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1. a state of altered consciousness, usually artificially induced, in which there is a focusing of attention and heightened responsiveness to suggestions and commands. Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not sleep but rather intense concentration, something like the familiar experience of being engrossed in a book to the extent of shutting out the outside world.
State of Hypnosis. The nature of hypnosis and the way it works are still largely unknown. One widely accepted theory is that the person's ego—that is, the part of the mind that consciously restrains instincts—is temporarily weakened under hypnosis at the person's own wish. How deeply one responds depends on many psychologic and biologic factors. The ability to respond to hypnosis varies from person to person; it tends to increase after successive experiences.
Use of Hypnosis. A common medical use of hypnosis is in treating mental illness. Historically, Sigmund Freud developed his theory of the unconscious as a result of his experiments with a hypnotized patient. Out of this theory came some of the techniques of psychoanalysis. By lessening the mind's unconscious defenses, hypnosis can make some patients able to recall and even reexperience important childhood events that have long been forgotten or repressed by the conscious mind.

In certain cases when the use of anesthetics is not advisable, hypnosis has been used successfully during dental treatment, setting of fractures, and childbirth, usually in addition to pain-killing medicines.
2. in the nursing interventions classification, a nursing intervention defined as assisting a patient to induce an altered state of consciousness to create an accurate awareness and a directed focus experience.


An artificially induced trancelike state, resembling somnambulism, in which the subject is highly susceptible to suggestion, oblivious to all else, and responds readily to the commands of the hypnotist; its scientific validity has been accepted and rejected through several cycles during the past 2 centuries. See: mesmerism.
[G. hypnos, sleep, + -osis, condition]


/hyp·no·sis/ (hip-no´sis) an altered state of consciousness characterized by focusing of attention, suspension of disbelief, increased amenability and responsiveness to suggestions and commands, and the subjective experience of responding involuntarily.


n. pl. hypno·ses (-sēz)
1. An artificially induced altered state of consciousness, characterized by heightened suggestibility and receptivity to direction.
2. Hypnotism.
3. A sleeplike condition.


Etymology: Gk, hypnos, sleep
a passive, trancelike state that resembles normal sleep during which perception and memory are altered, resulting in increased responsiveness to suggestion. The condition is usually induced by the monotonous repetition of words and gestures while the subject is completely relaxed.


a nursing intervention from the Nursing Interventions Classification (NIC) defined as assisting a patient to achieve a state of attentive, focused concentration with suspension of some peripheral awareness to create changes in sensation, thoughts, or behavior. See also Nursing Interventions Classification.


The induction of a trance state in an individual, which is defined by the presence of trance phenomena in the form of objective physical changes (see trance state), subjective perceptual changes and a co-operative interaction with the hypnotist. Hypnosis has theoretical currency in behaviour modification and biofeedback, in which a person learns to focus his or her attention on thoughts or images that are unrelated to a particular stimulus (e.g., cancer-related pain). Hypnosis has some support in mainstream psychiatry and anaesthesiology; the major effect of hypnosis is relaxation and possibly control of habits, and is said to be useful in speech therapy, smoking cessation, ameliorating panic disorders and in low back pain.

Hypnotisability appears to hinge on the degree to which a person can engage in fantasy and be distracted: 20% of individuals are easily hypnotised, while 20% are virtually “hypnosis-proof”; children are less confined by reality-based thinking, and thus more easily hypnotised.


Psychiatry A technique involving relaxation and voluntarily ignoring conscious thought processes; hypnosis attempts to access the unconscious mind. See Highway hypnosis PsychologyA technique that may be effective in behavior modification–eg, control of habits, relaxation, and biofeedback, in which a person learns to focus attention on thoughts or images unrelated to a particular stimulus–eg, cancer-related pain.


An artificially induced trancelike state, resembling somnambulism, in which the subject is highly susceptible to suggestion and responds readily to the commands of the hypnotist.
See also: mesmerism
[G. hypnos, sleep, + -osis, condition]


A state of abnormal suggestibility and responsiveness, but decreased general awareness often brought about by concentration on a repetitive stimulus. In the hypnotic state, the instructions of the hypnotist are usually obeyed, opinions apparently modified and hallucinations experienced. Many widely-believed myths are associated with hypnotism. It does not involve any kind of sleep; it is impossible without the full cooperation of the subject; and a hypnotized person will not perform actions that would normally be unacceptable. There is, however, inevitably some loss of personal will. Long-forgotten memories of obscure detail are not uncovered by hypnotism.


The means by which a state of extreme relaxation and suggestibility is induced: used to treat amnesia and identity disturbances that occur in dissociative disorders.


n an altered state of consciousness, usually resembling sleep or trance, which may use relaxation techniques, suggestion, and imagery.


Artificially induced trancelike state, resembling somnambulism, in which the subject is highly susceptible to suggestion, oblivious to all else, and responds readily to the commands of the hypnotist.
[G. hypnos, sleep, + -osis, condition]


an artificially induced state of passivity. In animals an immobility reflex can be induced with varying ease in the different species. It has some similarity to the hypnotic state in humans.

animal hypnosis
can be induced by dopamine-receptor blockers or by restraint or visual fixation; guinea pigs, rabbits and chickens are most susceptible.

Patient discussion about hypnosis

Q. HYPNOSIS can hypnosis be used in bi-polar disorder?

A. there is no reason why not. people with bipolar disorder can be susceptible to hypnosis like any others. but like all population the ability to be hypnotized is variable. some are very suggestible and some are not. doesn't say anything on the person- very smart and intelligent people can be hypnotized.

Q. How effective is hypnosis in treating alcoholism? And how expensive is it? I've already tried hypnotherapy for social anxiety problems but the guy was a useless quack and I didn't even go under properly.

A. Hypnosis is a very effective treatment for addictions, it was used back in the 19th century as one but the use of hypnosis today is smaller then before. Here is a web page with some info about it:

More discussions about hypnosis