By Todd I Stark

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There is nothing that we can do under hypnosis that we cannot do under other conditions. A long series of laboratory experiments by T.X. Barber and olleagues compared a wide variety of abilities under hypnosis with abilities under conditions of non-hypnotic motivational instructions. Similar xperiments since then have all confirmed his results. Any differences found between our abilities under hypnosis and our abilities when motivated without hypnosis are extremely subtle. There does not seem to be very much that is unique about the hypnotic induction, although it is a very convenient way to reate the desired effects in some people.

The thing that is unique to hypnosis is not so much what we are able to do, but the experience we have while doing it. While there are other conditions under which we have similar experiences, few can be controlled and maintained as easily as hypnosis.

The point about hypnosis is that, at least for some people, it provides a_ reliable way of making use of our normal capacities in a more controlled way. Hypnosis does not provide any special abilities. It provides a cooperative etting for experiencing things in response to suggestion that we experience spontaneously under other conditions.

On the other hand, the simple capacity to make use of various normal abilities t will can be of extraordinary usefulness. For example, we have a natural bility to suppress pain and other sensations, but with hypnosis we are able to eliably make use of this talent. As another example, we have a natural ability o imagine things vividly as if they were real, but we can potentially make more effective use of this talent under hypnosis.

Things sometimes claimed unique to hypnotic responding :

1. Hypnosis and memory

2. Amnesia

3. Effects on the skin

4. Effects on the immune system

5. Pain control

6. Hallucinations

7. Time distortion

8. Posthypnotic suggestions

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