ABH: American Board of Hypnotherapy. A well-respected, international organization that is considered an authority for conferring hypnosis certifications.
Abreaction: (1) Catharsis. (2) The process of becoming consciously aware of repressed psychologically painful events.
Abstraction: The mental means of developing concepts by grouping objects in sets that share distinguishing common properties.
Age Regression: Establishing a state of mind in which a person perceives that he/she is re-experiencing, re-examining, or remembering an earlier time of life—often childhood. See REGRESSION
Amnesia: Loss of memory usually due to brain injury, shock, fatigue, repression, or illness. See INDUCED AMNESIA and SPONTANEOUS AMNESIA.
Induced Amnesia: Establishing the inability (or perception of the inability) to recall information in response to a hypnotic suggestion. See AMNESIA and SPONTANEOUS AMNESIA
Spontaneous Amnesia: Inability to recall events occurring while hypnotized due to an individual’s natural response to the state of hypnosis. See AMNESIA and INDUCED AMNESIA.
Anesthesia (Analgesia): Absence of the sense of pain
Animal Magnetism: A phrase coined by Franz Anton Mesmer to describe what he believed to be a fluid or ethereal element in the human body that responds to magnets and, when unequally distributed, causes illness.
Arm Levitation: Raising one’s arm in response to a hypnotic suggestion, usually accompanied by the perception that the motion of the arm is involuntary.
Autohypnosis: Self-hypnosis. The process of guiding oneself into the state of hypnosis without external, hypnotically suggestive stimuli.
Autosuggestion: The process of giving oneself positive or negative suggestion.
Behavior: Observable action, activity or series of movements.
Belief: An idea (content of cognition) perceived as truth or fact.
Belief System: A group interrelated beliefs that define the way one perceives and relates to one’s environment
Catalepsy: A state in which a hypnotized person cannot voluntary move the entire body or portions of it, usually induced by suggestion and marked by muscle tension or rigidity.
Certified Hypnotist: A hypnotist that has been officially endorsed by an authority as having met certain requirements of study, demonstration of skill and ethical behavior. Three of the largest and most well-respected authorities conferring hypnosis certifications are: American Board of Hypnotherapy (ABH), International Association of Counselors and Therapists (IACT), and National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH).
Chevreul's Pendulum: A hand-held apparatus used to demonstrate ideomotor effect, consisting of a small weight attached to the end of light chain or string that is able to swing freely when held properly—pinched between the thumb and index finger at the top of the chain or string. See IDEOMOTOR EFFECT.
Command: An archaic term now considered having negative connotations; its synonym “direct suggestion” is the preferred term. See DIRECT SUGGESTION
Conditioned Reflex/Response (CR): A learned response to a stimulus that, before the conditioning, did not originally evoke the response/reflex
Conditioning: Establishing an association between a stimulus and a response that had not previously existed.
Conditioning, Classical: A stimulus that elicits an emotional response is repeatedly experienced with a neutral stimulus until the neutral stimulus acquires the emotional properties of the initial stimulus.
Conscious Mind: The portion of the mind where thought processes associated with self awareness, analysis, and perception take place.
Consciousness: A state of being characterized by volition, self-awareness, analytical thought, perception of emotion and perception of general sensation.
Conversational Hypnosis: A covert means of inducing hypnosis by using persuasive/suggestive language patterns, gestures, changes in physical orientation and facial expressions that appear to be normal conversation and body language.
Convincer: A demonstration of hypnotic phenomena (often presented in the form of a suggestibility test) cued by suggestion and designed to help a hypnotized person or an observer realize that the state of hypnosis has been reached. See SUGGESTIBILITY TEST
Covert Hypnosis: A subtle means of inducing hypnosis without the hypnotized person being aware of the process.
Davis-Husband Scale: A scale of 0 to 30 used to determine the depth of hypnosis a person is experiencing based on which hypnotic phenomena are producible by suggestion.
Defense Mechanism: An unconscious reflex that attempts to protect the ego from emotional conflict or external stressors by repressing them from conscious awareness.
Direct Suggestion: A statement or series of statements designed to elicit a behavioral response from a person (usually one that is hypnotized) by clearly and succinctly describing the behavior that is desired while implying expectation that the behavior is to occur. Most commonly used in the authoritative style of hypnosis. An archaic and no longer acceptable synonym for this term is “command.” See COMMAND.
Dissociation: The elimination or modification of a previously established association between stimuli, acts, thoughts or responses due to hypnotic suggestion or defense mechanism.
Double-bind: (1—Hypnosis and NLP): A message that gives the recipient the impression of choice, but where each option is designed to have the same outcome (often positive motivational and/or therapeutic) at higher level of intention. (2—Psych.): A series of messages or demands that create irresolvable or paradoxical situations.
Dream Logic: is a system of principals that guides reasoning and is bound only by the limits of imagination as opposed to the limits set by conscious perception of truth (beliefs). Some beliefs might be based on misinformation or unhealthy limitations that block a person from reaching his or her potential. Using dream logic, where seemingly incongruous ideas can coexist without clashing, a person can move beyond imposed limitations into healthy thought patterns and behavior.
Ericksonian Hypnosis: A permissive style of hypnosis credited to American Psychologist, Milton Hyland Erickson, who used naturally occurring states of wonderment, engrossment and confusion to illicit hypnotic responses. Ericksonian Hypnosis is characterized by verbal and non-verbal suggestions presented in the form of ambiguous metaphors, symbols and contradictions.
Eye Fixation: Training the eyes on a single point in order to focus concentration by reducing visual stimuli.
Focus: (1) To concentrate. (2) An object, idea, action or sensation upon which one fixes his or her attention while reducing awareness of all other objects, ideas, actions or sensations.
Fractionation: The process of repeatedly hypnotizing and re-hypnotizing a person usually to deepen the state of hypnosis.
Glove Anesthesia: The loss of feeling throughout the entire hand, from the wrist to the finger tips, as though a glove were placed over the hand that blocks internal and external sensation.
Group Hypnosis: Inducing the state of hypnosis in more than one person, simultaneously.
Hallucination: A sensory experience perceived to be real in the absence of actual external stimulus. These sensory experiences can affect any of the 5 senses in the form of visions, voices/sounds, tactile feelings (haptic hallucinations), smells, or tastes. See POSITIVE HALLUCINATION and NEGATIVE HALLUCINATION.
Hetero-hypnosis: The process of being guided into the state of hypnosis by external, hypnotically suggestive stimuli (usually in form of suggestions given by a hypnotist that is not oneself). See SELF-HYPNOSIS.
Homeostasis: The state of equilibrium.
Hypnosis: The process of by-passing the critical factor of the conscious mind while simultaneously establishing an acceptable mode of selective thinking.
IACT: International Association of Counselors and Therapists. A well-respected, international organization that is considered an authority for conferring hypnosis certifications.
Ideomotor Effect: (1) Reflexive motion that occurs purely in response to a thought of the same motion. (2) A phrase coined by psychologist/physiologist William B. Carpenter in 1852 and widely publicized by psychologist William James who concluded that all mental representations of body motion will cause some degree of actual motion depending only on whether there is a simultaneously occurring antagonistic thought that represses the full manifestation of the motion. Often this concept is associated with French chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul. See CHEVREUL’S PENDULUM.
Indirect Suggestion: A statement or series of statements and non-verbal communication presented in the form of subtle inference, ambiguous metaphors, symbols and contradictions designed to elicit a behavioral response from a person (usually one that is hypnotized). Most commonly used in the permissive style of hypnosis.
Induction: A method of establishing the state of hypnosis.
Levels of Hypnosis: Various states of hypnosis that are measured in terms of depth based on which hypnotic responses can be reliably elicited by suggestion. Some scales assign numeric scores to the various levels of hypnosis (See DAVIS-HUSBAND SCALE). Other scales use labels (e.g. hypnoidal, light, medium, deep/heavy somnambulistic, and coma).
Levitation: Raising a body part (usually an arm) in response to a hypnotic suggestion, often accompanied by the perception that the motion is involuntary.
Mass Hypnosis: See GROUP HYPNOSIS
NGH: National Guild of Hypnotists. A well-respected, international organization that is considered an authority for conferring hypnosis certifications.
NLP: Neuro-Linguistic Programming. A model of interpersonal communication used to describe how the neurological system (neuro) and use language (linguistic) affect mental representations of experience (programming).
Negative Hallucination: The omission of a sensory experience from conscious awareness (e.g. not perceiving an object that actually is present). See HALLUCINATION.
Overt Hypnosis: Using open and observable methods (as opposed to covert means) to hypnotize a person who is fully aware that hypnotic techniques are being used.
Perception: The process of interpreting sensation and determining relationships between the events that stimulate sensory receptors.
A perception of a sensory experience in the absence of actual external stimulus (e.g. perceiving the existence an object that actually is not present). See HALLUCINATION.
A suggestion that is acted on after a person has emerged from the state of hypnosis.
Rapport: A relationship between people marked by mutual affinity, trust, conformity, understanding and accord.
Recreational Hypnosis: Informal hypnosis demonstrations (planned or impromptu) done for entertainment purposes.
Regression: (1) Reversion to an earlier stage of psychological development. (2) A defense mechanism by which a person reverts to an earlier stage of development in the face of unacceptable impulses.
Resistant Subject: A person who harbors an issue (usually a misunderstanding of the process of hypnosis, a belief based on misinformation, or a life event) that temporarily interrupts the process of hypnosis, but is easily resolved by a skilled hypnotist.
Self-hypnosis: Autohypnosis. The process of guiding oneself into the state of hypnosis without external, hypnotically suggestive stimuli.
Sleep: (1) A metaphorical term used to indicate the profound relaxation one experiences when in non-waking states of hypnosis. (2) A single-word statement used as a direct suggestion for a hypnotized person to immediately enter a profound state of relaxation that externally resembles, but is not, actual sleep.
Somnambulism: (1—General) Sleepwalking. (2—Hypnosis) A deep state of hypnosis marked by profound relaxation and reliable responses to suggestions such as positive/negative hallucination that correspond to high numeric values on standard scales used to measure the depth of hypnosis (i.e., score 23-30 on the Davis-Husband Scale, weight 28-49 on the LeCron-Bordeaux Scale, and stage 5 on the Arons Scale; whose highest values are 30, 50 and 6, respectively).
Stage Hypnosis: Planned demonstrations of group hypnosis set in front of an audience and marketed as an entertainment event.
Stimulus: A change in environment that directly influences a living organism by exciting a sensory receptor
Street Hypnosis: A hybrid of stage hypnosis. Impromptu demonstrations of hypnosis performed for educational, recreational or (rarely) emergency purposes.
Subconscious (Unconscious) Mind: The portion of the mind where thought processes associated with memory storage, thought and experience organization, imagination and visualization occur mostly outside the range of conscious awareness.
Subject: An archaic term, increasingly viewed as derogatory, used to describe person who is hypnotized by a hypnotist.
Suggestibility Test: A suggestion or series of suggestions used to determine how a person reacts to various forms of suggestion.
Suggestion: A combination of verbal and/or non-verbal communication designed to elicit a response from person (usually one that is hypnotized) while inferring an expectation that the behavior is to occur.
Symbol: Something (e.g. an object, image, or action) that represents something else due to relationship, convention, association or resemblance.
Time Distortion: A modification of how the passing of time is perceived while in the state of hypnosis either due to an individual’s natural response to the state of hypnosis or due to hypnotic suggestion.
Trance: The state of hypnosis.
Unconscious (Subconscious) Mind: The portion of the mind where thought processes associated with memory storage, thought and experience organization, imagination and visualization occur mostly outside the range of conscious awareness.
Waking Hypnosis: A heightened state of suggestibility that occurs without manifestations of profound physical relaxation and often externally appears no different than a non-hypnotic state.