WHAT IS HYPNOSIS? Describe the psychological and physical aspects of hypnosis and discuss the role of relaxation in hypnotherapy.
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There are many examples from ancient history thought to be early forms of what we would refer to now as hypnosis from many different cultures, including ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, India and Australia.
In the 1700’s a man called Franz Mesmer (1734 - 1815) had a theory that the human body could be affected by the planets and a ‘cosmic fluid’. He started to work with magnets to create a magnetic field on the body to affect this invisible fluid within the body to cause healing when his subjects were ...view middle of the document...
When they did eventually meet he thought Liebeault a genius and decided to work with him. Bernheim later became responsible for the development of the “screeds” we use today.
Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) also became interested in hypnosis early on in his career and went to Leibeault and Bernheim’s clinic to learn more about it and began to realise that there was not only a conscious mind but also a subconscious mind. The subconscious part is where your skills, habits, beliefs, values, memories and emotions are stored and processed. Freud didn’t continue with hypnosis as he didn’t feel it could unlock repressed memories and he moved forward with psychoanalysis instead.
There are a huge range of definitions and statements used by varying medical bodies, individuals, and societies to describe ‘Hypnosis’ or the ‘Hypnotic State’. The British Society of Clinical Hypnosis defines it simply and effectively as ‘a different state of consciousness which you can naturally enter so that, for therapeutic purposes, beneficial corrections may be given directly to your unconscious mind’.
Hypnosis can be defined as a complex process as it involves the coming together of a number of psychological processes. The theoretical basis of hypnosis lies within the human brain. The brain is composed of two halves the right and left. The right side of the brain controls the subconscious mind full of feelings, dreams and imagination, and the left side of the brain, the conscious mind of logic, reason and order. Whilst we are awake and fully alert our left side is processing and censoring all information before allowing our right side to accept it.
The subconscious mind stores all of our memories, reactions, including everything that has ever happened to us, even if we do not have any conscious recollection of it. It also controls our bodily functions such as breathing, heart rate, digestion and body temperature.
Through medical science, and the work of Hans Berger circa 1929 we are able to effectively measure the electrical activity of the brain via electroencephalography (EEG). There are 4 main types of brain waves. Beta waves are the fastest (15 to 40 cycles per second) and are indicative of a person who is fully engaged and focused on their daily tasks. Alpha waves are slower (9 to 14 cycles per second) and are present in a subject who is becoming more relaxed, experiencing a general feeling of well being. At this point you experience Theta waves (4 to 8 cycles per second). Here the subconscious can be accessed allowing suggestion to be taken in; helping to change behaviours and habits, breakdown phobias, promote healing and deal with suppressed memories. The last are called Delta waves (1 to 4 cycles per second) which are produced in our subconscious mind when we are in our deepest state of rest and there are no other waves active. The waves that are commonly associated in hypnotised clients are those of Alpha and Theta.
Hypnosis therefore is a state of mind which...