How hypnosis works?
‘Hypnosis’ is a very well-known term and has been used frequently in movies, thrillers, books, etc. but most of us do not know whether hypnosis really works in reality or how it works.
What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a trance like state that is characterised by heightened imagination and deep relaxation. Contrary to the popular belief, it is not a state of sleep. It is instead a state of daydreaming where the subject is fully alert and negates most of the stimuli around him or her. This can be called a relaxed and conscious mental state between sleeping and wakefulness.
How hypnosis works?
Hypnosis does not happen by just swinging a clock or stone in a pendulum like motion in front of your eyes. The hypnotist does not exactly hypnotize the individual but facilitates the process of self- hypnotizing. This means that the hypnotist works as the agent who helps the hypnosis to take place but cannot make it happen without the participation of the person who is to be hypnotized. The person is made to enter a state of trance where they may seem sleepy but in reality, it is a state of hyper awareness. This leads to the person completely focussing on the voice of the hypnotist and listen to the instructions carefully. Here, the conscious mind of the person is suppressed to heighten the senses of the subconscious mind. Our state of consciousness is altered in such a manner that the left side of the brain responsible for analysis is shut off and the right side of the brain which is non-analytical is made more alert.
This helps to inhibit the conscious mind and awaken the sub-conscious mind. It is easy to alert the conscious mind but making the subconscious mind alert is a tough procedure and thus the conscious mind needs to be shut off at first to let the subconscious come alive.
Researchers differ in their views about how people feel during the state of hypnosis. It is said to vary from person to person. While some people feel extremely relaxed or detached during the entire procedure, some others feel that whatever is happening happens outside their conscious control and not out of will. Some others even report that they remain fully conscious and aware even in the state of hypnosis.
Hypnosis requires the active participation of the person and he or she can never be hypnotized against the will. This is because the person is an active participant in the process of hypnosis.
How hypnosis is used in therapy?
Hypnosis is often used to conduct hypnotherapy on patients to reduce pains, fears and mental blockages. The therapist uses hypnosis to suggest ideas and lifestyle changes to the person which he or she catches immediately and they get planted in the subconscious mind. This kind of healing is known as hypnotherapy and it has led to several positive developments in patients.
Very often patients with certain inhibitions, fears, phobias, repressed emotions and negative thoughts that affect their personality need psychological help to overcome these blockages. Hypnotherapy is a form of psychotherapy that aims to address this very problem in a different way. It re-programmes the thought pattern and behavioural patterns of the mind to alter the way your mind thinks.
The state of relaxation and trance makes the conscious control lesser which causes changes in the body such as slowing down of breathing, changes in the nervous pathways and hormonal levels. This lessens the sensation of pain and makes unpleasant feelings to become reduced. Hypnosis can only be used to lessen negative experiences and enhance performance but not increase physical capabilities.
Some fears and thoughts cannot be alleviated just by counselling the conscious mind. For instance, you may try to explain yourself to stop fearing reptiles but even though the conscious mind tries to not fear reptiles, your subconscious mind retains the fear. This prevents the person from forgetting the fear because it is deep seated inside the mind. Thus, it is only when the subconscious mind is reprogrammed and the fears and thoughts are altered that the conscious mind too accepts the change and a change in behaviour is achieved.
On a whole, hypnosis can be termed as a process that tries to alter your psychology and is therefore, a part of psychological therapies.
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