Hypnosis has been around since the 18th century, and although it has been termed as pseudoscience in its early days, it is today, seen as a valid treatment method for various disorders.
“Hypnos,” a Greek word, is the basis through which the term hypnosis came about, and it was first termed so by Etienne Felix D’Henin de Cuvillers. Cullivers was a magnetizer, a believer of influencing and curing physical effects through force.
Cullivers was also someone that was very much interested in how suggestions can sway the mind. He believed that putting patients in a hypnotic trance can help change their minds as well as physical behavior.
But hypnotic trance was a concept that was conceived by Franz Mesmer nearly a whole century before. He theorized the existence of animal magnetism which he believed was fluid so invisible that it flowed between all living things. The fluid, he speculated, had the power to impact the behavior of human beings.
Hypnosis is said to have two main elements, namely suggestion and induction. Implications that are involuntary are called suggestions, and these implications are presumed to be something that they have no control over. Although what can be constituted as induction isn’t set in stone, it is still the first suggestion that happens in hypnosis.
The level of suggestibility varies from person to person, and if researches are anything to go by, participants that are highly suggestible will have very less control over their actions when they are under hypnosis.
Cognitive processes are also studied to have an effect under hypnosis. Participants perfection is changed, and agnosia is induced. A state where the brain is aware of the stimuli but cannot fathom what it is called agnosia. These results are strengthened by experiments done in the past.
Inducing agnosia is used extensively by magicians as tricks. But this has led to questionable results since these do not turn out very well for the participant when all is said and done.
Memories that are repressed are uncovered through the use of hypnosis, although this is extremely undesirable. This method is called therapeutic regression, and it is mainly used to reveal childhood or early abuse or trauma.
Studies have also found that hypnotic suggestions can be used to plant memories that never happened thereby blending truth with fiction. Although this gives hypnosis a bad name, there is other evidence which suggests hypnosis can improve memory. The extent of improvement varies from one individual to the other.