Frequently Asked questions
Probably lack of education and knowledge in the applications of hypnosis. The simple truth is that even physicians are not trained in the use of hypnosis during their medical schooling. Lack of information, plus much misinformation, spread through media of weird films and fiction, has led to certain preconceived ideas being accepted as facts. For instance: The popular image of a hypnotist having deep piercing eyes, a strong magnetic personality and endowed with super natural powers, dominating the minds of others. Such ideas quite naturally create stigmas and fears, as no one would enjoy the idea of submitting control to another person.
Progress is being made in educating the public – and the professions-and hypnosis is slowly but certainly coming into its own. It has its place!
Hypnosis was pushed underground by some medical leaders during the last century. However, in 1958 the AMA formally approved hypnosis as an adjunct to therapy. It is not a panacea, nor a "cure-all," but a useful tool in the hands of a trained practitioner. Much research is being done and we may have only scratched the surface, in the uses of hypnosis. Frankly, when hypnosis is more widely used, we will solve many emotional problems and improve the mental health of the nation. It will take time, of course, to educate the public, and the professions, to the real values of this art.
Psychiatrists who do use hypnosis do not do so in all cases. The psychotic, or real psychopath, would be difficult, if not impossible subjects for hypnosis. Cases to which hypnosis can be of value, would be the various neuroses. Psychosomatic problems respond nicely to hypnosis. Please understand that hypnosis, in itself, does not "cure" but can be of definite value where the psychiatrist deems advisable. It can certainly help the patient accept the psychotherapy. More and more psychiatrists are using this modality to shorten the term of therapy.
Actually, there is a definite relationship, since hypnoanalysis is psychoanalysis using hypnotic procedures to facilitate matters. More and more psychiatrists, psychologists and other therapists are employing hypnotic techniques to shorten the term of therapy. To begin with, troublesome symptoms can be quite readily relieved, making life somewhat more comfortable while analytical and therapeutic procedures continue. In practically all cases being handled by psychiatrists and psychologists, hypnosis can be of definite value and often, when the practitioner is not trained, himself, in hypnotic techniques, he will utilize the services of a qualified hypnotherapist or hypnotechnician.
Yes, hypnosis can shorten the length of psychoanalysis tremendously. In fact, this is one of the interest of modern psychonalysists. In 1889, Freud stated, "Eventually, free association methods will be replaced by hypnosis," … a statement he repeated in later years. In hypnosis, we communicate directly with the subconscious, and since the immediate object of psychoanalysis is to bring back to consciousness those parts of the self-and its experiences-that have been repressed, hypnosis can be the means to accomplish this.
Hypnosis can be used to relax, to relieve pain, to alleviate anxiety and to recall certain events. It has been effectively used to relieve pain in terminal cancer, for minor and major surgery and in childbirth. In dental work, hypnosis is helpful in controlling anxiety and pain and it can help reduce the amount of analgesic drugs in such work. Excessive eating and smoking can be eliminated, as well as such habits as nail biting, etc.
Hypnosis can be helpful in treatment of many psychogenic problems – that is, problems without organic cause. We could go on and on, really, for there seems to be no limit to the usefulness of hypnosis, in working with various neuroses. On another front, hypnosis is useful in sharpening recall and, as such, can be of benefit to investigative work.
There are factors which can limit the effectiveness of hypnosis. The subject must be fully involved, without apprehension or fear. Ultimately, it is the subject who permits the hypnotic relationship to develop by passive compliance. For this reason, it would be almost impossible, for instance, to hypnotize a psychotic person who is so withdrawn that his thinking is unrealistic. If he has delusions of persecution, he certainly will not trust the hypnotist! Most experts agree that there is no danger of a symptom being replaced by another, except-possibly-in very disturbed, unstable persons.
Under hypnosis, a subject wants to please the hypnotist and it is this very delicate interpersonal relationship which develops, that speeds "therapy". However, we must realize that the hypnotized person can fabricate material if he believes it will please the practitioner. Here, the skill and experience of the hypnotist will serve him well.
One of the greatest potential applications of hypnosis is in the field of education. Most students can be helped by hypnotic conditioning for increased concentration, recall, study efficiency and to alleviate exam jitters. There are many such beneficial uses of hypnosis that are not medically related-building self-confidence, enhancing talents and even in athletics.
We must emphasize that all problems of a medical nature must be discussed with a physician and his approval is needed to undergo hypnotic conditioning.
The elimination of symptoms by direct treatment, such as hypnotic conditioning, has become rather respectable. Modern behavior therapists treat symptomatology, not being overly concerned with historical features of their patients. In fact, physicians often treat symptoms with medicine, in certain circumstances, without understanding causation. Dr. William S. Kroger, nationally known physician and author, has denigrated those who feel it is "dangerous" … or that substitute symptoms will occur. Indeed, there are many cases which can be successfully treated via symptom removal through hypnosis, IF YOUR PHYSICIAN APPROVES. However, where a subject seems to tenaciously hold on to a given symptom-or, if a substitute symptom occurs, albeit rate-it may be wiser to try another tact. There is an expression, "The beloved symptom," wherein the symptom has a meaning and-as a crutch-provides secondary gains. In cases such as this, termination may prove disruptive and produce anxiety which, incidentally, may be held in abeyance because of the symptom. So then, for some people, symptoms have their use.
Definitely not! Hypnosis is merely a means of communication, a method of enhancing suggestions, and really creates a superior environment for transmitting ideas. Of course, if the information thus imparted is of a medical nature, then it obviously becomes part of a medical procedure. However, utilizing hypnotic techniques for such self-improvement goals as are dealt with quite often, would not be a medical procedure.
In most cases we deal with, as previously stated, a physician’s approval is required before employing hypnotic techniques. As a matter of ethics, such approval assures that no physiological problem exists to contraindicate hypnosis.
Presuming your question refers to MDs, the answer is no. Many physicians are competent in hypnotic techniques, of course; however, membership of various hypnotic organizations consists of dentists, chiropractors, psychologists, ministers, lawyers, teachers, even police officers, etc. The Code of Ethics of any hypnotic society forbids use of titles, or degrees, that are not academically earned. This does not mean, by any means that the person is not qualified as a hypno-technician.
Although quite a few professional people who use hypnotism as an adjunct to their work, many find it more convenient to refer their patients to qualified hypno-technicians for conditioning.
Yes! Since a "conditioned reflex" is activated by a signal, actually a sort of new connection formed within the brain, this can be accomplished quite nicely during hypnotic conditioning. In this state, the words of the hypnotist serve as the signals for responses in the subject. Hypnosis makes it possible to develop such reflexes rapidly, and to program-or "condition" –the subconscious mind, with a definite plan. Actually, we do develop reflexes, in a random sort of way, during most of our lives. By using hypnotic conditioning, old reflexes can be removed and new ones developed.
Quite so! Pavlov, a Russian who developed the theory of conditioned reflex, felt that hypnosis is caused by cerebral inhibition following repeated, monotonous stimulation. This theory is widely held in Russia, but has little support elsewhere, since it gives no explanation of the hypnotic rapport which is such a conspicuous feature of hypnosis.
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