Hypnosis means different things to different people. Have you ever cut yourself and not realised it until you later see the blood or are aware that it is dripping from your body somewhere?
It is only when you see the blood that you are suddenly aware of pain; you hadn’t got a clue about it until then.
Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another
Our senses are capable of tricking us all the time. You didn’t feel the injury on this occasion. Neither did you feel the pain until you saw the blood. That was nothing to do with hypnotism.
I had a similar experience recently when a tray in our deep freeze dislodged itself from the runner on one side.
My wife and I each tried unsuccessfully to free it and get it back on to the runners so that it would slide freely.
In the end, I removed the drawer immediately underneath, placed both my arms under the dislodged drawer and reached in as far as I could (so that my shoulders were almost against the outer edge) and then suddenly and rapidly forced them against the underside of the drawer.
That sent it crashing upwards and we were able to adjust its position so that it slid properly in and out.
Two days later I discovered a large bruise, about two inches round, on each of my arms in the area of my biceps.
I struggled to recall how this could have happened. I felt no pain. How could this have occurred without my knowing about it?
Later that day, I began to feel a little pain in one arm and wondered if it could be something to do with the bruise, and then I recalled the episode with the deep freeze.
Again, this was nothing to do with hypnosis; it was just my mind playing tricks with me.
On the other hand, hypnosis can be used for pain control. People can also be made to feel that some ordinary wooden object such as a table is red hot or water from a cold tap is boiling.
Cynics believe they cannot be hypnotised. That is only true to the extent that if they believe someone is attempting to hypnotise them, they will resist and present a particular difficulty for the hypnotist.
But they, like everyone else, go in and out of trance all day long every day of the week. Anyway, as long as the subject is not specifically addressed, they are as likely as anyone else to succumb to conversational hypnotism.
A hypnotic trance is nothing more nor less than a state of deep concentration or meditation. Sitting at my desk working now, I am playing meditative music quietly in the background.
It enables me to concentrate and go deeper and deeper still. So deep, in fact, that I am totally immersed in what I am doing and, until I concentrate my mind upon it – as I am doing now – I am totally oblivious to the passing road traffic.
We can also go into trances like that when we daydream, meditate or pray.
Animals may also be hypnotised. Dogs, and some other animals, will not usually attack you if you make eye contact and give them a fixed stare.
When our vet gives our cat a worming tablet, he rolls the cat onto his back, holds him firmly and the cat becomes perfectly still whilst his mouth is opened and the medicine administered.
Hypnosis is just an altered state of consciousness, but during that altered state the subject is not a mindless automaton merely obeying the will of the hypnotist.
Most subjects for stage hypnotism have been carefully selected by the hypnotist who will have been calibrating his audience from the moment he first set eyes upon them.
An open type of personality is more likely to act out the hypnotist’s instructions than a closed one.
I have a near relative who suffers the condition labelled obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) who asserts that she cannot be hypnotised.
In fact, OCD is a behavioural disorder rather than an illness and, when she becomes stressed, and goes off into one of her mindless cleanliness routines, she is self-hypnotising.
The job of the hypnotist is to snap her out of her hypnotic state so that she is mindful of what she is doing, learns that OCD is a set of behaviours and, as behaviours are learned, they can just as easily be unlearned.
Hypnotism stories abound. It seems to have emerged in the eighteenth century when people were said to have been mesmerised.
Franz Mesmer was a colourful character who believed that he could cure illnesses by using magnetic and spiritual forces.
At first he made mesmeric passes with magnets but later just relied upon his hands.
He was eventually denounced and branded a charlatan and it is perhaps not surprising therefore that romantic and nonsensical stories about hypnotism have arisen.
Milton Erickson, a doctor of medicine, worked systematically to understand hypnosis and went through a lengthy ritual with his patients.
He spent some considerable time gathering detailed information about the patient’s condition before sending them away while he considered it.
Sometimes he studied the patient’s information for days and weeks before fixing another appointment.
By that time he would have summarised many pages of notes, and then re-summarised them and boiled them down still further.
Once he had reduced them to about five pages, the patient would be recalled to listen to Milton reading them in his own hypnotic way and the patient ended up in trance.
It was this sort of caring and careful attention by the physician which enabled the patient to draw upon her inner strength and he achieved quite remarkable results.
Make up your own mind about hypnotism. Read the pages on this website, by all means, but take any opportunity you can to experience it for yourself. Remember, you will always be the one who is in control.
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