What is Self-Hypnosis?
Have you ever seen old horror films and television programmes that portray hypnosis as a frightening instrument of mind control where unscrupulous villains enslave the will of helpless victims? Perhaps you have seen stage shows where a hypnotist seemsto be able to use their “hypnotic powers” to make people do and say things that they would never do or say under normal conditions. If so, it is not surprising that hypnosis may seem just a little bit wacky, not unlike other seemingly mystical and unexplainable phenomena. This is unfortunate because hypnosis is, in fact, a serious therapeutic tool that can help people overcome many psychological, emotional and even some physical problems.
Hypnosis is not:
- Mind control
- A peculiar altered state
- A mystical state
When in hypnosis a person is:
- In control
- In a natural and harmless state
- Able to come out of hypnosis when s/he wishes to
The state of hypnosis can best be described as a state of highly focused attention with heightened suggestibility. Hypnosis is sometimes but not always accompanied by relaxation. When a person such as a therapist induces hypnosis in another it is called hetero hypnosis, often referred to as hypnotherapy. When hypnosis is self-induced it is called autohypnosis and is often referred to as self-hypnosis.
The word hypnosis comes from the Greek word “hypos” which means sleep. It is an abbreviation of the term neuro-hypnotism which means sleep of the nervous system.
This term was used by the eminent neurosurgeon James Braid (1796-1860). However, hypnosis is not a sleep state. In fact, when in hypnosis a person is awake and usually aware of everything that is said and done. Realising this, Braid later tried to change the name to monoideaism. This means a marked preoccupation with one idea or subject. However, the term hypnosis stuck and is used right up to this day.