“What Is Hypnosis” Essay

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“What is Hypnosis” Describe the psychological and physical aspects of hypnosis and discuss the role of relaxation in hypnotherapy The word hypnosis comes from the Greek word for sleep, hypnos. In the past hypnosis has been associated with various strange phenomenons and a lot of people have been very sceptical and even a little frightened by it. This has certainly been heightened by stage events in the past and stories of people eating lemons, dancing like ballerinas and barking like dogs. In truth, hypnosis used in a therapeutic way is nothing like what most people have in mind and is in fact a very natural state of mind (the same state we experience during sleep (hypnos) which resembles an unconscious sleep. It is very similar to deep relaxation where the mind is focused and your thoughts, emotions and behaviour are clearly connected. There is nothing magical about hypnosis and it cannot cause anyone to do anything against their normal beliefs or judgement. What it does do is to teach subjects ways of dealing with aspects of their life in a clear and positive manner. The history of hypnosis goes way back to ancient times when the Shamans used it for healing and guidance. Shaman ensured he was very comfortable when healing as this allowed his subconscious mind to focus on visualisation and the suggestion of willing the sick person to become healed. Then in 1766 Franz Anton Mesmer (where the word mesmerise came from) developed the theory of animal magnetism. Mesmer believed that every human being had a cosmic fluid flowing through their body and ill health was the result of the disturbance of this flow. He believed that he could use his own body to block a patient’s flow of fluid helping them to heal. This belief came after he witnessed an exorcism by a priest and he believed that the metal crucifix the priest used for his exorcisms magnetised people.

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