Frequently Asked questions ( FAQ )


What about hypnosis for behavior disorders in children ?

Psychologists agree that the behavior pattern of the child begins within the first few weeks of life. There is too much to be said, psychologically, about behavior patterns, to do it justice in this short column. Unruly behavior is often used as an attention getting device, with the child attempting to gain sympathy and attention. Of course, parents often do make unreasonable demands which certain children are unable to fulfill and the child may retreat to earlier levels of behavior. All in all, to answer the question, hypnosis can often be used to great advantage to relieve tensions and stress positive suggestions. It can be employed to speed up psychotherapy, and has been successfully used in many cases of "juvenile delinquency."

We have stated previously that hypnosis is no "magic cure," enabling an omniscient hypnotist to wave a wand, so to speak, and effect a cure. A high percentage of this writer’s practice will state they have "tried everything…gone to many physicians…clinics…etc." Now they are desperate and-as a last resort-want to try hypnosis. Often, with the physician’s approval only, years of suffering and hopeless resignation have been alleviated through hypnosis. But, please do not expect miracles. Even Hippocrates stated that "it is impossible to make all the sick well."

Is there really such a thing as mass hypnotism ?

Of course! Mass hypnotism is a favorite device of lecturers, politicians, union leaders, dictators, evangelists, auctioneers, etc., to gain control of people. A person cannot be hypnotized against his wishes, as we have stated repeatedly, but good speakers can influence their audiences. Remember that the word "Hypnotize" is just a word, and doesn’t mean what it is cracked up to mean. A good trial lawyer, for example, utilizing the "power of suggestion," can sometimes win a case by planting certain ideas in the minds of the jury. "Mass hypnotism"…"suggestion"…yes, indeed!

The greatest users of "hypnotism," in influencing masses of people, are the advertisers. Advertising can be quite compelling to normally suggestible people and particularly to those highly suggestible folks. TV, radio, newspaper ads, all extolling the benefits of certain products and appealing to the emotions, can influence housewives into believing their products will cut work in half…etc.

Can hypnosis overcome hostility and anger ?

Anger and hostility are related emotions which are really normal emotions when they do not become too strong, or too prolonged. Some people do have strong guilt feelings when they experience such emotions and then stifle and suppress them. This combination of guilt and suppression can bring such unpleasant consequences as migraine headaches and other painful symptoms. Yes, hypnosis can be of value in such cases.

How about the use of hypnosis in working with narcotic addiction, since this problem is a subject of major concern ?

There is a great difference between drugs that are truly addicting and drugs that are only habit-forming. A "habit" is largely mental and emotional, such as a smoker’s desire for a cigarette, or the drinker’s desire for a cocktail. But "addiction" is a physical, as urgent and as implacable as a thirsty person’s need for water. It is a phenomenon of entirely different order.

In America, treatment of an addicted individual generally involves hospitalization and usually in a section devoted to addicts. There may be "cold turkey" complete withdrawal, or gradual withdrawal using decreasing doses of the addicting drugs, with medication to treat withdrawal symptoms. The drug Methadone is being used as an aid to withdrawal, being gradually substituted as the addicting drug is withdrawn. All in all, medical handling of the problem alone has not succeeded and psychiatry has added only a little benefit. Some promise for the future has been offered by some new approaches of a multi-discipline nature.

A program was established in Astoria, New York, by an Episcopalian priest, Father W. Pithcaithly, whose studies in psychology made him wonder about the possible value of hypnosis in such work. The program, after undergoing considerable revision, has gained considerable attention for its success, with a number of hypnotechnicians of the AAEH participating.

The addict is usually a person of a passive, dependent personality, one who is emotionally immature, demands immediate gratification and has considerable inner tension. The drugs relieve his anxieties and enable him to bring to life the strong fantasies he possesses. The hypnotic therapy as Astoria is designed partly for "ego support." Therapy is directed toward restoration of self-confidence and elimination of spondency. Of course, therapy should include medical treatment for withdrawal symptoms and there are other factors, such as assistance in finding employment and in providing an environment free from the negative factors which encourage addiction.

Under hypnosis, conditioning can be accomplished for relaxation and reducing tensions. Mainly, the addict can be conditioned to build confidence in his ability to "kick" and go through the withdrawal period with a minimum of difficulty, feeling relaxed, safe and at ease. Further, there can be conditioning for those who have withdrawn and wish to remain "clean".

Dr. Ernest Hilgard, a Stanford University psychologist recognized as a national authority on hypnosis, stated that self-hypnosis can be a useful tool for breaking the habit of hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD. This theory is-and there have been experiments successfully conducted with college students-that the addict can produce the same mental "trips" and control the process, without chemical side effects, by using self-hypnosis.

In the Miami area, Dr. Ben Shepperd has been utilizing hypnosis at his drug clinic, with marked success.

Why is it that I can play golf quite well, in practice, but my game falls apart in a match? Can hypnosis help ?

The reason is that during practice there is no pressure and you play automatically. Your subconscious mind does the work, working out angles of flight, tells the muscles what to do, the amount of force, etc. In a match, tension creeps in and the desire to win becomes paramount. Fear of failure takes over. This activates the "Law of Reversed Effect," which means the more you try, the more difficult a task becomes. Yes, hypnosis can definitely help and is often utilized by athletes.

Can hypnosis help improve my tennis game ?

Yes! Hypnotic conditioning can overcome faults in your game and eliminate nervousness and tension. The very knack of relaxation is helpful! Hypnosis can instill needed confidence which is paramount to any sport.

How effective is hypnosis in improving athletic ability ? Is it harmful to use hypnosis in sports ?

Hypnosis and suggestion, in one form or another, have been used to motivate athletes for many years. There isn’t a shred of evidence to indicate they ever did harm. We have had golfers, bowlers, etc., undergo hypnotic conditioning with excellent results. There is no danger of an athlete going beyond his physiologic ability and it seems that improved performances are actually a result of removing limiting inhibitions.

Can hypnosis improve skills ?

Definitely yes. Hypnotic conditioning can, for example, improve skills necessary to a person’s work; i.e., a salesman can be conditioned to improve his self-confidence, to absorb his sales talk, and to be enthusiastic. Most trades and professions can benefit by undergoing hypnotic suggestion.

Perhaps you are referring to skills in sports and this is another wonderful opportunity to employ hypnotic techniques. We have worked with bowlers, golfers, etc., to excellent advantage. In an interesting sidelight, it has been said that the great Knute Rockne "hypnotized" his team between halves, especially when they were losing! His personal magnetism and his exhortations had such a powerful effect that the team went out and literally swarmed over the opposition.

Can you use hypnosis to locate missing articles ?

The subconscious mind records everything we have seen, heard or read. We can compare it to a tape recorder which stores all material recorded and retains it until a switch is turned on and the tape "plays back." Hypnosis can be the "switch," assuming that there really is something to remember. Obviously, you annot remember something you never knew. Which brings us to a direct answer to this question. If a person actually misplaced the article, rather than lost it unknowingly, yes-hypnosis can help. We can take him back to the period in question and as he "relives" his actions, he can usually then "see" what he did with the object.

While on the subject of "memory," it might be a good time to say that hypnosis cannot give someone a so-called "photographic memory," unless he has this innate ability. Beyond doubt, however, hypnosis can enhance one’s memory to a great extent.

One woman called our office recently, and asked if we could help her remember her time of birth and the day of the week. She wanted to obtain an astrological reading. Obviously, if she never knew this information in the first place, there was nothing to recall. We suggested she check the Hall of Records, if her own mother didn’t remember.

Hypnosis can be utilized to good advantage in recalling experiences which have been surpressed because they are unpleasant. The phenomenon of suppression is actually a self-protective process, whereby emotional or traumatic experiences are blocked off from the rest of the mind and, therefore, consciously "forgotten." Although this blocking off procedure can be beneficial, it is sometimes necessary for an analyst to uncover the suppressed material. This would be in cases where such buried experiences are causing phobias or other undesirable symptoms.

When it is advisable to uncover- "dig out" – hypnosis can be of great value and many physicians and psychologists estimate a time savings of great extent-indeed, estimates of up to 10 times fast as fast! There are times when suppression of events is desired and, here again, hypnosis can be a helpful modality. When something happens of a disastrous nature, many people tend to go over it in their minds, hundreds of times, living in a state of anguish or depression and the event then becomes an obsession. Self-accusations, perhaps, thinking how "it might have happen differently," etc…blaming oneself unnecessarily…all causes torment. Hypnosis can be effective in diminishing these feelings and then to re-orient the thinking.

Cases such as this must be supervised-or approved-by properly qualified professionals before being undertaken by the ethical hypnotist.

What about comparing "truth serum" to hypnosis ?

Let’s get this straight, readers…people can lie under hypnosis! And there is no guarantee that you will get the truth by using a so called truth serum, either. This serum is merely a chemical that reduces inhibitions in a semi-comatose state, so that the subject babbles out a lot of information. However, if there is some deep, subconscious reason not to divulge it, or if it is information which is not consciously known, the subject will not reveal the information.

Hypnosis, on the other hand, can bring forth information which has been consciously forgotten, as long as the subject has no objection to revealing it. There are techniques, incidentally, utilizing hypnosis, enabling an interrogator to know if the subject is lying.

Can you briefly explain the use of hypnosis in investigative work ? I understand it is often used by police agencies ?

It is true that hypnosis is being employed more and more in investigative procedures. Probably the most striking aspect, in such work, is the wealth of detail that can be elicited from subjects under hypnosis. This phenomenon is termed "hypermnesia." You see, the subconscious mind actually stores everything you have ever heard, seen, etc., and if, for example, a person has seen a license number of a car involved in a hit-run accident, but just cannot remember it, hypnosis very likely can bring it forth.

Another phase of police work often encountered is an amnesia case. If interrogation, routine checks, etc., are not productive, the victim-who may have been found wandering around-may end up in a hospital. Ordinarily, friends or relatives will make the identification, or there may be a spontaneous recovery, but this may take weeks. Hypnosis can present a quick solution, unless the case involves brain injury. Just as amnesia can be produced in hypnosis, it can be dissipated almost as easily.

A person under hypnosis can lie, if it serves his purpose, but there are reliable methods of determining this. Hypnotic lie-detection techniques can greatly facilitate preparation of a case.

Please explain the term " time distortion" ?

Time distortion is probably one of the most interesting of all hypnotic phenomena and can be clinically valuable. In a good subject, through hypnotic suggestion, one minute can be equated to 10 minutes’ time, or more. The human brain has a remarkable capacity to condense-or expand-time. If you are waiting for a cab, for instance, on a cold, rainy day, time will drag and two minutes might seem like 20. On the other hand, when we are pleasantly engaged, time passes quickly and 20 minutes might seem like only two. A drowning person, it is maintained, can relive entire segments of his life in a few seconds.

Is there any similarity between yoga and hypnosis ?

Yes, the fundamental principles of Yoga are, in some respects, similar to those of hypnosis. Yoga, which probably originated about 500 B.C., is considered, in some quarters, to be a "science," to achieve mastery of the mind. There are many systems to Yoga, but the central theme is common to all of them. (The word "Yoga," incidentally, is a Sanskrit word meaning "union’.) For instance, there is a cognitive approach for the person seeking only intellectual fulfillment, a meditative approach, a dynamic one, etc. Certain steps are similar to hypnosis: fixation, suggestion and sensation..



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