Hypnosis is an ancient practice that spans the globe. Neuroscience is a recent field. For a lot of our history, we didn’t even know what the brain did. Until recently, the only way to examine a living brain was to study people with head injuries.
For millennia, hypnotists managed just fine without knowing any neuroscience. Those days are behind us. What changed?
Neuroscience validates and clarifies why certain hypnotic techniques work. For example, many inductions use the subject’s eyes. The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but researchers say that the optic nerve connects directly to the brain. This connection is strong enough that neuroscientists say eyes are part of the brain.
Classic trance phenomena, such as involuntary movement and memory, correspond with specific lobes. Hypnosis affects the entire brain, but many of the things that spontaneously emerge in trance come from the same places.
You can use neuroscience to shape your technique. Knowing how the brain regulates itself and makes decisions can help you to induce trances. I wouldn’t say this is the main benefit of learning neuroscience, though. Hypnotists – both ancient and modern – learned a lot through trial-and-error and careful observation. Science fills in the gaps of what it possible. It is, as always, a valuable tool.
Understanding the hypnotic processes in the brain seems like the most valuable thing. But as a hypnotist, there is something more important it provides. Something that, no matter how much knowledge you have, is essential in order to serve your clients.
You know about hypnosis’ reputation. People have told you that it’s little more than voodoo. They are wrong but you need to prove it. Talking about hypnosis from a neuroscientific perspective shatters doubt. And you need to shatter doubt – in yourself and in others. Every part of the subject that whispers against the power of trance makes your job harder.
Subjects need to know that you know what you are doing. Specifying what hypnosis does to which parts of the brain creates a powerful frame. It puts trance up there with gravity and electricity as undeniable forces. It helps establish both the hypnotist and subject as being stronger than the subject’s problems. From this perspective, everything becomes simpler.
Doctors and medical professionals often refer to hypnotists. Who do you think they’ll refer to – someone who sees the brain as a black box, or someone who can talk knowledgeably about the science?
Even if you never apply it to your trance techniques, knowledge of neuroscience is an asset for any hypnotist. You don’t need to be an expert – simply informed enough to show that you know what you’re doing. The boost to your reputation is worth the effort of studying.
This means that if you want to receive hypnosis rather than give it, you can breathe easy. Why? Because you know that it’s a scientifically proven way to change your mind for the better. See what hypnosis can do for you now:
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