Monday, November 19, 2007

Hypnosis


Hypnosis, also referred to as hypnotherapy or hypnotic suggestion, is an altered state of consciousness. This state of consciousness is usually achieved with the help of a hypnotherapist and is different from your everyday awareness. The purpose of hypnosis as a therapeutic technique is to help you gain more control over your behavior, emotions or physical well-being.

It's not clear, biologically and neurologically speaking, how hypnosis works. However, neuro-imaging of the brain under hypnosis has been studied , giving more respect to this controversial treatment. What can be said is that hypnosis creates a state of deep relaxation and quiets the mind. When you're hypnotized, you can concentrate intensely on a specific thought, memory, feeling or sensation while blocking out distractions. You're more open than usual to suggestions, and this can be used to change your behavior and thereby improve your health and well-being.

Hypnosis does not "cure" physical or psychological ailments. Hypnosis puts the mind into a deeply relaxed state that appears to bypass our cognitive filtering system. In essence, a hypnotic suggestion makes a thought or action more probable.

I was hypnotized once, as part of a group class seminar. It was a most wonderful experience. I felt deeply and profoundly relaxed, yet aware. Light as air - an ease never before known. We were told that no hypnotic suggestions would be offered, but I kinda wish the hypnotherapist put a "curb-your-eating-of-chocolate" suggestion for good measure!



35 comments:

The Lone Beader said...

I think I would be scared to be hypnotized...

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Lone,
I *was* afraid. But I trusted the hypnotherapist as he was a teacher I'd known a long time, and the whole class was partaking in it. I have to say, it really helped me to give up control in a safe way. And it was so relaxing, freeing and wonderful. I actually want to get certified as a hypnotherapist.

Vreni said...

Hi Dr. Deb,

The way you describe what it was like to be hypnotized reminds me of what people say they feel like when they achieve that deep meditative state. Do you think the hypnotic state and the meditative state are one and the same? I guess one difference is under hypnosis you lose control, whereas when meditating you maintain control, but I wondered if the lowered brain-waves led to that relaxed feeling is the same.

PalmTreeChick said...

I have also been hypnotized and I loved it. I too was deeply relaxed and even after just a few hours of sleep that night, was not tired at all.

I should explain, I was hynoptized at my after prom in high school, a little different than what you're talking about here. I was aware of what I was doing but didn't care if I made a fool out of myself. It was fun and I'd do it again in a second.

Sid said...

I'd be too afraid to be hypnotized. I'm far too paranoid to be in such vulnerable a position. Trust is a big issue for me.

Anonymous said...

I am a hypnotherapist myself, and it is easy to have physiology results.

For instance my mother who was 84 when she had hip replacement surgery. I went do an worked with her, and had her agree to have no bleeding during the surgery. The doctor cam out and said there was no bleeding. I also gave instructions for there for there to be no swelling after the surgery. When she went back to see the doctor, he said that it looked like it had been 3 of 4 weeks since the surgery. The nurse looked at the chart and said 16 days. She was cleared to drive and go swimming at 6 weeks. Pretty remarkable for one is 84 hears old!

A person is in hypnosis when they go to a movie. When they sit down the know there are people around them and they know they are looking at a silver screen. As soon as the movie start they forget that there are people around them, and the forget they are are looking at a silver screen. If is a romantic movie and there is a tender moment they will have a tear run down the cheek. If something happens that offends them, they pop right out, and maybe even leave the theater. The same thing happens in hypnosis. If you say something that does not sit well with the client, they pop right out.

dawn said...

As i was reading this, before i got to the last paragraph, i was just thinking i wish i could be hypnotized to stop eating candy

i wonder if it would work. I hear it works to help some people cut down on smoking, so maybe it would.

I think I'd be too scared to get hypnotized, but I am very interested in it.

Jade said...

I've always been skeptical about hypnotherapy. I suppose a little further education on the topic is due. Do you know what some of the main areas hypnotherapy is directed towards?

Raine said...

There have been a couple attempts to hypnotize me, not in a therapeutic setting, long ago, that failed. I have wondered a few times if it were perhaps difficult or impossible to hypnotize a manic mind.

Anonymous said...

hi Dr. Deb,

Here is a site with some more on the Stroop effect and hypnosis hypnosis stroop

IntelligentLayPerson said...

I'd love to have someone hypnotize me and convince me that the world is not full of !@#%!!!

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Hi Dr. Deb,
I think hypnotism is a process of entering into the subconscious mind of the patient so that information that do not manifest on the conscious level of the mind can be brought out. Hypnotism can bring out in the open repressed emotions and memories that affect one's behavior but are not recognized by the person on his conscious state.
Thanks for the very informative post. Smile always. God bless and have a wonderful and pleasant day.

jumpinginpuddles said...

they ahve tried opt hypnistise us and unlike most multiples we are the opposite we arent easily hypnotised and find it all too spooky.
but then again it was used as a weapon to harm not help us so we get why

Fallen Angels said...

We, unlike JIP, are the "typical" multiple in this area! Our T once said there is a scale of how hypnotizable a person is, 1 to 5 with 1 being difficult and 5 being extremely easy...she said (jokingly) that we are a 9!

We do find it scary though. Our T has used it on a handful of occasions over 5 years, mostly to help with anxiety/relaxation. I think it's important that trust be established before even trying hypnosis. We do trust our T, however, NO ONE else would be given an opportunity to try this with us. :|

Ian Lidster said...

I think many people think hypnosis is a sort of parlor game in which the subject is "put under" and can than be commanded to do all sorts of outrageous things.
I have been therapeutically hypnotized and my experience was like yours, deep relaxation at an almost serene level, and focus that is intense. At the same time, life was continuing to unfold around me, and I was aware of that, but not jarred by it. Interesting blog, dear Dr. Deb.

alan said...

I wouldn't mind as long as I trusted the person as you did; I wouldn't want to give a "stranger" that kind of control over me...

Curbing my chocolate addiction would be good for me, but I wouldn't want to lose my love of it entirely!

Especially with the holidays coming!

:o)

alan

Marj aka Thriver said...

Ha! I could use the "curb-your-eating-of-chocolate" suggestion as well!

I did hypnotherapy for a while. It wasn't scary at all, except for the fact that it was for my abuse recovery. I can't say it was a wonderful experience, but it wasn't horrendous, like the time I had EMDR without any proper grounding first. I can't say it really did much for me, though. Maybe I just wasn't ready for it, I don't know.

HP said...

I think the hypnotherapy used by 'entertainers' to get people to do amusing things has somewhat devalued the concept of hypnotherapy as a therapeutic process, which is a shame. I'd really love to try hypnotherapy (sign me up for the no chocolate treatment too).If you're with a therapist who you trust and feel comfortable with, I'm sure it would be an amazing experience.

Ms.L said...

Hee Hee that would have been a great suggestion.
I always tease my hubby that I'm going to 'suggest' things to him as he's drifting off to sleep and see where it gets me. I got the idea from the Flintstones "Buy Wilma a fur coat..."
Hasn't worked yet though!

I was hyponotized as part of a relaxation session at a pre-natal group..it was wonderful:)

Adiemus said...

Hypnosis is often used in pain management - both chronic pain and acute pain. I use it mainly to help people develop self-hypnotic skills, but I have also used it to help people develop a 'memory' of what a limb felt like (eg phantom) and in the case of a complex regional pain syndrome, to help the person develop a sense of coherence in her body image. You can use it to develop a post-hypnotic analgesia, but I prefer to help people achieve a sense that their pain 'doesn't bother them' as much.

Casdok said...

I have used hypnotic Cds on my autistic son in his sleep for anxiety. And i am sure they were of some benifit.

Heidi said...

Deb..Just stopping by to wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving..

Hugs~

dawn said...

Happy Thanksgiving :)

STAG said...

on occasion when I meditate, it slides into a shallow self hypnotic trance (I'm guessing here...grin!) in which I can tell my deeper self what I want from it. It didn't seem to make quitting smoking any easier, but it did calm a potentially fatal recurring road rage.
I think meditation is more useful...though it may be another side of same crystal.

Self hypnosis can be learned eventually from a book if you don't trust a therapist, and the nice thing is that you only have to trust yourself, not some outside person. Its really useful for pain control. Example..I fell asleep in a dentist's chair during a zero anesthetic filling. (I was seeing clients in an hour....I couldn't have a thick tongue...thats why.) Thats gotta be useful! My dentist talks about it to this day! (My migraines fight back too hard though.)


Where meditation really shines is in motivation. The old saying, "every day in every way I am getting better", or slimmer, or stronger, or calmer or "what-ever" is not just a feel-good trite old line...it works just fine and makes a great meditation mantra.

I suspect a therapist would have a ball with me!

Eleanor Tyrrell said...

All hypnosis is, is a focused state of attention led by someone else - you go in and out of states of attention every day, when you're concentrating on a book, watching a film, solving a problem etc.

So it's not something to be scared of, you don't have to 'lose control', in fact, you don't have to do anything but sit and relax!

It is very useful in therapy to calm someone down and take them out of their emotional irrational brain and into their observing self.

I think the word 'hypnosis' has gathered many connetations that are unhelpful when broaching the subject of hypnotherapy to people, (as reflected by some of the comments here!) which is why many therapists now say "guided imagery" or simple "relaxation" or even 'meditation' instead - it's all the same thing.

Candace said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Deb!

STAG said...

Ms Tyrrell, you are clearly an expert on the subject. I would hear more on the subject if you would care to comment further.

Patricia said...

I'd just like to say thank you for this post.
I am a certified hypnotherapist and I can tell you this is the most truthful and straightforward post about hypnosis I've read in a very long time. It's exactly like you say, I wouldn't say it better.

P.s. - Hypnosis is very effective in changing eating habits ;)

Patricia said...

And please let me add this very important information: The use of hypnosis as a therapy DOES NOT involve loss of control and/or loss of memory. NEVER!
The patient remains conscious and fully capable of refusing any suggestion given by the therapist.
DO NOT trust a hypnotherapist who claims he can make you do anything you don't want/need/can or that you won't remember a thing.
When practiced by a competent therapist, hypnotherapy is perfectly safe and there is no such thing as not being able to "wake up".

Godwhacker said...

Curbing the desire for chocolate of a hypnotized person should be classified as a crime... especially with the holidays approaching. ;)

Big Brother said...

I once tried it, but the hypnotist never succeeded. Must be too pig headed I guess. ;o)

~Deb said...

Interesting Deb. I once went to this psychologist who said she wanted to hypnotize me because I was under so much stress and anxiety. To me, I went with the stereotypical thought of hypnosis and figured she'd snap me out of this anxiety disorder in no time...just as they say you can quit smoking or stop overeating.

Anyway, it was more of a relaxation technique, rather than putting me to sleep to make me quack like a duck. (So to speak.)

Now, my question to you is, is there a type of hypnosis that does that?

Dr. Deb said...

Whoops!

Blogger is giving me some trouble with comments, so I am putting an "all points bulletin" out to ya'll.

Thanks as always for your thoughts and for sharing with us all.

~Deb

Guilty Secret said...

Would an interesting post. I have never been hypnotised or seen anyone else be so, but I would definitely be up for trying it!

Bruce Small said...

I had a therapist hypnotise me to help me remember a specific incident where I needed the details. He had me relax, told me to concentrate on a corner of a ceiling tile, and at that point I was falling backward through a tunnel. It was not at all scary, and most interesting. I was pretty amazed by the experience.