Hypnosis is popularly understood to be a psychological condition in which an individual may be induced to exhibit apparent changes in behavior or thought patterns-in particular an increase in suggestibility and subjective feelings of relaxation. The procedure by which this is achieved is called hypnotism
Intense debates surround the topic of hypnosis Many scientists dispute its very existence, while many therapists insist upon its value. One of the problems that creates controversy is the wide variety of theories of hypnosis. The definitions of hypnosis are as varied as the definers. Dr William S. Kroger states:
Like the nature of human behavior, there will be different theories about hypnosis since all hypnotic phenomena have their counterpart in the various aspects of human behavior (1977)
The applications of hypnosis vary widely. Currently, two distinct applications of hypnosis include its use in entertainment and in health applications and in health applications. The popular perception of the hypnotic experience is that of the entertainment version. The stage hypnotist uses a variety of methods to relax and focus the subject eventually making it appear to the audience that the subject is asleep or, popularly termed, in trance. During the performance, the subjects seem to obey the commands of the hypnotist to engage in behaviors they might not normally choose to perform.
On the other hand, hypnosis applications in the medical ion, and health-related fields are often experienced very differently. Clinical hypnosis is used in attempts to increase the ability to recall memories, assist with dieting, smoking cessation, pain reduction or elimination, eliminating irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) as well as resolving mental disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder( PTSD), anxiety and depression ion
Hypnosis Defined By The American Psychological Association
In 1933, the American Psychological Association defined hypnosis as “a procedure which a health professional or researcher suggests that a client, patient, or experimental participant experiences changes in sensations, perceptions, thoughts, or behavior”
This definition was revised and expanded March 2005. It begins, ÒHypnosis typically involves an introduction to the procedure during which the subject is told that suggestions for imaginative experiences will experience will be presented”
Hypnosis Defined In Physiological Terms: Alpha and Theta State-based Definitions
Through data collected via electroencephalography (EEGs), four major brain wave –patterns-frequency of electrical impulses firing from the brain-have been identified. The Beta state (alert/working) is defined as 14-32 cycles per second (CPS), the Alpha state (relaxed/reflecting) falls in the 7-14 CPS range, the Theta state (drowsy) from 4-7 CPS,
And Delta state (sleeping/dreaming/deep sleep) is defined as approximately 3-5 CPS.
One physiological definition of hypnosis states that the brainwave level necessary to work on issues such as stopping smoking, weight management, reduction of phobias, sports improvement, etc, is the alpha state. The alpha state is commonly associated with closing oneÕs eyes, relaxation, and daydreaming.
Another physiological definition states that the theta state is required for therapeutic change. The theta state is associated with hypnosis for surgery, hynoanesthesia andhypnoanalgesia, which occur more readily in the theta and delta states. It should be noted that hypnoanalesia of the skin is a common test for somnambulism. Arm and body catalepsy are one of a few tests done to determine readiness for these surgical applications.
However, it is important to reflect upon the fact that both arm and body catalepsy can be induced in non-hypnotized subjects. Indeed, arm catalepsy is a standard stage-hypnotist test of susceptibility. Moreover, normal, non-hypnotized subjects can be found in any of these states of cortical arousal without also displaying any of the behavior, traits or the enhanced suggestibility associated with being hypnotized
Dave Elman Definition Of Hypnosis
He defines hypnosis as “a state of mind in which the critical faculty of the human mind is bypassed, and selective thinking established.” The critical faculty of your mind is that part which passes judgment. It distinguishes between concepts of hot and cold, sweet and sour, large and small, dark and light. If we can bypass this critical faculty in such a way that you no longer distinguish between hot and cold, sweet and sour, we can substitute selective thinking for conventional judgment making
Michael Yapko defines hypnosis: hypnosis is a process of influential communication in which the clinician elicits and guides the inner associations of the client in order to establish or strengthen therapeutic associations in the context of a collaborative and mutually responsive goal-oriented relationship”
Stage Application Of Hypnosis
Stage hypnosis is where a hypnotist chooses volunteers from the audience, puts the volunteers into a trance using hypnosis, and then has them perform certain silly, funny, or supposedly “amazing” suggestions. This could be like having the volunteers believe they are: drunk: aliens speaking a strange alien language and having another volunteer translate the language; naked or seeing others naked; 6-year-old children; ballet dancers-and the list goes on. All suggestions are temporary and usually only last during the show. When performed correctly, stage hypnosis is basically having fun with the subconscious is basically having fun with the subconscious mind without any serious detrimental side effects. It’s all performed for entertainment and with the welfare of the volunteers in mind. Stage hypnosis can be the most entertaining field because it involves “ real” people from the audience responding in a variety of ways which usually makes no two shows the same.