They Call It Hypnosis

They Call It Hypnosis

They Call It Hypnosis

They Call It Hypnosis


Offers a picture of what hypnosis is and is not, what it can and cannot accomplish, and how it can be misused and abused. This book describes its potential for preventing or arresting pain and outlines directions for the role of suggestion in the clinic and the laboratory. It illuminates this aspect of creative human behaviour.


Many people believe that a hypnotic trance is an invariant state with definite signs, and that an expert can detect whether or not a subject is truly hypnotized. They also believe that it is a dichotomous situation—that a subject is either hypnotized or not.Finally, they believe that it is this special "altered state of consciousness" that produces all of the phenomena commonly associated with hypnosis. All of these ideas are inaccurate.

—Roy Udolf, Forensic Hypnosis, 1984

Another book on hypnosis? What else can possibly be said about it that hasn't already been said over and over a thousand times? In many ways the topic is like a toddler's torn and tattered security blanket. It has been pulled and ripped asunder so many times by so many authorities, experts, and know-it-alls that nothing is left except a few ragged strings. To say that the subject is controversial is an understatement. It is often said that every user and practitioner of the hypnotic art "knows what it does but can't tell you what it is," that hypnosis is "a source of great embarrassment to those who do practice it and a source of great confusion to the public, since there is a lack of agreement as to exactly what hypnosis is," that it is "an altered or changed state of awareness, concentration, or perception," that it is "nothing but relaxation," etc., etc., ad nauseam.

Some authorities say there is no such thing as hypnosis, that the entire process is a delusion; others say that everything—everything we are aware of and perceive—is hypnosis. Then the same authorities say that both points of view are correct.

Any intelligent nonbiased observer has the right to ask the very simple and straightforward question: Is there a real, observable, reproducible state of hypnosis, an actual phenomenon we can pin down and agree on? They deserve to receive a simple, straightforward answer: yes or no.To provide this answer is not, however, as easy as it would appear. The answer will . . .

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