What do you think of when you hear the word “hypnosis”? Do you imagine a white-bearded man with glasses swinging a pocket watch telling you that you are getting sleepy? Do you think of people on stage singing like Eminem or clucking like chickens? Perhaps you think of brain-washing and CIA-type assassinations!
When most people hear the word hypnosis they picture the type of mysterious hypnotist that is popularized in movies, comic books and television. This ominous man usually has ulterior motives for guiding his unwitting subjects into a zombie state in which they have no control over their own minds or bodies. Once in this “sleepy” state every person is compelled to obey the diabolic commands of the hypnotist.
Of course this popular, and entertaining, view of hypnosis is absolutely nothing like the real experience! Years of research quite clearly shows that the hypnotic state is neither a mindless subservient state nor is it anything like sleep!
Subjects in a hypnotic trance are not slaves to the hypnotist but are very much in control. In fact if a person was unwilling to enter the hypnotic state voluntarily then not even Paul McKenna could induce trance!
A person ALWAYS has free will!
Another misconception that is globally shared about the hypnotic trance state is that it is somehow dreamy or lacking in awareness. The complete opposite is true. During trance a subject is highly focused and although it can sometimes feel like daydreaming the senses are always heightened – it is just the outside world is of no concern during trance.
Our understanding of hypnosis has advanced a great deal in the past century, but the phenomenon is still a mystery of sorts.
People have been pondering and arguing over hypnosis for more than 200 years, but science has yet to fully explain how it actually works. No one really understands how the mind can enter such a state and why it can be induced so easily. However, science is fully aware of the brainwave patterns that are displayed during trance and the effects that hypnosis can have on mind and body.
We can see, and even predict, what happens to a person during trance, but we just don’t know why he or she does it! This lack of understanding about the phenomenon is merely a reflection of our total lack of knowledge about the human mind with all its intricate complexities. It’s unlikely that scientists will arrive at a definitive explanation of the mind in the foreseeable future.
One of the problems is that we are using a tool to measure the same tool – in order to understand the tool we are trying to use that very tool – in other words we are using the mind to try to understand the mind! Therefore, it is unlikely that the secrets of the human mind will be divulged in full any time in the bear future so you can rest assured that hypnosis will remain a mystery as well.
However, psychiatrists and skilled hypnotherapists do understand the general characteristics of hypnosis and what it is, and isn’t, capable of doing. Hypnosis is a trance state which leads to suggestibility, relaxation and heightened imagination. This means that hypnosis scan be used for stress-reduction and physical healings that rely on relaxation of the human body. It is also an invaluable tool for visualization exercises and is thus extremely popular amongst self improvement students.
However, by far the most potent use of hypnosis is as a tool for inner change! Because a person is highly suggestible in a trance state hypnosis can be used to remove phobias and negative, unwanted habits as well as to instill new beliefs and behaviours.
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