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What Is Hypnosis?

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You're getting sleepy, very sleepy. Or are you? The way hypnosis is portrayed on Hollywood screens might have you believing a swinging pocket watch and soothing voice can put anyone in a trance, to dispel secrets or implant ideas. But how accurate are these examples? Research has found that there is in fact some truth to the theory that if a person is in a highly suggestible state enough, they may be more willing to delve into their subconscious and respond to the hypnotist. In fact, scientific studies have show than everyone's susceptibility to being hypnotized falls somewhere on a spectrum—with some people better able to relax into suggestive mindsets and therefore reaping more benefits from the experience. Conversely, others may have a more difficult time being convinced. The word's root, "hypno" in hypnotism, is derived from the Greek word for "sleep." In hypnotherapy, therapists work to tap into a relaxed person's inner mind in order to dive deep into old or repressed memories and emotions. This tactic is praised by some who tout its effectiveness, while others—clinicians and patients alike—are more skeptical, and prefer traditional treatment routes. So can someone really be hypnotized in the way we usually see it? What about stage hypnotists?

Research suggests that stage hypnotism is actually what creates myths and misconceptions surrounding the topic. During a show, hosts are trained to specifically screen participants to see how potentially vulnerable they may be to the act. Because it's a performance, it's not the best representation of the very complex human phenomena we know as hypnosis. Learn more about this amazing practice and how the mind bends.

CURIOSITY continues Sundays at 9/8c on Discovery. | | There is no clear understanding of what hypnosis is. It has a tremendous power to do good but has to be respected.
Watch more Hypnosis & Mind Control videos: Learn if hypnosis can hypnotize people into doing something they don't want to do from clinical hypnotherapist Debbie Catz in this Howcast video. "Hi, I'm Debbie Catz. I'm a certified clinical hypnotherapist here in the San Francisco Bay area. I have a masters degree in social work. To learn more about this you can visit my website at And now I'm going to help you understand the simplicity of hypnosis. So can hypnosis hypnotize someone into doing something they don't want to do? No. Hypnosis is basically a deep state of relaxation, and it's natural way that we are, ah many times during the day in our, in our average lives, and so I'm going to show you a little brain wave chart here, that will help you understand that. So when we are in a waking state and we are talking or working we are in the beta state, and, that's, we can see inside the brain now with medical technology, and that's the quick, um, brain wave you can see it's going very quickly. And then when we go home and sit down and maybe start to read a book, or listen to some quiet music, we move into the alpha state where the brain wave begins to slow down. And then when you crawl into bed at night and start to drift off to sleep you're in the theta state, that's hypnosis right here, the theta state. So if you've ever almost been asleep, and you feel yourself falling, and you jerk you wake yourself up, you're in the theta state, you've been in hypnosis, so you weren't asleep yet. And then you drift off to sleep. So here you're in hypnosis on the way to sleep, and then when you're waking up in the morning, if you're lucky and don't have to wake up to an alarm clock. You start to come back, and ya know you're kinda aware that you're coming back but you're not completely back yet. Again you're going back through hypnosis, and coming back up, to the waking state. So lets talk a for moment about, um, stage hypnosis, what kinda looks like the hypnotist is doing that to people, and what the hypnotist is doing is actually, ah, assessing people and he is doing suggestibility tests, they're really seeing who is the most suggestible. And so those people who are on stage who are deemed to be the most suggestible, are people who want to have fun and, sometimes they don't mind making a fool of themselves and being silly and so those are the ones that selected to do a stage hypnosis show. So again it's a willingness, it's all self hypnosis, so nobody can make you do anything you don't want to do. Because the subconscious mind won't allow it to happen unless you want it to. "
Different parts of the brain are affected by hypnosis, as hypnosis speaks to the subconscious of the client to change habits, thoughts or pain. Understand the science behind hypnosis with information from a certified hypnotist trainer in this free video on hypnotism. Expert: John Graden Contact: Bio: John Graden is a business owner, author and motivational speaker. He uses hypnotism as part of his training program. Filmmaker: Christopher Rokosz

Hypnosis and meditation

from Khan Academy

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Hypnosis and meditation
Watch more How to Pick a Career videos: Do you dream of making people bark like dogs or dance like Elvis? If so, you might want to become a stage hypnotist. These tips will point you in the right direction. Step 1: Obtain training in stage hypnosis Take courses in hypnosis stage techniques. Land an apprenticeship with an expert stage hypnotist. Tip Hypnosis is a state of believed-in imagination where distortions of perception and memory can occur. Step 2: Enhance your reputation Build up your reputation in advance of your performance. Billing yourself as "the world's greatest hypnotist" will give your audience increased license to believe in your skills. Step 3: Prep the audience Make your audience believe they can easily be hypnotized -- speak eloquently and use the power of suggestion to capture the audience's attention. Try to build a strong group consciousness. Step 4: Observe the members of the audience Keep an eye on the audience for individuals who seem most engaged. When you ask for volunteers to come to the stage, choose those individuals. Step 5: Place volunteers in a trance Attempt to place some volunteers in a hypnotic trance using conventional techniques of hypnosis. Step 6: Offer hypnotic suggestions to the volunteers Offer hypnotic suggestions to the volunteers. Tip Most volunteers will not want to spoil the performance and will go along with your suggestions -- whether they are really hypnotized or not. Step 7: Allow the volunteers to display unusual behavior Give the volunteers an opportunity to release their inhibitions and become the centers of attention as you suggest various types of outrageous behavior to them. Did You Know? Did you know? Hypnotism is named for Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep.
(March 16, 2010) David Spiegel, Stanford Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, discusses hypnosis, the mind, and its therapeutic interaction with the body from helping patients stop smoking to prolonging the lives of cancer patients. Stanford University: Stanford School of Medicine: Stanford Continuing Studies: Stanford University Channel on YouTube: