Hypnosis (derived from ancient Greek ὕπνος hýpnos , German 'sleep' ) is (summarizing the physiological and psychological theory of hypnosis) a "state of artificially generated partial sleep in connection with an altered state of consciousness."
Hypnosis refers to:
- the procedure for achieving a hypnotic trance (this form of trance is characterized by a deeply relaxed waking state , the specialty of which is extremely limited attention focused on little content .) One also speaks of “hypnotic induction” or “hypnosis in the narrower sense”.
- the state of hypnotic trance.
The medical hypnosis is also called Hypnosedierung or Hypnosedation referred.
In hypnosis , it was originally assumed that it was a sleep-like state. As a hypnotist is used to refer the mesmerizing person as Hypnotisand (also: Family , in hypnotherapy patient or client ) the hypnotized person. One person can also take on both roles, this being referred to as auto- or self-hypnosis ; in all other cases it is called debt or hetero-hypnosis. A hypnotic trance is induced by means of hypnosis ( induction ), the test person is in hypnosis or in a hypnotic trance . At the end of the trance, the trance is dissolved or exduced ( exduction ), and the hypnotist wakes up. If the test person is brought out of the trance (for the purpose of deepening the trance, for example) and put back into trance again shortly afterwards, this is called fractionation. In the context of hypnosis, the subject may be given verbal instructions, so-called suggestions , which are intended to have a direct effect on the unconscious.
Suggestions that are supposed to be effective even after the hypnosis has been resolved are referred to as post-hypnotic suggestions . Measurable changes in the processing of information in the brain occur under post-hypnotic suggestion. In neuropsychological studies with imaging methods it could be shown that the activity of certain brain areas is selectively reduced.
The terms “hypnosis” and “ trance ” are often used synonymously. The Austrian trance researcher Giselher Guttmann , however, pleads for a clear differentiation, since in contrast to other trance states under hypnosis there is no significantly changed electrical activity in the cerebral cortex than in the normal waking state.
Modern science perceived hypnosis, which has been known since ancient times, around 1770 as a phenomenon detached from a magical-religious background. Franz Anton Mesmer experimented with magnets that he placed on patients. He called the effect magnetism animalis , but attributed the forces to the magnets. Because of Mesmer's popularity, the process of hypnotizing has long been called "mesmerizing"; an expression that still exists in contemporary English ( to mesmerize 'hypnotize'). Alfred Russel Wallace thought he could prove Gall's skull map with the help of mesmerization . Friedrich Engels criticized mesmerism (in its later phase often synonymous with “ somnambulism ”) and Wallace theories as false beliefs and self-deception in a text that was unpublished during his lifetime . According to his own account, Engels put a twelve-year-old boy without magnets into a hypnotic state by "gently staring at or brushing them" in order to then let the boy experience the effect of Gallic skull areas he had discovered himself. He comes to the conclusion that effects only emerged when the “patient was given to understand what was expected of him.” The hypnotist's belief in the skull map unconsciously caused the desired effects to occur in the hypnotized, as did the magnet Effective forces were attributed which arose from other causes.
In the UK, a relatively large number of people were critical of the process of "mesmerizing". Even so, the English eye surgeon James Braid attended a performance by the magnetizer LaFontaine, the grandson of the fabulous poet, and found that the eyelid fluttering could not be caused willfully. He then experimented with test subjects, whom he asked to fix shiny objects in order to lead them into a trance state. In the course of time he rejected the ideas of magnetic animalism and put forward the theory of brain physiological changes that should take place during a trance. Braid performed numerous eye operations under hypnosis and thus opened the debate about further application and treatment options.
In the 19th century, France led the way in research into hypnosis with the schools in Nancy ( Ambroise-Auguste Liébeault , Hippolyte Bernheim ) and Paris ( Jean-Martin Charcot ). Sigmund Freud became aware of Mesmer's experiments with Jean-Martin Charcot in Paris in 1885 and tried this method himself to treat patients. This became the starting point for his studies on hysteria . He later dropped this method and devoted himself to his technique of free association .
Hypnosis was significantly further developed in the German-speaking area in the 20th century, first by Oskar Vogt (1870–1959), then by his student Johannes Heinrich Schultz (1884–1970), who developed autogenic training from it , and later by Klaus Thomas .
In the American-speaking region, hypnosis was significantly further developed by Milton H. Erickson (indirect hypnosis), Kroger and Dave Elman (authoritarian hypnosis). In England, John Hartland is considered one of the most famous hypnotists. His book Dictionary of Medical and Dental Hypnosis is an official training textbook for British hypnotherapists. Erickson founded a new form of hypnotherapy, which is now considered the most modern form and from which other psychological methods, such as e. B. the neuro-linguistic programming developed.
Initiation of hypnotic trance - trance induction
The trance induction is the initiation of a hypnotic trance (form of deep relaxation with an awake state of consciousness). A constellation is assumed in which one person tries to induce trance phenomena in another. Depending on the approach, a distinction is made between direct and indirect methods.
What the hypnosis techniques have in common is that they occupy the conscious mind with activities that require little attention, thus avoiding its criticism in a targeted manner and gradually switching it off. In this way, the conscious mind loses its dominant position, the ability to criticize is restricted and the unconscious becomes directly accessible. Which suggestions or methods are best suited depends on the test person and on the circumstances.
Safety and security are beneficial or necessary for the induction, both can also be suggested, music can also help. The suggestions are mostly repeated or contain repetitions themselves, monotony also has a hypnotic effect. The posture is actually irrelevant, but the test person should be able to relax.
Originally, hypnotherapists (including Milton Erickson at the beginning of his career ) used to say:
"Put your legs loosely next to each other, put your hands on your thighs, breathe deeply, and go into a trance."
Later Erickson learned to initiate hypnosis less directive ( utilization ). To do this he used compound suggestions, e.g. B. Implications or if-then statements: "If you are seated, you can enter a trance," or "If you now place your legs next to each other and place your hands comfortably on your thighs, you can enter a trance." These suggestions each contained an element that the client already accepted or that had already been realized, whereby a second element gained suggestive power through the connection with the first.
Relaxation is usually suggested or brought about directly through progressive muscle relaxation . Another approach is to adjust processes that are normally unconscious (e.g. breathing or blinking) to the suggestions ( pacing and leading ). With the help of suitable suggestions, even hypnosis itself can be persuaded. Occasionally, levels are slowly counted down from a certain number; increasing relaxation is sought with each stage until hypnosis can be induced in the last stage. Combinations of different techniques are also conceivable.
The trance can be deepened at will if the subject does not offer any unconscious resistance to deepening the trance. Mostly analogously to this, the critical faculty of the consciousness decreases.
A hypnotic trance can be induced in various ways. Fundamental is between
- direct (authoritarian, paternal) and
- indirect (permissive, maternal) procedures.
While the direct variant mostly works with command-like suggestions, the language patterns of the indirect ones tend to allow or allow.
Direct methods are essentially based on absorbing attention or focusing attention on one thing. (Almost) all senses can be used for this.
It is known to eye fixation , in which the "gaze" of an object fatigues the eye muscles and the inclination to go into a trance strengthened. By using cards with complementary colors that are being viewed, eye fixation is enhanced. The eye counting method works with acoustic support . The hypnotist counts backwards from a hundred and asks the test subject to close his eyes for even numbers and to open them for odd numbers.
In addition, linguistic forms (instructions) and acoustic elements can be used. The latter are mostly uniform and calming sounds or pieces of music. Instructions are usually the central form of trance induction. In contrast to indirect induction, the linguistic forms of the direct method have a directive (determining) character.
In addition to visual and acoustic methods, haptic (touch), olfactory (scents), chemical (medication) and motor methods are also used.
In addition to the test person's consent to the use of a direct induction method, it is also important to have a positive attitude and expectation towards the selected method. The respondent must also wish or at least accept the resulting authoritarian relationship pattern. In this relationship pattern, the hypnotist has the pretending and dominating role, while the test subject has a passive, subordinate role.
The methods described require the presence of another person (e.g. hypnotist). In everyday life, however, induction and thus a trance can also occur due to environmental phenomena. Therefore, hypnosis can also be understood as a skill or a behavior which, under favorable circumstances - such as monotonous stimuli and rhythms - can be involuntarily or intentionally displayed.
- Indirect methods: see Milton model
The lightning inductions play a special role, which can often induce a trance within a few seconds, but require a high level of expectation and a moment of surprise . Both components allow the hypnotist to enter a trance very quickly. Lightning induction is mainly used in shows and only rarely in therapeutic contexts, whereby spontaneous falling asleep experiences - whether subjectively perceived as real or not - are presented in so-called show hypnosis, have nothing to do with therapeutic hypnosis the latter is a scientific technique for deep relaxation while maintaining wakefulness.
Dissolution of the hypnotic trance
Every hypnotic trance or deep relaxation requires dissolution. For this purpose, the state before deep relaxation is restored with the help of suggestions. Other suggestions given must be canceled by appropriate counter-suggestions. The resolution is usually faster than the introduction, but should never be rushed or neglected. If the organism is not given enough time to adjust, for example to regulate the activity of the cardiovascular system back to normal values, it can lead to headaches , for example . If amnesia was suggested and you were in a very deep trance, you may not be able to remember all the details of the session despite the awake state of consciousness during hypnosis. There are a number of different methods of pulling the client back out of the therapeutic trance. The best known is the counting up (e.g. from the number 1 to the number 5), whereby each number is connected with a suggestion, which serves to stabilize the body functions to normal state values.
If the trance has not been properly resolved, it should be initiated again briefly and then completely resolved.
If external stimuli act on the hypnotist that trigger a shock or shock in him (e.g. fire alarm), he will pull himself out of the trance. In the event of an unintentional or unintentional dissolution, post-processing by the hypnotist may be indicated in order to prevent possible minor complaints such as headaches. After an unannounced longer period of time without suggestions, the trance will automatically pass into a certain state of deep relaxation; The hypnotist gets out of this quite normally, but not all of the suggestions are automatically canceled. It may therefore be necessary to re-initiate the hypnosis and to withdraw various suggestions.
Application areas and effectiveness
Hypnosis is used in hypnotherapy, also known as hypnosis psychotherapy. Their effectiveness has been scientifically proven. In particular, the methods of magnetic resonance imaging (MRT) and electroencephalography (EEG) have clearly demonstrated brain physiological correlates of trance states. Just a few sessions can bring about a significant change; Accordingly, hypnosis and its techniques are used in (psycho-) therapy in a variety of ways.
They can, for example, for the treatment of depression , addiction diseases, speech disorders , to increase self-esteem , to stress depleting or insomnia use. A reduction in pain intensity was also demonstrated in the treatment of chronic pain in connection with a short behavior therapy program.
The use of hypnosis in medicine and psychotherapy is regulated by law. It is one of the services recognized by the German health insurance companies and is used as a supplement to many conventional methods. In Austria hypnotherapy - under the name "Hypnosepsychotherapie" - is an independent, recognized direction of psychotherapy based on depth psychology, especially, as in Germany and in many other countries, taking into account the technology and human image of Milton H. Erickson .
If the trance is induced without outside help, it is called self-hypnosis (also called autohypnosis). Self-hypnosis, as it was first undertaken by James Braid in 1841 , is basically no more difficult than being hypnotized by someone else. While heterogeneous hypnosis (a trance induced by a hypnotist) does not require any experience of the hypnotist, in self-hypnosis a deeper and more stable trance state can often only be achieved after some practice. A well-known self-hypnosis method is autogenic training . Some self-hypnosis techniques are similar to meditation . Scientific studies justify the assumption that any heterogeneous hypnosis can be understood as self-hypnosis under guidance.
In the case of empty hypnosis , no more suggestions are given after the introduction until the trance is resolved. All that is enjoyed is the relaxing state. An empty hypnosis is equally possible with third party and self hypnosis.
Hypnosis in Medicine
There is evidence that the use of hypnosis as the sole painless therapeutic methods or in combination with anesthesia procedure ( Hypnoanästhesie ) positive effects on earnings from operations has. However, the data available so far are based on very different studies with small case numbers, so that a final assessment is not possible. The same situation is found when using obstetrics to relieve tension and pain (e.g. hypnobirthing). A meta-analysis of 34 studies with a total of 2597 patients has now shown that hypnosis can relieve pain, reduce psychological stress and promote recovery after operations.
In dentistry, hypnosis is also used to support anesthesia. The patients are kept in a trance by means of a confusion technique and are distracted from the treatment. It can also help overcome a dental phobia .
Other names for hypnoanalysis are analytical hypnosis , psychodynamic hypnotherapy or hypnodynamically oriented psychotherapy . What they all have in common is that hypnosis is used in the context of depth psychology work. It supports classical psychoanalysis through the use of trance phenomena. In trance, for example, attention can be focused more on the object, the content of a hypnosis (such as an age regression ) can be made the object of the analysis or the work on resisting the knowledge can be significantly reduced. In the context of a hypnoanalysis, unconscious emotional conflicts can be uncovered, in this context one also speaks of a "revealing hypnosis". Even conscious emotional conflicts can be dealt with in the trance, which often leads to abreactions from pent-up negative feelings that are suppressed in the context of earlier split-off processes and are not accessible in the waking state.
In 1950 Jacob Levy Moreno published together with James M. Enneis the connection between hypnosis and psychodrama for the first time in his psychodrama sanatorium Beacon near New York. Patients took part in psychodramatic treatment in a hypnotic trance or experienced intense catharsis through post-hypnotic assignments . From 1976 onwards, Hans-Werner Gessmann in Germany at the Bergerhausen Psychotherapeutic Institute took up these concepts for the first time and, together with Helen Singer Kaplan, used them modified according to a humanistic concept for the treatment of sexual problems.
Other areas of application
- Nicotine addiction : In 2009, according to a study by the European Commission, 2 percent of those surveyed used hypnosis or acupuncture to stop smoking. The effectiveness of hypnotherapy has been proven in a study.
- Exam anxiety : The effectiveness of hypnotherapy has been proven in a study.
- Fear of flying : The effectiveness of hypnotherapy has been proven in a study.
- Dental anxiety : According to a meta-study, hypnosis is more effective than music, relaxation, education, and distraction.
- Sleep disorders : The effectiveness of hypnotherapy has been proven in a study.
- Neurodermatitis : The effectiveness of hypnotherapy has been proven in a study.
- Solving crimes and remembering what has been forgotten. See also hypnotic regression .
- Show hypnosis: Hypnosis is used in stage shows, although it is unclear which effects are real. The hypnotist Manfred Knoke received an entry in the Guinness Book of Records when he hypnotized Bochum in six days in 1811 in 1987. See also cataleptic bridge and lightning induction .
- Animal hypnosis: In stage shows, the numbness of animals was also used to make them seem hypnotized.
- Hypnotic regression : Alleged journey into personal soul pasts, return to past lives (Past Life Regression) and between lives (Life between Lives). There have been claims that xenoglossia , the supposed ability to speak a foreign language without having learned it, occurs under hypnosis.
- Deep sleep phase: Researchers from the University of Zurich, under the direction of Björn Rasch, carried out a preliminary study on the effects of hypnosis on the deep sleep phase of 70 young, healthy test subjects, which were, however, easily accessible for hypnotic suggestion (and were tested in advance for their hypnotizability) . According to Rasch, 50% of all people are highly suggestible. The deep sleep phase is discussed in the context of positive effects on the immune system, metabolism and memory (memory decreases with age and at the same time the deep sleep phase decreases, although it is not certain whether there is a causal relationship or just a correlation ). Half of the test persons were either played a hypnosis and the other half, as a placebo , a documentation on raw material deposits. The average deep sleep of the women with a sleep duration of 90 minutes was 23 minutes for those to whom the hypnosis was played and 14 minutes for those to whom the raw material tape was played. However, another preliminary study showed no effects on the deep sleep of women who are not highly suggestible: These even showed a shorter deep sleep phase than the placebo group with the raw material band. (According to Rasch, this finding of the second preliminary study is also in line with other hypnosis studies). The type of hypnosis is also decisive for highly suggestive people. It should be noted critically that the number of participants in this pilot study is very small and the field of test subjects was already narrowed down in advance. It is unclear whether the hypnosis had any side effects.
Harm from hypnosis
The basic requirement can be that personal progress should be achieved through the power of one's own will. Hypnosis, on the other hand, is always an influence of an alien will on the psyche of the person being hypnotized. Although positive developments can be stimulated in this way, the imposition of the will of others ultimately leads to a weakening of the will of the test person, which is why external influence is generally not advisable.
Two different types of damage can occur when using hypnosis: unintentional physical and psychological accidents, as well as damage due to the hypnotist's egoistic motives or due to exaggerated suggestions to satisfy the lust for sensation (stage hypnosis). Examples of unwanted psychological "accidents" are headaches, the triggering of latent depression, manias or psychoses, and retraumatisation through reactivated stressful memories. Deliberately induced damage can be: Emotional injuries through shame and humiliation (show hypnosis), sexual surprise during the trance, sexual abuse of a relationship that has been (repeatedly) influenced by hypnosis, incitement to self-harm (financial exploitation, suicide) as well as incitement to crime (theft, injury , Murder). The circumstances surrounding the murder of Bob Kennedy, after which u. a. the statements of the assassin Sirhan suggested that he had carried out a post-hypnotic assignment.
In the case law , one has reacted to these possibilities of "suggesting anti-social acts" and written decision notes.
The subject of the potential criminal power of hypnosis has been controversial in the past. The question of whether a person can be induced to act through hypnosis to which he would not have consented under normal circumstances could not be conclusively clarified due to subjective aspects that are difficult to research.
Hypnosis specialist societies
There are different professional associations for hypnotists. Most of them only accept members who are active hypnotists or hypnotherapists. In 1955 Johannes Heinrich Schultz founded the German Society for Medical Hypnosis and Autogenic Training (DGÄHAT), although the focus was on the latter. In 1978 the Milton Erickson Society for Clinical Hypnosis (MEG) was founded, in 1982 the German Society for Hypnosis (DGH) was founded, in 1995 the German Society for Dental Hypnosis (DGZH) and in 2007 the German Society for Auto System Hypnosis was founded eV In Austria there is the ÖGATAP Austrian Society for Applied Depth Psychology and General Psychotherapy, specializing in hypnosis psychotherapy .
Some societies have certain admission requirements for members (such as a medical or dental license ). Most companies offer advice to potential patients or clients and are internationally networked.
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