The fact that people can manifest a variety of normally hidden capacities in hypnosis is the reason why hypnosis offers so much as a treatment tool. If one were to do even a cursory review of the scientific literature attesting to the value of hypnosis in a variety of medical, dental, psychotherapeutic and educational settings, one would find an enormous array of high quality research that supports the medical applications of hypnosis.
More recently, newer technologies for conducting brain scans (i.e., fMRI, CAT, PET and SPECT) have spawned new insights into the working relationship between the mind and brain.
Similarly, using advanced diagnostic tools to affirm measurable changes in physiology in response to “mere” suggestions (such as influencing blood flow, muscular tension, immunological responses, and perceptions of pain) has led to a virtual explosion of medical applications of hypnosis.
In hypnosis, that focused and dissociated state described earlier, people are able to manifest a variety of talents that are collectively termed “hypnotic phenomena.” These include:
- age regression (defined as the intense and experiential absorption in memory such that memories can be recalled in vivid detail and perhaps even relived as if occurring in the now, allowing for the reframing of memories, for example)
- age progression (defined as the intense and experiential absorption in expectations, a vehicle for establishing positive self-fulfilling prophecies, for example)
- analgesia and anesthesia (the ability to reduce or even eliminate sensation, exceptionally valuable in the treatment of all kinds of pain)
- dissociation (the ability to break global experiences into component parts and selectively amplify or de-amplify a part depending on therapeutic objective, such as encouraging a controlled detachment from overwhelming emotions)
There are many other hypnotic phenomena that become accessible in hypnosis that are also beneficial to employ in the course of psychotherapy, and the interested reader may choose to learn more than this brief article can address. Suffice it to say that as one considers what is possible in hypnosis, wherever one can influence mental or physical processes it quickly becomes apparent that, the limits of which have not been anywhere even close to defined yet, hypnosis will be valuable.