Tag Archives: Misconceptions

LGBT in Malaysia

Everyone has been talking about the change of government since the GE14 in May. Yet my blog seems so cold about this whole shift as if I don’t care, because I have not mentioned it at all so far, but this does not represent how I personally feel about it.

This morning I heard on the 89.9 BFM regarding LGBT in Malaysia. Some were hoping that with the new government, “something” can be done for this minority group. Today I’m not commenting on the Sharia (Islamic) law or how pervasive the discrimination towards LGBT is in Malaysia, I’m writing this as a psychotherapist who works in private psychiatric clinics and private hospitals. I do not represent one or any of them.

In the year of 2007, statistics showed 8% of the Malaysia population thought that homosexuality should be accepted, while in 2013 there was 9%. One of the lowest rates of acceptance in the world.

I’m pleased to see some of them appearing on the newspaper and in the public sharing their stories occasionally. But those were just a very small percentage of the people. From time to time, the clinic and myself received phone calls and emails from people suffering from them. They do not contact us because of mental distress, they get in touch because they want us to “change them back to normal.” They do not want themselves to be like this.

Yes you can set up any law to control their appearance in the media or even in the public. You can also stop them from entering your country. You can prosecute them for cross-dressing and other behaviour. Your law enforcers can also assault and humiliate them however they like it without getting into any trouble. etc. etc.

You can pretend that you don’t see them and disallow them to appear anywhere you don’t want them to be seen, but they don’t just disappear. They suffer. They continue to suffer. In silence. They seek help from private services like us. They avoid the general or government hospitals. Many of them even never speak to their family members about it. They do their best to hide it.

No I’m sorry I can’t change them back to normal. Because who is there to decide what is normal and what isn’t. Not me. Not you either. I can help them though, with all the anxiety and depression that stem from the discrimination and problems in their everyday lives.

So I’m really hoping that whatever laws and regulation the new government may come up with, consider each of these unique individuals, how the interests of the public and theirs can be served, and how can there be less suffering for all. And for the public, I’d really like to urge everyone to be more open, you don’t have to accept them or like them or befriend them, but just bring an open heart and mind, and see what happens.


Related read: Can we help with Sexual Orientation “Issues”?




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)。


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。

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.



  • 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暗示。
  • 所谓的催眠“恍惚状态”(trance),是一种对正面暗示(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暗示,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。
  • 催眠暗示(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(“暗示” “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)


  • 成千上万的催眠实验和临床研究已被发表。它从1950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。


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