Fundamental Uses and Practical Applications of Hypnosis
Over the course of this ‘Understanding Hypnosis’ series we have found hypnosis to be the art of facilitating trance for a specific purpose. To complete this overview of hypnosis let’s have a look at some of the fundamental uses of hypnosis today.
Modern day applications of hypnosis are mainly based on the premise that the conscious mind and the critical faculty often get in the way of harnessing the perceived great power of the unconscious.
Overcoming Past Conditioning using Hypnosis
Humans are meaning making machines. We associate meaning to everything that happens by filtering and comparing any outside influences to what we have learned over time and what is stored in our memory. The meaning that we give impacts our emotional states which in turn impact our behaviors. If we can redefine meaning we can take control of our states, our behaviors and our results. One way of modifying our filtering and meaning producing system is by overcoming past conditioning and negative emotions. Hypnosis is an excellent tool to assist with overcoming/releasing negative emotions and past conditioning resulting in the paving of new neurological pathways which in turn result in new options becoming available for the client.
Performance Enhancement with Hypnosis
This basic idea is not only the basis for the use of hypnosis in psychiatry but is also often employed in a remedial (addiction removal) and generative (performance enhancement) context. Here, new strategies are often installed with triggers, employing end result imagery and associated/dissociated state rehearsals as the content of the hypnotic process.
Mind-Body Medicine and Hypnosis
A similar concept is now also used when treating medical presenting problems based on the knowledge gained from mind-body medicine. It has been found that the unconscious mind in attempts to protect the person’s mental and physical integrity can resort to measures causing the exact opposite result to what it intended. This, paired with the growing acceptance that the human body is it’s best pharmacy, being able to produce the exact chemical required, knowing exactly how much of the chemical is needed and where and when it must be applied in order to heal, has been harnessed to produce cures from many physical ailments using hypnosis.
Medical Applications of Hypnosis
Other medical applications are based on the anaesthetic and analgesic pain control/management potential of the trance state. The applications range from management of chronic pain to dentistry, childbirth and even surgical procedures where chemicals anaesthetics cannot be used for one reason or another. Based on my knowledge of the power of hypnosis with regards to trauma prevention I would also request, that hypnosis be applied in addition to chemicals should I ever have need for surgery in the future.
Spiritual Development using Hypnosis
While another obvious application of the trance state is its exploitation for entertainment there are other practical applications that may fall a little outside of the beaten track.
Hypnosis can and has been employed on spiritual/esoteric quests to come to a better understanding of human nature employing trance to cause out of body experiences and to more closely investigate the nature of telepathy and clairvoyance.
There is also a potential for historians to perform past life regressions with specially gifted individuals to gain insights in the day to day life of our ancestors.
Military Use of Hypnosis
Even though it has often been denied there is also a potential for military applications. Consider the notion of the perfect saboteur who, once caught does not remember what he did, why he did it and that he had ever been hypnotized after he had acted on post-hypnotic suggestions which were also covered up by amnesia suggestions.
In summary, in hypnosis like with many other modalities there is potential for abuse. However it is never the method that should be blamed. Like a scalpel can be used to hurt or heal so can the hypnotic trance be applied in different ways and it is people who must be held accountable on how they use the tools that have been entrusted to them.
Susceptibility/Suggestibility to Hypnosis
Recorded Voice Can Create State of Trance
As we have seen in the previous instalment of this Understanding Hypnosis series, Ernest Hilgard found that by simply listening to the phonograph about 20% of the people tested would go into a light trance, 60% of people would go into a medium trance and another 20% would go into a deep state of trance.
This is why Carla Elaine Gow and I have developed our Emotional Intelligence Guided Meditations Series as a downloadable audio product. It gives you quick access to experiencing hypnotic techniques being employed to suggest the internalisation of concepts related to emotional intelligence. The series consists of seven guided meditations that can be downloaded individually or as a bundle. You can listen to samples on the Emotional Intelligence Guided Meditation page or on the Career Tune-up YouTube Channel.
Trance State can be learned
Because it has been said that going into a trance is all about learning how to go into a trance, Hilgard‘s finding is quite remarkable considering that the results were established based on a recoding without any interaction with a hypnotist.
One can easily recognize that the presence of a skilled operator who can encourage the client when she/he does something resembling trance will have a significant effect on the depth of trance a person can achieve.
Since all of hypnosis is also about learning and teaching how to go into a trance the entire interaction of the hypnotist with the client is part of the teaching process. The pre-talk can be used to build rapport, alleviate fears, eliminate misconceptions and even use suggestibility tests geared towards not only putting the client at ease but also making them confident that they are actually able to follow suggestions and experience trance.
Once a light trance has been established, deepeners can be employed to help teaching the subject in a gentle way what trance feels like and this will allow the person to effortlessly achieve that level of trance during the next attempt as it is an easy place to go were the mind has already been.
Another means to ascertain to the client that trance has actually been induced are the use of convincers like eye lock, locked feet, ideomotor responses and even pinching a person’s skin to prove analgesia or anaesthesia.
Everybody can be hypnotized
It is thus evident that in the presence of a skilled hypnotist everybody who wants to experience trance can be hypnotized.
Dr. Milton Erickson, who is often referred to as the father of modern hypnosis, was once asked whether he was able to induce trance in every person he ever worked with. His answer was: ‘Yes, I am still working on some’.
Contact a Hypnotist!
I encourage you to contact a hypnotist in your area if you want to further explore the power of hypnosis after having listened to our recorded meditations.
If you are in Perth Australia or if you have access to a video conferencing application on your computer or mobile device I am also available to assist you in this regard and it would be my absolute pleasure and privilege to work with you. You can contact me via the details listed on the contact page.
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