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Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy

is your window into

Spiritual and Life Renewal

Dr. Ken Morris

Hypnosis is an amazing tool in the hands of a trained professional therapist. Many of the behavioral and psychological blocks that have placed us in bondage as human beings can be quickly alleviated through this wonderful mode of therapeutic intervention when other modes of therapy fall short. The following paragraphs are an attempt at addressing some of the common questions and world-view positions that people commonly have concern. Hopefully these comments will help you in your pursuit of a therapeutic intervention that will assist you with your life goals.


First of all you may wonder what can hypnosis do for me?

Hypnotherapy has been used successfully in the past to treat a multitude of things. The following list may give you some ideas for some common ways in which you might benefit from its use in your life. This is certainly not an exhaustive list.

Smoking Cessation

Weight loss

Addiction Help

Habit Alleviation

Social Anxiety

Self discovery

Relaxation Health Issues


Increase self-confidence

Strengthen immune system

Pain Reduction/Relief

Sexual Issues

Assistance in child birth

Emotional Disorders                 

Grief and Loss

Health Issues

Healthy Eating

Help with Learning

Help with Relationships

Personal Productivity

Interpersonal Skills

Motivation and Inspiration

Overcome Fears and Phobias

Pain Relief

Personal Development

Personal Fitness

Sports Performance

Pregnancy and Childbirth

Stress Management

Self Confidence

Sleep Problems

Self Esteem



What is Hypnotherapy and How Does it Differ from Hypnosis

Hypnosis is a treatment intervention in which the hypnotist induces the patient into a relaxed and “suggestible” state. While in that state, the patient will likely be given post hypnotic suggestions for the relief of some type of symptom or behavior. Hypnotherapy, on the other hand, is a process of psychotherapy in which a patient is placed in an altered state of consciousness via hypnosis and then through a therapeutic process the patient is able to find past life patterns that were causal factors (unconscious or subconscious motivators) in the initiation of their current behavioral patterns or symptoms. The patient by realizing that these subconscious motivations have been causal factors behind their behavioral patterns and their resistance, are given much more power and ability to now change their current undesirable behavioral patterns. Thus, hypnotherapy as opposed to hypnosis generally gives the individual much greater ability to change because it addresses the belief systems of the patient that in turn has become a significant part of the causal factors in their resistance to change.

How would you describe being under hypnosis?

Hypnosis as a state of mind is induced by using a method of relaxation and concentration that provides access to a unique state of consciousness characterized by a significant increase in primary process thinking and suggestibility (subconscious or unconscious mind processes) while at the same time there is a dissociation or partial decoupling of the observing conscious mind and reduction of frontal lobe activity. In simplest terms, the hypnotist or hypnotherapist speaks for the most part to the subconscious or unconscious mind or what Freud called the “id” while the conscious mind (Freud’s ego state) is left for the most part “out of gear”. Although, here I use the phrase “out of gear,” that doesn’t mean that for brief periods of time the ego state is not engaged during hypnosis. It’s as if the conscious mind and the subconscious minds are decoupled so that they are allowed to respond by themselves under hypnosis, rather than protecting each other and the sometimes inordinate behaviors they have both produced because of their beliefs by which they have both sometimes colluded one another into believing. During hypnosis they (the subconscious and conscious) are then allowed to spit out their truths unguarded by the other. Thus, in the relinquishing of the coupling between the two minds (conscious and subconscious) they can learn from one another and not sabotage one another. The conscious learns of the subconscious’ urges or reasons for keeping unwanted behaviors practiced. Likewise the subconscious can be reasoned with by the conscious mind and be given new reasons for abandoning old behaviors and adopting new ways of reacting and behaving. Thus, instinctual and base urges can be manipulated in a much greater way via hypnosis.

Has anybody ever documented in some form or fashion the differences between the conscious and subconscious minds?

Shevrin (1973) found that stimulus content (things that give us a reason to do things or start a behavior) is processed and stored in two different memory banks in the brain. One bank is organized on the basis of secondary-process thinking (the subconscious mind) and the other organized on the basis of primary–process thinking (the conscious mind). Subsequently, the individual draws upon one memory bank or the other depending upon the current state of consciousness. These shifts in dominance between conscious and subconscious states has also been confirmed by others (Gruzelier & Brow, 1985; Gruzelier et al, 1984; Gruzelier & Warren, 1993).

Some other questions you might have about hypnosis.

Will I know and remember what has happened?

Some individuals may fear that they will be unconscious and will not know what is happening. Understand that individuals in a hypnotic trance are always able to hear the hypnotist’s voice and usually even some noises around them. The individual will always know that they are in the room that they have been hypnotized, and they will always be able to wake themselves up if they desire. As well, they will remember the event, will be able to speak as normal and will not be unconscious.

What if I can’t be hypnotized?

The answer is that everyone can be hypnotized. If you are a human being, you can be hypnotized. Hypnosis is a natural state of mind a number of times during the day for everyone. Individuals, who have an “issue” about not being able to accomplish things, may respond to hypnosis in this way. Possibly a better way of putting this, is that everyone that wants to be hypnotized can be. It simply requires willingness.

Can the hypnotist control my mind?

Hypnosis will enable an individual to increase their ability to control their minds. However, the individual will also be able to recognize attempts to control them through hypnotic suggestions. Additionally, hypnosis will give the individual more tools in knowing how to better reject suggestions in their life, hypnotic or otherwise. It’s really our own ignorance that allows other people to be able to control us and or our minds in the first place, because it’s only our lack of assertiveness that allows us to be controlled.  We are really not being controlled, we are allowing ourselves, or giving permission to ourselves to do something that someone else is wanting us to do, whether or not we are under hypnosis or not. Hypnotherapy will empower an individual. Hypnosis and the general philosophy behind hypnosis believe that all answers are within the person. Thus, any hypnosis, whether or not is assisted by a hypnotherapist, is self hypnosis and allows the individual to access their own inner resources and or resources afforded to them via their own spiritual connection. Therefore the patient is always in charge of their therapeutic process.

The hypnosis patient can always reject the suggestion of the hypnotherapist. Also the patient can tell the hypnotherapist what types of suggestions they would best respond to.

What if I can’t come out of hypnosis?

There has never been a documented case of anyone being unable to come out of hypnosis.

Are you going to make me cluck like a chicken or quack like a duck?

Thoughts like these usually come from someone who has seen a Hypnosis Stage Show. Hypnotherapy is not stage show hypnotism and hypnosis can never cause you to do anything that is against one’s moral values. Hypnotherapy is for improving a persons ability to perform, cope with life, and ridding them of fear, not for shaming someone into clucking like a chicken or quacking like a duck. People who act this way in a stage hypnosis show are more responding to peer pressure than any kind of hypnotic suggestion.

If I open my mind to hypnosis will that give room for the devil to get in?

Hypnosis is the same state of mind as the state of prayer or meditation. It’s a natural state. It’s God-given. The power of God is greater than the power of the devil so therefore if your moral compass does not allow for “devilish” thoughts or motivations then hypnosis will not circumvent your moral compass.  Although there are some satanic and pagan groups have been known to use a state of hypnosis in their rituals, it is the individual in the end that is lending their motivations to those types of suggestions. You cannot and do not simply lend all your motivations to someone just because you are in a trance state. An individual always has the ability to accept or reject a hypnotic suggestion.

Some say there is a Law of Concentration, which states that, “Whatever you focus upon increases in power.” So, why would one focus on the devil during hypnosis since the devil is a power that brings negativity and darkness in one’s life? But, in the end, it is one’s choice. You can focus on love and light, or fear and darkness. You always have a choice when you have the ability to control a greater part of your mind via hypnosis.

What if I discover things that I don’t want to know?

Hypnosis is like being able to go to the dentist and finding tooth decay that you maybe didn’t know was there or didn’t have the ability to address on your own and now have the ability to address. Hypnosis gives an individual the ability to address and release what has been controlling their life. If the decay remains, you never know when it will pop up and cause you pain or problems. Once you have addressed the “infection” and released it, then you are empowered and there is nothing left to fear.

A response to the Christian believers about hypnosis from a Christian believer.

I am an ordained minister and a Christian by confession. I have served as a senior pastor, a missionary to the drug addicted and alcoholic, as well as served in various capacities in the church. I have college and university degrees both Bible as well as Counseling Psychology. I have also served in various capacities in the mental health and drug and alcohol treatment world, from community mental health to state prisons and from private psychiatric hospitals to private practice. I have served as a counselor to literally 1000’s of addicts as well as people struggling with mood disorders, bad marriages, traumas, and a host of other difficulties. I have also been trained as a hypnotherapist.

The following is my view of hypnotherapy as being a useful tool to be used in the change of individuals willing to undergo the process.

Hypnosis has been present since the dawn of mankind as an ancient healing treatment. Its popularity of use has vacillated over history, primarily due to various societal factors of consciousness. They used drums and chanting to create altered states. The Roman Empire, in particular, was especially keen on using hypnotic states to produce various healing effects. Christianity was of course spreading when the Roman Empire was about to collapse. Many early Christian leaders frowned upon hypnotic practices and described it as “white” witchcraft. Many evangelical authors referred to hypnotists as “charmers” and “enchanters.” Many early Christians believed that hypnosis put the soul in jeopardy by putting it in a passive receptive state, thereby opening the door to undesirable spiritual influences.

What made the early priests and rabbis take such a strong stand against hypnosis? Part of the reason was because healing in hypnosis seemed to take place without God. Priests were afraid that people would no longer believe in the power of God. The concern may not even have been religious. It could have been more about politics and numbers of adherents. If more followers fell away from Christianity, the priests would lose their power.

Today, hypnosis is neither anti-religious nor pro religious although I believe it can be used to enhance one’s spiritual life greatly if a person wants to use it that way. Most religious groups today however accept the proper and ethical use of hypnosis for helping people. Hypnosis is steadily gaining recognition in the world as the means to help people be successful and experience abundance in their lives. The late Pope Pius gave his approval of hypnosis, stating that the use of hypnosis by health care professionals for diagnosis and treatment was to be permitted by the church. In the context of medical hypnosis, patients are in safe hands, and on the road to recovery. Practitioners have an ethical code, and it is important to note that hypnotists have no powers to control people’s minds. They can’t read the future and they can’t cast spells or talk to the dead.

There is also one irrefutable safeguard of hypnosis that keeps hypnotists from abusing the power. Any suggestion by the hypnotist, or idea, not in accordance with the patient’s beliefs, morals, wishes, principles, or desires will quickly and automatically be rejected. No one can make anyone do anything they do not wish to do through hypnosis. If the hypnotist gives a suggestion and the person absolutely does not want to accept that suggestion, then he will not do it. No one can be hypnotized against their will. As God’s creatures, humans have the freedom to choose and decide and act.

When evangelical authors write that hypnosis opens the door to evil spirits, they don’t fully understand the Word of God. Jesus says that light and darkness cannot live together. Christ is the light, so if you are saved, that means Christ lives within you. If Christ lives in you, it means that no demon or evil spirit can take residence irregardless of what state of consciousness one is in. The light of Christ is the thing that drives out the darkness.

It is much like the case of the leper – those with faith in their therapists, who trust and believe that hypnotherapy can heal them will get well. Those with faith well-placed can and will be healed, inside and out. It is true that there are still some among us who are a little wary of hypnosis. In actuality, hypnosis is a powerful and valuable tool God has given to man to heal the mind and body. God created hypnosis for the good of man. He has a purpose in allowing us the ability to alter our consciousness, even if it seems to take place without Him. But nothing takes place without his knowledge and permission. Hypnosis and faith in God can work hand in hand to turn lives around.

Jesus indicated by his teachings that we should help people to live life to the fullest and to relieve pain whenever possible. Hypnosis is a means to help people live a better and more abundant life and is a means of reducing and/or eliminating pain.

The Bible records several possible instances of hypnosis.

Gen 2:21-22 “So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man and he brought her to the man.”

In this case, God appears to have used hypnosis as a form of anesthesia so Adam felt no pain when his rib was taken out.

In the book of Acts, it mentions that “Peter fell into trance.” In the same book, there is also a reference to an apostle healing a person by gazing into his eyes a possible inference to a form of hypnosis. “This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who when he had fixed his gaze upon him, and had seen that he had faith to be made well, said with a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.’ And he began to walk.”

A Dr. Leo Peacock, an Army Chaplain, gives a number of New Testament illustrations of hypnosis in his paper "Religious Hypnosis and Personal Control." He mentions that there are two Greek words used for sleep in the New Testament. They are "Katheud" and "Koimoni". The latter is transliterated with the sound "hypnos" and translated as "sleep" or "restful sleep". Thus the word hypnosis has its roots in the Greek and is not an English word by its etymology. Chaplain Peacock continues with this thought as he makes a point with his interpretation of Matthew's account of Joseph's dream concerning taking Mary as his wife in Matthew 1:20-25.

“When Joseph discovered that Mary was expecting a child, he decided to break his engagement for he knew that the child was not his. The story told of an 'angel' or 'messenger' coming to Joseph in a dream. In this dream, the angel told Joseph to marry Mary. Upon wakening, Joseph did as the angel suggested.”

Dr. Peacock feels that this is a clear description of an individual being hypnotized, and while under hypnosis Joseph is being given a post-hypnotic suggestion, which he immediately acts upon following the trance. (W. Leo Peacock, "Religious Hypnosis and Personal Control", Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Fort Gordon, Ga., p2)

Peacock also mentions the experience of Jesus with Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration and feels that this also may be a reference to the use of hypnosis. Upon wakening from sleep, Peter, James, and John witness Moses and Elijah standing with Jesus (Luke 8:28-37). Peacock feels that this experience was used as a positive force to enable the disciples to be able to accept that which was to later develop in Jerusalem with his crucifixion and resurrection  (Peacock, p4).
Though there are no direct references to Jesus using hypnosis as the word had not been used at the time of the original translation into English), it is felt that Jesus did use the power of suggestion in many of his healings. Jesus often used healing, touch and suggestions for healing. The leper was healed by Christ’s touch and his words. Jesus put forth his hand and touching him said, "be thou clean and immediately his leprosy was cleansed" (Matthew 8:1-3). Of course, many other examples could be reported.

Paul speaks of being in a trance while he was praying in the temple (Acts 22:17). Peter "fell into a trance" and from that experience came to see that God loves all people and accepts all people who come to him. Peter had been invited by a non-Jewish centurion who was devout in his faith. At that time, it was religiously unlawful for Peter to visit the centurion's house. After the dream, Peter went to visit the centurion (Acts 10:1-48).

Throughout the Book of Acts, there are a number of references to the apostles looking into the eyes or gazing into the eyes of a person that resulted in the person being healed. This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who when he fixed his gaze upon him, and had seen that he had faith to be made well, said with a loud voice, "Stand upright on your feet", and he leaped up and began to walk (Acts 14:9-10).

The practice of "Laying on of Hands,” mentioned in the Bible, emulates some of the techniques used in hypnosis. In the Book of Acts we read, "And it came about that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him." (Acts 28:8).

We were made in the image and glory of God. Every faculty of our mind and soul reflects the Creator’s glory. Hebrews 2:7 Endowed with mental and spiritual gifts, Adam and Eve could discern the wonders of the universe. Many Christians find lack and limitations. They do not see themselves living with the splendor of the Creator. How do we live with glory? I believe the answer lies in the depths of our untapped subconscious mind. Our subconscious mind is a suggestible instrument, easily accessed through hypnosis.

Often, patients seeking therapy experience lack and problems because of limiting beliefs or values. In hypnosis, the subconscious mind directs millions of neurons to produce positive mental pictures. A patient can hold and project the idea and image of abundance within the mind, causing it to happen in reality. This therapy is in accordance to Christian beliefs. Jesus said, “I come so that you may experience life in abundance.”

St. Paul wrote in Galatians 6:7, “Whatsoever man soweth that shall he reap.” and in Proverbs 23:7 he also states that as a person thinks in his or her heart, so is he. This can be interpreted that whatever images or thoughts held in the mind becomes reality. By picturing happy moments in your imagination you can re-experience that event again in your mind. By your thoughts you can make your feelings present again. The use of positive imagery improves life and health.
The brain is the channel which God communicates with Christians. By using hypnosis to overcome the ruinous effects of negative thinking, anger, discontent and selfishness, we can keep our minds pure for God.

Frequently, unhappiness and discontentment are caused by our reaction and thoughts to situations. It is estimated that 75% of cancers and body pains are caused by unresolved emotions. In the Bible, God calls us to experience a renewing of our minds. As we change the way we view things via hypnotic suggestions, the same positive changes are manifested in our lives. We are able to let go of the bad habits we once gravitated toward. We now attract the abundance we really desire. We begin to dissolve our hurts and sorrow.
During the storm in the Sea of Galilee, the apostles panicked. “Wake up, Jesus, don’t you care that we perish?” Jesus said, “Have no fear. I am with you. Peace be with you” And the disciples grew calm. If you are a Christian in the midst of a crisis, God is present amidst your broken hopes and dreams and stress. If you can hear Jesus speaking to you, you can experience calmness, despite the problems still being there. Peace can be felt with or without a change in your circumstances.

In life, when the harsh winds of illness or injury blow, when we experience sorrow or grief, realize that we can, too, experience peace in the midst of the storm. This peace comes from knowledge that He is with us to endure it all. Relaxation and imagery facilitated by hypnosis can be used to invoke and empower our faith in God’s plans and intents towards us as believers, thus life can improve. The past is still there, but we can begin where we are. With hopeful expectations or by faith, life can be made new.

In Christ, suffering is not removed. It is transformed into victory. The setback experienced causes the patient to forge a closer bond with God, and becomes an entrance into the God’s work in our life. I pray that those who discount hypnosis come to see its value as a gift from God to heal us and the means from which we can experience greater blessings.

Jesus said, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to teach the gospel to the poor. He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” (Luke 4:18)

Following this guidance, and with the proper use of hypnosis, we can heal the brokenhearted, bring deliverance to those in captivity to pain, fear and phobias, we can give sight to the emotionally and spiritually blind, and set at liberty those bound by unwanted habits.

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