AT A GLANCE
Hypnosis is a
deliberately induced condition of deep mental relaxation,
passivity, or trance, in which a person becomes highly suggestible
and flexible within a state of consciousness capable of dramatic
manipulation. Hypnosis in therapy seeks to deal with current
problems by employing hypnotic states or information to change
behavior. Hypnotic regression in psychotherapy usually takes a
person back into the past or childhood to buried memories. In
order to uncover and resolve hidden conflicts. In New Age and
occult applications hypnosis and hypnotic regression are used for
a wide variety of psychic purposes, including developing
"human potential" and uncovering "past lives"
for "therapeutic" and occult purposes.
Founder. Unknown. The practice can be
traced to antiquity. The noted hypnotist and psychic Anton Mesmer
(1754-1815), from whom we derive the term "mesmerism," is
often considered the "father" of modern hypnosis.
How does it claim to work? The exact
process by which hypnosis works is unknown; however, widespread
claims are made for its application to medicine, psychotherapy,
education, and many other fields. Self-help promoters make claim
that it can be used to treat or cure an endless variety of physical
ailments and personal problems (from allergies and low self-esteem,
to smoking, cancer, obesity, and guilt), and that its application to
personal growth, learning abilities, human potentialism, and
self-transformation is endless.
Scientific evaluation. Scientific
research has been conducted, and much information about hypnotic
trance and susceptibility to it is available; nevertheless, a
generally accepted scientific theory about it is still lacking.
Examples of occult potential. Hypnosis
is a unique altered state of consciousness that can be used for a
large variety of occult pursuits, including psychic development,
spirit contact, automatic writing, astral travel, past-life
(reincarnation) regression or "therapy," and many others.
Major Problems. Releasing one’s mind
to the suggestions and control of another; possible uncertainties as
to the nature and long-term implication of the hypnotic state.
Biblical/Christian evaluation. Hypnosis
may be related to the biblically forbidden practice of
"charming" or "enchanting"; to the extent this
relationship holds true, the practice should be rejected. The
Christian is to be filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit; to
permit one’s mind to be controlled by another person is, in the
least, a questionable practice. Clearly, it is forbidden for a
Christian to permit his mind to be influenced by spirit entities as
occurs in certain occult applications of hypnosis.
Potential dangers. Occult influences,
unexpected problems arising from the trance state, abuse by the