altered state of consciousness and heightened responsiveness
to suggestion; it may be induced in normal persons by a
variety of methods and has been used occasionally in medical
and psychiatric treatment. Most frequently hypnosis is brought
about through the actions of an operator, the hypnotist, who
engages the attention of a subject and assigns certain tasks
to him or her while uttering monotonous, repetitive verbal
commands; such tasks may include muscle relaxation, eye
fixation, and arm levitation. Hypnosis also may be
self-induced, by trained relaxation, concentration on one's
own breathing, or by a variety of monotonous practices and
rituals that are found in many mystical, philosophical, and
results in the gradual assumption by the subject of a state of
consciousness in which attention is withdrawn from the outside
world and is concentrated on mental, sensory, and
physiological experiences. When a hypnotist induces a trance,
a close relationship or rapport develops between operator and
subject. The responses of subjects in the trance state, and
the phenomena or behavior they manifest objectively, are the
product of their motivational set; that is, behavior reflects
what is being sought from the experience.
Most people can be easily hypnotized, but the depth of the
trance varies widely. A profound trance is characterized by a
forgetting of trance events and by an ability to respond
automatically to posthypnotic suggestions that are not too
anxiety-provoking. The depth of trance achievable is a
relatively fixed characteristic, dependent on the emotional
condition of the subject and on the skill of the hypnotist.
Only 20 percent of subjects are capable of entering
somnambulistic states through the usual methods of induction.
Medically, this percentage is not significant, since
therapeutic effects occur even in a light trance.
Hypnosis can produce a deeper contact with one's emotional
life, resulting in some lifting of repressions and exposure of
buried fears and conflicts. This effect potentially lends
itself to medical and educational use, but it also lends
itself to misinterpretation. Thus, the revival through
hypnosis of early, forgotten memories may be fused with
fantasies. Research into hypnotically induced memories in
recent years has in fact stressed their uncertain reliability.
For this reason a number of state court systems in the U.S.
have placed increasing constraints on the use of evidence
hypnotically obtained from witnesses, although most states
still permit its introduction in court.
Hypnosis has been used to treat a variety of physiological and
behavioral problems. It can alleviate back pain and pain
resulting from burns and cancer. It has been used by some
obstetricians as the sole analgesia for normal childbirth.
Hypnosis is sometimes also employed to treat physical problems
with a possible psychological component, such as Raynaud's
syndrome (a circulatory disease) and fecal incontinence in
children. Researchers have demonstrated that the benefit of
hypnosis is greater than the effect of a placebo and probably
results from changing the focus of attention. Few physicians,
however, include hypnosis as part of their practice.
Some behavioral difficulties, such as cigarette smoking,
overeating, and insomnia, are also amenable to resolution
through hypnosis. Nonetheless, most psychiatrists think that
fundamental psychiatric illness is better treated with the
patient in a normal state of consciousness.
rates vary according to
physiological / behavioral problems
and the desired results. Please call or email for exact
fees. Sliding scale rates available to those who are
unable to pay full fees.