Hypnosis is a mental state of incomplete sleep usually induced by a procedure known as hypnotic induction, which is commonly composed of a series of preliminary instructions and suggestions. Hypnotic suggestions may be delivered by a hypnotist in the presence an obeying subject, or may be self-administered («self-suggestion» or «auto-suggestion»). The use of hypnotism for therapeutic purposes is referred to as «hypnotherapy».
John Grinder’s definition
“Hypnosis is not a thing, but a series of procedures that may be applied to alter a person’s state of mind. Now, which state of mind must be targeted in order to address a specific problem is a completely different issue.”
Hypnosis as a form of assisted treatment
Hypnosis is a state or condition in which the hypnotized person is quite open to suggestions and instructions without expressing reservation. Automatically, this person accepts the points that are raised as relevant by his hypnotizer. If a person is receptive, he will listen and agree to the suggestions imparted by his hypnotist.
These effects can be expanded to cover the subject’s conscious activities after he comes back from his hypnotic state. It is as if the suggestions given to a hypnotized person can define his perceptions of the real world. In this respect, this phenomenon can be described as “believing the fantasy.”
In the course of induced or self-induced hypnosis, the subject’ attention is absorbed. In other words, the subject’s conscious mind becomes focused, and as result, an opportunity arises for his unconscious mind to express itself through hypnotic phenomena. In this fashion, the subject experiences a different or altered state of mind.
The hypnotic state is a special state of mind that facilitates a number of changes, including but not limited to a certain control over functions that are governed by the independent acting nerve system. Personal changes are easier to make in an expanded or altered state of mind than in a state of wakefulness.
That a person may not have his desired options available at a given time is a function of his state of mind. By definition, a person’s normal state of wakefulness is a description of his capacities and limitations.
When a person is hypnotized, he falls in trance; i.e., a special state of mind. His mind becomes dissociated. He is in a dreamlike state, but at the same time, he is always aware of the fact that he is at a doctor’s office chatting with or listening to a professional. This process relies on specially structured suggestions that give rise to an altered inner experience.
Trance is the process whereby a person moves from an original state of mind to a different state. A willing person can fall in trance in a matter of seconds or minutes.
The familiar experiences of trance refer to a mental mechanism in which a person departs from certain internal or external conditions to experience a different state of mind.
The states of trance are usually accompanied by kinetic and neuro-vegetative modifications.
Trance is from Latin «transīre;» that is, to cross, pass over, and the multiple meaning of the polyvalent homonym «entrance» as a verb and noun provides insight into the nature of trance as a threshold, conduit, portal and/or channel.
The trance is a period during which a person’s limitations pertaining to his deeply held beliefs and structures are temporarily altered, and in consequence, that person opens up to new operating patterns that lead to the solution of his difficulties.
The use of hypnosis as a therapeutic procedure requires that a target or desired state is set forth.
“Hypnotized” does not mean “asleep”. Quite the opposite, a hypnotized person is more awake and receptive than his wakeful self. Hypnotism is a state of much concentration. The hypnotized person is aware of who he is and what he is doing; except that he sets aside his wakeful defense mechanisms, but he preserves a capacity to discern the suggestions made by his hypnotist. He can spontaneously extricate himself from his trance state if faced with discomfort with or an inconsistency in the process.
An effective hypnosis is based on a person’s capacity to change. For this reason, according to Milton Erickson, the state of trance is where the likelihood for learning and openness to change or evolution is higher.
Characteristics of the Ericksonian Hypnosis
» As an event that involves a pair, a feedback loop emerges between the hypnotized and his hypnotist.
» The hypnotized individual is aware of and controls his process.
» The individual is flexible and participatory.
» Creativity and imagination are fostered.
» Indirect, kind and subtle suggestions are made.
» A feedback occurs with external elements.
» The individual shows limited or no resistance, as compared with the classical hypnosis.
Matters addressed through hypnosis
» The perception of extreme fear or phobia may be removed.
» Different emotions can flow naturally.
» Restrictive paradigms and beliefs can be modified.
» Self confidence and self esteem can be enhanced.
» Old memories of healthiness can be recalled.
» The perceptions of fear can be enhanced.
» Intra and inter personal relations can be improved.
» A person’s capacity to influence his peers can be expanded.
» Challenges can be perceived as learning opportunities.
» Motivation, flexibility and other resources in general can be maximized.
» Creativity can be enhanced.
» Personal and professional growth can be promoted.
» The same experience can be viewed from different perspectives; as a result, valuable information is supplied for deep changes of perception.
» A desired future can be defined through generational trances; and in consequence, the person becomes the conscious shaper of his own life.
The generational trance is a state whereby a never-before-available feeling can be experienced. A person can go beyond his past and its conditioning nature.
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» Conflicts and/or challenges of any sort are treated.
» Advanced Ericksonian hypnosis methods are taught.
» Assisting skills are perfected.
» Trance preparation procedures are reviewed.