Hypnosis: A True Science Essays

Submitted By Emily-MC
Words: 874
Pages: 4

The American Psychological Association defines hypnosis as “a cooperative interaction in which the participant responds to the suggestions of the hypnotist.” Unlike television shows and movies where the hypnotist waves a fancy golden watch in front of the person chanting “You are getting sleepy….”, hypnosis is more of a sleep like state that the person is helped into by focusing on a specific point. Hypnosis is a difficult science to study, as some people may be more or less susceptible to its effects.

Hypnosis is used for varying purposes, many of them medical. Some examples include: controlling pain during dental procedures, reduction on nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemo treatments, reduction of pain during childbirth and treatment of chronic pain conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis. It is also reported to have success in treating allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, hypertension, fibromyalgia and impotence. One common belief is that hypnosis can be used to help a person stop smoking. It has been successful in many cases in convincing the participant that they don’t want the cigarettes and that they don’t need them. Of course, it doesn’t always work and sometimes if it does only for a short period of time, it isn’t an exact science after all. Another is to use hypnosis to cure a phobia, using hypnotherapy to find the cause and eliminate the response to whatever stimulus it is the person fears. The hypnotherapist will put the patient in a very relaxed state and then use different techniques to find the cause of their problem.

Hypnosis is also commonly used as an ego booster, helping people feel more confident in themselves and make them more assertive. It’s been used to help people control their weight as well as performance anxiety (which includes things like exam stress and public speaking.)

Scientists and psychologists have run into many issues while attempting to study the hypnotic state and perfect hypnosis. One such problem is that there’s no set definition or specific dosage. How can they study something effectively if they can’t even agree on what it is they’re studying? Another is that because of the varying levels of susceptibility in people the results can come out inaccurately. Because hypnotherapy isn’t an exact science there will always be something in each test that causes the results to fluctuate. Whether it is the method uses, the amount of time, or even the patient, something will always change the outcome.

Scientists have attempted many studies to figure out exactly what the hypnotic state is and does but many have not produced helpful results. One which monitored brain waves of patients undergoing hypnosis didn’t pan out as the patterns weren’t distinguishable from waking consciousness brain waves. On the rare occasions that a sign of hypnosis is spotted in a laboratory they fail to prove the existence of the hypnotic state.

Just as different people would react differently in certain situations, they react differently to hypnosis. Studies show that fifteen percent of the general population are very responsive to the effects, while twenty five percent are thought to not be hypnotizable. Children are usually more likely to be susceptible, although this may have less to do with their age and more to do with the fact that they’re also more likely to believe that the hypnosis will actually work. One of the biggest factors is in fact the participant’s views and beliefs on the subject of hypnosis. If a person believes that the process will work and is therefore more willing to participate than the results show the hypnosis to be more effective. If the opposite occurs than