Hypnosis and Meditation – Consciousness (PSY)

by Tarry Ahuja, PhD

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    00:01 Now, let’s look at hypnosis and meditation.

    00:04 So these are kind of related to sleep because they’re lower states of arousal.

    00:09 And in a societal situation, this is somebody who who can help you become less aroused and does this through a process of hypnosis and it’s usually labeled as a hypnotist.

    00:25 So what they do is they direct the subject to focus their attention, relax, and accept suggestion.

    00:31 So it’s not like you see in the movies where they -- they have something winding back and forth and magically you just fall asleep.

    00:36 That’s really not what happens.

    00:39 They’re guiding into a more relaxed state and they’re asking you to draw and focus your attention on the process of being relaxed, and it allows you to become more open to suggestion.

    00:51 So there are varying degrees of hypnotizability between individuals.

    00:51 So there are varying degrees of hypnotizability between individuals.

    00:55 So some people, it just does not work, and a lot of that is because they have the inability to focus their attention based on direction and they have the inability to respond to you trying to make them relax.

    01:06 So when you are able to hypnotize somebody, it allows you to promote the recall of memories in this relaxed state.

    01:15 One of the reasons being is that you’ve disinhibited the individual, and I’ve used this analogy in some of the other lectures of the gas and the brakes.

    01:23 And by hypnotizing somebody, you’ve removed the brakes and allow information to flow a little bit more freely.

    01:33 Now, there’s two other kind of applications of this hypnosis, and one is where there’s false memories.

    01:39 And again, people have done this before.

    01:42 They say they’ve done this, is that somebody is in the state of hypnosis and they’re much more open to suggestion and you can implant false memories and that you blur the lines between what you’re being told, to what’s actually there, to what’s in your imagination.

    01:57 There’s also pain relief because you’re now drawing their attention to something else.

    02:03 So you’re blocking attention to sensory inputs.

    02:05 You’re really not blocking it as much as you’re moving it to something else, and so the end result is the individual will actually feel less pain.

    02:12 Now, it’s not indefinite.

    02:14 Obviously, once the hypnosis breaks and they go back, it’s going to come back.

    02:17 But it, for some individuals, provides that temporary relief that they really need when they’re suffering from things like chronic pain.

    02:26 Okay.

    02:27 Now, how does hypnosis work? Like I said to you before, it’s not that it’s necessarily an on or off, or all or none phenomenon.

    02:34 But one of the theories behind how it works is the dissociation theory.

    02:37 It’s an extreme form of divided consciousness.

    02:40 And what we’re saying is that you’re actually dissociating yourself and splitting your consciousness.

    02:45 And this theory states that the hypnotist is directing certain behaviors that are normally on autopilot.

    02:55 So what we’re referring to there is, you know, there are things that you normally do, certain behaviors, and as a hypnotist, I can actually start to control what you’re doing instead of things being on autopilot.

    03:07 There’s a social influence theory, where individuals do and report what’s expected of them.

    03:12 Now this isn’t necessarily a great thing, right? This is what you would see more in the movies where you get hypnotized and that person who has hypnotized you is telling you what to do and what to say and what to expect.

    03:23 So unconsciously, you modify their behaviors to fit the role.

    03:27 Again, it’s quite difficult to accomplish.

    03:29 I wouldn’t say it’s extremely common, but the theory states that you’re basically unconsciously modifying their behaviors.

    03:38 What are some other things that are a little bit more applicable? One is meditation.

    03:43 So this involves intense focus on one object of attention.

    03:46 Things like focus on your breathing, or listen to my voice.

    03:50 And you can use this to manage pain, stress, anxiety, because again, we’re focusing all of our attention on the task at hand.

    03:58 And we know this for a fact that as humans, we have a certain amount of resources, a certain amount of resources we can allocate to attention.

    04:05 So if we can take those resources and focus them on one task, that allows us to not use that attention to focus on other things.

    04:12 So with things like pain, stress, or anxiety, all we’re doing is we’re focusing our attention on whatever it is that I’ve presented to you, so, big, long, deep breaths.

    04:20 And it has a great calming effect.

    04:24 There’s also data that shows an increase in brain activity.

    04:30 There are changes in brain activity while meditating.

    04:33 So those, you close your eyes, you’re sitting there, and you’re focusing on your breathing, it replicates and looks like you’re actually in a state of sleep a lot of times if it’s done correctly.

    04:43 Another very common and new technique that -- I shouldn’t say new.

    04:46 It’s something that’s gaining a lot of prominence, is the MBSR or mindfulness-based stress reduction and this is a protocol used in managing stress and the idea is this.

    04:58 You again use your cognitive abilities to move and modulate your attention and use it to focus on specific aspects that are indicators of your stress.

    05:09 So in English, when you’re stressed out, what happens? You might get sweaty, you might start changing your breathing patterns, you might start pacing a lot.

    05:17 And so, this technique says, “Okay, let’s figure out what your triggers are.

    05:21 What are the things that make you stressed out and what are some of the behaviors that you have?” Now, let’s, on purpose, mindfully concentrate on changing those behaviors to something a little bit more calming.

    05:32 Let’s manage your stress.

    05:33 When you get stressed out, you bit your nails, you pace back and forth.

    05:36 Let’s be aware of that.

    05:37 Let’s identify that and say, “Okay, I’m starting to bite my nails.

    05:40 Okay, stop biting my nails.

    05:42 Put my hands in my pockets and let’s just relax and count to ten.” You’re being quite mindful about what it is that is an expression or a behavior of that stress.

    05:52 Let’s try and reduce that or control that in order to reduce your stress.

    05:57 So it uses a combination of meditation, body awareness, and yoga to help become more mindful.

    06:02 So we’ve covered a lot of different things here.

    06:05 And at the end of the day, I want you to realize that even though consciousness and unconsciousness are related and seemingly difficult, we do have things that allow us to help us better understand them and control them.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Hypnosis and Meditation – Consciousness (PSY) by Tarry Ahuja, PhD is from the course Making Sense of the Environment.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Permanent pain relief
    2. Memory recall
    3. Short-term pain relief
    4. Implant suggestions
    5. Change in behavior
    1. Increased memory recall
    2. Reduced stress
    3. Reduced anxiety
    4. Pain management
    5. Promotion of sleep
    1. Hypnosis
    2. Yoga
    3. Meditation
    4. Body awareness
    5. Pain relief
    1. It affects everyone to the same degree.
    2. It causes temporary disassociation.
    3. It can modify perception.
    4. It relies on social influence.
    5. It guides patients to a relaxed state.

    Author of lecture Hypnosis and Meditation – Consciousness (PSY)

     Tarry Ahuja, PhD

    Tarry Ahuja, PhD

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