above or others is that the clients are helped by enabling them to reconsider their hitherto held belief that they are incompetent. The suggestive technique followed by conversational hypnotherapy specialists conveys a sense of belief in their clients that they are much more intelligent than they believe and besides not necessarily in what society thinks as skills but in their being vested with special skills of creative talents as, say, capacity to learn and excel in music, sports, dance or anything similar to them which fall outside the narrow definition of skills which the society values in a mundane manner.

Nonetheless, for those who sit on the other side of the fence and has made it a habit to criticize and naildown hypnosis and hypnotherapists, conversational hypnosis is yet another form of manipulation which inherently is embodied in lying, cheating, and manipulations. To them the alternative points of view used by hypnotists is nothing but lying and consequently those who have taken to the field of hypnotherapy become vulnerable to such ethical criticisms. To them, there is no way by which in conversational hypnosis the right can be distinguished from the wrong, a lie can be distinguished from a truth. They refuse to see the point that the use of alternative or redescriptions does not have to rely on lying or cheating.

Again those who would have watched the election campaign of Barrack Obama would be familiar with the criticisms of his using conversational hypnosis in the negative sense of the term. They called the techniques used by him by a variety of terms as ‘pacing’, ‘vagueness’, ‘rolling out  meaningless statistics in a reckless manner’ etc which were all meant to decouple the listeners from rational thinking. Once the rational thoughts were suspended, conversational therapy, according to them, had  achieved its objective by gaining entry into the   emotional state of mind of the listeners/ voters  through the creation of  an ‘inside’-loved group centered on symbols with an ‘outside’-hated group which is used as a scapegoat for all the ills pervading ills of  the society. In order to lend credence to their criticisms, these critics quote examples of other political leaders, famous or disgraced as Adolph Hitler who resorted to occultists to achieve the results which according to them was ultimately responsible in causing misery to humanity. While these critics have not gone to the extent of comparing Obama’s speeches to such crude exercises as mentioned above as according to them he was able to refine them with other techniques as Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) yet there was no watering down of the substance of criticisms.

While we do not subscribe to the above views, the purpose of pointing out this is to keep the readers informed that those who believe and practice ethically the science and art of hypnotherapy would always tell you that it is illegal to subject you to such a therapy without your consent. As informed citizens, you may know well that any therapy relies on trust between the clients and their therapists and the option always lies with you as clients to ignore the communication contained in the conversational hypnotherapy if you think it is insincere. Conversational hypnosis is always contextual in nature in that it contains statements of what is relevant and not relevant and what is important and not important. There is always a value judgment involved because conversational hypnosis sessions are conducted after evaluation of the situation with which a client is faced with and no ethically believing hypnotherapist would impose such value judgments on his/her clients  at any point of time. The import of value judgment is all the communications have an influencing element attached to them and hypnotherapy in general and conversational hypnosis in particular is a double-edged sword which can cut either way. A sword or a knife can be used for a good or a bad cause. Unjustified criticisms is similar to one excusing oneself from taking the responsibility for his/her action which at best can be thought of as an escapist attitude but to lay the blame on somebody else, as on a hypnotherapist in this case,  is a blatant violation of natural justice.

Is hypnosis real?

The question as to whether hypnosis is real is asked from time to time due to the controversies surrounding it and the inability even among professionals involved in the hypnotic arena to agree upon on as to ‘what hypnosis is’. Hypnosis is often described as a process by which a person trained to practice hypnotherapy induces an altered state of awareness on his/her subjects but those who sit on the other side of the fence consider it  as a product of ordinary response to suggestion and hence nothing special could be attached to it to distinguish its place in psychotherapy or clinical psychology. There are others who go to the extreme extent of condemning it for the type of abuses and repulsive action similar to some of the ones recounted below. In this article, after presenting both  view points, we intend taking up a position that hypnosis is real and like any other field has got its grey side.By taking recourse  scientific evidence and experts views this article  validates the theme,  that  hypnosis is real and is a clinically useful form of treatment which is not only cost effective but also popular. Wherever relevant,  the names of various  experts are cited here yet they have not been given as references because this is not an academic paper. The rationale behind citing the names of the experts is to further reinforce our view point because unless or otherwise hypnosis, whether as a science or art or a combination of both has substance in it, it would not have attracted the attention of reputed specialists in the psychiatry  and psychotherapy fields of practice.

Doubts as to whether hypnosis is real or not lingers in the minds of the people because of the negative legal, social and psychological implications hypnosis is reported to be producing in the context of memory distortion and false memory creation. There are several cases and or instances of daughters and sons accusing  their fathers, mothers, uncles, neighbors and indeterminate number of people of sexual assault years before espeically during their childhood. This is supposed to resurge when they emerge out of psychotherapy sessions claiming that they have repressed memories which have surfaced after the hypnotic therapeutic sessions. While in the USA  legal cases are fought in the civil courts for the injury suffered on the count of childhood sexual abuse supported by of the application of ‘discovery doctrine’, in other  countries as Germany the accused are sought to be tried under criminal laws. A famous case which received wide coverage in Times Magazine (German-1995) related to the case of ‘ this daughter against the father’ wherein the daughter named Laura  B accused her father named Joel Hungerford, molested her beginning from the age of 5 to 23, including days before her wedding. It is not relevant to go in here as to what was the outcome of the case but the point that whether  hypnosis is real arises vastly out of abuses the discipline undergoes which becomes a weapon for misuse. While it is not necessary to go further deep into the issue, suffice to say the foundation for such doubts emerge from misguided studies on hypnosis.

In essence the admissibility debate as to whether hypnosis is real or not surrounds on a singular issue that precise memory recall is seldom achievable under hypnosis as a result of which most of the memories purported to be recalled by the subjects under hypnotized conditions are biased if not totally imprecise. It is for this reason The American Medical and The American Psychological Association oppose the admissibility of hypnotically refreshed memories while fighting legal battles and also advises caution against its indisciminate use.

From what has been so far presented above we need to understand that no where doubts persist as to whether ‘hypnosis is real or nor’ but concentrates on the misuses and abuses of hypnosis under various circumstances and in particular when it comes to the question of using hypnosis in the recovery of repressed memories as a tool of abuse.

Since we are focusing on the use of hypnosis in handling health problems which a vast majority of the populace want relief from , we would concentrate on this part in the rest of the article because we have already proved that hypnosis is real and these additional points are provided to reinforce out point that it can be of value in mitigating the miseries of human beings at least  from a health promoting perspective.

From their study of and experiments involving hypnosis, Lynn and colleagues have come to conclusions of its positive use in:

  • The treatment of pain,
  • In medicine,
  • In the cessation of smoking,
  • in treating problems associated with  children,
  • In the treatment of trauma

 

In his book ‘Hidden Depths: The story of Hypnosis,  Raj Persaud, Consultant psychiatrist of the Maudusley Hospital, London, presents a number of points which are scientific as well as informed  in nature to prove  by implication  that hypnosis is not only real but is also useful in treating diseases.

He states that hypnosis has the ability to increase pain thresholds and the way it works braks the traditional belief of its mechanism of operation.. By this he drives at home the point that it is possible to achieve the desired outcome through hypnotic session by directly appealing to the conscious mind and not necessarily this should be done by wooing only the indirect unconscious mind. This could be considered as an advancement in the discovery of the hidden potential of hypnosis that goes further to prove that it is real and when researched in a proactive manner could bring out its unknown potential it can   benefit humanity.

 

This can further be  proved by quoting yet another point from this book which relates to the confirmation that hypnotic alteration of color perception produces blood flow changes in that part of the brain that is responsible for the processing of color vision. The inference  of this is that  hypnosis has the ability to alter the way in which the real brain, and not the imaginary mind, is able to process color vision.

 

Before concluding, It would be appropriate to quote Waterfield from the same book which runs something similar to what is summarized here: In the race between hypnosis and science,  It has been the case for hypnosis to take over sceience and stated otherwise science is yet to catch up  with advancement in hypnosis and more importantly  at times science may not be able to explain the way hypnosis works. This is because evidence to the effect that hypnosis is working is scattered all around us, from anectodes to personal expereinces and the phenomenon is more felt as for instance when one watches stage hypnotist Paul Mckenna on the television you can relate it to your own experience but may not be able to explain as to why it happens. The short point of such expereinces is that there is no doubt that something real is going on proving the view point that hypnosis is real even under the difficulties hypnotherapists and researchers are faced in bringing out clearly as to how this takes place beecuause such happenings most of the times are inexplicable.

We can then conclude by stating that there is very little that exists in this world that can catecorgically be stated to be either true or false and for this reason human beings are vested with the sixth sense to distinguish based on their own perception of things to decide in  an informed  manner as to whether something is real or not. From such  arguments, we beleive  we have establsihed that hypnosis is real despite the controversies surrounding it. In a way it is good for the subject of hypnosis because it would help it come out more unscathed.

 

Weight loss hypnosis

Obesity (overweight) has assumed epidemic dimensions in the USA wherein the adult obesity rates have doubled from 15% in 1980 to 30% in 2011 and in the case of children it is all the most alarming because it had tripled during the same period.

Obesity is known to cause a variety of health problems as it induces diabetes, increases the scope for blood pressure etc and surprisingly it is higher in lower income groups, and ethnic minorities. However, It is negatively associated with educational levels.

Hypnosis is an age old practice of healing a variety of problems including diseases of individuals in drugless methods of treatment. Those who lived in ancient times  believed more in anecdotes of its positive effects but as science has advanced scientific evidence are emerging confirming its disease/problems relieving abilities and the methods by which such actions in the human mind and body takes place. The brain activity in the subjects involved in scientific experiments was found to change and such changes also differed according the hypnotic susceptibility of such individuals. In other words, all the people are not found to be endowed with the same ability in getting hypnotized and in those who revealed a higher hypnotibility, a corresponding faster activity on the left hemisphere was observed when they were in a waking state which switched to the right hemisphere of the brain when they were hypnotized. In virtual realty hypnosis, a relatively advanced technique, it was found the electroencephalographic (EEC) coherence and power spectra changed faster in those who could adopt themselves to such a technique. Stated otherwise, high coherence groups showed a decreased coherence whereas it was opposite in the low susceptibility groups.

The pace of scientific pieces of evidence connecting the positive association of hypnosis with wieghtloss is only emerging in a gradual manner but even this limited evidence confirms anecdotal beliefs that hypnosis can bring about weightloss. As early as in the year 1955, Herman had applied a technique to his client to enter trance wherein he/she was alternated to visualize themselves with feelings associated with sadness, discontent and unhappiness, satisfaction, happiness and peace of mind, wherein in the first case they do not adhere to and in the second case adhere to diet control program respectively signifying the role hypnotic imagery can play in bringing about the weightloss in the subjects. While only this is demonstrated with a sample size of four, yet in terms of the results, it was significant because in all the four cases the desired change of weightloss using hypnosis was reported. In a larger study in 1959, Winklestein experimented hypnosis role in a group hypnotherapy program on 42 female subjects. The hypnotic suggestive technique took into account the problems of the subjects in addition to the diet control and it was found an average weightloss of 27 pounds occurred in all the subjects, within a period of 4 months. Traditional hypnotherapy, individualized methods, group methods, associating hypnosis with prevention of incurable diseases, teaching clients to eat slowly, gradually, adopt methods to decrease appetitive,  increased confidence and self-esteem have all been tried in one way or another to bring about weightloss. More success in weightloss was observed in those experiments which applied two separate hypnotic approaches to weightloss. The first one applies the ‘explorative technique’ developed by Check and others in the year 1968 to uncover the issues underlying weight problem and second one followed it up with a re-education program wherein suggestive hypnotic techniques were used to create deprivation feelings and achieve desired levels of weightloss. Kiline in the year 1980 successfully applied hypnotherapy to the cognitive ability of the obese individuals to bring about weightloss in them. This means changes in the behavioural patterns can be altered and shaped up to treat obese individuals wherein hypnotic techniques via perceptions, sensations and imagery can produce the requisite outcomes in bringing about the weightloss.

While so far we have discussed in a generalized manner about the ability of hypnosis to bring about weighloss, a natural question that would arise in your minds is: are there any specific predictors that could objectively assess the outcome of such programs? While there are very few research conducted with such a perspective. We could identify one research conducted by Tallant Beverlea. Since this happens to be thesis, one can rely on the results with an amount of credibility. Besides, as it was done in Canada it can be applied to conditions in the USA because of economic and life style similarities between the two countries.

Five variables, viz, hypnotic susceptibility, motivation, body image estimate and body image attitude were taken up for assessment as possible factors predicting success. The participants consisted of 57 individuals a majority of whom were females and who answered the criterion of being overweight by an average of 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds). They were treated through audio cassettes which used Hearland’s ego enhancing instructions and Stanton’s Weight Loss Suggestions. After a three month’s follow up, 12 clients were reported to have shed 4.5 kilograms of weight. Motivational factors accounted for 81.8% while the self-efficacy factor accounted for 79.5%., whereas the rest of the factors were found to be irrelevant. Nonetheless, it needs to be noted the fact other factors were not found to be relevant does not mean that they are redundant for each factor has its own relevance depending upon the type of program for which it is applied. Thus, hypnotic susceptibility is reported to be more useful to control pain and asthma. Moreover, hypnosis when used as an adjunctive therapy along with standardized treatments is found to be more effective as against a standalone treatment. Again research suffers from limitations in the sense that there are no systematic follow up to assess the changes even though the entire blame for such a situation cannot be apportioned to only researchers for the reason in many cases they need the sustained cooperation of the individuals participating in such programs.

By way of conclusion it may be pointed it is all the more the case with weightloss programs which are torturously time consuming in nature making the participants to leave the program at some part frustrated because of high expectations they create through advertisements and due to the proliferation facilitated by the introduction and advancement in the Internet where in it is difficult to distinguish between genuine and bogus ones. Weighloss programs like another one say quitting smoking need bilateral  cooperation between the client, the hypnotist which should also have been structured according the individualized needs of the individuals.

Highway Hypnosis

Highway hypnosis refers to a condition of lowered state of alertness you experience in assessing the road situation. Theoretical research suggests highway hypnosis is not amenable to an easy definition because of its being  considered as  a complex syndrome of changes in the human  ability to perform several psychological functions at the same time which require specific eye movements but in reality at least professional drivers  are aware of the danger it poses on them because of their susceptibility to get involved in accidents and the subsequent adverse consequences it brings both on those affected as well as the burden it imposes on the  public administration. For this reason it has assumed a central position in the analysis of accidents and their preventions.

There are a number of experiments that go towards explaining highway hypnosis in a scientific perspective. Such experiments in particular have focused themselves on the ability of the drivers to react quickly to visual signals, use prior warning information that would help in the speeding up of such reactions, to recall information presented earlier and sustain alertness as indicated in the alpha activity in EEG investigations.  In the process, these experiments explain how highway hypnosis develops and the need to train the drivers to make specific eye movements which the complex nature of driving demands as looking at several aspects pertaining to their visual surroundings which are reckoned to move in a predictable pattern.

From what we have discussed above it is the prevention and the management of highway hypnosis that acquires importance and we would devote the rest part of the article firstly to the underlying causes, the peculiar feature(s) of highway hypnosis and subsequently  to the various methods and means to see as to how they  could be handled.

Psychiatry offers a variety of perspectives to the way people behave, think and act which physicians may not be able to conceptualize while treating their patients for some of the diseases which have deep-rooted causes that can be related to the behavioral traits of the human beings which are not amenable to physical treatment alone. For example, at a common level if a person is suffering from recurring headaches physically it is only a symptom of a nagging pain on some part(s) of the head but there could be a number of underlying causes that could be responsible for such a headache. For instance, it could be due to sleep deprivation, anxiety or any other disease which is deeper in nature. Yet another dimension offered by the experts relates to a state of consciousness in a different manner than what we as common people perceive. Psychiatrists and hypnotherapists see it as a differentiated psychological functioning during which time the individual deviates from normal alertness and such differences as already pointed out have been proved through electroencephalogram (EEG) investigations. Yet another type of state of mind is seen in dreaming during which time the state of consciousness of the subjects are characterized by a  low voltage and relatively fast mixed frequency pattern coupled with a tonic inhibitory influence on the motor output. Under such a situation, the focus of attention of psychiatrists and hypnotherapists is on the psychopathic functioning of the individuals. Each of these  specialties deal with such underlying causes as sleepiness, anxiety and the consequences arising out of it in the form of road rage, distractions, fatigue,  falling asleep while on the wheels etc  in its own ways. For instance, psychiatry deals it with a combination of medicine and counseling whereas in hypnotherapy it is totally drug free and to that extent claims superiority over psychiatry because it reduces the scope for adverse effects which such medicines produce which at times worse than the remedy and becomes self-defeating. In short, highway hypnosis is something which catches those on the wheels most of the times without their knowledge. Many of you would experienced this from a phenomenon you  have undergone from time to time in you would have  realized on reaching the destination that you have really not felt you were driving your car. Stated otherwise, it would have been such a mechanical operation but the important point to note is that it is not really mechanical. Your conscious mind was thinking of so many other problems that have been bothering you while with the help of unconscious mind the operation of which you would not know you have driven the car to reach the destination. This would also explain the reason on many times you would have simply forgotten to pick up something which your wife, children or any other family members would have asked for. This would be all the more so in the case of those who happen to drive a route again and again because that is the peculiar feature of highway hypnosis and this explains the reason for your forgetfulness.  Highway hypnosis could also be distinguished from any other form of driving, say, your driving when you are drowsy because when you are under highway hypnosis, you react quickly  by ramming the brakes instantly if you are confronted with an emergency situation. This is because you are alert at a subconscious level as distinguished from a conscious state of mind.

Road rage plays a major role in today’s highway hypnosis phenomenon. Why is it so? Because, in road rage, it is not the lack of control of the vehicle one drives but the control of the emotion of the person who sits behind the vehicle. If you think that road rage is more common among the males than females, think again. Women drives also exhibit it but the males are blamed because the external manifestation is seen in them in a much more overt manner than women. Experts believe that road rage is an acquired phenomenon. It is taught unconsciously by the father to the son, the mother to the daughter because when they sit adjacent to you they have seen your road raging skills coming into the open every now and then and when they start driving they tend to believe that they should also follow you in letter and spirit. Road rage then gets passed from one generation to another. Road rage then is not a disease but an attitude. Hypnotherapy can help you to modify your attitude from worse to the better. It does not need laboratory tests, prolonged medications; just a few hypnotic sessions and lessons learnt from a qualified hypnotist would do the trick of making you a better driver and by that you would be doing lots of good to yourself, your health, family, friends and fellow drivers.

Like all the persons are not alike, the weather conditions are not unique everywhere. In the USA, you have extremes of climate and you need to learn the art of driving in bad and extreme weather. The type of the vehicle, your prior experience in driving in hostile weather conditions and your reflexes all matter in avoiding highway hypnosis. Weather would not become better because it is an inanimate object but being a human being vested with six senses, you can be a better person to understand different types of weather and tune up your driving skills.

It may not be possible for everyone to follow this suggestion, but subject to feasibility you can avoid night travel because research in this area has ample evidence to prove the glare of lights outside and from within the dashboard in the car increases the scope for highway hypnosis.

Remember the driver seat is not the place for you to engage into activities that are not connected with driving. There is bound to be lots of distractions on the road, animate and inanimate, beautiful and ugly and if you allow yourself to be distracted by such things the chances are that you would quickly drift into highway hypnosis without your knowledge and when you realize the consequences it may be too late.

If you are fatigued, keep away from the driver’s seat because fatigue affects your efficiency in all respects and is the easy target for your slipping in to highway hypnosis.

It is time for us to conclude. We have explained what highway hypnosis is, how it can be overcome by your efforts with the seeking of the help of hypnotherapists and the reason why we say so is that hypnotherapy when learnt from qualified personnel changes your physical, mental and emotional conditions from a not so positive to a positive framework wherein the scope for accidents, fatalities, causalities and the pain associated with the consequences they bring in all could be mitigated if not totally avoided.

How to be successful at hypnosis

Read all the literature you can get your greedy knowledge thirsty paws on. Study the best current and past practitioners of hypnosis and the precursor to hypnosis which is mesmerism. The techniques of mesmerism do indeed successfully induce hypnosis even though the theory of an invisible  healing fluid that is transferred between bodies is simply not true.

Practice every day induction scripts to the point where you can recite them smoothly from memory alone. Being able to deliver a induction method with confidence is crucial in the successful induction of hypnosis. Smooth delivery instills in the subject confidence in the hypnotist’s capacity to induce trance.

Deep hypnosis induction efforts take time. It is not as simple as just doing the Elman induction and BAM, your subject’s in somnambulism. Somnambulism is a depth of hypnosis where the subject is capable of full sensory immersion hallucinations to the point where the subject is unable to distinguish between reality and fantasy. The Elman induction does not achieve this. Such a difficult phenomenon as authentic hallucinations cannot be expected to be achieved within the span of 10 minutes. That is just preposterous without the subject simulating that he is hallucinating.

In regards to inducing deep hypnosis you should pick a subject and induce hypnosis repeatedly until all the various phenomenon can be elicited. Do not shift focus between various subjects just to produce simple parlor tricks, rather the hypnotist should focus exclusively on one willing subject until hallucinations can be produced. Once the most difficult effects of hypnosis can be produced then it is mostly just a matter of repeating what already works and making minor adjustments.

Persistence is a key element in being a successful hypnotist. The problem with rapid induction methods is that without the subject having prior conditioning then the rapid induction methods do not account for depth. Trance is learning to experience trance. You cannot take one technique and expect it to work with any individual within the same time constraint and induce them to the same level of hypnosis or greater.

These are just some of the things to follow to be better at hypnosis. If you learn something new every week then you’ll be great at hypnosis in no time.

Self Hypnosis Techniques

When most of us think of therapy we picture ourselves laying on a chaise lounge with some fellow in a cape hovering above us with a pendulum swinging as he tells of, “You are getting very sleepy”. The fact is that hypnosis isn’t really like that at all. Some trained hypnotists really do use a watch or even pendulum in order to give the patient a focus point but it really isn’t required or essential. Movies and media have given many us misconceptions about hypnotism and what it is all about. So what is hypnotism and how can what techniques do you need to know to perform self-hypnotism?

Self-Improvement

Hypnotism has been in practice for centuries in a variety of different forms; in today’s world it is mostly used for self-improvement or by therapists to unveil repressed memories. Hypnotism is a trance-like state that is used to open a doorway to the subconscious. The subconscious is important because it is responsible for storing habits, rituals, and even attitudes in response to different ideas, people, and even locations. Using a hypnotic trance a hypnotist can use suggestions in order to help the subconscious retrain a particular habit or attitude. The hypnotic trance can even help with sleeping disorders. So how do self-hypnosis work and what techniques can you use to reach hypnosis?

Goals for Self-Hypnosis

While many think of hypnotism as a state brought on by an outside person, self-hypnosis is very possible and works similarly to standard hypnosis. Before you start self-hypnosis make sure you know why you are entering the state and what you want to accomplish. If you have anxiety, sleeping problems, depression and chew your nails don’t go in thinking that this one session can take care of all of that. Focus on one thing you want to improve or change about yourself. Once you are ready to explore your inner-mind there are some things you can do to set the mood.

Hypnotizing…Yourself!

Start by playing soothing music or background noises, this can really help you reach the desired state of mind. It is important to close your eyes and breath in a similar way to mediating. Focus on your background music or noises, feel your muscles, and unwind. Picture a winding corridor and walkthrough it, or perhaps climb up that visual staircase in your mind. These techniques can really open your mind and lead you to opening the doorway to your subconscious.

So you are in a hypnotic state, now what? Now is the time to start your mental suggestions. Despite being in a relaxed state you are still in control of your mind and can give yourself either mental or verbal suggestions for what you are trying to accomplish. If you are trying to relieve anxiety think of things that make you feel relaxed and tell yourself that you want to let go of the things that make you anxious. Repeat your desire and just bask in your relaxed state. When you are ready all you have to do is tell yourself to come out of your mental state, and you will as simple as that. Though it might take a few tries to get it right self-hypnosis can be a great way to really get to know and explore your inner-thoughts and subconscious.

Stop Smoking Hypnosis

Hypnosis can be a wonderful aid for smoking cessation.  Are you are a regular smoker who has tried more than once to quit? You’ve tried the gum, the patch, and even going cold turkey. You’ve tried it all and yet the habit still remains. So why can’t you seem to kick your smoking habit? There are two main reasons you haven’t been able to kick that habit. Humans are creatures of habit and we love to stick to routines that have become familiar. Whether you smoke on breaks, in your car, or to relieve stress you have certain habitual reasons for why and when you light up your cigarette. While a habit is hard enough to break there is also an addictive substance known as nicotine that adds to the problem. Nicotine is a chemical substance that gives you a temporary high that can relieve stress and help your body to relax. If you stop taking nicotine you are likely to have severe cravings and even anxiety. So in order to really stop smoking you have to change your habits and the way your mind thinks. One natural method that can help change this habit is hypnosis.

So what is hypnosis exactly and how does it work? There is a lot of confusion and misunderstandings associated with the concept of hypnosis. Old movies and stereotypes can lead you to believe that hypnosis can be used as a form of mind control. This misconception would have you believe that hypnosis can be used against your will. In reality you have full control of hypnosis and it can’t work well unless you believe it can help you and submit to the process. Essentially hypnosis is a state of focused attention used to get in touch with your subconscious mind in order to help make positive changes. Our subconscious mind stores daily habits, routines, and even attitudes about certain people, places, and activities. The subconscious is essentially a lot like instinct. We don’t have to think about how hot a stove is to know we shouldn’t touch it, generally you don’t give much thought about what routine routes you take to work and other regular routines either. While in a state of hypnosis suggestions can be made to your subconscious that will somewhat help reprogram conceptions you have already established. By having a hypnosis practitioner send positive messages about quitting and fighting nicotine urges it has been proven that you are much more likely to quit smoking then by any other popular method. In fact multiple research studies suggest that only 2% of those who try to go cold turkey will be successful and roughly 25% of those who try the patch or gum are able to succeed. In comparison those who have had at least 3-5 total hypnosis sessions are said to have a 66% chance of actually kicking the habit.

Regardless of which method you decide to choose quitting is not easy. The most important step to quitting is to really want to change the habit for good. If you come in with a positive attitude and the desire to make this important life change then hypnosis could very well be a highly effective means of kicking the habit for good.

Hypnosis and Meditation

Self Esteem Hypnosis

Covert hypnosis

Conversational hypnosis

Is hypnosis real?

Weight loss hypnosis

Highway Hypnosis

How to be successful at hypnosis

Self Hypnosis Techniques

Stop Smoking Hypnosis

Hypnosis Therapy

Hypnosis for Sleep

Learn Hypnosis

What is hypnosis

Hypnosis Induction

Early History of Hypnosis

Hallucinations Induced by Hypnosis

On potential

The Discovery of Hypnosis

On hallucinations