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Over the years, hypnosis has overcome a lot of skepticism. This

research paper will explore the art, use, and questions about hypnosis

both in recreation and in therapy. In this paper, you will learn what

hypnosis is, different types of it, and different techniques for using it.

Hypnosis, as defined by Roy Hunter, is “a natural state of mind,

induced in everyday living much more than it is induced artificially”.

Another definition by Hunter is “guided meditation”. Many people do not

realize this, but you can be hypnotized by many things. Anytime you

become engrossed in a book or a movie, you may enter a sort of meditative

trance. There are different techniques for induction into a hypnotic

trance. One is eye fixation. This simply uses a fixed gaze, and was very

popular in the 1800’s and is most commonly used by Hollywood. Another is

progressive relaxation or imagery. You have someone imagine being in a

safe or peaceful place, and then awaken to full consciousness. Another

induction method is the mental confusion method which confuse the

conscious mind to the point where it just lets go and becomes relaxed.

Another one is shock to nervous system. This technique is commonly used

by stage hypnotists and it is employing a sudden exited command in a

surprising way. The participant will experience a “moment of

passivity”(Hunter)where they’ll either resist the trance or “let go” into


Hypnosis also has some useful situations. One would be in the area

of memory. When you are entranced in the hypnotic state, your sense of

memory is enhanced. Although this is true, the things which are

remembered can not be regarded a truth. Sometimes when a person is

entranced, they will ‘remember’ things that never actually happened, but

have great personal significance.

One area that has caused tremendous controversy is in the area of

hypnotizability. The question has been raised many times if there are

certain people who can be hypnotized and certain people who cannot be

hypnotized. There are indeed people who can and cannot. The only thing

it depends on is how well you can focus. People who have better focus

generally have better results with hypnotizability, and people who have a

harder time focusing generally tend to be less susceptible, as a general


Although hypnosis is totally safe as long as your hypnotist is

competent and trustworthy, some skeptical people still have fears and

concerns. This, once again, all relies on how ethical your hypnotist is.

Some people also think that people lose control of their actions when they

are hypnotized. In a way, you do “lose control”. From what I’ve learned,

you enter what I’d describe as an “uninhibited state” where things that

you would normally find horribly embarrassing would seem perfectly normal,

but you do not give up control over moral decisions. A person in a

hypnotic trance can come out anytime they want to if they are asked to do

something that goes against their moral values.

Another use of hypnosis is in therapy. This is called hypnotherapy.

Hypnotherapy, as defined by Hunter is “the use of hypnosis for

self-improvement and/or the release of problems. All hypnotherapy employs

hypnosis, but not all hypnosis is hypnotherapy”. Another definition is

“any form of psychotherapy practiced in conjunction with the hypnotic

modality, within that altered state of consciousness called a hypnotic

trance”(source unknown). Hypnotherapy has a wide variety of uses. Some

surgeons and anesthesiologists use it in controlling pain, relaxing the

patient, relieving postsurgical depression, and controlling nausea. It is

helpful in treating sexual disorders such as impotence and frigidity, and

the psychosomatic disorders. Treatment of problems using hypnosis has

been used throughout history. Anton Mesmer is considered the first modern

hypnotherapist. He is the one to come up with the term “animal


Some people believe that hypnotherapy can be used as a substitute for

cognitive counseling. This is not true. Hypnotherapy can be used for

some things, but some things just can’t be solved by solved by

hypnotherapy. For example, hypnotherapy is not a substitute for marriage

counciling. Hypnosis cannot solve all of life’s problems.

In conclusion, hypnosis is a natural state of mind and anyone with

enough focus can enter the hypnotic state. Also, hypnotherapy is good for

treating many illnesses.

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