Hypnotism has been used in entertainment in a way that tends to make people skeptical of it. Stage hypnosis fills the mind with misconceptions.
There’s the classic scene on stage in a magic show. The magician hypnotizes his subject and commands, “Stiff as a board!”
The subject balances, stiff as a board. She is propped in the air only by the backs of a couple of chairs, one under her feet and another beneath her head.
Since it is a magic show, we assume it is a trick. But it is actually very real, and it has nothing at all to do with magic.
Unfortunately unscrupulous individuals try to pass off hypnotic phenomena as magic. They do this in an attempt to make themselves appear to have special powers. But because of this, many people don’t realize that hypnosis is a serious psychological tool.
Hypnotic phenomena are very real.
The ‘stiff as a board’ phenomenon is possible with hypnosis. Hypnosis offers a way to communicate with a person’s unconscious mind. Some people call the unconscious the subconscious. As far as I’m concerned, they are one in the same.
You can voluntarily contract any muscle in your body. You can consciously make your body stiff as a board. The unconscious mind can also contract any of your muscles and make them stiff. So when the hypnotist commands his subject to be, “stiff as a board”, as long as that is not something that is offensive to the subject, his muscles will contract and make him stiff as a board. In this case, his muscles have contracted involuntarily.
Hypnotic phenomena can appear to be strange.
That may sound strange or impossible to you. You are probably very skeptical. Please put all skepticism aside for a moment while you learn the strange and amazing phenomena that are possible with hypnosis.
Depth of the hypnotic state explained.
The strange hypnotic phenomena that a person is able to achieve with hypnosis are governed by the depth of their hypnotic state. The depth of the hypnotic state can be compared to a swimming pool.
- A shallow subject can be compared to a person who may swim shallowly along the surface of the water.
- A medium to deep subject is like a person who may swim beneath the surface of the water.
- A deep subject can swim along the bottom of the pool.
The deeper the subject can go into hypnosis, the more beneficial it can become. Suggestions are accepted faster. The deeper the hypnotic state, the more hypnotic phenomena that can be produced.
What are the depths of hypnosis? And what are the hypnotic phenomena available at each depth?
Here is a scale of depths of hypnosis, called Aron’s scale (hypnosis pioneer Harry Aron created the scale). There are six numbered categories of depths and their phenomena. The first is the lightest state of hypnosis. The sixth is the deepest.
- Eye catalepsy: The loss of ability to open the eye lids. In a sense the eyelid muscles are temporarily paralyzed.
- Arm, hand and small muscle catalepsy. Hypnotist can suggest that these muscles will contract making a body part move.
- All muscle groups catalepsy; Aphasia (the ability to block a person from being able to say his name or say a number).
- All of the above plus:
- Analgesia: A light anesthesia causing the inability to feel pain.
- Positive olfactory hallucinations (hallucination of a smell)
- Positive gustatory hallucinations (hallucination of a taste)
- Amnesia through direct suggestion.
- Pseudo-age regression (process in which the patient moves their focus to memories in an earlier stage of life)
- Automatic writing (writing produced by the subconscious)
- All of the above plus:
- post-hypnotic amnesia without suggestion (subject won’t remember details of what happened while in hypnosis)
- Anesthesia (total insensitivity to pain)
- Positive sensory perception hallucinations (false visual images)
- Age regression
- All of the above, plus negative sensory hallucinations (not sensing something, hearing a sound or smelling an odor that is there)
While in a state of hypnosis, around 20% of subjects will be able to enter the first and second levels. The hypnotist will be able to suggest that their eye lids and limbs are heavy. The subject will remember the entire session.
Sixty percent of subjects will be able to achieve medium depth of hypnosis, levels three and four.
- They will still remember everything.
- All muscles will respond to suggestion.
- Automatic writing can be used to tap the unconscious for buried information. The subject is unaware that they are writing. Automatic writing is not a spiritual phenomenon, as has been depicted in movies. It is writing down things that flow from the subconscious.
- Psuedo-age regression takes a person back through memories without reliving them.
The remaining 20% of subjects are able to achieve levels five and six. These are the deepest levels of hypnosis.
- He or she may see or hear things that are not actually happening.
- Or the reverse. The subject can be convinced by the hypnotist, for example, that the couch they are sitting on is invisible.
- True age regression can be achieved. The person actually relives past events. All the past emotions and sensations are included. It’s as if the event were happening in real time.
- Usually the subject will not remember anything after emerging from this depth of hypnosis.
These levels of hypnotic phenomena can also be reached with self-hypnosis.
Self-hypnosis is safe; just as safe as being in the room with a hypnotist. The worst thing that can happen is that since hypnosis is one level above natural sleep, you could fall asleep. If you fall asleep, when you awaken, you will no longer be in the state of hypnosis.
The greatest concern is the quality of the self-hypnosis program being purchased. It is easy to learn how to guide yourself or another person into a state of hypnosis. However, Hypnotherapy, the therapy that takes place once the subject is in a state of hypnosis, is not something that can be learned quickly. It takes a great deal of study and practice to become a capable and successful licensed consulting hypnotist.
The good news is:
The good news is that for therapeutic purposes, hypnotic depth really isn’t much of an issue. So it doesn’t matter if the hypnotist is able to produce any hypnotic phenomena or not!
Hypnotic phenomena is an interesting topic. Watching or experiencing the phenomena being elicited can be exciting.
Unless we are talking about the elimination of severe pain, or the retrieval of deeply suppressed memories, depth of trance does not matter!
So for therapeutic purposes like: Appetite control; smoking cessation; insomnia; facial tics; nail-biting; stress or depression relief; etc., depth of hypnosis is not necessary.
In fact: Generally depth testing of the subject’s hypnotic state is not recommended. Why? Because if the subject fails a depth test, it can cause the subject to doubt, and thereby cancel out any positive suggestions made by the hypnotist.
Whatever level of hypnotism you are able to achieve, a trained and experienced hypnotist can help you use it to your greatest advantage. So check out the experience and reputation of the hypnotist who created any prerecorded programs that you would like to purchase.
So many positive changes can be made using hypnotism. You can leave behind destructive habits, say good-bye to stress, and turn your life around. Hypnotic phenomena are wonderful, strange and amazing.
Alan B. Densky, CH is the developer of the Neuro-VISION® Video Hypnosis Technology, which received a US Patent because of its uniqueness and effectiveness. Mr. Densky’s latest undertaking has been to make the Neuro-VISION Appetite & Smoking Control Videos, and a long list of his other recorded hypnosis titles, available to the general public thru his company’s Neuro-VISION.US web site.
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