Definition of hypnosis

Hypnosis refers to a state or condition in which the client becomes highly receptive to suggestions. The hypnotized individual appears to follow instructions in an uncritical, automatic manner, attending only to those aspects of their environment that are suggested to them as significant by the hypnotist. When the client is deeply receptive, he hears, sees, senses, smells and feels in accordance with the suggestions made, even if these may be in direct contradiction to the actual stimuli acting on the client. Suggestions can also be used to change memory and self-perception. All these effects can be extended post-hypnotically into the subsequent state of waking activity. It is as if the suggestions made during hypnosis determined the individual’s perception of the real world. In this sense, the phenomenon has been described as a “believed fantasy”.
©1990 Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc.

There are many theories about what hypnosis is or is not. The following are some of them:

Hypnosis as a permissive state:
This is an older, traditional view. This emphasizes the passive nature of the client and the stronger, authoritarian position of the therapist.

Hypnosis and role play:
The idea here is that there is no separate state of hypnosis at all, but that the
person merely plays the role of a hypnotized client and looks and acts as described by
is assumed to be. The client will follow the hypnotist’s suggestions on this basis.
on this basis.

Hypnosis as an altered state of consciousness:
Here, trance is understood as a unique and independent state of consciousness in relation to someone’s “normal” state of consciousness. According to this concept, trance is a state that is artificially created through the trance induction process. This changes the person’s consciousness by focusing attention on the suggestions offered.

Definition by Gerald F. Kein:
“Hypnosis is the bypassing of the critical factor of consciousness and the establishment of acceptable, selective thinking.”

Hypnosis as an interactional outcome:
Hypnosis, according to this concept, is a result of a meaningful interaction between the hypnotist and the client in the sense that they must be attentive and receptive to each other.
If we wanted to discuss all these theories about hypnosis that exist, we would need more time than is allotted in the course.
Suffice it to say that a basic understanding of the above concepts will help you explain what hypnosis is from your perspective.
Presenting a well thought out notion of hypnosis will help you to be successful with your clients.


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