Frequently Asked questions
A neutral suggestion would be one without any emotional content. As such, there would be no objection on the part of the subject. In learning self-hypnosis, it is often best to begin with such a suggestion until the subject applies it effectively, then on to more serious goals.
To begin with, no suggestion which is offensive to the subject will be accepted, so let’s proceed on the premise that we are discussing only such suggestions which are acceptable in nature. Suggestions are more readily accepted if they come from a person who has some prestige, someone whom the subject looks up to, with respect. A suggestion may be accepted-or rejected-according to the way in which it is offered. It seems, too, that the acceptance of one suggestion usually leads to the acceptance of another. This creates a state of expectancy, which also is aided by the prestige factor. My favorite definition of "suggestion" is: "The intrusion into the mind of an idea, accepted uncritically."
Some people will be more responsive to one hypnotist than to another. This may not necessarily indicate that one is more skilled in hypnosis, but may just be due to personality differences which create better rapport.
To many physicians, unfortunately, the word "hypnosis" still has an eerie connotation. However, in daily practice these same practitioners use countless persuasive and therapeutic suggestions, not to mention placebos, to help their patients. Come right down to it and we must realize that no medication is ever prescribed without the patient’s implicit belief and expectation that something will result. This belief is often fostered by the doctor’s suggestion that it will work and – as a matter of fact-every doctor uses suggestion, whether or not he is aware of it!
Despite the mysterious aura surrounding hypnosis, it is nothing more than a means of communication, a special strategy, to establish a suggestive impact from the hypnotist to his subject. The ultimate degree of this communicative rapport will often break through faulty and negative self-suggestions which have caused anxiety and this type of illness. In the hypnotic state, suggestions are usually accepted, assuming they are not repugnant to the subject, and this technique is especially helpful in cases where pain, stress, or psychosomatic conversions exist. We must stress again, however, that pain is usually a warning of something wrong, an alarm, so to speak, and it would be unwise to alleviate this without proper examination to eliminate possibility of organic cause.
In a transference situation, the subject reacts with feelings for his practitioner (can be a dentist, physician, etc.) which he really feels, or has felt, for some other person. To the subject, the practitioner temporarily symbolizes the other person and the emotional relationship is really a symbolic one.
The emotional relationship of hypnotic "rapport" is characterized by the extreme readiness with which the subject carries out the suggestions given by the hypnotist. We can define rapport as a close emotional communion between the subject and the hypnotist. This is an important phenomenon peculiar to hypnosis and is really an essential factor. Once this rapport is lost, the subject ceases to respond to suggestions.
This is "hypnotic rapport." In hypnosis, there is, of necessity, a strong interpersonal relationship between the subject and hypnotist.
The subject just "wants to please" the hypnotist, and this can be a valuable aid in the conditioning process. A skilled practitioner has no problem in handling what sometimes seems like a delicate, emotional development. Always remember that any untoward suggestion will be rejected, in any event, so no apprehension would be felt toward the "rapport" which takes place.
There are some people, members of the healing professions included, who feel this way and – for this unwarranted reason – hesitate to accept hypnosis. Actually, they do not understand it either! However, if you stop to think about it, any practitioner who acts as a authoritative figure will certainly foster dependency. An M.D., Ph.D. or whatever-and we can include hypnotist-in order to obviate such dependency, using the hypnotist as a crutch, as it were, we teach each of our clients "self-hypnosis." The truth is, everyone has the capability to learn to use his own innate "power" and here we can refer to the question relating to the subconscious. No one needs to be dependent on the hypnotist!
We can go into this a bit further, since there are many persons who do feel that hypnosis is the control or one’s mind by someone. NOT TRUE! Most people have such vague, but deep-seated, uncertainties which certainly emanate from misconceptions derived from newspaper stories, dramatic TV programs, movies, etc. Hypnosis, per se, is no more harmful than natural sleep and positively does not involve one’s mind being dominated by the hypnotist. In fact, if any suggestion is put forth contrary to the subject’s wishes, he will definitely not accept the idea. No less an authority than Sigmund Freud stated that hypnosis cannot possibly have any deleterious effects and is not a dangerous tool.
Let’s look at it this way: In this world of ours, with the polluted air and water, with the strident, nerve-disrupting decible ranges, what possible harm can come from profound relaxation? For really, that is what hypnosis is!
In this relaxed state, a meaningful interpersonal relationship takes place between a subject and operator which results in readier acceptance of the suggestions which are oriented to the subjects needs. It is a condition of emotional readiness during which perceptual alternatives can be induced. Many people respond to hypnosis when they have failed to respond to other therapies, but-just as with other therapeutic methods-there are some cases where there is a resistance to getting well. Certainly hypnosis is no panacea, no cure-all. It has its definite values in psychosomatic situations, but cannot perform miracles. We have had marked success with such cases as migraine, asthma and arthritis, since these cases often involve emotional causes. A physician’s approval is mandatory, however, before we can undertake any such cases.
Institute of Mind Control and Development
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