I recently received an email from a student asking the following:
Hello. I'm doing a term report on hypnosis. I was wondering if you could give me some information on it. Some topics I have to cover are: Procedure, the hypnotic state, and hypnosis today. If you could help me out that would be great!!! Thanks. *a hypnotic fan* :) ...
I replied as follows:
Your questions are EXTREMELY broad.
I understand that most hypnosis books seem very technical, and they use a lot of terms and vocabulary that take a lot to get used to (somnambulistic, alpha, beta and gamma states, for example). But I am assuming you have not yet gone to a library or a book store and actually read the first three chapters of any books.
Procedure? Relaxation, redundant repetition, envisioning tranquility and happy places, counting down.
The hypnotic state is again a huge topic, but my 10-cent answer is: A state where the critical, conscious, analytical mind is in a relaxed state while the subconscious is still wide awake...
- as opposed to a meditative state where the conscious and the subconscious are both relaxed
- as opposed to the waking state where both are spinning and alert
- as opposed to the sleep state where neither is active
Hypnosis is closer to the dream state and much like the state one is in when they are sleep walking.
Any state of mind where the conscious mind is not fully alert, but you are also not asleep, is a stage of hypnosis. Some examples would be: Day dreaming, or "zoning out" like in class, or when you are getting a lecture from somebody you care not to listen to, or when you are reading a book but not absorbing the content, or you are staring at the TV but not absorbing the show consciously, or driving but not paying attention to where you are going, or sitting on the edge of the bed after your alarm has rung but are not falling over and going back to sleep, yet also not getting that added concentration of rest you need to get started...
Hypnosis today? It is there. It is being used, not by shamans or witch doctors, but in subliminal advertising, in sales, in negotiating, in clinics where people want to address a subconscious need but cannot bypass the conscious blocks that interfere.
Example: If you were abused or raped as a child, how do you forgive and move on when every time you 'think' about the issue it grabs you emotionally and you begin to 'think' about it? With hypnosis you can bypass the critical, conscious, analytical mind and go directly to the subconscious mind, allowing the subconscious to cleanse itself of the bitterness, the depression, the ills that your logical mind knows are long past and can be left behind, so you can go on with your life and simply chalk it up as 'experience.' But without hypnosis, it is hard to get past the conscious mind that wants to relive the painful experience again and again, every time you think about it.
Go sit in a book store and read The Idiot's Guide to Hypnosis, or if you can afford it, buy the book. It is a good 'Reader's Digest' version that covers all topics in short, bathroom book style. Or, keep looking on the Internet. There are a lot of articles written on the subject that are available for you to read.
Now I have a question for you:
Is Hypnosis a science or a pseudo-science? Answer this question for yourself, and you will clearly understand hypnosis. And all the other questions you may have will be answered in this quest.
Most sincerely, your humble and obedient servant,
Febraury 24th, 2005
Updated last March 30th, 2011 sitting in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada