What Hypnosis Is,
What Hypnosis Is Not, and
What It Does and Doesn't Do
Perhaps because of the association of hypnosis with medicine and healing, for a long time interest was focused on the hypnotist and his methods and techniques rather than on the nature of the hypnotic subject. When the focus shifted to studying the person being hypnotized it began to dawn upon a number of investigators that there was and is a wide range of individual differences in the way human beings react to the ministrations of the hypnotist. As we have seen, a number of investigators and theorists dismissed some of their recalcitrant or resisting subjects as simply unhypnotizable, while embracing those who quickly retreated into a behavioral state resembling somnambulism. These "good" or "ideal" subjects seemed to be in some sort of altered state of consciousness similar to entrancement—the same sort of state that is brought on by drugs, monotonous and repetitive stimulation, physical exhaustion, and so on.The characteristics of the hypnotic state and the drugged state were apparently so similar that many hypnotic theorists adopted the term "trance" to describe all hypnotic states, and once the term was in use, made the assumption that the hypnotic state and all other altered states were, if not identical, alike enough that differences were negligible.The Eriksonians, in particular, have been prone to use the term "trance" with abandon and to consider even the entire human behavioral repertoire a form of trance.This glib use of the word to deal with every aspect of human response and to gloss over critical and significant differences in both internal and external reactions is totally unacceptable; it has led to confusion and misunderstanding on
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: They Call It Hypnosis. Contributors: Robert A. Baker - Author. Publisher: Prometheus Books. Place of publication: Amherst, NY. Publication year: 1990. Page number: Not available.