Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Research Paper on Hypnosis

Research Paper on Hypnosis

Many believe that hypnosis is mysterious, enchanting, and sometimes a little scary, but it really isn't all it may seem. People were even using hypnosis 3,000 years ago, according to an Ebers papyrus found that describes hypnotic-techniques used in sleep temples in ancient Greece. In China they started using hypnosis around 2600 BC. Back then, many thought hypnosis was linked to magic (Baker 51). Actually, many today still believe that hypnosis is linked with magic. Hypnosis is really much more and has many profound uses.

A man by the name of Franz Anton Mesmer, believed that hypnosis could actually be used to cure diseases by correcting unbalanced fluids through magnetism. He had a hypothesis that "rarefied fluid," called animal magnetism, controlled human's health. The patients, who believed they were being cured, showed massive improvement with their problems or diseases. This procedure was then called mesmerism, named after Mesmer, but we know it today as hypnotism (Americana 679).

The word hypnotism comes from the Greek word Hypnos, which means sleep (Scientific Approach). The reason why hypnotism is compared to the word sleep is because there is no other word in present times that can relate to it (Hollander 50). This is because hypnosis is a state of awareness when all problems escape the mind. Hypnosis grabs hold of a mental, physical, and emotional relaxation (Abrahamsen). Hypnosis is a way to relieve the patient of all pressures occurring in their daily life.


When a person goes into the hypnotic state, the mind becomes remote and doesn't care about what is occurring. The mind turns over into the subconscious part of the brain rather than the conscious. The subconscious part of the brain is able to respond creatively to suggestions and imagery. Since the subconscious responds so positively to problems, a patient can focus on the best way to achieve their goal (Barr). While this is happening to the patient, they may have sensations, blushing, sweating, paralysis, tensing of muscles, and loss of pain (Scientific Approach).

There are many different ways to hypnotize a person, but most start by using a classical introduction. The classical introduction always contains eyelid closure. To make the patient close his/her eyes the hypnotist will have the patient gaze upon a finger, eye, spot on the wall or ceiling, and the most famous, a shiny or whirling object. The subject is told, "Breathe deeply but comfortably, deeply and comfortably, as your eyes grow heavier and heavier, your grow sleepier and sleepier, sleepier still. Your eyes are so heavy they feel they must close," (Americana 679). Those may not be the exact words a professional hypnotist may use but it is a close replica. Anyone can be taught to hypnotize somebody using this od, unless they have any doubt in it working. When the classical introduction is used upon a person and they try to relieve out of it, they may move the wrong muscles because the hypnotist has commanded them to relax or sleep. The patient is challenged to open their eyes but can not (Americana 679).

A hypnotist hypnotizing a person is not the only way for a person to be hypnotized, even though it is the best approach. There is a way called self-hypnosis where people can hypnotize themselves. This should not be done unless under the advice of a professional. In self-hypnosis people can give themselves an extra strength to overcome a weakness they may have. Psychotic and severely mental people should not attempt self-hypnosis. Unconscious hypnotism is an easier form of self-hypnosis. When others or a person put a repetitive suggestion into someone's or their own mind it is unconscious hypnotism (Barr). This technique of hypnotism is often used without the intention of using unconscious hypnotism. Autohypnosis is also very similar to self-hypnosis. Autohypnosis is when a professional may hypnotize a person and give a signal to that person, so that later on when the person initiates the signal they can move into the hypnotic state by themselves (Americana 680).

When a person is hypnotized by a technique they get into a trance. The depth of the trance is dependent on the emotional condition of the subject and how well educated the hypnotist is in hypnotism (Encarta). The different trances are broken down into 12 groups. They are effortless expression, fluction in involvement, experimental absorption, alteration of sensory experience, flexibility in time/space relations, willingness to experiment, experiential/non-conceptual involvement, trance logic, metaphorical processing, time distortion, amnesia, and the most common, motoric/verbal inhibition. In the most common trance, motoric/verbal inhibition, the patient does not feel like moving or talking, though the patient could, they don't find it important (Baker 165).

The uses of hypnotism do not cover a wide range. Hypnotism can be used to study a patient's problem so, the doctor can find out what the patient may be keeping from him/her. Usually when the doctor uses hypnotism on a person it isn't for that reason. A doctor uses hypnotism mainly to cure or relieve a patient of a disease or problem (Americana 679). It can also be used to cure an undesirable habit. Some habits are smoking, , and having no patience for people. Hypnosis can be used to gain weight control and motivation. Hypnosis can be used to eliminate fears and addictions. Hypnosis should not be used to eliminate pain (Abrahamsen). It also should not be used to advance oneself into things for wrong uses. Hypnosis is sometimes used as a stage trick but it is not a good idea to use for non-medical purposes (Americana 679).

One in every 3 persons can be hypnotized under the right conditions. This does not depend on the person's , age, intelligence, personality type, or emotional disease. If the patient's attention is gained they most likely can be hypnotized (Americana 679). A person who seems to be in the same state as when a person has taken in , which has monotonous and repetitive stimulation and physical exhaustion is said to be a good patient to hypnotize (Baker 165). Just because a person may suffer from being blind or deaf doesn't mean they can not be hypnotized. If a person is blind they can be hypnotized just by the hypnotist's voice. If the person is deaf they can be hypnotized by imitating the hypnotist's actions (Americana 680). Hypnotism should not be used on people who suffer from epilepsy, psychosis, or schizophrenia (Barr).

The real dangers of hypnotism are not widely expressed like they should be. There is a od that a hypnotist can use to get into a quick hypnotic state. It is called a trick od. A trick od is when a hypnotist, mostly entertainers, hit the carotid arteries and make the subject go into a hypnotic state very quickly. There is a carotid artery on each side of a person's neck that carries from the aorta to the head. Disrupting this flow of can cause momentary loss of consciousness or may kill the subject (Americana 680). If this is repeated or any kind of hypnosis is repeated, it may endanger the subject's health (Hollander 170). Also, while the person is hypnotized they do not have the critical thinking that they have with their conscious mind. This means they could make decisions they normally wouldn't make and may be hurt by the overall outcome of their decision. The American Medical Association saw these dangers of hypnotism and banned the use of hypnotism for entertainers in 1958. The American Psychiatric Association followed up on the AMA's decision, and also banned the use of hypnotism for entertainers in 1961 (Americana 680).

Hypnotism is morally a complex way to get rid of someone's problems. There are good points to it. For example, curing things people are suffering from. Then there is always the negative side to it. For example, the subject may make decisions that they would not approve of in their conscious state of mind. Hypnotism is more than just a magic trick done by a magician; it is a medical procedure done by a professional hypnotist. No judgement should be placed on hypnotism by what a person has seen; they should justify hypnotism only if they have experienced it for themselves.

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