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Hypnosis And Psychology

Lemme get your mind right about hypnosis. First of all, it’s a real thing but it’sprobably not what you think it is. All kinds of hypnosisesque practices havebeen around for centuries, but the Western version of it including the kind that youprobably associate with people being made to cluck like chickens on stage croppedup around the 18th century, that’s when German physician Franz Mesmer started treatingall manner of medical problems by putting patients into a trancelike state, duringwhich he claimed to align their “internal magnetic forces,â€� which he called “animalmagnetism.â€�

And many of these mesmerized patients didfeel better, but not because of any magnetism or whatever. Mesmer was inadvertently usingthe healing power of suggestion. In addition to his magnetic quackery, otherphysicians didn’t appreciate Mesmer’s kitschy penchant for wearing capes and playingethereal music on a glass harmonica, and eventually he was discredited. So were his patients just gullible idiots,or was there something else going on? Well, we’ve previously defined consciousnessas our awareness of ourselves and our environment, and consciousness is at work pretty much wheneverwe’re awake, but also while we’re asleep

and dreaming. So hypnosis is a good example of an alteredstate of consciousness when you’re fully conscious in the al sense, but alsonot in what you’d consider a normal waking state. As a person who considers himself onlythe product of one of several states of consciousness, this one that I am currently in right now,it’s worth pointing out how TREMENDOUSLY WEIRD THIS IS! My brain has these other gearsthat it occasionally drops into during which, in a sense, I become not me any more.Altered states can also include things like hallucinations, and the effects of psychoactivedrugs. But these states aren’t as uncommon

as you might think. In fact, you’ve probablyexperienced an altered state yourself… even if you’ve never taken an illicit drug orbeen to a cheesy dinnertheater where the main act wore a glittering turban.INTRO So, personal opinions of Mesmer aside, hereare some facts and fallacies worth knowing about hypnosis. First off, let’s define hypnosis simplyas a calm, trancelike state during which you tend to have heightened concentrationand focus, and in which you’re typically more open to suggestion.The phenomenon has been observed in lots of

empirically rigorous studies, and it’s beenused effectively in treatments for stress and anxiety, weight loss, and chronic pain. BUT! It’s important to understand that eventhough you’re more open to suggestion when hypnotized, you do NOT lose control over yourbehavior. So, contrary to what you might see in TheManchurian Candidate or Zoolander, hypnosis can’t make you act totally against yourwill and, say, jump off a building, rob a donut shop, or commit a murder most foul. Nor is hypnosis a reliable way to enhancethe recall of deeply buried memories. We don’t

file away every single one of our experiences.We only permanently store some of them, and even they tend to mutate over time. We’llbe talking all about memory in an upcoming lesson.Finally, only about 20 percent of us are thought to be highly hypnotizable. Those are the folkswhom a hypnotist could get to smile at the smell of sour milk just by suggesting it wasrosewater. And even though we know hypnosis can increaseyour suggestibility, there’s still some disagreement about what exactly constitutesa hypnotic state, or how it’s achieved. Remember, just because we observe a phenomenondoesn’t mean that we have a clue about its

SolutionOriented Hypnosis

Bill O’Hanlon has authored, or coauthored36 books, including SolutionOriented Hypnosis, A Guide to TranceLand, Taproots, and An UncommonCasebook, all touching on hypnosis. He has published 60 articles or book chapters. Hisbooks have been translated into 16 languages, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish,German, Chinese, Bulgarian, Turkish, Korean, Indonesian, Italian, Croatian, Arabic, Polish,and Japanese. He has appeared on Oprah and a variety of other television and radio programs.Since 1977, Bill has given over 3,500 presentations around the world. He has been a topratedpresenter at many international conferences and was awarded the Outstanding Mental HealthEducator of the Year in 2001 by the New England

Educational Institute. Bill is a licensedmental health professional, certified professional counselor, and a licensed marriage and familytherapist. Bill is al member of AAMFT, American Association of Marriage and FamilyTherapy, and winner of the 2003 New Mexico AAMFT Distinguished Service Award, certifiedby the National Board of Certified al Hypnotherapists, and a fellow and a boardmember of the American Psychotherapy Association. We are so honored and pleased to have BillO’Hanlon with us today, and welcome for joining us. Thank you so much for having me, Kathleen.This is exciting. We’re doing this in a sort

of a high tech way, so that’s also exciting.It’s neat to do this Webbased stuff and let all the people all over the world who wannabe able to have it have access to it, so thank you for making that available. All right,so let me just get started. I’ll tell you a little about how I came to this and alsowhat’s different about this solutionoriented approach. Like most people, I was a littlewary of hypnosis but kind of fascinated with it when I first thought about it as a collegestudent actually, and I was a little worried that maybe I’d go get somebody to hypnotizeme. Maybe they’d manipulate me in some way or control me in some way. Maybe they’d hypnotizeme and tell me I kinda have to come back every

week and pay ’em their fee, and then they’dtell me to forget that suggestion so they could control me, so I was a little wary ofit. And then I came across Milton Erickson, who was in the area in which I went to university.I went to Arizona State University. He was in the Phoenix area. And I found that my understandingsof hypnosis were a little different from what it actually is. And the second thing is thatErickson had a nicer, gentler, kinder, more permissive, less controlling approach to hypnosis.And even though I wasn’t that interested in it when I first went out to visit him, I becamefascinated with the possibilities for hypnosis. And when I went to university, I was a psychologymajor initially, I was taught that the brain

and the neurology were fixed. After childhood,basically, your brain didn’t grow any more. You just lost brain function and brain cellsif you got any damage or just by growing older, you lost that. And over the last 25 yearsreally, there has been a revolution in understanding how the brain works, and there is this discoverycalled neuroplasticity and brain plasticity. But I think Erickson knew this a long timeago. He was trained as a psychiatrist and he had some neurological training, but atthe time, the received wisdom was the brain doesn’t change as an adult. Now we know thatit does change as an adult. You can grow new brain cells, you can make new connections,and the brain and the neurology change all

through life. So I think it made Ericksona very optimistic person. And one of the reasons he was optimistic is that he saw in hypnosishow plastic, how changeable people were. Their neurology was changeable. Their physiologywas changeable. Their emotions were changeable. Their thinking was changeable. Their personalitieswere changeable. Certainly their behavior and their interactions were changeable. Sohypnosis was the thing I think that made him such an optimistic therapist, and he influencedme, sort of warped me in that direction because I was learning traditional psychotherapy,which basically said people were damaged in their childhood or somewhere in their past,and that set them in a certain way so they

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