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An Introduction to Hypnosis


What is Hypnosis ?
Common Myths about Hypnosis Hypnotic Suggestibility Hypnosis as a Clinical Tool

I. What is Hypnosis ?
A social interaction in which one person (the hypnotist) makes suggestions about perceptions, feelings, thoughts, or behaviors, and another person (the subject) follows those suggestions Hypnotist serves as a coach or tutor showing you the way.

What is Hypnosis ?
State of awareness Highly focused attention Increased responsiveness to suggestion Vivid imagery Willingness to accept distortions of logic People do NOT lose control of their behavior. Instead, they remain aware of where they are, who they are, and what is transpiring. Alteration of sensation and perception

Two Components of a Hypnotic Procedure

It is useful to think of a hypnotic
procedure as consisting of two phases or

Hypnotic Induction Hypnotic Suggestions

What is a Hypnotic Induction ?

The process by which a hypnotist creates a state of hypnosis in a subject Usually done by voicing a series of suggestions Voice is usually calm and of a rhythmic tone

What is a Hypnotic Suggestion ?

The subject is guided to undergo changes in experience.
Types of Hypnotic Suggestions: Ideomotor Suggestions experience a motor movement.

Challenge Suggestions subject is told he or she will not

be able to do some particular thing and then is asked to perform the prohibited behavior.

Cognitive Suggestions experience changes in

sensations, perceptions, thoughts or feelings.

What is a Hypnotic Suggestion ?

II. Common Myths about Hypnosis

People in hypnosis lose control and can be made to say or do whatever the hypnotist wants.
People may not be able to come out of hypnosis.

Hypnosis only affects weak-willed people.

Hypnosis reliably enhances the accuracy of memory.. Hypnosis depends primarily on the skill of the hypnotist.


Limits to Hypnosis
You cannot be hypnotized against your will. Hypnosis cannot make you perform behaviors that are contrary to your morals and values. Hypnosis cannot make you stronger or give you new talents.

III. Hypnotic Suggestibility

Hypnotic suggestibility is the general tendency to respond to hypnotic suggestions. It can be measured with scales. The number of test suggestions that an individual responds to or passes indicates the persons level of suggestibility.

Differences in the ability of people to become hypnotized Varies from person to person Varies from situation to situation Most adults are moderately hypnotizable. Children are easier to be hypnotized. People who have positive, receptive attitudes towards hypnosis, tend to be hypnotized easier

IV. Hypnosis as a Clinical Tool

Hypnosis is generally used in two ways as a clinical tool:
A.Making Direct Suggestions for Symptom Reduction B.Using hypnosis as an adjunct to other forms of psychotherapy (e.g., CBT cognitive behavioral therapy).


Posthypnotic Suggestions
A suggestion, made during a hypnosis session, that the subject will carry out when no longer hypnotized Technique can be used to encourage helpful behavior changes, such as stopping smoking or losing weight. Most only last for a few hours or days.

Posthypnotic Suggestions


Some Clinical Problems Thought to Be Responsive to Hypnosis

Acute and Chronic Pain Phobias Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Disorder Performance Anxiety Depression Eating Disorders Dissociative Identity Disorder Smoking Obesity

Once associated with the supernatural, hypnosis is now accepted as the valid subject of scientific research and as a useful clinical tool. Psychologists hold a wide variety of opinions on how to define hypnosis and on how hypnosis works. The vast majority of people can benefit from hypnosis interventions. Research indicates that hypnosis is very effective for treating a wide range of clinical problems and symptoms, including pain, anxiety, depression, obesity, and smoking.