Saturday, 11 October 2008

What is hypnosis?

From Mystic Cowboy

Most people think they know what hypnosis is, even most practitioners. Merriam Webster Dictionary says this:

“Hypnosis (from the Greek hypnos, “sleep”) is often thought to be “a trance-like state that resembles sleep but is induced by a person whose suggestions are readily accepted by the subject.”

Notice the part that says “is often thought to be.” The simple truth is that there is no one universally accepted definition for hypnosis...

...One particular use of hypnosis is especially controversial, memory retrieval. Hypnosis can be used to uncover repressed memories. It can also be used to implant false memories.

It takes a clinical practitioner of great skill who maintains great ongoing awareness to cleanly expose memories. Even then there is still a question of the validity of those memories. False Memory Syndrome is real.

Recollections “uncovered” by hypnosis can be very vivid. They can also be induced by suggestion. Unless recovered with the help of a skilled forensic hypnotist, such memories should be treated as therapeutic metaphors, not facts.

They may be useful metaphors within the context of therapy but the likelihood of those memories being historically accurate is small...

Complete article at: Mystic Cowboy

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