Trance and hypnotic state explainedBy Jaime Licauco |Philippine Daily Inquirer
Is there a difference between being in “trance” and being in a “hypnotic state”?
I find these two terms quite confusing because of what I have experienced involving these two states of consciousness. I have gone into trance many times, but no one has ever succeeded in putting me in a hypnotic state.
No control over body
One definition of hypnosis is that it is “a state of heightened suggestibility.” Another author described hypnosis as “a state in which we set aside our conscious mind and establish direct communication with our subconscious mind.”
A hypnotized person will do what the hypnotist tells him to do—for example, bark like a dog, walk like a duck or dance the tango. And he seems to have no control over his body, although he may be aware of what’s happening.
Several foreign hypnotherapists have tried to put me in a hypnotic state where they gave me simple instructions—like raise my right hand as if a balloon is pulling it up, but I can’t do it. My hand stays down. Or imagine I’m going down a staircase but I can’t see anything.
If I can’t be hypnotized, why is it that I go into trance spontaneously without somebody inducing me into that state, and many times even against my will?
Different factors or conditions can put me in a trance spontaneously: a strong electromagnetic energy; a powerful quartz crystal; a strong energy field or power spot in a sacred place; a sacred chant; or a place where there are negative spirits.
The late American psychic and prophet Edgar Cayce, for example, could put himself into a trancelike state; I cannot. In hypnosis, there is a need for another person to induce that state.
While in trance, I sometimes give out messages coming from some spirit entities, which were later verified to be true, although I had no conscious, previous knowledge of them. I lose control over my physical body, but not my sense of awareness.
And so I sought the expert opinion of one of America’s most distinguished and highly respected psychic researchers and parapsychologists, Dr. Stanley Krippner of Saybrook University in San Francisco. I have had the privilege of meeting Dr. Krippner several times in the United States and more recently in the Philippines.
He is the author of several books on dreams, shamanism, healing and altered states of consciousness.
Dr. Krippner’s reply follows:
“I do not use the word ‘trance’ because it has so many meanings. But nobody in psychology over here would say that the two terms are the same. Some would say there are many types of trance.
“The APA Dictionary of Psychology defines trance as ‘a state characterized by narrowed attention and reduced response to stimuli.’ So this would apply to mediumistic trance, hypnotic trance, and trance while listening to music, creating art, having sex, or in various types of meditation.
“Also, there are three basic ways for people to enter hypnosis: through being highly motivated; through being able to disassociate; or by being able to engage in fantasy.
“So I tell my students they cannot use the word ‘trance’ unless they define it, because there is no standard definition that everyone agrees on.
“There is no relationship between hypnotizability and spontaneous trance. One is done with external stimuli and the other with internal stimuli, at least for the most part. So your traits are not puzzling.”
From the above explanation, I can conclude that when I am in trance, I am not necessarily in a hypnotic state, because I do not respond to any outside stimuli but from something within but beyond me.
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