Hypnosis refers to the state of trance-formed experience and enhanced susceptibility. Under certain aspects, hypnotized people fall asleep. Nevertheless, some of the aspects of people’s behavior contradict the notion of hypnosis because people are often attentive to the hypnotist’s offerings, which can a be absurd and irrational.
Despite their obedience during hypnosis, people do not lose their identity because they do not resort to self-destructive acts or antisocial behaviors. Neither will they reveal concealed truth about themselves. Moreover, people are also capable of lying, and they could not be hypnotized if they do not want to (Feldman, 2013, p. 146).
There are different degrees of people’s aptness for being hypnotized. About 20 % of people are impossible to be hypnotized whereas 15 % of people are easily hypnotized (Feldman, 2013, p. 146). The majority of the population ithe s in-between state.
Additionally, there are varieties of characteristics that influence the level of individuals’ susceptibility to hypnosis. For instance, people with a high probability of being hypnotized are easily absorbed while listening to music or reading books and their attention is not dispersed. They show a high level of concentration and become fully absorbed with their activities.
I have never been hypnotized and this is, probably, the reason why I am skeptical about hypnosis. I can also admit that there were people that attempted to hypnotize me, but they failed because my personal characteristics and propensity for hypnosis was low.
Nonetheless, I think that hypnosis could be implemented for the percentage of people who can be easily hypnotized. In fact, the process could be regarded as nothing more, but an over-concentration of specific ideas, words, or phrases that prevent people from concentrating on other activities.
Despite the above-proposed assumption, there is much controversy about the connection of consciousness to hypnosis. Some theorists state that hypnosis refers to the state of consciousness, which differs considerably from other psychological states. From this viewpoint, enhanced ability to construct images, as well as the ability to accept suggestions contradict the reality and suggest a completely different state.
Additionally, shifts in the brain’s electric activity are connected with hypnosis as well as, approving the statement that hypnosis is a specific state of consciousness that is different from the standard active state. According to Budman and Gurman (2002), “subjects with good hypnotic abilities generally have a high capacity for imaginative involvement” (p. 192). Individuals with susceptibility to hypnosis have the ability to create images and control them.
Nevertheless, the human’s increased propensity to hypnosis faces much controversy, particularly when this state is presented as a trait, requiring little or not modification or enhancement. In fact, such a statement is ambiguous because the well-known statement refers to the impossibility to hypnotize people against their will.
Contemporary controversies in hypnosis also raise issues about the danger of identifying the phenomenon with literary claims about prenatal memories, flashbacks of the past lives, and recovered memories drawn from early childhood. At this point, Burrows, Stanly, and Bloom (2002) explain, “there is the possibility that these memories may be due more to an artifact of the hypnosis than an indication of the abuse occurred” (p. 8).
Despite this controversy, physicians often resort to hypnosis to retrace past memories about traumas received previously. At this point, hypnotic intervention seems to be the most effective pathway for solving the problem. Although this solution can be provided, the approaches that clinicians use to reveal a number of controversies. In particular, the clinicians refrain from leading questions while making inquiries about childhood sexual abuse.
Sensitive and attentive clinicians often ask open questions to receive information because hypnosis implies an unfolding process rather than a linear process. The clinicians working with dissociative and post-traumatic disorders can consider hypnosis a useful tool; yet, it should not be regarded as a kind of treatment because this procedure serves only as a complementary therapy of psychological disorders.
Hypnosis is applied in many spheres, including psychotherapy, dentistry, and medicine and serves either as a primary treatment or as a part of the treatment session. However, insufficient knowledge of the consequences and qualities of research can cause significant challenges for adopting this therapy and improving the psychological wellbeing of a patient.
Therefore, this kind of treatment could be dangerous because it can influence an individual’s consciousness (Burrows et al., 2002). This is of particular concern to the preliminary procedures that a patient should undertake before proceeding with hypnosis. The pre-induction procedure should inform the patient about the existing misconceptions about hypnosis
In conclusions, there are two basis misconceptions about hypnosis. The first one raises the question of consciousness and its relation to hypnosis. In particular, it is impossible to define whether our consciousness contains prenatal memories of recollections from our past lives.
Second, there are serious misconceptions concerning the therapeutic value of hypnosis because there is always a danger of distorting individual’s psychological perception and, as a result, hypnosis can change patients’ consciousness. All these shortcomings should be taken into consideration before the procedure is initiated. Additionally, the patient must be informed about all controversies of the hypnosis.
Budman, S., & Gurman, A. S. (2002). Theory and Practice of Brief Therapy. US: Guilford Press.
Burrows, G. D., Stanly, R. O., & Bloom, P. B. (2002). International Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Feldman, R. (2013). Essentials of understanding psychology (10 th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.