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Hypnosis is a state of focused concentration during which a person
becomes less aware of his or her surroundings. Hypnotherapy is the use of
hypnosis to treat physical or psychological conditions.
It is thought that during a hypnotic state, or trance, people have a
heightened ability to accept suggestions that can help change their behavior.
Hypnosis can be led by a hypnotherapist, or a hypnotherapist can teach people
to hypnotize themselves (self-hypnosis). Self-hypnosis can also be learned from
Self-hypnosis usually consists of writing or adapting a script to
induce hypnosis (including suggestions to help with specific problems),
recording the script, and playing the tape to induce a hypnotic state. Some
people are more comfortable with self-hypnosis because they are alone
throughout the exercise and are in control of all suggestions made during the
Self-hypnosis is considered safe, even when done by inexperienced
people. There are no reported cases of harm resulting from self-hypnosis.
But do not perform self-hypnosis while driving a vehicle or in any
situation where you need to be fully alert or able to respond quickly (for
example, while operating machinery or while supervising children).
April 20, 2011
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
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