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This is really difficult to answer arbitrarily. Although there are various "tests" for depth, a really deep state is not necessary to obtain benefits of hypnosis, in most cases. In fact, just a light state will be sufficient, except in such cases as conditioning for dental work, or surgery, where analgesia or anesthesia is needed.
The light state are characterized by a pleasant feeling of complete relaxation which becomes more marked as deeper stages are reached.
The subject is always completely aware of his surroundings, sounds, etc., but nothing distracts or disturbs him, since he is only interested in the practitioner’s words and suggestions. This assumes, of course, that the suggestions are not repugnant to the subject, otherwise he will reject them.
In the deeper stages, negative and positive hallucinations can be produced and amnesia can well take place. In other words, for these deep subjects, events occurring during hypnosis will not be remembered upon "awakening." In the deepest stage, sometimes referred to as "somnambulism," the client can engage in all types of activities with their eyes open, yet be in a deep stage of hypnosis! This is similar to a sleepwalker who achieves such a state without benefit of formal hypnotic procedure. In this deep state, the subject just literally accepts the suggestions with conviction. In this stage the brain can produce visual, auditory and other sensory hallucinations.
Getting back to the comment above, of hypnotic subjects engaging in all sorts of activities with their eyes open, there have been some interesting experiments conducted in recent years. N one instance, a bridge player was induced to play a few hands in the hypnotic state, without his fellow players realizing it. (I have no report on whether his game improved!) In another case, a subject delivered a lecture to a group of scientists, all familiar with hypnosis, and not one realized their speaker was hypnotized!
Most of us are familiar with the term "age regression." A phenomenon in hypnosis whereby a subject is taken back in time to recall long-forgotten events. Another phenomenon, less known, is "time projection," or "age progression." This refers to induced disorientation of a hypnotized subject who hallucinates living in the future. This can be used to benefit in many cases involving fears of facing future situations. The subject, in the hypnotic state, is made to imagine himself actually living through the problem period he is to face, and with hypnotic suggestions acquires the needed confidence.
Another extremely interesting use of hypnosis rapidly gaining favor as experiments prove worthwhile, is with the military. For instance, a good subject can be hypnotized to deliver secret information, but the message will be forgotten until a signal cues its release. Thus, in the event of capture, he just naturally wouldn’t even remember he had been given the message. The "cue signal" would be induced through post-hypnotic suggestion, and could be a word, a gesture, etc.
Speaking of military use of hypnosis, during World War II hypnosis really came into its own in the treatment of traumatic neuroses. Also, to decrease suffering when there was a shortage of medical supplies and in cases of battle fatigue.
This refers to a state of "light" hypnosis and leads to some degree of suggestibility. The "hypnoidal" state is characterized by some disassociation, some detachment, which reduces critical thinking and enhances suggestibility. This often occurs without our realization, such as in radio and TV commercials, etc., or by a good speaker holding or attention.
Yes, there are different levels ranging from a light state to the deep, somnambule state. About one out of 20 persons is capable of the deepest state, without conditioning. Others can be conditioned to deeper levels, while some persons will never go beyond a certain depth. Understand, however, that a deep state is not required for most problems.
In about 90% of our cases, the suggestions are made during a light to medium depth. Usually, the degree of depth will increase automatically. Of course, with certain cases, such as conditioning a subject to undergo surgery of some sort, we would want to achieve a deep state as quickly as possible.
Hypnosis, rather than a power being exerted over a subject, is rather the ability of the subject himself. In fact, everyone has actually been hypnotized, whether you realize it or not. For instance, if you have ever been so engrossed in a book – or daydream – that you were unaware of things going on around you, this is really a hypnotic state. If you are a trusting person, imaginative and optimistic, you are probably capable of achieving good depth.
Another way to tell: If, you have sat through a good show, you take several minutes to adjust to reality, chances are you are quite hypnotizable.
Yes; in fact daydreaming is a form of hypnosis, although a light stage. We often find ourselves fantasizing, don’t we, especially after reading an exciting book or seeing a movie? Actually, even though some folks claim that they have never been hypnotized, we have all been hypnotized many, many times, by such things as "daydreaming"!
When we are asleep, we are largely unconscious, with the conscious mind inactive. Movements during sleep are caused by the subconscious mind and dreams are stirred up to the subconscious mind’s activity. However-and this is important-during sleep the subconscious, as well as the conscious mind, is inaccessible from the outside.
There is no "input" into the subconscious mind during sleep, and it just generates its own activity.
This question is a controversial one. What follows is our opinion: the fantastic results of sleep learning, and despite the fact that many companies make lots of money marketing "sleep-learning" gadgetry, it is our firm opinion that learning cannot take place in the sleep state, from outside stimuli. Supporting this opinion, studies have been made in recent years proving beyond doubt that it is impossible to learn during "sleep." The hope that man can sleep and dream his way to mastery of anything is destined to remain the stuff that dreams are made of.
When we are truly asleep, we are unconscious … and when we are unconscious we cannot hear anything! If we do hear something, we are not truly "asleep," but in a sort of "twilight state," a state which we are sufficiently awake to hear suggestions. During the so-called period of sleep, we go through alternating periods of light and deep sleep. During the light state, we can-even briefly-sufficiently be aroused into the "twilight state," where learning can take place. If you would like to use the word "hypnosis," that is what it is. So, obviously, there is no need to spend hundreds of dollars on gadgets when one can learn self-hypnosis for learning, or to enhance such abilities.
Hypnosis is simply a means of communication-directly-with the subconscious mind. As we have said before, it is not sleep, not unconsciousness and not oblivion. It is not the practice of medicine and cannot "cure" anything of a physical, or organic, nature. It has proven to be a valuable ancillary in many areas of need: relieving pain, cutting down on eating, giving up smoking, or other unwanted habits, overcoming phobias such as fear of flying, etc., and the list can go on and on; improving study habits, aiding memory, sex problems, etc. Again as we have emphasized many times, a physician’s approval is required for most situations, before an ethical hypnotist will accept a case.
Now then, the second part of the question: Yes, anyone can learn to hypnotize others. But … knowing what to do once hypnosis is induced is another point. To work with what really amounts to "therapy," requires education and knowledge of psychology as well as intensive study in hypnotic techniques – years of study, in fact.
Well, to be frank, this is a difficult question to answer, since my practice seems to go in cycles. For a while, we will be dealing with a rash of "migraine headache" cases; sex problems; tensions; etc. During the school term, we may have a number of study problems. Of course, the smoking habit and weight problems are always rampant. Occasionally, we will work with a police department, questioning a witness under hypnosis to sharpen recall.
We have a conscious and a subconscious mind and in the hypnotic state we present ideas to the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind accepts ideas presented to it and will act upon them quite readily. For example, if a person has a fear of riding in an elevator, an hour can be spent explaining-in the waking state — why this is foolish. The subject will still be afraid, even though the reasoning makes sense. In the hypnotic state, however, the suggestions will be accepted and by repeated sessions, with post-hypnotic suggestions, these will be permanent.
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