The hypnosis . One of those enormous chimeras that invades theaters, shows and television programs. One of those things that still questions the concept that a large part of the population has about “rationality”.
How is it possible! It’s our mind’s immediate response to the phenomenon. Followed, of course, in most cases by the typical fear response pattern; we drift away, begin to doubt ourselves, and the thought of: “don’t come near me” begins to take over our mind.
It’s logical. We have been bombarded for so many years with the magical and mysterious phenomenon of hypnosis, that already one almost thinks that one can fly when hypnotized, and not in a figurative way .Well, I’m sorry, but no.
What is hypnosis really?
Let’s get serious. Hypnosis is so much more than what you can see. As such, hypnosis arises as a therapeutic tool in its beginnings . There is evidence that already in prehistoric times, there was the figure of the shaman , who used suggestive techniques for healing.
Then he moved on to sorcerers and mediums , and the obscurantism grew. However, the scientific rigour or at least the consideration of hypnosis as something more than witchcraft started in the school of the psychiatric hospital of Nancy-Salpetriere, with professor Charcot and the treatment of collective hysteria by means of hypnosis.
Today, hypnosis could be defined as a method. A procedure composed of various techniques that employ the attention or imagination of the individual to produce alterations or changes in his emotions , thoughts, behaviours or perceptions.
In other words, it is no more than u an extremely efficient way of using a person’s mental resources to achieve results, with the limitations that are proper to human beings (no one is going to lose his personality, nor become a superman thanks to hypnosis).
The trance state
This way of using attention necessarily goes through a state called trance state . It is a state very similar to the artists’ Flow State. The mind experiences a very high level of abstraction and concentration, dedicating generally scattered resources to very few objectives.
For a time it was thought that not all of us were susceptible to experiencing this state, therefore we were not very “hypnotizable”. Today we know that this is not the case . The extent to which a person reaches this state is as much in the will of the hypnotized as it is in the ability of the hypnotist.
On a subjective level, this state is very personal. The stories of people who have gone through this method are very scattered. The most common ones coincide in experiencing a sensation similar to that of a dream; like a state of full consciousness , but absolutely “in another world”.
The way: hypnotize with a snap of the fingers?
And here comes the really morbid part; the way that technique is carried out. You just snap your fingers? Do I have to pat you on the shoulder and then dance “La Macarena”? Actually, the way it is performed is the least interesting thing about the technique itself, even though it is the most striking. Not to mention the millions that continue to be earned thanks to them.
The question is obvious; how can you put someone to sleep just by snapping your fingers?
I pose another question: Would you be able to fall asleep without anyone snapping their fingers?
It is not a question of cause-effect . There is no click that emits any kind of wave that automatically puts us to sleep. There is, however, the conviction that we will fall asleep when we hear a snap. Just as we will fall asleep when we are tired. And our body acts in accordance with these beliefs . The mind can be fun, can’t it?
What really matters about hypnosis
Beyond all the sensationalist implications of hypnosis, what counts in the end is that as a tool, as a method, it is effective for our goal as hypnotists. If our objective is therapeutic, we may opt for methods that give the person more control.If it is the show, we may look for what is striking.
However, above that effectiveness is respect . This is an important point; in hypnosis one always works with people, and therefore a strong sense of respect for the individuality and honour of the hypnotised person is necessary. Let’s be aware of the role that the hypnotized person assumes when he accepts to be one. He does not perceive any control, on the contrary in fact; he perceives himself as “sold”. Let’s be respectful to him or her.
In short, what really matters is that, as so many famous people say (among them, let me quote Spiderman’s Uncle Ben ), “great power comes with great responsibility”. It is not about power itself, that is, what we can do, but about what to do with power . How to use it and what for. Above all, if that power is really within everyone’s reach.
“Hypnosis: Reality or Fraud?”
“10 myths about hypnosis, dismantled and explained”