What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis may be defined as a natural, yet altered, state of mind where communication and responsiveness with the subconscious mind is present. (working definition from Institute of Interpersonal Hypnotherapy)
Some of the characteristics of the hypnosis are:
The hypnotic state is similar to sleep, yet hypnosis and sleep are not the same thing. In hypnosis the reflexes are present, however in sleep the reflexes are diminished or absent. In the hypnotic state the person is fully aware of what is happening and extremely alert. So in reality hypnosis is a state of hyper-acuity or extreme focus.
A brief history of hypnosis
The modern father of Hypnosis was an Austrian physician, Franz Mesmer (1734 – 1815), from whose name the word ‘mesmerism’ is derived. Mesmer was able to demonstrably cause people to enter into an altered state and then to effect changes in health, behavior etc. Mesmer however misunderstood what was actually happening and attributed the effects to something he called, 'animal magnetism'. He was quite effective and quite a showman which at least in part resulted in him being ostracized and ridiculed leading to a still long-standing misperception of hypnosis and hypnotists. If you've seen the image of a man with a goatee and 'mesmerizing' eyes swinging a pendulum or watch, that is Franz Anton Mesmer.
The next pioneer of Hypnosis was in the mid-nineteenth century and his name was James Braid (1795 – 1860). He was a Scottish eye doctor and he developed an interest in mesmerism quite by chance. One day, when he was late for an appointment, he found his patient in the waiting room staring into an old lamp, his eyes glazed. Fascinated, Braid gave the patient some commands, telling him to close his eyes and go to sleep. The patient complied and Braid’s interest grew. He discovered that getting a patient to fixate upon something was one of the most important components of putting them into a trance.
Meanwhile, a British surgeon in India, James Esdaile (1808 – 1859), recognized the amazing benefits of hypnosis for pain relief and performed hundreds of major operations using hypnotism as his only anesthetic. When he returned to England he tried to convince the medical establishment of his findings, but they laughed at him and declared that pain was character-building (although they were biased in favour of the new chemical anaesthetics, which they could control and, of course, charge more money for). As a result, hypnosis to this day remains in the category of 'alternative medicine' despite its high rate of effectiveness.
Even renowned 20th century psychotherapist Sigmund Freud used hypnosis with his patients initially but he abandoned it because he wasn't good at it and because he chose to focus on psychoanalysis.
Effectiveness of hypnosis and hypnotherapy
The effectiveness of hypnosis is quite undeniable when applied properly. When compared to behavior therapy and psychoanalysis, hypnotherapy (a more developed use of the hypnotic state) was 93% effective in just 6 sessions compared to behavioral therapy (72% recovery after 22 sessions) and psychoanalysis (38% recovery after 600 sessions). (Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, Spring 1970 Issue, Hypnotherapy A Reappraisal)
Studies show that hypnosis and hypnotherapy are effective for:
Is Hypnosis Real?
There can be no doubt to the reality of hypnosis and the hypnotic state and the effectiveness of hypnotherapy. However, if you are unsure of hypnosis and hypnotherapy then you might be curious to learn of some of the myths and misconceptions about hypnosis. You may be surprised to learn what hypnosis is and what it is not.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
Disclaimer: Hypnosis is a partnership between the client and the facilitator to create change in both the conscious and subconscious mind. I am a certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, not a Licensed Medical Doctor or Mental Health Professional. As such, hypnotherapy services performed are non-therapeutic and not intended to take the place of professional counseling, medical, or psychological care and should not be used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. I do not work on pain or diagnosed mental or physical conditions without the referral from a licensed practitioner of the healing arts per North Carolina State Statutes. If you are under the care of a medical professional for any condition for which you are seeking hypnosis support, please obtain a signed, written referral from your provider prior to engaging me and moving forward with related sessions.
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