Hypnosis is not:
- Hypnosis is not sleep. That was the initial impression and unfortunate conclusion by James Braid, who was searching for another name for the phenomena to differentiate it and dis-associate it from Anton Mesmer and “mesmerism”. Unfortunately, he made the unfortunate assumption that the phenomena was related to sleep and therefore chose the name “hypnosis”, based on the Greek root word for “sleep”.
- Mind Control
- Hypnosis is not mind control. There is no loss of identity, facilities, or morals involved. This is the most important and most prevalent misconception that this web site is trying to dispell.
- You can’t be forced into hypnosis, by definition. (If that sounds a little weaselly, I’m sorry, but that’s the way the definitions run.) Adding force, drugs, or any other non-consentual element into the equation turns the whole discussion into one about mind control and brainwashing.
What is hypnosis?
Unfortunately, there are a number of answers, some contradictory.
The following are some dictionary definitions that give a pretty good explanation.
- American Heritage Dictionary
An artificially induced altered state of consciousness, characterized by heightened suggestibility and receptivity to direction.
- Encyclopedia Britanica
A special psychological state with certain physiological attributes, resembling sleep only superficially and marked by a functioning of the individual at a level of awareness other than the ordinary conscious state. This state is characterized by a degree of increased receptiveness and responsiveness in which inner experiential perceptions are given as much significance as is generally given only to external reality.
- Dorlands Medical Dictionary
A state of altered consciousness, usually artificially induced, characterized by focusing of attention, heightened responsiveness to suggestions and commands, suspension of disbelief with lowering of critical judgment, the potential of alteration in perceptions, motor control, or memory in response to suggestions, and the subjective experience of responding involuntarily.
All of these definitions make some reference to “altered state of consciousness,” but, since no one has adequately defined “consciousness,” trying to define something that is an alteration of it is even harder.
The best way I can describe hypnosis is (drawing on my computer science training) is exposing parts of the operating system of the mind.
For more information, see Roy Hunter’s Hypnosis FAQs, which are posted on a regular basis to the “alt.hypnosis” Usenet group, or can be found here. You might also check out the“hypnosis” entry in Everything.
Why bother about how people regard it?
Because hypnosis is a legitimate medical tool in several fields, including psychology, not to mention its use in police forensics, or on stage, or even in paranormal or religious practice. But in spite of its breadth of applications, hypnosis is rarely presented well. There are far too many misconception about it. It would be like treating anaesthetics or surgery as a “black art”, full of mystery and misapprehensions. But most people are introduced to things like immunization shots or having their tonsils out at an early age and have their fears explained.
Not so with hypnosis. Most people are more likely to be introduced to hypnosis in their early years through a horror movie or an episode of a situation comedy, and rarely is it represented correctly. Very little seems as mysterious as hypnosis at a young age, especially when done wrong. Exposure to hypnosis on a professional level is usually much later in life.
Hypnosis is rarely represented well in the media because of how the various genres are limited in representing it, but also because most writers (and the audience) know little more than the literary and Hollywood stereotypes. These obstacles can be overcome with better education, which is the goal of this listing: highlight the good representations and explain the bad ones.
Content is available under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial – Share Alike 3.0 United States License. (Abridged—see the article’s link for complete content.)
Website: Hypnosis in Media
Article source: What is (and is not) hypnosis?
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