Thursday, 1 July 2010

Hypnosis and States of Mind

From correspondence with an NCH member.

Hi Barry

What's your take on the state of mind of hypnosis? You give some snippets here and there, but it would be interesting to hear it directly.


Barry Thain July 1 at 5:11pm
I think I may have said somewhere that I have moved to view hypnosis as an act of communication rather than a state of mind. That act of communication can happen alongside several different states of mind.

Irrespective of what I do, some patients lose conscious awareness altogether, trip off and play with the pixies. Some report that their conscious mind observed what was going on but could not intervene. Some have fallen consciously asleep (so much so that their eyelids float open, each eye differently to the other) whilst continuing to communicate non-consciously, usually via IMRs. Some are wide awake and discussing existentialism but still react to suggestions (amnesia, hallucination, involuntary movement) automatically. And that's all before I intervene by doing anything to direct their state of mind.

And, of course, some stay wide awake and conscious the whole time because they aren't good hypnotees.

I don't think it's any easier to hypnotise relaxed people than anxious people. I don't think it is any harder to hypnotise analytical types than new-agey types. I don't think it makes any difference whether people 'believe' in hypnosis at all. In fact some of the best hypnotees I have worked with have been highly analytical, and sceptical to the point of cynical.

I think, therefore, that the 'state of mind' might be a bit of a red herring.

I think it's actually more to do with a state of brain. Some brains are great at being on the receiving end of hypnotism, and some aren't. I really do think there's an issue of neurological architecture involved and I guess that may also be true for the hypnotist.

Best wishes


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