Hypnotic Phenomena

The common feature of all hypnotic phenomena is that they can occur spontaneously in a hypnotic session or as a result of a suggestion, in response to suggestion. Some hypnotic phenomena (for example, age regression and analgesia) cannot be achieved, even if many people go into a state of hypnosis. However, most people can easily fall into a state of hypnosis that is sufficient for therapeutic purposes.


It is the ability and ability to mentally distract from other activities in the same situation by focusing on a particular activity in any situation. For example, let’s say you are playing two pieces of music at the same time. If you can immerse yourself in one piece of music that you can hardly hear, your Dissociation skill is very likely very good.

Dissociation is one of the most important hypnotic phenomena. The more pronounced the dissociation, the more pronounced the person’s hypnotic trance experience. A state of hypnosis can be achieved without providing relaxation. However, in order to talk about hypnosis, there must be a dissociative state.

People often have resources to help themselves that they are not even aware of. These sources are usually dissociated from the person. In this respect, dissociation has a very important place in the healing process (Yapko,2003).

The phenomenon of dissociation “While one part of you may experience ………, another part of you may experience ………..” Dossiation can be achieved with a direct suggestion. The sentence “As you go back in feeling towards the age of 6, other parts of your mind can stay in the here and now” is also an example of dissociation suggestion.

There is a famous technique that Milton Erickson uses in this regard. This technique is called the no place technique (Zeig, 1980). In this technique, one side of the mind is directed to a place called nowhere, while the other side of the mind is directed to stay here and now. This technique is applied as follows:

It’s easy to remember that a part of you is here when you’re sitting like that. But the rest of your mind may go on a journey and you may not really know where you are going. Maybe you are in the middle of nowhere. There is no place or time. Only my voice and your thoughts can exist there. We can call it nowhere. No place is a beautiful place to be. Because nowhere else is as free as this place. After all, you always have to be somewhere, somehow. But not now. Don’t you think it’s fun to be anywhere?

Dissociation has taken place if the client can divide his awareness into “here” and “there”.


Hallucinations are divided into two as positive and negative. Perceiving something that is not already there (with 5 senses) is called positive hallucination. Negative hallucination is the inability to perceive something that is already happening with the five senses. Like all other hypnotic phenomena, hallucinations may arise spontaneously during a hypnotic session, or may or may not be induced by suggestion. The point that the therapist should be careful about is this: Let’s take a person who has a hallucination, for example, a person who claims to have been abducted by aliens. As he can more clearly visualize these hallucinations in a hypnotic trance state, he may begin to believe more and more that he has been abducted by aliens. The therapist should be very careful in this regard.

In an experiment conducted by Spanos, Flynn, and Gabora (1989), 45 highly hypnotizable subjects were advised that when they open their eyes, they will still be in hypnosis and will see a blank white paper in front of them. Instead of a blank white paper, a piece of paper with a very large writing 8 was placed in front of the subjects. Fifteen of the 45 subjects reported seeing the paper blank. After the subjects were brought out of the hypnotic state, another expert questioned what the subjects actually saw. The expert asked the subjects to draw what they really saw. 14 out of 15 subjects wrote 8 on paper.

The following conclusions can be drawn from this experiment:

1- The state of hypnosis probably does not actually produce negative hallucinations. However, it can make people say no to a question whose answer is yes.

2-You cannot destroy anything with hypnosis by doing hocus pocus. Everything that has happened remains somewhere in the brain.


Age regression is the mental regression of a person to a certain period of their life under hypnotic trance. The purpose of this flashback may be to remember some events from the past. However, scientific research shows that not everything remembered in hypnosis has to be true. Yes, in the case of hypnosis, a person can use their memory a little more clearly. This is true. But thanks to the increased imagination in the state of hypnosis, people can also remember things that did not happen as if they had happened. As a result, hypnosis increases the probability of remembering, but since it also increases the margin of error, the recall in hypnosis does not differ much from normal recall in terms of importance.

During regression, people may speak childishly, and the pictures they draw may be childish. Even the sucking reflex and the Babinski reflex are observed. Despite all this, we cannot say that the person has completely gone back to that age. When you apply age regression in hypnosis to a person who spent his childhood in Germany, even if he remembers a few words in German, if he cannot speak German in daily life, he will not be able to speak German during age regression. In this respect, there is no age regression in the phenomenon of age regression. It is a quality and effective journey made by the brain towards the past.

One reason why age regression phenomenon is used by hypnotherapists is to reframing the traumatic event after catharsis is achieved by returning to some traumatic experiences. The process done here is to give a new and more accurate meaning to the old memory. Of course, sewing a new and more accurate dress to an old memory changes our psychology by affecting our feelings and thoughts.

More facilitating techniques can be used, rather than suggesting too much to the client, “You are now 7 years old,” about age regression. For example, age regression is facilitated by using imagery techniques. The client may be asked to imagine himself in a vehicle. This vehicle can be a train, airplane, time machine, spaceship or an elevator. It is said that this special tool will take the client on a journey into the past. After the client imagines himself on the train, the details of the journey are gradually depicted. The therapist may suggest that you go a little further back as you pass each station. And when you get off at the last station, the person is somewhere in the past.

If you notice, this approach does not take the client to a day or time in the past. Thus, although the client cannot achieve age regression, this poses no problem in terms of the therapy process. Since not every hypnotist can be successfully teleported to a time in the past in terms of age or time, the indirect approach is more accurate in this regard. Yes, hypnotic phenomena are real. However, it should be noted that not every hypnotic phenomenon should be expected to be observed in every person. However, indexing the therapy strategy to a single hypnotic phenomenon is not the right approach.

When age regression is done too much directly (for example, now I am reducing your age by 15 years) and is unsuccessful, the client’s self-confidence in hypnosis, as well as in the hypnotherapist, decreases. However, if the confidence of the person mentioned in the previous sentence had not decreased, perhaps that person would have been very successful in the age-advancing technique, not in age regression. It’s time for the age progression phenomenon.


In the age progression technique, the therapist tries to help the client focus on a future time. Transportation vehicles such as trains, airplanes, and spaceships, which are explained in the section on age regression, go forward, not backwards in time.

In advancing age, the therapist helps the client reinvigorate himself in the future. In a sense, this is the future rehearsal of healthier emotions, thoughts, and psychology. When the client revives the future and returns to the present thanks to the age-progression technique, the feelings of the present are no longer the feelings of the present. Because the emotions of the present have been forced to change because they have tasted the future at a deep level.

In regression, the client imagines himself in the future after the change in therapy. This dream includes how he tackles old problems with a new strategy. Age progression also indicates whether therapy can be terminated. For example, although the client can imagine and feel the future, if what he sees in the future is “the same bowl and the same bath”, it is clear that the therapy cannot be terminated yet.

In fact, any mental journey we make is psychologically healing. Non-mental journeys (holidays, annual leave, etc.) are also healing. Because every journey interrupts our mental sets. A mental journey to the past or future with a good therapist can be curative. In the state of hypnosis, the mind does not simply travel to the past or the future. In the state of hypnosis, we can also take an imaginary trip to a place we love, which we call dissociation.


Hypnotic amnesia is the power of the client, who is in hypnotic state, to forget some materials. However, in the case of hypnosis, this type of forgetting brought about by suggestions is not forgetting forever. Hypnosis cannot completely erase such information from memory, but it can ensure that it is stored in a certain part of our memory. Thus, some memories from the past do not wander under our feet in daily life. It should be noted that the brain cannot delete data like a computer. In reality, the working principles of a computer and a brain are both very similar and very different.

By the way, my girlfriend, whom I broke up with, has become an obsession, and I can’t help thinking about her no matter what I do. The client wishes that he does not even remember the name of his lover. In reality, however, it is not an easy thing for a hypnosis or hypnotherapist to achieve. Because what is wanted to be forgotten is not just one thing. A lover, especially a long-term relationship, leaves a lot of emotional and intellectual traces in your brain. Maybe you have thousands of memories with that lover. Thousands of memories, emotions etc. How can the therapist find one by one and destroy them with suggestions? Of course, hypnosis doesn’t work that way. Well, hypnosis doesn’t help people in this situation. The benefits of hypnosis for people in this situation can be as follows: We don’t often try to destroy or burn a bad book we read at home. We’ll put that bad book out of sight. Our brain is our spirit house and already has the power to remove some bad memories out of sight. In the hypnotic trance state, this power increases a little more.

Amnesia is a characteristic of deep hypnosis. However, if hypnosis is not possible, it is definitely not possible. A person in a state of hypnosis may forget some things even if they are not suggested. The fact that some things that happened in the hypnotic state are forgotten does not mean that the person has entered hypnosis. Remembering everything does not mean that the person has not been hypnotized. In conclusion, hypnosis is one thing, forgetting and remembering what happened in hypnosis is another. Amnesia and hypnosis are not conjoined twins.

When suggesting amnesia to the client, we prefer to say in a more indirect way, “You can choose to put this experience in a far corner of your mind because it no longer has a place in your life.”

Below is an example of amnesia suggestion with a confusional approach (Yapko, 2003)

How will you know what things to remember now? And how will you know what things your unconscious mind needs to know? After the session, you may remember to forget or you may forget to remember. When you remember to forget, you have forgotten to remember. Remember, your memory forgets what has been forgotten. And then you can forget all the confusion you’re experiencing right now about this forgetting, and through that you can achieve a deeper relaxation.


Although the state of hypnosis produces an increase in the amount of material recalled, it is not possible to be sure of their reliability. The assumption that everything that is remembered or said in hypnosis is true is definitely a false assumption. In many studies, it has been seen that when a person in hypnosis cannot remember something, he fills the gaps by replacing the information he cannot remember with other information that did not actually happen.

Zaragoza & Mitchell (1996) showed the subjects a video of the robbery, and then asked questions with suggestive suggestions. Some subjects were asked these questions over and over again. They then tested their memories to find the source of the suggestions. Zaragoza & Mitchell (1996) stated that compared to subjects who were confronted with the suggested question only once, subjects who were persistently suggested on parts of the video recall relevant events with greater confidence and were able to claim that they had even witnessed the suggested events.

Whatever their nature, it is clear that memories and the meanings attached to them change during therapy. For example, Foa, Molnar and Cashman (1995) examined the memories recounted by female rape survivors during therapy. During the therapy, the duration of the narration gradually became longer, while the percentage of action and dialogue decreased, the percentage of emotion and thought increased. An increase in the number of thoughts trying to construct the memory of the rape has also been observed. That is, as they imaginatively relive the trauma, their narratives change, and the victims try to reconstruct their memories to provide a coherence.


Hypnotic analgesia is called creating other sensations by eliminating the sensation of pain. Anesthesia, on the other hand, is used as a word in the sense of loss of sensation, numbing, numbness, numbness, numbness.

The mechanisms by which hypnosis eliminates pain are not yet known, although many scientific studies have been conducted on this subject. It is known that hypnosis does not relieve pain by placebo mechanism or endorphin mechanism. If you are an anesthesiologist or you have a lot of work with anesthesia, we recommend the classic book Hypnosis and Pain Management – Hypnosis in Relief of Pain (Hillgard & Hillgard, 1994). Hillgard’s research has shown that people are aware of pain even when successfully relieving pain with hypnotic analgesia. Interestingly, just because people are aware of pain does not mean they feel pain. Buddha shows that every hypnosis is already a conscious hypnosis. At every stage of hypnosis, human consciousness is preserved. People in a state of hypnosis do not sleep, do not pass out and do not faint, but somehow they can somehow eliminate the pain if they want.

For some people, hypnotic analgesia is of the utmost importance because they are unable to receive any anesthetic at all. With hypnosis, pain can be eliminated to varying degrees in every person.

Therapists, who are not physicians and anesthesiologists, are wary of pain relief with hypnosis because, first of all, pain is a sign that something is wrong with the body. Before pain is relieved by hypnosis, the patient must have passed all necessary medical examinations and tests.


Catalepsy is the inhibition of voluntary muscle movements. Arm catalepsy can be created and observed by suggesting to the patient that “Your arm will become so stiff that you will not be able to bend your arm”. Similarly, the phenomenon of eye catalepsy is brought to the media with the suggestion that “your eyelids will become so stiff that you will not be able to open your eyes”. Like all other hypnotic phenomena, it should not be produced unnecessarily. It should never be used for curiosity and entertainment purposes anyway. Sometimes stage hypnotists (people who are not physicians or psychologists who work outside the ethics of hypnosis) stretch the person they have hypnotized and put into a cataleptic state between two chairs and leave it that way for minutes. Some even put four people on top of this person. The result is serious physical damage to the poor volunteer’s back. Hypnosis can make a person cataleptic, but hypnosis does not turn a person into a piece of steel.


Perceiving time is a completely subjective phenomenon. Each person can perceive time differently depending on his environment and mood. A very distressing minute may seem like ten minutes to us. A very enjoyable ten minutes may seem like a minute to us. The perception of time can obviously change spontaneously in hypnosis or can be changed by suggestions. Being able to change the perception of time with hypnosis is very useful in some situations. For example, it is for the benefit of patients that time passes quickly in painful diseases.

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