Hypnosis and Mental Structure
Consider these key characteristics of a hypnotic state:
1) Narrowed focus
2) Heightened suggestibility
3) Ideo-dynamic or ideo-sensory reflex response
These are key words used within this website:
an artificially narrowed false choice
There is a correlation between basic characteristics of a hypnotic state and key words used throughout the website.
1) Narrowed focus corresponds to:
an artificially narrowed false choice
2) Heightened suggestibility corresponds to:
3) Ideo-dynamic or ideo-sensory reflex response corresponds to:
Sloppy thinking and ingrained systems of belief have some common characteristics to that of a hypnotic state. This is not surprising. Both states deal with non-rational and largely automatic elements within thinking.
Consider the approach to hypnosis as communication with the subconscious mind (Erickson). Well, what are common characteristics of the subconscious mind?
Ernest Rossi and David Cheek list 6 characteristics of unconscious mentation reproduced at the bottom of this page. The first 2 are:
1) Thought processes go on independently at both a conscious level and a more child-like, literal, unconscious level while we are awake. The objective inductive type of thinking is blocked off in serious illness, during fear, and when the individual in unconscious, regardless of the reason for unconsciousness.
2) The unconscious mind puts together associations of thought that are senseless to the conscious mind, and equally senseless identifications of the self with real or imagined unfortunate people.
Unconscious mentation is described as a more child-like, literal type of thinking or as a more "senseless" type of thinking when compared to what is commonly called "conscious mentation".
HYPNOSIS AND HYPNOTIC PHENOMENA
In analysis of the psyche within the tradition of depth psychology and psychoanalysis, access to deeper recesses of mind were considered to occur through dreams and through hypnotic induction.
Carl Jung: "As a matter of history, it was the study of dreams that first enabled psychologists to investigate the unconscious aspect of conscious psychic events."
Early western views of hypnosis incorrectly emphasized the dominant powers of the hypnotist over the hypnotized subject. Natural and spontaneous hypnotic induction was not yet recognized. Below is a brief review of the short history of hynotism within western psychology. Please keep in mind that by today's standards the earliest descriptions are out of date, though highly insightful.
Wikipedia link to Hypnosis
There is no single definition. Different researchers have studied different aspects of the same general phenomenon called "hypnosis". There are at least 4 different ways hypnotism can be described depending on the focus of the researcher. An overview:
1) Act of focussing the conscious mind of the subject upon a single dominant idea. (Braid)
2) The induction of a peculiar psychical [i.e., mental] condition which increases the susceptibility to suggestion (Bernheim)
3) Means of communicating directly with the "unconscious" or "subconscious" mind (Erickson)
4) Ideo-dynamic: Operates by concentrating attention on a single idea in order to amplify the ideo-dynamic or ideo-sensoral reflex response. "Mind-body".
We see the narrowed focus onto a single idea, heightened suggestibility, and an amplification of ideo-dynamic or ideo-sensoral reflex response as central features of a hypnotic state.
1) Narrowed focus
2) Heightened suggestibility
3) Ideo-dynamic or ideo-sensoral reflex response
From the wikipedia description, a short summary of each approach:
1) BRAID: Hypnosis as narrowed focus
"The words hypnosis and hypnotism both derive from the term neuro-hypnotism (nervous sleep) coined by the Scottish surgeon James Braid around 1841. Braid based his practice on that developed by Franz Mesmer and his followers ("Mesmerism" or "animal magnetism"), but differed in his theory as to how the procedure worked.
"When James Braid first described hypnotism, he did not use the term "suggestion" but referred instead to the act of focusing the conscious mind of the subject upon a single dominant idea
. Braid's main therapeutic strategy involved stimulating or reducing physiological functioning in different regions of the body. In his later works, however, Braid placed increasing emphasis upon the use of a variety of different verbal and non-verbal forms of suggestion, including the use of "waking suggestion" and self-hypnosis
. Subsequently, Hippolyte Bernheim shifted the emphasis from the physical state of hypnosis on to the psychological process of verbal suggestion.
2) BERNHEIM: Hypnosis as suggestibility
Bernheim: "I define hypnotism as the induction of a peculiar psychical [i.e., mental] condition which increases the susceptibility to suggestion
. Often, it is true, the [hypnotic] sleep that may be induced facilitates suggestion, but it is not the necessary preliminary. It is suggestion that rules hypnotism
". (Hypnosis & Suggestion, 1884: 15)
Bernheim's conception of the primacy of verbal suggestion in hypnotism dominated the subject throughout the twentieth century, leading some authorities to declare him the father of modern hypnotism (Weitzenhoffer, 2000).
Contrary to a popular misconceptionâ€"that hypnosis is a form of unconsciousness resembling sleepâ€"contemporary research suggests that hypnotic subjects are fully awake and are focusing attention, with a corresponding decrease in their peripheral awareness. Subjects also show an increased response to suggestions
. In the first book on the subject, Neurypnology (1843), Braid described "hypnotism" as a state of physical relaxation accompanied and induced by mental concentration ("abstraction")
." -from wikilink
3) ERICKSON: Hypnosis as communication with unconscious mind
Some hypnotists conceive of suggestions as being a form of communication directed primarily to the subject's conscious mind, whereas others view suggestion as a means of communicating with the "unconscious" or "subconscious" mind. These concepts were introduced into hypnotism at the end of 19th century by Sigmund Freud and Pierre Janet. The original Victorian pioneers of hypnotism, including Braid and Bernheim, did not employ these concepts but considered hypnotic suggestions to be addressed to the subject's conscious mind.
Indeed, Braid actually defines hypnotism as focused (conscious) attention upon a dominant idea (or suggestion). Different views regarding the nature of the mind have led to different conceptions of suggestion. Hypnotists who believed that responses are mediated primarily by an "unconscious mind", like Milton Erickson, made more use of indirect suggestions, such as metaphors or stories, whose intended meaning may be concealed from the subject's conscious mind. The concept of subliminal suggestion also depends upon this view of the mind
. By contrast, hypnotists who believed that responses to suggestion are primarily mediated by the conscious mind, such as Theodore Barber and Nicholas Spanos tended to make more use of direct verbal suggestions and instructions
." =from wikilink
4) Hypnosis as ideo-dynamic reflex
Main article: ideo motor response
"The first neuropsychological theory of hypnotic suggestion was introduced early on by James Braid who adopted his friend and colleague William Carpenter's theory of the ideo-motor reflex response to account for the phenomenon of hypnotism. Carpenter had observed from close examination of everyday experience that under certain circumstances the mere idea of a muscular movement could be sufficient to produce a reflexive, or automatic, contraction or movement of the muscles involved, albeit in a very small degree. Braid extended Carpenter's theory to encompass the observation that a wide variety of bodily responses, other than muscular movement, can be thus affected, e.g., the idea of sucking a lemon can automatically stimulate salivation, a secretory response. Braid therefore adopted the term "ideo-dynamic", meaning "by the power of an idea" to explain a broad range of "psycho-physiological" (mind-body) phenomena
. Braid coined the term "mono-ideodynamic" to refer to the theory that hypnotism operates by concentrating attention on a single idea in order to amplify the ideo-dynamic reflex response. Variations of the basic ideo-motor or ideo-dynamic theory of suggestion have continued to hold considerable influence over subsequent theories of hypnosis, including those of Clark L. Hull, Hans Eysenck, and Ernest Rossi. It should be noted that in Victorian psychology, the word "idea" encompasses any mental representation, e.g., including mental imagery, or memories
, etc." -from wikilink
The early views given by Mesmer, Braid and Burkheim are quite antiquated relative to the more advanced notion of hypnosis given by Rossi and Cheek below:
Passive vs Active Approach to Hypnosis
"A psychobiological approach to mind-body therapy is in striking contrast to traditional hypnotic theory, which is based on the idea that suggestion, influence communication, and overt and covert conditioning were the fundamental mechanisms of cure. In this traditional view the patient's mind, in essence, was to be programmed by the more powerful and superior information and will coming from the therapist as the healing agent. This view has given rise to generations of highly directive "hypnotists" who were supposed to be dominant and charismatic in leading the inadequate patient into health (Milne, 1986). This misleading traditional view has tended to alienate the most knowledgable scientists and the more sensitive therapists from the entire field of hypnotherapy. It has earned the suspicion of society in general and the derision of the media in particular.
Even today the misguided traditional view is responsible for perpetuating the debilitating myth of "the usefulness of suggestion in therapy". Ever enthusiastic young therapists invariably make an initial exploration of the "fascinating field of hypnosis," only to abandon it ignominiously after a short period because they found that "suggestion" did not work the "magic" it was supposed to work. Somehow, they believe that they just were not able to get patients into a "trance," which was supposed to function as a sort of "vulnerable blank slate" on which the words of the therapist were to be imprinted to effect a cure.
The truth, however, is that such a blank slate does not usually exist in typical hypnoptherapeutic work; the therapist's words do not effect cure by being accepted and followed in an automaton-like manner by the susceptible patient. To the contrary, the true therapeutic potential of the patient can be found in that ever active and eager part of the inner mind that, like a creative child, is still flexible enough to receive, explore, and develop a few generative cues and guidelines that are offered by the therapist. When the therapist focuses his efforts not on his own power and prestige but on his skill in facilitating the patient's own inner resources ideodynamically, then, with surprising efficacy, cure and problem-solving manifest themselves as a natural healing process.
STATE-DEPENDENT MEMORY, LEARNING AND BEHAVIOR THEORY (SDMLB)
The contemporary research cited on state dependent memory, learning and behavior (SDMLB) can aid in understanding the common causes behind many types of neurosis, post traumatic stress disorder, state-dependent memory, amnesia and hypnotic suggestibility.
TWO METHODS (MECHANISMS) OF NEURO-TRANSMISSION: CLASSIC NEURO-TRANSMITTERS AND NEUROMODULATION THROUGH INFORMATION SUBSTANCES (IS)
In classic neuro-transmission, it is said that nerve nodes or synapses are connected via neuro-transmitters.
A newer view is based on "information substance receptor systems
" which allow for parasynaptic cellular modulation via neuromodulators through chemicals that become active within the extra cellular fluid activate neural networks. This fluid makes up about 20 % of brain volume. Memory imprinting is said to be state-dependent and memory can remain locked away and inaccessible from other states
. This means that memory encoded in a state of heightened fear, for example, will not necessarily be accessible when the fear goes away.
The history of state-dependent memory, learning and behavior theory
"Recent experimental research on the neurobiology of learning and memory is accumulating the clearest evidence for the highly significant role of epinephrine in the state-dependent and statebound phenomena that occur in human behavior. The first explicit statement regarding the "endogenous state-dependency hypothesis based upon rigorous experimental data was made by Zornetzer in 1978 (p. 646):
In normal memory formulation, the specific pattern of arousal present in the brain at the time of training may become an integral component of stored information. The neural representation of this specific pattern of arousal might depend on the pattern of activity generated by brainstem acetylcholine, calecholamine, and seritonin systems. It is the idiosyncratic and unique patterned brain state, present at the time of memory formulation, that might need to be reproduced, or at least approximated, at the time of retrieval in order for the stored information to be elaborated.
" -Rossi, Cheek
The first psychobiological basis of mind-body therapy by Rossi (1986d, p. 55):
State-dependent memory, learning, and behavior processes encoded in the limbic-hypothalamic and closely related systems are the major information transducers between mind and body. All methods of mind-body healing and therapeutic hypnosis operate by accessing and reframing the state-dependent memory and learning systems that encode symptoms and problems.
The idea of how excited hormonal states can lock memory in a way that is inaccessible in a normal unexcited state revolutionizes the way that neurosis and many psychological and psychosomatic problems are understood and "healed".
State-based memory helps explain many psychological phenomena including post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), neurosis and the amnesia surrounding the cause, memory imprinting in animals, and how dream can allow access to memories inaccessible in a normal waking state.
A synthesis of the work of the following researchers led to a theory of state-based memory and how memory repression is connected with altered hormonal states.
Milton Erickson: Their teacher and researcher in state-dependent theraputic hypnosis.
Francis Schmitt: Information substances in the molecular regulation of brain function
Candace Pert: Research on neuropeptides and their receptors as a pychosomatic network
Erik Kendell: Genetic molecular basis of memory and learning
Gerald Edelman: Neural Darwinism in learning
Leslie LeCron: Ideodynamic signaling in clinical hypnosis
How does State dependent learning and memory compare to classical (Pavlovian) and operant (Skinnerian) conditioning?
Types of Learning
"Although state dependent memory, learning, and behavior (SDMLB) has been investigated in well-controlled research for the past 40 years, most clinicians are less familiar with it than with the classical types of learning, such as Pavlovian and Skinnerian operant conditioning. At the present time, most researchers still regard SDMLB as an exotic and highly specialized form of learning that is a minor variant of the classical types. A little reflection, however, will indicate that the reverse better fits the facts. SDMLB is the broader, more generic form of learning that takes place in all complex organisms that have a cerebral cortex and limbic-hypothalamic system modulating the expression of Pavlovian and Skinnerian conditioning. Humans in particular do not always and forever react in a rigid stimulus-response manner to behavioral conditioning. The current perspective in psychobiological research reviewed in section I suggests it is information substances (hormones and messenger molecules of parasynaptic cellular modulation) that are responsible for the flexible encoding of Pavlovian and Skinnerian conditioning, and which provide the flexibility characteristics of state dependent human memory and learning."
People are sometimes familiar with two types of learning called "classical conditioning" and "operant" or "Skinnerian" conditioning. Here is a complete list of types of learning according to current western psychology:
It has been found that "information substances" affect every kind of learning
4) Classical conditioning (Pavlovian)
5) Operant conditioning (Skinnerian)
6) Avoidance learning
7) Circadian memory and learning
8) Social learning
. All classical types of memory and learning become state-dependent when modulated by information substances (special chemicals and hormones). In other words, learning and memory are state dependent.
Many readers are familiar with these information substances called "endorphines". The reader is familiar with how morphine and opiates are used to to alter nerve and cellular communication. I am sure all readers are personally familiar with testosterone. Epinephrine is another information substance. Cheek and Rossi also list "psychoactive drugs that trigger natural information substance (IS) receptor systems". Likewise various hormones and peptides can trigger IS receptor systems.
How was this new research originally received?
This is what Rossi and Cheek wrote (1994):
"Most well trained current day clinicians and therapists that have been out of school for more than 10 years do not understand how far reaching integration between mind and molecule is supported by current scientific data".
Here they describe the latest mental barriers they see to their research:
PSYCHE AND SOMA
" Such is the power of two philosophical ideas that seem to have double-binded most of us into disbelieving the validity and value of our subjective experiences of mind-body integration and healing:
1) The Cartesian dualism that maintains that there is a gap between mind and body that cannot be bridged scientifically
2) The crudely reductionist form of Occam's Razor which maintains that the subjective experience of mind is a mere epiphenomenon of physical processes and therefore can have no potency in facilitating mind-body healing.
One notable exception to this general malaise of double-binded disbelief can be found in the views of Candace Pert, Chief of Brain Biochemistry in the Clinical Neuroscience Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Pert played a major role in the discovery of the opiate receptor (Pert & Snyder, 1973a,b), which was responsible for the initiating of the current "receptor revolution" in medicine. She has continually emphasized the implications of her work as a new approach to the integrated understanding of mind and behavior."
Within mind-body ideodynamic hypnotherapy, 3 levels of the mind-gene-molecular cybernetic network for information transduction are hypothesized:
1) The mind-brain connection
2) The brain-body connection
3) The cell-gene connection
A DESCRIPTION OF "MIND" FOR SCIENTIFIC PURPOSES
"The Mind-Brain Connection:
How are the mind and brain related? We all know that this question has been the subject of philosophical debate for centuries and probably will continue for many more centuries on the phenomenological and philosophical level. On practical, empirical, and therapeutic levels, however, we can already outline the mind-brain relationship in a useful manner.
Let us not attempt to define mind itself. Rather, let us simply agree that many modalities or languages by which mind is expressed are easily recognizable. Who would not agree that words, imagery, sensations, perceptions, emotions, thinking, memory, and learning are all expressions of mind and its "information"? We can measure the information of all these languages of mind and study their relationships with each other and with the physical brain."
"We know, for example, that many of the sensory-percepual languages of the mind (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic information, ect.) are encoded like a map over the cortex of the brain (Pribram, 1971, 1986). Further, we know that all these languages of human experience can be transduced or transformed into one another via the "cross-modal association areas" of the limbic system (Mishkin, 1982; Mishkin & Petri, 1984). This means, for example, that I can visually imagine a scene and convert (transduce) it into words. A talented artist might even make musical sounds or movements to express visual experience. That is, the creative artist is one who can transduce the mind's visual or verbal language into the auditory and kinesthetic languages of music and dance."
The "mind", according to this description, is taken as the activity or modes of language observed by anyone watching the activities of their own mind.
Mind is just what is witnessed personally by anyone with themselves. How can "mind" be defined as an objective "thing" if it is nothing more than each of our own personal perceptions of "within"? Mind and the activities of mind are known only through direct personal perception (the "world within").
Mind and particle can never be defined in a similar way, as a list of observable and measurable attributes.
Mind is a direct and purely subjective perception, it being impossible for me to directly observe the action of anyone elses or visa versa. Rossi must
treat it as a purely subjective direct perception and wisely phrases his best description of mind as highlighted in bold.
A DESCRIPTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS FOR SCIENTIFIC PURPOSES
""Consciousness" is another of those phenomenological concepts like "mind" or "psyche" that cannot be defined completely, once and for all. Our ways of comprehending these terms continue to change and evolve as our live experience expands to provide for richer contexts for understanding them. For the purposes of this volume ... we could define consciousness as a process of self-reflective information transduction (Rossi, 1986d). Self-reflection involves processes of recursive information transduction between different modalities or languages of mind (von Foerster, 1984). This suggests that we can conceptualize our methods of ideodynamic healing as recursively facilitating the evolution of insight and the creation of new meaning as we access and reframe the experiential sources of psychological problems."
"CHARACTERISTICS OF UNCONSCIOUS MENTATION
1) Thought processes go on independently at both a conscious level and a more child-like, literal, unconscious level while we are awake
. The objective inductive type of thinking is blocked off in serious illness, during fear, and when the individual in unconscious, regardless of the reason for unconsciousness. A remark such as, "Don't worry about this operation, Mrs. Jones, it will all be over
in an hour-and-a-half," may be understood as thoughtful and reassuring by the conscious mind. The unconscious mind , however, may be horrified by the concept of sudden death in 90 minutes after the surgery!
2) The unconscious mind puts together associations of thought that are senseless to the conscious mind, and equally senseless identifications of the self with real or imagined unfortunate people
. A child who may have displayed a normal amount of hatred toward a parent after an unfair punishment may suffer untold agonies of guilt of a severe illness or accidental death of the parent occurs soon after the episode. This unconscious feeling of guilt may become dangerously activated on the eve of surgery. The contributing factor to this danger lies in the fact that any conscious glimmer of understanding of the feeling is immediately discarded as being ridiculous. The unconscious mind decides, "I killed my father. I wished he would die that time when he was mean. He died. I deserve to die."
3) Reassurance as it is usually given by physicians and relatives is often worse than useless. It may be accepted as a conscious level but completely rejected at an unconscious level
. Often, disturbing secondary questions are aroused such as, "I wonder why he said, 'This operation carries practically
no risk'?Could it be that he is really worrying about me?
4) Indirect assurance by implication (Erickson, Rossi, & Rossi, 1976), on the other hand, is almost always accepted at an unconscious level, and this is the strongest weapon the anesthesiologist has against potentially dangerous fears
. Most anesthesiologists seem to sense this fact, and will talk calmly about the preparation for anesthesia, and also about what the patient is to do when he awakens. This is accepted as meaning that all will be well and that there sill be a postoperative survival. But a common error of anesthesiologists seems to be based on the uncritical belief that a patient's hearing sense is necessarily discontinued when the patient has become seemingly unconscious with an anesthetic. Manipulations without explanation after induction of anesthesia can be frightening and dangerous for reasons to be mentioned. Dohan, Taylor, and Moss (1960) have shown a very high percentage of correlation between performance of patients and what they have been told by their surgeons about the number of days they will be in the hospital and when they will be able to work again. The same avenue for constructive suggestion is open to the anesthesiologist during preparations of the patient, during induction of anesthesia, and during the surgical phase of the anesthesia, as Wolfe and Millet (1960) have demonstrated by helping 50% of 1,500 surgical patients get through their postoperative period without medication for pain. Hutchings (1961) found 13 of 88 major abdominal cases required no medication, and 19 required less than 50 mg. of Demerol; Pearson (1961) had had similar results.
The anesthesiologist can mitigate the possible damage of careless conversation of the surgeon and assistants by explaining the intended meaning to the patient or by directing the patient's unconscious attention to constructive, acceptable instructions in a louder voice in order to channel all auditory awareness toward what is being said.
5) Hypnosis may occur spontaneously in the presence of fear, sensory or postural disorientation, and in loss of consciousness. It has been established that hybernating mammals and those assuming a reflex pseudo-death for camouflage in time of danger (for example, and opposum) are able to retain auditory capacity after they have lost all perception for pain and all muscular reflexes
. On the basis of comparative zoological behavior characteristics, and from the associations of ideas in the subjective reactions of patients during the hypnotic interview, it can be concluded that anesthetized and traumatically unconscious human beings may be considered hypnotized (Cheek, 1960a).
6) The unconscious mind is able to perceive pain without necessarily passing that awareness along to the conscious part of the mind
. The physiological manifestations of inflammation associated with trauma or infection may be mediated by unconscious awareness of pain. Hyperemia, edema, and muscle guarding may occur so long as the unconscious mind knows that trauma is being produced, regardless of whether or not there is conscious pain."
Created on 07/03/2012 08:17 PM by admin
Updated on 05/26/2014 07:16 AM by admin