Did you know that some researchers argue that the degree of dissociation is the same as the degree of hypnosis. They say that hypnosis is no more than dissociation. Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not a state of deep sleep, but an induction of a trance like condition where the patient is actually in a heightened state of awareness. It is an altered state of consciousness, where the conscious mind is suppressed to reveal the subconscious underneath. Since the subconscious mind is a deeper seated, more instinctive force than the conscious mind, this is the part which has to change for the patient’s behaviour and physical state to alter. Hypnosis has been clinically proven to provide medical and therapeutic benefits, most notably a reduction in pain and anxiety.
According to the Hilgards neodissociation theory of hypnosis, people in an hypnotic state experience a split consciousness in which there are two different streams of mental activity. While one stream of consciousness responds to the hypnotists suggestions, another dissociated stream processes information outside the hypnotized individuals conscious awareness, acting as the ‘hidden observer’. It is this ‘splitting’ that enables the hypnotists suggestions to enter directly into the patients subconscious, bypassing and inhibiting the conscious mind, thereby enabling new beliefs to be firmly established. These suggestions can help people to make positive and lasting changes within themselves.
But can such changes be achieved, equally as well through a daily meditation practice such as mindfulness for example? The evidence suggests that it has the same therapeutic benefits as hypnosis, but requires more self involvement and discipline. For it to be effective, it needs to be practised daily and indefinitely. However, it is free and can be practised anywhere.
Whether we choose meditation or hypnosis, either way it is a choice of self empowerment. People who dissociate have generally forgotten that they have a choice.