Clinical hypnosis is an altered state of awareness, perception or consciousness that is used, by licensed and trained professionals, for treating a psychological or physical problem. It is a highly relaxed state.
Hypnosis is a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention. It is like using a magnifying glass to focus the rays of the sun and make them more powerful. Similarly, when our minds are concentrated and focused, we are able to use our minds more powerfully. Because hypnosis allows people to use more of their potential, learning self-hypnosis is the ultimate act of self-control.
While there is general agreement that certain effects of hypnosis exist, there are differences of opinion within the research and clinical communities about how hypnosis works. Some researchers believe that hypnosis can be used by individuals to the degree they possess a hypnotic trait, much as they have traits associated with height, body size, hair color, etc. Other professionals who study and use hypnosis believe there are strong cognitive and interpersonal components that affect an individual's response to hypnotic environments and suggestions.
Recent research supports the view that hypnotic communication and suggestions effectively changes aspects of the persons physiological and neurological functions.
In the mental health area, it is used for phobias, anxiety, sexual problems, alcoholism, smoking control, speech disorders, weight control, chronic pain, age regression therapy, self-esteem/ego strengthening, memory/concentration improvement and forensic work. In medicine, it uses include anesthesia and surgery, obstetrics/gynecology, control of bleeding, pain control, burn therapy, dermatology and habit control. Dentistry uses it to control fear, dental surgery, saliva control, gagging, bruxism, control of bleeding, tongue biting and general oral hygiene.
You will not become unconscious and you will be aware of everything at all times. Your will is not weakened in any way. You are in control and cannot be made to do anything against your will. You will not begin to reveal information you wish to keep secret. Hypnosis is not sleep.
One common misconsception is that a hypnotized person loses their will and is partially or completely under the command of the hypnotist. Nothing could be further from the truth. This unfortunate belief is reinforced by many stage hypnotists. You are in control of yourself, and cannot be made to do anything that is against your will.
Hypnosis, particularly the deeper forms, can appear to be like sleep because the person's body is typically very still and quiet. There is usually a great deal of mental activity, and measurements of brain activity during hypnosis show a significant level of neurological activity.
Last Modified: August 20, 2012
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