CAHSS Faculty Articles

Department

Department of Family Therapy

Publication Date

6-1-2007

Publication Title

Family Therapy Magazine

Volume

7

Issue/No.

4

First Page

14

Last Page

23

Abstract

Hypnosis is nothing if not confounding. Experts strongly disagree about what it is (an altered state? focused relaxation? a set of procedures?); researchers and clinicians differ dramatically in how they induce it; and whereas clinicians are able to employ it to hasten clients’ physical healing and bring them significant relief from pain, depression, and anxiety, stage hypnotists are equally adept at exploiting both it and their audience for the sake of cheap and easy laughs. Not surprising, then, that even the word itself is misleading. Coined by James Braid in the 1840s, hypnosis comes from the Greek hupnos, sleep, but brainwave research confirms that people experiencing the phenomenon are decidedly not dozing. Add to this the assumption of many family therapists that a tool for working intra-personally is likely to have limited relevance for professionals who more commonly attend to what’s going on inter-personally, and you’d be justified in wondering how the editors of this magazine got the idea to devote a whole issue to the topic.

Peer Reviewed

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