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  • Treatment, rehabilitation, detoxication, weight loss and relaxation in the sunniest place in Bulgariia
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Hypnosis as an Alternative State of the Mind

People are surprised when they learn that their entire lives are full of autosuggestive events. All human habits are actually a built in system of autosuggestive practices that can be called self-hypnosis. Smoking, for example, is an autosuggestive malpractice.

The word hypnosis comes from the Greek word hypno which means sleep. Sleep is a self-induced hypnotic trance. During sleep, the conscious mind is suspended and is not operating. The same happens when a person is hypnotized. Our success in life “depends upon whether [we] can or cannot accept or reject auto-suggestions according to certain thought patterns which [we] have developed in [our] evolution” (Norman, 1998, p. 488).

History of Hypnosis
Two centuries ago in France, a man named Anton Mesmer developed the concepts of hypnosis. This Austrian physician, who had a practice in France during the eighteenth century, believed that illnesses were caused by an imbalance of invisible magnetic fluids in the body. According to him, illnesses could be cured by reestablishing the balance of the magnetic fluids. He became so famous, and his mysterious healing so popular that at this time almost everyone in Europe, even the poor, practiced hypnotism. The people who could afford it, had their private hypnotists.

Milton Erickson, MD is considered to be the father of modern hypnosis, or at least the most influential practitioner of hypnosis of the twentieth century. Born in Aurun, Nevada, he was one of the eleven children in the family. The child was color blind, tone deaf, dyslexic, and in his late teens, suffered from poliomyelitis. Erickson studied in the University of Wisconsin and upon his graduation, he qualified as both a physician and psychologist. He spent the most productive part of his life teaching and writing about hypnosis in Phoenix, Arizona. Erickson published over hundred forty articles on hypnosis.

“…Erickson’s utilization approach centered on the patient, utilizing and activating unconscious resources and learnings already within rather than imposing them from without” (Erickson, Rossi and Rossi, 1976; Zeig, 1985a).

“…His orientation was to strengthen what is right with the patient rather than analyzing deficits” (Zeig, 1985b, pp. 37-8).

Use of Hypnosis
In our day, hypnosis is used in different branches of the medical profession. In dentistry and operating rooms, hypnosis is applied as an anesthesia and to control bleeding and pain during dental and surgical procedures. In obstetrics, it is used for painless childbirth and reducing labor time. Hypnotherapy helps relieve the symptoms of a variety of illnesses. According to preliminary studies, hypnosis can be used to enhance the body’s immune system and ability to fight infection, to control nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine headaches.

In the field of behavioral health, hypnosis is helpful in eliminating or decreasing the intensity of phobias, reducing fear, stress, and anxiety, changing negative behavior. The purpose of hypnosis as a therapeutic technique is to help people understand and gain more control over their behavior, emotions, and physical well-being. In addition, hypnosis is helpful in the education field as a tool for increasing concentration and overcoming learning disorders. Still “…it is remarkable that in 150 years of education there has been little serious research on how the human brain learns” (Jeffs, 2000).

Hypnosis Research
Scientists such as Amanda Barnier, Richard Bryant, and Suzanne Briscoe prove that hypnosis alone can improve learning abilities of people. Other scientists, such as Kevin Hogan, use a combination of hypnosis and music in their experiments to prove that certain types of music affect learning and memory.

Study of the effects of certain types of classical music on learning and memory was done at the University of California at Irvine. The designed experiment was for two groups of students. Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major (K. 448) was the piece of music played to the first group ten minutes before taking the spatial component of an Intelligent Quotient (IQ) test. The result was studied and contrasted to the result of another group listening to no music. Those students listening to Mozart ware tested out at 119, and those listening to nothing ware tested at 110. The experiment proved that listening to certain types of classical music raised the lQ, although the gains were not maintained for long after the music was turned off.

Kevin Hogan, Ph.D., DCH from Saint Thomas University in Minnesota is an author of nine books, including The New Hypnotherapy Handbook and Cover Hypnosis Manual: An Operator’s Manual. Dr. Hogan has published an article “The Practitioner’s Page” in the September 2002 edition of The Journal of Hypnotism, an organ of National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH). The subject of the article is the use of music and hypnosis to increase learning abilities of students. The purpose of this research is to prove that certain types of music in combination with hypnosis have learning effects on people. By using simple hypnotic techniques and music, participants dramatically improve their abilities to learn faster and to retain the information longer. (Some music enhances association and excites, but other music enhances dissociation and relaxes clients.)
Dr. Hogan claims that people can learn better if they fully utilize their sensory systems. It is said that human beings remember about:
20 % of what they read
30 % of that they hear
40 % of what they see
50 % of what they say
60 % of what they do
And 90 % of what they see, hear, say, and do (Hogan, ….p.59).

Dr. Hogan presents the investigation’s results: people can increase their IQ by up to ten percent and retention of facts by three hundred percent by listening to various pieces from the works of Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, or Beethoven. Learners can accomplish various tasks including putting puzzles together eighty percent better than normal only because they listen to various types of music while they are studying. Using music and hypnosis in combination can enhance learning states of mind and optimize people’s learning abilities and retention of information. In his research, Dr. Hogan applies research of a Bulgarian psychiatrist Dr. George Lozanov.

How does hypnosis work?
Although hypnosis has been known for more than two hundred years, it still is not understood by most people and professionals; even scientists cannot relate hypnotism to any other field of knowledge. There is nothing mysterious about hypnosis when it is explained as an electro-physical reaction of the brain. Hypnosis is an alternate state of consciousness, and it is generally artificially induced. When a person is in hypnosis, the attention is more focused, the mind is more responsive to suggestions, and the person is more open and less critical.

Psychiatrists, counselors, psychologists, and clinicians can use hypnosis as a helpful tool in their practices. Hypnotherapy can provide satisfactory results in patients’ treatment if misconceptions of hypnosis are explained to them before the treatment begins. When they understand that hypnosis is a natural state of mind, which can be artificially induced, they can relieve the fear of being hypnotized. Releasing tension, they will become more focused and more suggestible to beneficial ideas presented by the hypnotherapist.

Going to sleep can be consciously instituted by anybody. People who suffer from insomnia can autosuggestively institute conscious suspension of the number two set of brain cells, and by doing it, they can consciously stop the formation of pictures in the brain. When people try to concentrate or focus their attention on some object, they automatically begin to build up in the brain cells certain wave lengths of energy. These energy waves of information cannot be discharged and transformed by the brain cells in their proper arrangement. Therefore, function is blocked, the mind becomes blank, and people fall asleep.

When going into hypnosis, the cessation of cyclic oscillation is artificially induced by a hypnotist through different techniques or just by concentrating on the words of the hypnotist. In such a state of suspension of the conscious mind due to the incomplete cyclic transmission, the hypnotist gives beneficial suggestions. These suggestive associations are always followed through because the hypnotist’s words are actually wave forms of energy that have been impounded by the hypnotist in the subconscious mind in a one-way transmission. When the person emerges from hypnosis, and normal consciousness resumes, the impounded oscillations complete their cycle. Then, the person performs the suggested act or situation.

Myths about Hypnosis
There are many myths about hypnosis created on the basis of fear and misunderstanding. One of the most popular misconceptions is that when in hypnosis, the participants surrender their free will. This is not true because hypnosis is an artificially self-induced state of high concentration and focused attention. The second myth is that if a person is in hypnosis, the hypnotist controls him or her. People do hypnosis voluntarily, and the hypnotist is only a guide or facilitator. Similar to this myth is the wrong belief that a person can be put into hypnosis without a person’s consent. Successful hypnosis session occurs only if the participant is willing to experience it. And the most fearful myth is that the hypnotist will not be able to bring the person out of hypnosis, or the participant will lose consciousness. Even if the person goes into a very deep hypnotic state, which can happen rarely, that person will just get a nap and when waking up, will remember everything that has occurred during hypnosis.

Hypnotic Techniques
A variety of hypnotic techniques exists. For example, in one method, a hypnotherapist leads the person onto hypnosis by talking with gentle and soothing voice and describing images that create a sense of relaxation and security. In another method, once the person is in hypnosis, the hypnotherapist suggests specific mental images which the person can see in his or her mind’s eye. This conscious creation of vivid pictures in client’s mind is called mental imagery. It helps the people visualize what they want to accomplish before they have performed it physically. The third technique is self-hypnosis when the client has been taught how to induce a state of hypnosis in himself or herself. A typical hypnosis session lasts usually from thirty to sixty minutes, the number of sessions can vary from one to a series of several, depending on the person’s issue. Clients usually bring themselves out of hypnosis at the end of the session, and they can continue to do their daily activities immediately after the session.
The main task of the hypnotist is to remove the individuals’ misconceptions and negative attitudes, as well as to elicit their cooperation in order to release and guide their capabilities for resolving inner conflicts.

Hypnosis is safe. No one has some hypnotic power over someone else. If a person does not want to be hypnotized, no one can hypnotize him or her. Any person who becomes hypnotized does so voluntarily. There is nothing mysterious about hypnotism when it is analyzed as an electro-physical reaction of the brain. The same system is being used in the computer’s functioning. Hypnosis is safe, and when it is properly used under the guidance of skilled professional, hypnosis can improve people’s lives dramatically.

Margarita Videnova-Lett, MA
Certified Hypnotherapist
(928) – 274 - 1873
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