Hypnosis as a singular focus of attention
Milton H. Erickson
When the students of Milton H. Erickson - who was one of the greatest hypnotists in the world - asked him to define hypnosis, they prepared to take the extensive notes.
To their great surprise Erickson said: "It's concentrating on your thoughts, values, memories and beliefs about life".
They expected to hear more, but no more was coming.
Hypnosis can be conceptualized in many ways.
One of the best ways of conceptualization of hypnosis is to think of it as a way of shifting the mind from one psychological / psycho-physiological form of reality to another.
For example: A person can by hypnotically shifted from the reality of pain into the reality of hypnotic anaesthesia, from the reality of social anxiety to the reality of social confidence, from the reality of a "broken heart" into the reality of peace with what happened. The list goes on and on.
There is no agreement between the scientists, who study the hypnotic phenomena, and even between the best practitioners of hypnosis, as to what hypnosis is.
There are many theories of hypnosis: Animal Magnetism Theory, Trance Theory, Faking It Theory, Dissociation Theory, Neo-dissociation Theory, The Dissociation Control Theory, Ideomotor Theory, Brain State Theory, Role Playing Theory, Task Motivation Theory, Social Cognitive Theory, Believed-in-imagination Theory, and probably many others that I'm not aware of.
What follows is that, if you really wanted, you too, could create a theory of hypnosis, and it would be potentially as good as any other existing theory. And even if it was not as good as any other already existing theory - the chances are - nobody would be able to prove you wrong!
The current impossibility of defining hypnosis - which goes back at least 200 years - creates a very unique situation. The uniqueness of this situation is in the fact that no laws can be created that regulate the practice of hypnosis, because nobody can say what hypnosis is.
Your best hypnotist in town could say: Hypnosis is whatever it becomes.
If you take hypnosis to the laboratory, and test it for many different theories of hypnosis - hypnosis will prove each theory to be true.
That's why I say that hypnosis is whatever it becomes.
Hypnosis is a META-REALITY, meaning that, it can be used to create any reality you want. This REALITY-CREATING ABILITY of hypnosis makes it the most amazing, and the most powerful agent of human change.
Hypnosis is a REALITY SWITCH.
It can switch the reality of pain to the reality of no pain (surgical anaesthesia). They've been doing this for 100 years now at the world-famous Mayo Clinic.
Think about the implications of this amazing power of the hypnotic intervention.
Wouldn't you like to experience how hypnosis can switch all of your tormenting you realities into the realities of peace, comfort and success in life?
Hypnosis can switch the reality of depression into the reality of no depression. It can switch the reality of anxiety into the reality of no anxiety. Reality of anger into the reality of no anger.
What are the limits of these CREATIVE HYPNOTIC FLIPPING of the switch of reality?
The limits of this FLIPPING stretch as far as the creative ability of the human mind - into INFINITY!
Your best hypnotist in town may venture into explanations of some of the theories of hypnosis, or, he may attempt to give you a descriptive - rather than a theoretical - answer.
He may say: Hypnosis is a method of communication via which a hypnotist activates in his client a vast store of his consciously forgotten learnings, and enables the client to access these learnings automatically.
The learnings are already there, in the client's subconscious mind, and they begin to benefit the client in a spontaneous, automatic way.
Another description of hypnosis, that your best hypnotist in town may give you is this: Hypnosis is simply the way you perceive things. When you perceive something in a particular way, you are not seeing the TRUTH of what that something is. In the realm of perceptions there IS NO TRUTH - only different ways to perceive.
And when you are stuck in a particular way of perceiving - for all intent and purpose - you are HYPNOTIZED into that way of perceiving.
Any effective hypnotic intervention is simply about shifting you from one way of perceiving things to another - better - way of perceiving them.
Hypnosis is the art of creative reality manifestation.
Before you can manifest anything in the reality of space and time, in the reality of the physical world, you must create a thought form in your mind, which - if properly nourished - can become a tangible reality that you desire.
There is no way to manifest anything in the tangible reality of the world, without first developing the necessary thought forms, which serve as the energetic templates for the tangible reality manifestation.
Hypnosis is the best tool for the development of the potent thought forms on the level of the subconscious mind.
It is from that level that our thought forms enter into the process of their transformation into the tangible realities of our lives.
Hypnosis is the best way to make you believe whatever you want to believe. And the power of believing is what makes the seemingly impossible possible.
The reality of your life is not homogenous.
In other words, the reality of your life consists of many different realities, and many of them are mutually exclusive.
Most of the people are familiar only with the burning reality of fire, but there are also those - so-called firewalkers - who are familiar with the non-burning reality of fire.
Hypnosis - understood as the singular focus of attention - is the art of entering and exiting various realities of life. It is the foundation of every successful endeavor and every achievement.
Unless you are hypnotized by the object of your desire - you are NOT going to be able to make it reality.
Hypnosis is a methodology which helps people to change their thinking. It is the best methodology for changing the way people think.
Most people take their thinking for granted, meaning that, they don't take care of it, they neither protect it nor respect it.
This care-free attitude towards thinking is what ruins human lives.
As the ancient Biblical proverb says: "As you think, so you are".
Our whole lives depend on our thinking, on what we think and how we think.
Hypnosis is the best tool under the Sun for negative thinking dissolution and modification.
Hypnosis is a psychological MEANING MAKING MACHINE.
Since all human psychological suffering is SEMANTIC, anything that is capable of altering our semantic processing has the potential to alleviate our psychological discomfort.
Hypnosis is a methodology of choice for the alteration of the human subconscious semantics, and as such, it is a super-effective tool for the creation of human change, at the point of origin of the psychological disfunction.
Hypnosis is the art of INFLUENCE.
It is rather obvious that unless your hypnotist can influence your subconscious mind, his services would be useless.
It is not so obvious that having a lot of knowledge ABOUT hypnosis is NOT synonymous with having the power to influence people through hypnosis.
The knowledge, experience and the POWER to INFLUENCE must work together in all kinds of the hypnotic work.
The power of the hypnotic session is NOT in the script.
The same script can be used by two different hypnotists with very different results.
A POWERFUL hypnotist can use almost any script and positively influence his client with it.
On the other hand, a POWERLESS hypnotist can be given even the best script and be unable to do anything with it.
Finding a good hypnotist is as difficult as finding a good dentist, chiropractor, family physician, massage therapist ...
There is a lot of mediocrity out there. That's just the way it has always been.
Some things never change.
Hypnosis is one of the best ways of creating a positive alteration in a troubled person's classification system.
We all use our own classification systems to make sense of reality. In other words, we place various chunks of reality in different easily identifiable, and easily accessible mental drawers.
We classify certain things as good, other things as bad, possible or impossible for us, and live our lives accordingly to what our classification systems tell us about the reality.
People who seek a positive change encounter a paradoxical dilemma.
It is a dilemma which is very rarely perceived by those who seek positive change.
This dilemma arises from the fact that a seeker of a positive change attempts to create change out of his classification system, which is the very source of his problems.
Consequently, the more he tries to change, the more problems he creates, simply because his classification system is a problem making machine.
A skilful hypnotist can help to overcome this dilemma by approaching human problems in a paradoxical way.
Your best hypnotist in town must be able to UNHYPNOTIZE you from your problem-making-classification-system.
The format of his page doesn't allow for any further elaboration on this subject.
I'm planning to create a separate page devoted in its entirety to the paradoxical nature of human change.
Rather than trying to answer the question: What is hypnosis? - it seems to be infinitely more beneficial and practical to seek answer to the question: When is hypnosis?
Trying to answer the question: What is hypnosis - is similar to trying to answer the question: What is love.
Nobody can answer the question: What is love?
On the other hand, everyone unmistakably knows WHEN love IS, and when love IS NOT.
While it is impossible to answer the question: What is hypnosis? - it is very easy to answer the question: When is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is when you function automatically OUT of YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND.
Following the above statement - we would say that hypnosis IS when you drive a car, when you do anything that you do habitually, automatically, without the necessity of conscious thought and deliberation.
Hypnosis is when the critical faculty of your mind has been bypassed.
Hypnosis is when your rigid mental sets have been depotentiated.
Hypnosis is when you are open to believe what otherwise you would not be able to believe.