Hypnosis is a device to facilitate the psychotherapeutic process rather than to substitute for it. Hypnosis as a relaxing agency has been used in physical and psychological disturbances that are characterized by stress and tension. Since stress may have a damaging effect on all bodily functions, its amelioration can be important for healing. (Wolberg, LR, 1957)
What to expect?
Hypnosis is an intense emotional experience that generally affect both patient and therapist. In the trance a dynamic configuration of many kinds of phenomena are constantly interacting in response to functional psychophysiological differences within the individual and the specific significance of the hypnotic interpersonal relationship. As attention is shifted from the external world toward the inner self of the patient, there is an expansion of self-awareness and a lifting of repressions, with exposure of certain repudiated aspects of the psyche.
How is it used?
Hypnosis is quite easy to induce. The object is to bring the patient to a hyper suggestible state.
Toward this end the operator executes a number of maneuvers, the most common one being a state of muscular relaxation and the fixation of attention. Important rules to follow are these:
1. The patient’s the attention is engaged by assigning a task like muscle relaxation, hand clasp, hand levitation.
2. The induction is approached soon after by the therapist.
3. Suggestions are repeated so that the patient’s find it easier to focus attention.
4. The imagination of the patient is soon employed by building word pictures so that the patient practically lives and feels what is suggested.
5. Use of positive rather than negative suggestions are employed.
6. The patient is suggested to keep the eye shut even upon insisting he or she is not hypnotized.
7. Almost universally, patients, after the first induction, even those who have been deeply hypnotized, will insist they were not in a trance. The patient is given the a typewritten copy of material describing some phenomena of hypnosis.
8. Some operators find it important to tell the patient that all that will be achieved in the first session is not hypnosis but a state of relaxation that will help the patient quiet the symptom.
To a population the word “hypnosis” has many unfortunate connotations. It often comes with expectations of an immediate miracle cure. When the patient fails to go into the depth of trance imagined he or she should achieve with the “hypnotic” indication, one may become upset, feel hopeless, and lose confidence in the therapist.
When is it used?
Studies have shown that well trained professionals within the context of a structured therapeutic program, with awareness of limits of its application, hypnosis can make a contribution as a supportive hand to any of the manifold branches of psychotherapy, whether these be supportive, reeducative, or psychoanalytic. With caution and care hypnosis may be adopted as a suggestive instrument in controlling certain habits, such as overeating, excessive smoking, and insomnia.
Role of therapist:
A sophisticated psychotherapist who has learned how to utilize hypnosis has available a most important adjunctive tool which can be resorted to only with proper mastery. Only by employing hypnosis can a therapist determine whether one is personally capable of using it as a therapeutic adjunct. While one might be good psychotherapy with the usual psychotherapeutic techniques, attempts at hypnosis may alter one’s manner toward the patient in ways that will prove anti-therapeutic. Thus, a therapist may act aggressively toward patients perceived to be in a helpless state. If employed, utmost care on the part of therapist must be ensured.