Hypnosis is not a cure-all in any sense of the word. It is merely a method many times used in conjunction with other methods to help a person achieve the results he/she desires. Hypnosis has applications in medicine, dentistry, psychology and psychiatry, obstetrics, counseling, sports—in fact, in every area of the healing arts and self-improvement.
This information is designed to acquaint you with hypnosis, and answer some of the many questions you may be asking yourself about whether or not hypnosis may be of benefit to you.
The American Medical Association approved hypnosis as a viable medical tool in 1958 and since then more and more medical practitioner have learned how to incorporate it in their work
A CLEAR DEFINITION OF HYPNOSIS is difficult to obtain, primarily because no one really knows for certain what goes on inside a person’s head when he/she is in hypnosis. These are some of the facts that we do know about the hypnotic state:
Our minds work on two levels consciously and subconsciously. We use our conscious mind as we go about our day today business. We make decisions, we perform physical actions, we think, and so on with our conscious mind, Our subconscious mind, on the other hand handles the bodily functions we don’t have to think about, such as heartbeat, breathing, elimination, blinking our eyes, feeling pain, etc. It also handles our habits the actions which are largely under voluntary control, but which we do without thinking. It is the subconscious mind that comes into play when hypnosis takes place.
When a person is hypnotized, the conscious mind is somewhat subdued. It is not asleep al all, but merely less interested in what is happening. This allows the subconscious to become a little more active. When a counselor talks to a person who is in hypnosis, the subconscious mind more readily accepts what it is told and governs the body accordingly. If the counselor tells the person’s subconscious mind that the heartbeat is increasing, that part of the mind accepts the suggestion uncritically and the heartbeat may begin to speed up. If the hypnotist tells a subject that all the feeling has left his hand, the subject may feel nothing pinched. In simple terms, hypnosis is merely a state of increased suggestibility a state in which we are more likely to be able to accept the suggestions of another person than we are without condition of hypnosis. You will only accept suggestion you agree with.
“CAN I BE HYPNOTIZED” is one of the most common questions asked of counselors. Generally speaking every normal person is hypnotizable—that is, persons with an I.Q. of at least 70 who have no severe mental disorders. Actually, each of us passes through a brief hypnotic state everyday. Just before falling asleep at night and upon awakening in the morning. Also, television advertisers attempt to capitalize on our suggestibility through the use of repetition and rhythm—two of the components used in the induction of hypnosis. So, hypnosis is not alien to our lives at all. It is a natural state and a very comfortable one. And hypnosis is not “only for weak-minded persons” as some people assume. In fact, strong-willed, more intelligent persons are usually the better subjects.
All of us are suggestible in varying degrees. Studies have shown that about twenty percent of the population is capable of achieving a light degree of hypnosis, and twenty percent can reach the deepest stages. For most conditions that can be helped with hypnosis, only a light to medium stage is required. So don’t be too concerned about how deeply you go into hypnosis. Although nearly everyone is hypnotizable, some people do not allow themselves to go into hypnosis. You cannot be hypnotized if you do not wish to be, and if toy resist, hypnosis will not occur. Some persons resist going into hypnosis because of fears about the hypnotic state, itself. They may be afraid they will never awaken, for example, or say things they would rather not say. Although these things do not happen (and they will be discussed later), a person’s concern about them will keep one from being hypnotized.
YOU ARE NOT ASLEEP OR UNCONSCIOUS when in hypnosis. Most persons new to hypnosis expect to go into some kind of “trance” from which they will awaken remembering nothing. This is a myth that has been perpetrated for many years by stage hypnotists, movies and stories. When you are in hypnosis, even in the deepest stages, you always hear the hypnotist’s voice and may hear other sounds around you as well, such as the ticking of a clock, cars driving by outside or voices in the next room. The sounds probably will seem rather unimportant to you and will not disturb you, but you will hear them nonetheless.
YOU MAY NOT “FEEL” HYPNOTIZED AT ALL. In fact most people cannot tell the difference between a hypnotized state and a “walking” state, and will insist that hypnosis did not occur when it most definitely did. There is no “hypnotized feeling,” so you will not know for certain subjective indicators are pointed out to you by the hypnotist. Some people find that they feel relaxed and lethargic when in hypnosis, for example. Other have tingling feelings in their fingers but they feel detached and so on.
HYPNOSIS IS SAFE. A hypnotized person will do nothing that he or she would not agree to do through other methods of persuasion. A subject can hear the hypnotist at all times and will not accept a suggestion if he does not wish to. A subject will not answer any question that he does not wish to answer.
THE INDUCTION OF HYPNOSIS takes many forms. You may merely sit comfortable with your eyes closed while the counselor helps you to relax completely, and gradually you merge into a state of hypnosis.
POST-HYPNOTIC SUGGESTIONS are suggestions given by the counselor that will remain in effect after the subject emerges from the hypnotic state, A counselor might suggest to a subject, for example that later, when she sits in the dentist’s chair and taps her jaw twice, her jaw will become numb. That suggestion will hold over until she activates it by tapping her jaw.
Other suggestions are more general. A suggestion to an overweight subject, for example, might be that he will find it easier and easier every day to stay on his doctors diet. With repeated sessions and with the reinforcement of his self-hypnosis, the subconscious mind will begin to accept the suggestion and will help the body react accordingly. Your therapist will begin asking you question about yourself that relate to your reason for seeing him or her. Do not, in turn, hesitate to ask question about hypnosis and the particular method of application. The more relaxed and at ease you are about hypnosis, the better subject you will be.
Hypnosis is easy. Do not “try” to be hypnotized, for the harder you try the more difficult it will become. Simply do as the counselor asks, and allow to happen whatever happens. You will find that hypnosis is very relaxing and pleasant, and that you will “awaken” feeling just fine. You can, of course, immediately go about your normal business after the session without fear of accidentally going back into hypnosis is suddenly falling asleep. In fact, you will probably be more alert and rested following the session than you were before.
HYPNOSIS IS BEING USED to a greater extent every day in many areas of the healing arts and self improvement. Some of the more common applications include smoking, weight loss, improvement of memory and concentration, relaxation, insomnia, surgery, dentistry, pain control, phobias, childbirth, sex problems, self confidence, motivation, improvement in sports activities, criminal investigation and many more.
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