Friday, December 3, 2010

What is hypnosis?

Every few years, an entire issue of The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis is dedicated to papers by academics and clinicians responding to the question “What is hypnosis?” and “What is hypnotherapy?” The views expressed are often conflicting… and all express some facet of the experience of hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Rather than picking one perspective, here are some views expressed by my clients and colleagues along with some of my own. The words "hypnosis" and "trance" are used interchangeably, below.

“It’s sort of like conversational biofeedback. It stimulates the unconscious to do what it can do.”
        — client explaining hypnosis to a friend
“Hypnosis is art and science masquerading as conversation.”
        — Jim Warrenke

“Using verbal means to evoke non-verbal processes.”
        — JT

“I could try and figure something out all day long but then if I just allow myself this kind of time and space (in a hypnotic trance), I get this deeper understanding that changes things.”
        — client, exploring being confident about his own thinking and emotional responses

To a curious 6 year old: “My job is to help people learn to use who they are in ways they like better.”
        — JT

“It's interesting to track the development of Milton Erickson’s thinking from the 30's on. It seems that he moved rather quickly in the early days from a 'trance as implantation of suggestion’ mode (authoritarian) to 'trance as evocation of subjective experience and potentialities’ mode. Unfortunately, I think the public's perception of hypnosis is very much stuck in the former.”
        — Andrew Roffman, faculty, NYU Med Center

“Hypnosis is the permissive facilitation of intensified concentration and imagination for the purpose of psychophysiological change.”
        — Laurence Sugarman, M.D., behavioral pediatrician

“Don’t kid yourself. This hypnosis stuff is a ritual. It’s a ritual that creates the expectancy of change. And from that comes change.”
        — Al Levitan, M.D., oncologist

“He was an Ericksonian hypnotherapist. They’re different. He told me stories that seemed to get inside me and mean something.”
        — client, describing her previous experience with hypnotherapy

“Hypnosis is the creating of a bounded space that contains what is relevant to the learning at hand.”
        — Paul Lounsbury & Nancy Winston

“Hypnosis is nothing more or less than the transmission of a message in a minimum noise environment.” 
        — William S. Kroger

 “Hypnosis is about coordinating your conscious and unconscious aspects, and coordinating your unconscious with the client’s unconscious and moving forward. It is not about control.” 
        — Nancy Winston

“What hypnotherapists typically call hypnotic phenomena—amnesia, arm levitation, catatonia, age regression, anesthesia and analgesic effects—are all natural abilities that arise when we need them. There is a broader way of working in which the therapist does not create states (hypnotic phenomena) but is curious about what states people have that are useful. In this way of working, the states that are most useful are not formal hypnotic phenomena, but rather states that people have that they don’t know they have. If you understand formal hypnosis, then you have a model with which to understand a therapy that engages not just standard hypnotic phenomena, but all the states people occupy.”
        — JT

1 comment:

Alex Finn said...

Simply hypnosis is a process of self improvement. From hypnosis hypnotherapy came. It is now a fast growing therapy world wide and found so effective.