Hypnotherapy has often been associated with being strange and mysterious, curing people by unknown means. In order to explain what hypnosis is, this essay will be considering both the psychological and the physiological aspects of hypnosis.
It will start with a brief history of hypnosis before explaining a person’s different states of mind and how these states of mind can be measured. It will then go on to discuss the importance of relaxation as a technique in order to establish the necessary state of mind of a client for hypnosis. The client being in this state of mind can then be used to make the beneficial changes that an individual may wish to make in their thought ...view middle of the document...
As he observed patients in a hypnotic state, he began to recognize the existence of the unconscious. Although he wasn’t the first to make this observation he was the first to recognize the unconscious as a major source of psychopathology.
According to Freud, the mind can be divided into three different levels:
1. The conscious mind includes everything that we are aware of. This is the aspect of our mental processing that we can think and talk about rationally. A part of this includes our memory, which is not always part of consciousness but can be retrieved easily at any time and brought into our awareness. Freud called this the preconscious.
2. The preconscious mind is the part of the mind that represents ordinary memory. While we are not consciously aware of this information at any given time, we can retrieve it and pull it into consciousness when needed.
3. The unconscious mind is a reservoir of feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories that outside of our conscious awareness. Most of the contents of the unconscious are unacceptable or unpleasant, such as feelings of pain, anxiety, or conflict. According to Freud, the unconscious continues to influence our behavior and experience, even though we are unaware of these underlying influences.
Freud likened these three levels of mind to an iceberg. The top of the iceberg that you can see above the water represents the conscious mind. The part of the iceberg that is submerged below the water but is still visible is the preconscious. The bulk of the iceberg lies unseen beneath the waterline and represents the unconscious. (psychology.about.com)
Freud’s theory of the conscious mind, the preconscious mind and the unconscious mind can be illustrated in the table below. The conscious mind is the level of being alert, the preconscious mind being the three levels of trance and the unconscious mind being the level of asleep. The table gives an explanation of consciousness, the mental and physical characteristics and an example of an activity
Level of consciousness Mental and physical characteristics Example of Activity
Alert 1. Normal intellectual functioning.
2. Normal reflexive and motor response. You are playing tennis.
Light Trance 1. Relaxation of body.
2. Slowed breathing and pulse.
3. Withdrawal into self.
4. Direction of attention to imagined activity, dialogue, or event which may be possible or impossible. You are idly thinking about playing a game of tennis.
Moderate Trance 1. Loss of awareness of surroundings.
2. Closed eyes.
3. Increased awareness of internal functions, such as heartbeat or breathing.
4. Increases receptivity of senses.
5. Intensified imagery.
6. Literal interpretation of speech. (If asked “would you lift your arm?” you would answer “yes”. You are imagining yourself on a tennis court playing a game.
Deep Trance 1. Further reduction of activity and energy output.
2. Limpness or stiffness of limbs.
3. Narrowing of...