Covert hypnosis is an attempt to communicate with another person's unconscious mind without informing the subject that they will be hypnotized. It is also known as conversational hypnosis or sleight of mouth. The objective is to change the person's behavior subconsciously so that the target believes that they changed their mind of their own volition.
Meditation is typically more open-ended, and self-guided, whereas hypnosis has an end goal in mind. Currently, she and a colleague are studying its effects on patients with neck cancer, who were randomly ased to receive either hypnosis or more traditional therapy.
In one study, when compared to a of alternative pain therapies including yoga, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and exercise, hypnosis was shown to be the most effective pain-management tool among cancer patients. According to David Spiegel, a hypnotherapist and psychiatry professor at Stanford University, the primary effect of hypnosis is that it allows people to separate their physiological reactions from their psychological reactions.
So when I was offered the opportunity to receive hypnosis from a woman named Grace Smith who goes by Grace Space Hypnosis on her website and appI was both skeptical and afraid. Somehow, with her voice, Grace Smith relaxed me over Skype.
Why hypnosis works is still something of a mystery, but Snow says researchers know it goes beyond the placebo effect. With the general process explained, and my misconceptions dispelled, Smith told me we were ready to begin.
Ninety-nine percent of people will [still think other thoughts]. But in her desperation to quit smoking in her 20s, she decided to try hypnosis. In my sessions with Smith, this translated to an unusual sense of calm as I answered her questions—I was able to rate my anxiety, for instance, without wondering what the I chose meant, or what Smith would think it meant, or any of the other sorts of hypotheticals I often dedicate so much time to.
Something about having to close my eyes made it feel so much more vulnerable than a regular therapy session. This is not to say that I no longer suffer from anxiety, but that I felt, for the rest of the day after my session, as though I had taken a Xanax. The good news, Hypno says, is that hypnosis is easier than meditation for most people. Sitting on a wooden chair at my makeshift desk a folding table near my living-room windownext to a busy Brooklyn street, I was doubtful I would be able to get that any chat.
3 hypnotic words you can use today
Her patients are given a CD with guided hypnosis, and sometimes record their sessions so they can listen back and practice on themselves. But it is there on my phone, ready for me the next time I need it, and that alone feels good. When the patient was randomized not to receive hypnosis, she quit the study, and asked to get hypnosis anyway.
Much to her surprise, she says she was able to quit after just one session. Smith was so moved by her experience that she decided to quit her corporate job and become a hypnotherapist herself. You can think thoughts and still be hypnotized.
What hypnosis actually is
Popular Latest. Alison Snow, the assistant director of cancer supportive services at Mount Sinai Health System in New York, employs hypnosis as a tool to ease the suffering of cancer patients—partly their anxiety, but also their pain.
The Atlantic Crossword. Smith, too, started off as a skeptic.
Having met her over Skype about two minutes earlier, I am slightly shook. To begin our first session, Smith asked me to close hypno eyes and rate my current stress level on a scale between zero and I said four. Brain scans of hypnosis patients show reduced activity in the anterior cingulate cortexwhich Spiegel describes as the part of the brain that decides what to worry about, comparing it to an air-traffic controller who has three planes to land and only one runway.
This is the simplest chat of what it is hypnosis can do: lower your guard, just a little bit.