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Power of hypnosis


I understand that psychologists hypnotise patients to elicit the actual cause of the mental disorder. How is this done? What is hypnosis? Can we hypnotise anybody? Is it possible to delve into the subconscious mind of a person? Can the hypnotist take advantage of the hypnotised? K.P., Thiruvananthapuram

HYPNOSIS MEANS inducing a controlled sleep with strong suggestions. During hypnosis, the patient will be able to communicate with the therapist if suggestions are given to that effect. The pre-condition to hypnosis is that the person should be completely cooperative to undergo hypnosis. Thus, it is understood that no one can force hypnosis on anyone.

It is not possible to elicit closely guarded secrets from any person even if the person is under deep hypnosis. The hypnotist cannot force the hypnotised into any unethical activities. You cannot hypnotise a person and give strong suggestions to go and murder somebody. Under all such unethical suggestions, the hypnotised will wake up from the hypnosis. It appears that Nature has given each one of us a moral conscience -- to do the right things both consciously and unconsciously. This is why the Father of Psychotherapy, Sigmund Freud, said that "human beings are more moral than what they think". Until a few years ago, hypnosis was very widely used to treat hysterical and psychosomatic (physical disorders caused by psychological causes) disorders. It is useful in alleviating `stage fright', non-specific aches and pains, certain kinds of irrational fears known as phobias and sleep disorders. Hypnosis is a powerful tool in the hands of experts. It has been reported that surgeries have been conducted under hypnosis without anaesthesia. This is possible because the patients under hypnosis accept the suggestions given to them. Thus, one can suggest to the patient that he will not experience any pain during a certain operation. The opposite can also be suggested. Now, psychologists are aware of the `power of words' through which suggestions are given. Several psychologists believe that the whole process of psychotherapy and counselling is nothing but play of words. Reassuring words uttered by physicians appeared to have healed the patients faster than drugs alone. The ability to get hypnotised is there with all of us, but it varies in degree. Some are very easily hypnotised whereas some are not. Now, hypnosis is effectively used in curing obesity, warts, fear of the dentist's chair, tension, improving concentration and memory and even for personality development. Nevertheless, one must remember that improvement gained under hypnosis is temporary unless it is effectively backed up by one's own conscious effort to attain the goal.

Last, but certainly not the least, never get hypnotised by non-professionals.

Please send your questions to mindquest1@rediffmail.com or Mindquest, The Hindu, Airport Road, Vallakadavu, Thiruvananthapuram

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KRISHNA PRASAD SREEDHAR

Illustration: C.R.S.

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