Hypnosis, Biofeedback & Meditation

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Hypnosis, Biofeedback & Meditation

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Hypnosis, Biofeedback & Meditation

Chapter 7-2


From “The Healing Power of Hypnosis” by Jean Callahan, 1997

Victor Rausch entered a hypnotic trance by focusing on Chopin’s Lush Nocturne in E-flat, as it was played in the movie The Eddy


Story. Rausch visualized scenes from the movie and wrapped his mind in appealing thoughts. Rausch’s blood pressure and pulse rate remained steady for 75 minutes. During this 75 minutes Rausch was undergoing a gallbladder operation! He had refused the anesthetic, and during the surgery, he swears he felt no pain – just a little tugging. He even talked and joked with the surgical team during the procedure. After the surgery, he stood up and walked down the hall, riding the elevator to his hospital room.



A state of consciousness resulting from a narrowed focus of attention and characterized by heightened suggestibility

Altered consciousness, people become very suggestible to changes in behavior and thought


History of Hypnosis

Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815)

First person to practice hypnosis





People are not “put to sleep”

Trance where people highly receptive and responsive to certain internal and external stimuli

Able to focus attention on one tiny aspect of reality and ignore all other inputs

Get into a trance by persuading a participant to relax and lose interest in external distractions




Participant is not under the hypnotist’s power

Participant cannot be forced to do things against his or her will

Anyone can resist hypnosis


Theories of Hypnosis

Theodore Barber (1965)

– hypnosis is the result of suggestibility; non-hypnotized people can do anything too


Theories of Hypnosis




– something special about hypnotized state; consciousness includes many different aspects that may become separated/dissociated during hypnosis (


theory), “hidden observer” part of the personality that watches and reports what happens to the hypnotized person


Theories of Hypnosis

Hypnotized people behave as they do because they have accepted the role of a hypnotized subject


Uses of Hypnosis

Posthypnotic suggestion

– suggesting that a person forgets something once they awaken

Used to change behavior

Hypnotic analgesia

– reduce anxiety, encourage relaxation

Used to reduce pain

Help to reveal problems, gain insight



The process of learning to control bodily states with the help of specialized machines

Feedback makes learning possible

Machines provide feedback on what the body is doing


Uses of Biofeedback

Teach people to control physiological responses

Brain waves

Heart rate

Blood pressure

Skin temperature

Sweat-gland activity



The focusing of attention to clear one’s mind and produce relaxation

Focusing attention on an image or thought with the goal of clearing the mind and producing relaxation

“inner peace”

Practiced all over the world for thousands of years


Approaches to Meditation

Transcendental meditation

– mental repetition, 15-20 minutes daily

Mindfulness meditation

– Buddhist tradition; focuses on the present moment

Breath meditation

– concentration on breathing


Uses of Meditation

Lower blood pressure

Lower heart rates

Lower respiration rates






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