What Is Hypnosis? Describe the Psychological and Physical Aspects of Hypnosis and Discuss the Role of Relaxation in Hypnotherapy.

What is hypnosis?   Describe the psychological and physical aspects of hypnosis and discuss the role of relaxation in hypnotherapy.

“Hypnosis” is generally understood as a type of trance state that can be self-initiated, or more popularly, induced by one person over another.   It has been used in some form and in many different cultures since ancient times but exactly what it is or what happens is still not fully understood; in fact it could be argued that “No-one really knows what hypnosis is”.   To the general public it is usually associated with stage shows, where people apparently lose their own will, become completely under the control of the hypnotist and are then generally made to behave in foolish and amusing ways.   It could be argued that these shows are faked and based on trickery and, whilst there must be an element of this with the hypnotist undoubtedly picking out the most compliant people, something that we don’t understand seems to be going on.   This has given hypnosis a bad name in that it is popularly seen as one person’s mind being completely taken over by another and that anyone susceptible to hypnosis is weak-minded, to the extent that people often brag that they could never be hypnotised as they are too “strong”.   In reality hypnotists are not evil manipulators who have the power to take over people’s minds “you cannot hypnotise someone if they have not at some level agreed to be hypnotised” and there is no “inequality of will between operator and subject” (quote).   In fact hypnosis is actually a therapeutic tool that has helped countless people to overcome many different phobias, addictions and anxieties but even today there is much cynicism and ongoing disagreement about what happens during hypnosis.   Historically this has always been so:

It is generally accepted that in the West hypnosis as we know it started with Franz Mesmer who was born in 1734 and whose name has become part of our everyday language as we often talk about being...