Category Archives: Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy

催眠是怎样的一种状态?

催眠究竟是怎样的一种状态?和平时的“状态”比起来,有什么不同?它是特殊的一种状态吗?

我们该如何测量这个“状态”?即,如何知道一个人已经“进入状态”中?当他感到放松的时候?当他对催眠的暗示产生反应的时候?当脑电波出现特定变化时?

其实很多人和我一样,一开始接触催眠,都觉得它神奇与充满魔力,也觉得催眠一定就是一种“特殊状态”。我想我比大多数人有幸吧… 去学了比较基于科学研究的催眠疗法,明白了催眠的本质。(还真的应该谢谢朋友佩雯,是她找到了英国催眠学院,和我一起报读 --虽然最后她并没有完成…)。

所以今天,我要从一个科学的角度、一个循证、基于实验与临床研究的角度,说说“催眠状态”。而这可能会让你相当失望,因为从脑部扫描来看,找不到被催眠者有什么特殊的脑部状态或所谓的“恍惚状态” (trance),它和平时一样,只是会因为暗示(suggestion)的不同,而出现不同的脑电波,比如放松的暗示产生特定的脑电波,但催眠并不是放松!在激烈运动的情况下,人们也还是可以被催眠的。或者你看看舞台催眠表演,当一个高暗示感受性的人接受暗示想象自己是一个5岁的小孩的时候,他表现出来的,也不是放松--而这并不代表他不在催眠“状态”中。

上课实际操作的时候,很多学员会很担心和他们的来访者在催眠过程中沟通,担心这会影响他们的“催眠状态”。但其实,催眠过程中,被催眠者是可以说话,可以描述他们想象的画面,可以回答问题,可以…. 而不影响他们的。

而催眠之父James Braid 把催眠定义成“单一预期主导主意或画面的集中注意力” (“focused attention upon an expectant dominant idea or image”)。没有提起任何特殊状态。确实,催眠本来就是暗示的一门科学与艺术,而不是诱发任何“恍惚状态”或特殊的意识状态。后来许多研究学家发现,任何可以在催眠中进行的事,都可以在催眠外进行(也就是平时的情况下,或只告诉他们这是关于想象的练习、或一些需要完成的任务),虽然在一些情况中没有催眠的效果可能稍微低一些。

所以从社会心理学家的角度,催眠的行为最基本的目标,在于表现得像一个被催眠者,而这是不断地被执行者定义同时不断地被来访者理解的(White, 1941)。

简单来说,被催眠,就是“扮得像自己被催眠一样”,所以你怎么理解催眠,催眠就是什么!如果你相信催眠就是放松,你就会产生相应的反应;你相信催眠会令你失忆,你就可能失忆;如果你相信它可以帮助你减缓疼痛,它就可以……

好,那如果催眠不是什么特殊状态(尤其提倡催眠是特殊状态的人,记得问他们证据在哪里),那我们怎么知道一个人是否被催眠了呢?答案就在于暗示感受性(suggestibility),即,这个人对暗示产生多大的反应。这其实是相当明显的答案,在催眠里如果你没有对暗示产生反应,那管你什么特殊状态,也没有意义。而每个人天生的暗示感受性虽然不同,但这却是可以被训练提升的(催眠技巧训练其中最为进行大量研究的是 Spanos 的 Carleton skills training programme, CSTP)。

所以到头来,催眠的过程,就决定于被试者的态度(积极,消极,被动?)和动机意愿、还有他们对于催眠的理解(被催眠者应该扮演什么角色?)。它并不是什么特殊状态,但很多时候,把普通的一个过程贴上“催眠”的标签,却可以带来更显著的效果(有此好处,why not?)。

N.B. 本文参考 Donald Robertson 的 The Practice of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy 一书。作者乃是英国催眠与催眠治疗学院的创始人,也是我的导师。

Self-Hypnosis & De-Hypnosis

催眠 (hypnosis) 与去催眠化 (dehypnosis)

开始前,先说说关于英文 “dehypnosis” 这个字的翻译,让我纠结了好一下的一个词。面对广大群众,其实我会偏好"反催眠"(听起来比较酷?!),但却也因为"反",它带有误导性,感觉像是抵抗被催眠,阻止人家给你催眠,阻止自己接受催眠师的任何暗示*?所以我还是选了"去催眠化"。

所谓催眠,就是集中注意力,去关注一个"单一"的想法(或主意,画面,感觉等),比如提升自信的想法,在演讲过程中轻松自在的表现的想法,看见巧克力的时候可以抵抗把它放进嘴巴的画面,把疼痛想象成柔和的颜色逐渐消失散去的画面,看见心爱的女神可以坦然自信的画面等等。在这过程中,你全神关注。

所以每一天,我们都在给自己催眠而不自知。比如驾车回家途中,想起今早会议的情况;洗澡的时候,想起刚刚和老婆吵架的画面;并久久沉浸在这些画面里。你被自己[短暂的]催眠了。

那怎么个"去催眠"呢?简单来说,就是认知行为疗法(CBT)里的认知解离/认知距离化(cognitive defusion, cognitive distancing)。注意到自己沉浸在这些想法里了,注意"这些想法就只是想法,它不是事实!"让自己走出来,反催眠自己(看吧,"反催眠"是比较适用的)。这也是我最爱的接受与承诺疗法(ACT)的提倡之一--改变自己和想法的关系,而不是改变想法本身(因为为了改变一个想法,你可能更关注它,更沉浸纠结其中,最后更痛苦!)。

大多时候,我们的目标,是多给自己催眠于自信、积极、正面的想法**,去催眠自己消极,负面的部分,这包括回忆痛苦的过去,和对未来的担心和焦虑,让自己可以真正的活在当下!

*如果你想问,那怎么做到"抵抗被催眠,阻止人家给你催眠,阻止自己接受催眠师的任何暗示"?那还不简单,人家说的话,你都别相信,他要你干嘛,你偏不干嘛,那他怎么能给你催眠?

**当然首先必须能够解离认知,而且不过于沉溺于正面积极的情绪(毕竟正面或负面,它都是生活的一部分,都让我们的生命更完整)

N.B. 配合8月我会到北京参加心理学家大会,用中文写了这篇"催眠与去催眠化",非常非常基本的概念,往后会深入写些实用技巧。

介紹書<實用催眠自助手冊>

去年九月在台灣研究和了解當地的催眠時選下了這本書(作者是中國人,目前在上海作心理諮商),台幣300, 忘了有沒有折扣。當時只是抱著學習一些催眠術語和”看看別人怎麼用中文催眠”,才買下這本書。

作者蔡丹妮

作者蔡丹妮

寫的非常簡潔,主要是值得提倡的自我催眠(self-hypnosis),對外行來說應該不太難懂,可惜卻不能做入門的書,因為完成沒有最基本的解除催眠的謎思與誤解(myths and misconception),對我而言這是再基本不過的(比如應該要有類似這樣的東西,讓讀者進行自我催眠前多瞭解催眠)。另外,因為我買下這本書是為了學習中文術語,所以也特別注重作者對這些字詞的翻譯(作者執業前在美國深造),不難發現很多詞的翻譯不太准確,前後不一。最後就是作者可能和我一樣,”意見比較多”(哈哈),在這麼小的一本書,有些部份一大段的在分享個人的想法和意見,讀起來實在有失專業… 總結來說對外行和內行都不是太實用,市場上也會有更適合的相關書。

Client Factsheet: Hypnotherapy / 客户须知:催眠治疗

The more you understand hypnotherapy, the more effective it is likely to be.  If there are any points below which you don’t agree with, or don’t understand, please discuss them with your therapist.

  • Hypnosis is a special way of using various naturally-occurring psychological and physiological states.  It’s a collaborative process in which you allow yourself to follow the guidance of the therapist by using your imagination to evoke positive emotions and rehearse behaviour change.
  • Everyone can, in principle, be hypnotised.  It has been shown to help if you relax, think positively, and imagine the things being suggested.
  • Hypnotic “trance”, so-called, is an increased ability to respond to positive suggestions, usually accompanied simply by relaxed attention to the ideas being suggested.
  • Hypnosis is definitely not a state of sleep or unconsciousness.  Roughly 90% of people report being aware of everything that happens, and relaxation helps but is not essential to hypnosis.
  • Hypnosis is definitely not a state of mind control.  You cannot be made to do anything against your will.  On the contrary, normally you must want to accept suggested ideas and actively imagine responding to experience their effects.
  • Hypnosis is completely safe when used in a responsible and professional manner.  Nobody has ever been “stuck” in hypnosis.
  • Comedy stage hypnosis has very little to do with clinical hypnotherapy and has been shown to foster misconceptions which can prevent people from benefiting from treatment.  Take what you see on television with a generous pinch of salt.
  • Hypnotic suggestion is a means of experiencing certain helpful ideas at a level profound enough to directly influence our emotions and behaviour.
  • Psychological and emotional problems can be seen as the result of negative thinking, whereas hypnotherapy aims to encourage (“suggest”) positive ideas which lead to improvement.
  • Hypnotherapy, except for smoking cessation, usually requires more than one session.  However, it is probably one of the briefest forms of psychological therapy, and in clinical studies the average number of sessions is around 4-6.
  • Hypnosis can help with an enormous range of different issues.  Research tends to provide most support for its use in,

1. Anxiety management.
2. Pain management.
3. Overcoming sleep disorders
4. Treating certain psychosomatic or stress-related illnesses.

However, hypnosis is also used to conquer habits such as nail-biting or smoking cigarettes, and for personal development in areas such as sports performance, public speaking, or creativity.

  • Thousands of positive experimental and clinical research studies on hypnosis have been published.  It was recognised as an effective treatment by the British Medical Association (BMA) and American Medical Association (AMA) in the 1950s and, more recently, by the American Psychological Association (for obesity) and NICE guidance (for IBS) used by the NHS.
  • Hypnosis is essentially a simple, down-to-earth, and common sense therapy.  For example, by relaxing, thinking positively, and picturing your goals, hypnosis can help you to progressively improve your habitual feelings and behaviour.

 

你越了解催眠治疗,它就越可能有效。如果以下有任何一点是你不同意或不明白的,请跟治疗师讨论。

  • 催眠是一种应用各种自然发生的心理和生理状态(naturally-occurring psychological and physiological states)的特殊方式。这是一个你与治疗师合作的过程 -你允许自己遵循治疗师的指导,使用想象力来唤起积极正面的情绪,并练习行为的改变。
  • 原则上,每个人都可以被催眠。它带来的好处已被验证,只要你放松,积极思考,并想象治疗师所说的建议。
  • 所谓的催眠“恍惚状态”(trance),是一种对正面建议(positive suggestion)产生反应能力的增强,通常简单地伴随着对催眠建议的松散注意力(relaxed attention)。
  • 催眠绝对不是睡眠或昏迷状态。大致上90%的人都表示对过程里所发生的一切有意识;放松对催眠有帮助,但不是必须的。
  • 催眠绝对不是精神或思维的控制(mind control)。你不能被逼着做违背自己意愿的事。相反地,通常你必须愿意接受那些催眠建议,积极地想象对这些体验产生的反应。
  • 在负责任和专业的使用下,催眠是完全安全的。从来没有人”被卡在催眠里出不来”。
  • 舞台催眠表演和临床催眠治疗没有什么直接的关系,舞台催眠表演已被证明是加深人们对催眠治疗的误解,妨碍了人们受益于催眠治疗。对于你在电视上看到的,要有所保留别尽信。
  • 催眠建议(Hypnotic suggestion)是一种对有益想法的深刻体验,并使这些想法对我们的情绪和行为产生正面影响的一种方式。
  • 心理和情绪上的问题可以被看作是消极负面思维的结果,而催眠治疗的目的就是鼓励(“建议” “suggest”)正面积极的思维,从而得到改善。
  • 除了戒烟课程,催眠治疗通常需要多于一次的疗程。然而,它很可能是最短形式的心理治疗之一,在临床研究显示平均疗程大约是4-6次。
  • 催眠对一系列不同的问题都有帮助。研究倾向于显示对下列治疗最有帮助 –

1.焦虑管理 (Anxiety management)

2.疼痛管理 (Pain management)

3.克服睡眠障碍 (Overcoming sleep disorders)

4.治疗一些身心或压力相关的疾病 (psychosomatic or stress-related illnesses)

然而,催眠也可以用来征服坏习惯,如咬指甲或吸烟,以及用在自我进步或个人发展领域中,诸如运动能力,公开演讲,或创意表现。

  • 成千上万的催眠实验和临床研究已被发表。它从50年代开始就被英国医学协会(British Medical Association)和美国医学协会(American Medical Association)确认为一种有效的治疗,在近期也受美国心理学协会(American Psychological Association, 针对肥胖)和英国NHS的NICE指南(针对IBS 大腸激躁症)所认可 。
  • 催眠本质上是一种简单的治疗。例如,通过放松,积极思考,想象你的目标,催眠可以帮助你逐步改善你平时改变不了的情绪和行为问题。

References

AMA         (1958).  ‘Council on Mental Health: Medical use of Hypnosis’, JAMA, Sep 13, 1958: 186-189.

BMA         (1955).  ‘Medical use of Hypnotism: Report of a Subcommittee appointed by the Psychological Medicine Group Committee of the British Medical Association’, Supplement to the BMJ April 23, 1955: 190-193, Appendix X.

BPS.        (2001).  The Nature of Hypnosis.  Leicester: BPS.

APA         (1997), Update on Empirically Validated Treatments, The Clinical Psychologist, 1997

Is hypnosis for me?

Is hypnosis/hypnotherapy for me?

Try these!

Exercise 1 – Postural Suggestion:

  1. Stretch both of your arms in front of you at shoulder level, palms facing up. With eyes closed, imagine a pile of books being stacked on your right palm.
  2. Imagine a couple more books, and then a couple more books being stacked on top of those books on your right palm. Feel the strain in your arm as it gets heavier and heavier, heavier and heavier.
  3. Now imagine a huge balloon filled with helium has been tied to your left wrist and is tugging it up into the air ….higher and higher ….higher and higher.
  4. Open your eyes and notice where your arms are relative to each other.

Exercise 2 – Postural Sway:

  1. Stand up with your eyes closed and imagine holding a big heavy suitcase in your left hand.
  2. Imagine bigger and bigger suitcases weighting down your left side, pulling you over.
  3. After 2 or 3 minutes, open your eyes and notice any changes in your posture.

Make sure you read the instructions clearly, then only you close your eyes and try them.

Most people who try these two exercises notice that their bodies/arms move at least a little in response to these suggestions (Exercise 1 works particularly well for me). If you don’t notice any movement, practice the exercises a few more times. If you still don’t notice even the slightest amount of movement, hypnosis may not be for you!

Also, some contraindications of hypnosis include people who are disorientated due to organic brain syndrome or psychosis, people who are severely mentally retarded, and people who are paranoid or hypervigilant. So these people shouldn’t be performing self-hypnosis or being hypnotised.

Where to find Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy in Malaysia?

I’ve come across this question three days in a row, of people asking for hynotherapist in Klang Valley or Kuala Lumpur or Malaysia.

All the while I never really mentioned to people that I’ve a diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (accredited by the UK College of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy), especially ever since I came back from the UK. I thought the Malaysians would hold so many misconceptions about hypnosis that if I were to tell people about this qualification of mine, people were going to be worried what I was going to do to them! (Make them give me all their savings?!)

But these people that I spoke to kind of change what I thought, although some of their beliefs of what hypnosis can do are still not quite true or slightly exaggerated (based on my training background of evidence-based cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy & clinical psychology).

Here I’d like to introduce a few basic introductory (text) books to self-hypnosis, mainly cognitive behavioural based and empirically supported, you can learn more about them and perhaps try to practise them at home, do let me know if you have come up with any problems or obstacles. Not that I’ll definitely be able to answer all your questions BUT I do know a number of therapists in the UK who use hypnosis to help people in their own private clinics.

Books: 

Alladin, A. (2008). Cognitive Hypnotherapy: An Integrated Approach to the Treatment of Emotional Disorders.

Heap, M. & Aravind, K. (2002). Hartland’s Medical & Dental Hypnosis (4th ed.)

Lynn, S. J. & Kirsch, I. (2005). Essentials of Clinical Hypnosis: An Evidence-based Approach (Dissociation, Trauma, Memory, and Hypnosis Book Series)

Robertson, D. (2012). The Practice of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy: A Manual of Evidence based Clinical Hypnosis.

Straus, R. A. (1982). Strategic Self-Hypnosis.

(The Alladin’s and Lynn & Kirsch’s text books are easy to understand, especially when you have some backgrounds in psychology or practicing self-help; The Robertson’s book is the most extensive resources on CBH you can ever find!)

Websites:

A wide range of resources about what hypnotherapy can do, a private clinic in South Manchester: Manchester Hypnotherapy & Counselling

N.B. If you do come across any hypnotherapist in Malaysia please do share it here!