The Power of Hypnotism
Let’s say you have some sort of problem or bad habit (as do most people I know) and you really want to overcome it. Maybe you are addicted to smoking, but no matter what you do, you just can’t resist the urge to go crawling back to your cigarettes and take another smoke. Finally, you see an ad in the paper for a hypnotist that says he (or she, of course) can help break addictions with a little hypnotic suggestion, and you decide that you might as well give it a try. You walk into small, quiet room and lay down on a comfortable sofa across from the hypnotist. He begins to calmly tell you to relax all parts of your body, and tells you to shut your eyes. “You are getting very sleepy.”
The next thing you know, you wake up from a deep sleep, and all of a sudden all your urges to smoke another cigarette vanish; your addiction is broken. Sounds ridiculous right? Maybe to some, but others completely believe this would be totally plausible. In fact, hypnosis is a very controversial subject in the field of psychology. The practice of hypnosis is actually about as old as the United States of America, as the earliest it is thought to have been used was around the time of the American Revolution (Rosen 2). However, many psychologists still argue about whether or not it is a true, practical process, and what it actually means to be hypnotized. Is it the bringing out of a hidden unconscious level of awareness, honing in all attention on a single stimulus, or simply a patient psychologically playing the role of an obedient hypnotized subject (“Exploring the mysteries of hypnosis”)? I believe that hypnosis really works, and is a viable technique that when used correctly, can be implemented to help people not just psychologically, but also physically.
So what actually is hypnosis?
Because there are so many theories of hypnosis, there are also many definitions. Some believe it to simply be a “heightened state of awareness” in which the mind is clear and free of any distractions (O’Briain). Others may define it as a “social interaction” between a hypnotist and a patient that relies on the suggestibility of the patient (Myers 290). Hypnosis has often been defined incorrectly as a form of sleep (Harvard Mental Health Letter). However, this is not the case, as it is believed to be a completely different state of consciousness or some sort of state of concentration, not some strange type of sleep, because there always seems to be some extent of awareness of surroundings, which supports the theory of split-consciousness or dissociation theory, in which it is thought that while under the effects of hypnosis, one’s personality is actually split into two, one which is obedient to the hypnotist and the other that is aware of everything going on during the hypnosis (Rosen 10). The half of the personality that shows awareness is known as the “hidden observer”, and in some experiments it has shown to have felt pain even when the...