Hypnosis is a psychological state or a set of beliefs and attitudes which are usually induced through a process recognized as hypnotic induction. This process is commonly composed of a series of preliminary instructions and suggestions. These instructions or procedures can either be self administered or can be delivered by a hypnotist. A hypnotist is the person who subjects a patient into a series of suggestions (Anon, 2010)
The hypnotist suggests to the patient or the subject regarding certain feelings, perception, or thought that they may occur spontaneously. Once the subject follows the suggestions, he feels relaxed and sharp to extreme imagination. The patient starts to daydream and all attention is focused on the object at hand and excludes any other thought (Anon, 2010)
How Hypnosis works
Hypnosis is a way of trying to access the patient’s subconscious mind. This subconscious mind works together with the conscious mind. It tells the conscious mind what to do and how to solve problems. The subconscious mind is the real brain that does most of the thinking, and when the conscious mind awake, it starts evaluating these thought and searches for solution (Anon, 2010)
In hypnosis, the patients approach suggestions made by the hypnotist in a way such that, they seem to be a reality. If the hypnotist suggests that, your eyes are swelling, you will feel something hard in your eyes and it becomes difficult for you to see (Myers, 2006). If he suggests that you are eating ice cream, you will feel the taste of ice cream and feel it cooling your mouth down to the stomach. If he suggests that you are extremely happy, you may feel joy and jump up out of happiness. During this entire time, one is aware that this is just imaginary. It’s like a game where one pretends just like kids do. However, the hypnotist may not be able to get you do something that is against your will.
Commonly used techniques in hypnosis
The commonly used technique is eye-fixation induction. In this the hypnotist holds an object about ten inches away from the subject’s eyes. The subject or the patient is supposed to stare steady on the object. The aim of this is to produce the maximum possible strain upon the eyes and eyelids. The patients eyes are to remain fixed on the object and the mind to concentrate on the idea of just that object. After sometime, the pupils will contract then dilate and most likely the eyelids will involuntarily close. If the patient allows the eyeballs to move, the hypnotist is supposed to encourage him repeat the same process keeping the eyeballs fixed on the object (Myers, 2006).
The other technique is called rapid. In this technique, the mind of the patient is overloaded with unexpected and firm guidelines. If the hypnotist can convince these guidelines to the patient, the patient will soon surrender consciousness over the control of the situation.
Progressive imagery and relaxation is a common hypnosis used by psychiatrists. This includes using a low and a soothing tone while speaking to a patient. The patient gradually loses consciousness and this helps him to relax.
The last but not the least technique is loss of balance. Slow and rhythmic rocking causes the patients to loss equilibrium and in the process, helps in relaxation. This technique is commonly used by parents when putting their babies to sleep (Anon, 2010). Examples of self administered hypnosis include reading a book or watching a movie so intently to an extent that any thing else around you does not matter. In the process of doing this, ones thought moves to an imaginary world to an extent that some imaginary events cause happiness or fear.
Effects of hypnosis
The effects of hypnosis depend on an individual and how open they are to suggestions. There is no magical power in hypnosis; its purpose is to engage people’s capacity to attract attention on certain behaviors or imaginations. Research has shown that almost everybody is suggestible (Myers, 2006). Some patients are highly hypnotizable and can carry out almost every suggestions they are given. They become extremely engaged in imaginative activities and their life is full of fantasies.
Hypnosis is the ability to focus attention on something and be able to image. Hypnosis experiences can be felt if one is led to expect them. For example being told to stare at a certain point, you feel your eyes becoming tired and your eyelids swelling and feel as if you are straining your eyes. But if the suggestions are followed, the hypnotist becomes successful and the patient relaxes.
Some researches show that hypnosis can help one to recall some memories far back since birth. One remembers very clearly events that took place many years ago. One may even experience the same smell, sight, sound, and touch that he had experienced some other time or may see events as if he is watching a movie.
It has also been found that some hypnosis could induce people to perform acts that are against their will. Some of these acts may be dangerous for example some patients were told to dip their hand into fuming acid then throw the acid to the face of a research assistant. They followed the orders but when they were questioned about their acts, they could not recall themselves doing that and wondered how they could follow orders to perform such acts.
There is no magic associated with hypnosis. Although it is not therapeutic, some suggestions may help to alleviate stress, headaches, and asthma. It can also help in treating obesity. However, it does not help patients addicted to intoxicated drugs such as alcohol (Myers, 2006).
Hypnosis can help alleviate pain and to some extent it can reduce fear. It reduces brain activity in regions where pain stimuli are processed. When one is subjected to hypnosis suggestion, focus is shifted to something else one becomes consciously unaware and the pain fades off. This is commonly used by dentists when their patients have aching tooth.
Hypnosis is a psychological state or a set of beliefs and attitudes which are usually induced by a hypnotist through a process recognized as hypnotic induction. For it to be effective, the subject or the patient must be willing to be hypnotized, he must believe that he can be hypnotized and eventually he must feel comfortable and relaxed. Hypnosis can either be self administered through movies or reading books or from hypnotists.
Hypnotists use techniques such as eye-fixation induction, rapid induction, progressive imagery and relaxation, and loss of balance. Most of the effects of hypnosis are positive for example it helps in alleviating pain, reduces stress, and helps in patient’s recovery among others. One of the major negative effects is that sometimes hypnotist may suggest patients to carry out some dangerous acts.
Anon. (2010). How Hypnosis Works. Web.
Myers, G. D. (2006). Psychology, Eighth Edition in Modules. Hope college, Holland, Michigan. Worth publishers.