Hypnosis and Religion Misconceptions

figueroa_agustin“I don’t want you to mess with my head.” were the words of a lady with a weight problem who needed help but had mistaken ideas about hypnosis. Another one said, “I do not want you to have control over me.” Some religious people say that hypnosis is non-Christian. They frown upon such a treatment and call it evil. By seeing what transpires on the stage, when hypnosis is used for entertainment, it is easy to understand how people could arrive at the conclusion that the hypnotist had the hypnotized under his/her control. Surely, to the uninformed viewer, such control would appear to be real. As they make hypnotists look like “lords and masters” of their hypnotized “victims,” movies, radio and television programs have often presented hypnosis in a negative way. With this understanding, some religionists condemn hypnosis and publicly brand it “a work of the Devil”.

In order to overcome this view, some quote the Bible to show that hypnosis is in accordance with its teaching. Hypnosis is neither a belief nor a religion. It is not even a matter of conviction. Used in therapy, it is simply another tool; furthermore, hypnosis has no need to be defended. When properly used by a trained professional, it defends itself by the results obtained. The good that it does speaks by itself on its behalf.

Some say that God used hypnosis when He “…caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam…” (Genesis 2: 21). They say that Jesus used hypnosis to heal. We might as well make Jesus a plain therapist, deprive Him of His divine power and credit it all to mere human skill and talent, regardless of how outstanding or extraordinary it might have been.

Something else, however, is evident. Not for his own benefit, but rather for the sake of those He helped, Jesus very frequently used the power of suggestion in his ministry. In fact, in all his parables, He suggests some specific truth regarding his Kingdom. He said, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto….” We see what may be considered the classical example of Jesus using the power of suggestion in His great parable of The Good Samaritan. He ends the incident by telling the lawyer, “…go, do likewise.” That lawyer and anyone else present received the same suggestion. What they needed but had failed to recognize was the one thing Jesus suggested: “Show mercy to him who is in need!” Be his neighbor!”

In all his teaching, Jesus often used metaphors. His message of the passing of a camel through a needle’s eye can readily be understood as teaching about values and priorities. How can anyone miss the message conveyed in Jesus’ statement about faith enabling the individual to cause mountains to be removed?! A powerful suggestion this is of self-confidence based, not on self-sufficiency, but on divine help. Besides Jesus’ divine power working in many of his signs and wonders, we can also see the power of the suggestions.

Helping people meet their needs, solve their problems or find a feasible way to cope with them is the goal of therapy. Hypnosis is merely one more means of helping people reach their goals. I have the privilege of helping my subjects ascertain that hypnosis will help them work toward their good. People with whom I have worked have corrected previous misconceptions and have actually been complimentary about hypnosis. Many have remarked that it helped them significantly and some have simply stated that “It is just plain wonderful”

Hypnosis is not to be feared! It is a great and wonderful tool and many more professionals should use it! Many practitioners in the various areas of health care have incorporated it in their practice. More and more, regardless of their specialties, medical doctors use hypnosis to better treat their patients. Many of them are now referring their patients to hypnotherapists. For a long time, most scientists opposed the use of hypnosis in therapy. They considered it to be of little or no value. Many discarded it as “hocus pocus.” Nevertheless, thanks to the constant, indefatigable efforts of those who see its true value, hypnotherapy is now recognized as a true science in the medical field. Surely this should help the general public to have a better view about it.

It is hoped that clergy will increase their use of hypnosis in their ministry. They may or may not claim divine power to heal but a functional training in Clinical Hypnosis will enable them to render better service to their parishioners. Like the Lord Jesus, they could do the one without neglecting the other.

By Rev. Agustin “Gus” Figueroa, member of CSIG/NGH.

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