This Glossary of Terms will help you become familiar with the jargon used by hypnotists.
Abreaction: The act of reviving the memory of a repressed disagreeable experience and giving expression in speech and action to the emotions related to it, thereby relieving the individual of its influences.
Affect Bridge: A technique by which significant memories are recovered by inducing an intense emotional state in a client and asking him or her to remember a past instance when he or she felt the same way.
Age Progression: Simulated time orientation. The hypnotic subject hallucinates living in the future while retaining his or her chronological age.
Amnesia: Loss of memory, inability to recall. It may result from organic or functional causes and may be generalized or for a circumscribed period of time. In retrograde amnesia there is a loss of memory for events over a period of time prior to a trauma, as in the case of cerebral concussion. Hypnotic amnesia is always a reversible forgetting. It may occur spontaneously or be suggested, and may be suggested, and may be partial or total.
Analgesia: The loss of reduction of pain sensation without the loss of consciousness. When analgesia is produced in hypnosis it is called hypnoanalgesia. If used to decrease pain, hypnoanalgesia can be retained by posthypnotic suggestions.
Anesthesia: The loss of sensory modalities. An agent that causes insensitivity to pain. In chemically induced anesthesia there are two types: general, which produces unconsciousness; and local, which causes a specific area of the body to be insensitive to pain. In the context of hypnosis this is called hypnoanesthesia, and is used in major surgical and dental procedures.
Anorexia Nervosa: A life-threatening psychoneurotic symptom in which the client, usually a young woman, diets to the point of emaciation. As a rule, the anorexic has a loss of appetite with a loathing for food.
Approach: System of operation or way of working, characteristic modus operandi.
Authoritarian: The approach of hypnotic suggestion that is commanding and forceful in nature.A suggestion that conveys it is being imposed by the hypnotist.
Autohypnosis: This term is synonymous with self-hypnosis.
Autosuggestion: Self-suggestions; refers to suggestions made by the subject to oneself.
Bulimia: The bulimic has an insatiable appetite for food. Bulimia is a psychoneurotic disturbance resulting in a morbid increase of appetite whereby the individual wishes to eat constantly.
Catalepsy: A condition characterized by a rigidity of the skeletal muscles. May be accompanied by waxy flexibility in which the limbs of a cataleptic individual remain in almost any position they are placed, as though made of molded wax. The medical term for this phenomenon is cerea flexibilities.
Clinical Hypnosis: The therapeutic uses of hypnosis.
Conscious: Awareness; alertness; referring to the state of being subjectively aware. That which is known and experienced. The left hemisphere function which maintains an interpretative contact of the individual with the environment.
Delusion: An irrational belief tenaciously held in spite of all evidence to the contrary.
Dissociation: The inherent ability of the hypnotized subject to become detached from the immediate environment. The subject can step out of himself, as it were, just as he was viewing his body from another part of the room. Also, the dividing up of the psyche into two or more parts functioning independently at the same time (e.g., automatic writing).
Endorphins: Any of several peptides secreted in the brain, that have a pain-relieving effect like that of morphine. These analgesic chemicals are naturally produced by the body.
Forensic Hypnosis: Legal application of hypnosis.
Fractionation: A procedure for deepening hypnosis by repeatedly hypnotizing and dehypnotizing a subject.
Glove Anesthesia: A hypnotically suggested anesthesia in the area of a hand normally covered by a glove. The hand is made insensitive to stimuli in a circumscribed area from the fingertips to the wrist. A condition that is neuroanatomically impossible.
Heterohypnosis: Hypnosis induced by a hypnotist.
Hypermnesia: Memory recall with the retrieval of forgotten information. The brain stores everything, forgets nothing and most memories can be recovered when the proper association pathways are stimulated.
Hypersthesia: Heightened sensibility to work.
Hypersuggestibility: The capacity to respond to suggestions above a norm. The subject who is readily influenced and achieves a profound level of hypnosis is said to be hypersuggestible.
Hypnagogic: The state intermediate between wakefulness and sleep.
Hypnoanalysis: The use of hypnosis in combination with psychoanalytic techniques.
Hypnoidal: Resembling hypnosis. When the term hypnoidal is used in the context of hypnotic susceptibility, it designates the lightest degree of hypnosis.
Hypnopompic: A state of consciousness leading out of sleep. Its mirror is the hypnagogic state at sleep onset; though often conflated, the two states are not identical.
Hypnosis: An altered state of consciousness characterized by hypersuggestibility. It is a trance-like state psychically induced, usually by another person, in which the subject responds to the suggestions of the hypnotist.
Hypnotherapy: Any therapy in which the use of hypnosis constitutes the core of the treatment.
Hypnotic: Pertaining to or associated with hypnotism.
Hypnotism: The study and use of suggestion. The science of hypnosis.
Hypnotizability: Refers to suggestibility or individual susceptibility to hypnosis.
Hypnotic Susceptibility: A personality characteristic that determines a subject’s ability to be hypnotized and to attain a given depth of hypnosis.
Ideomotor Action: The involuntary capacity of muscles to respond instantaneously to thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
Ideosensory Action: The involuntary capacity of the brain to evoke sensory images; these may be kinesthetic, auditory, visual, olfactory, gustatory or tactile.
Illusion: A common misconception of some sensory stimulus. All sensory modalities are subject to illusions.
Imagery: The ability to perceive or mentally recreate ideas, pictures, or feelings.
Induction: The production of hypnosis by the use of specific procedures.
Indirect Hypnosis: The production of hypnosis without the subject’s awareness.
Matching: Developed by the late Milton Erickson, and used by John Grinder and Richard Bandler in their system of neurolinguistic programming (NLP). The technique consists of adopting parts of another person’s behavior, such as particular gestures, facial expressions, forms of speech, tone of voice and so on. Done skillfully, it helps create rapport.
Negative Hallucination: A hallucination in which the subject fails to perceive something that is present.
Neuroplasticity: The brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.
Operator: Synonymous with hypnotist or hypnotist.
Permissive: This approach to hypnotic induction is the opposite of authoritarian. A permissive suggestion is made in such a manner as to give the subject the option of responding. The subject, not the hypnotist, is made the perceived source of the response. Permissive suggestions never have an intonation of authority or command.
Positive Hallucination: A perception of a stimulus that does not exist in objective reality.
Posthypnotic Response: Acts carried out after the termination of hypnosis in response to specific suggestions are called posthypnotic. A suggestion given during hypnosis serves as the stimulus and the act becomes the response.
Posthypnotic Suggestion: A suggestion given during hypnosis that occurs in the subsequent waking state.
Revivification: A reliving of a prior period of life. In revivification the hypnotized person returns to a physiological state believed to have existed at the time to which the subject has returned. All memories following the age to which the subject has been regressed are removed.
Self-Hypnosis: Hypnosis induced in oneself. The ability to influence positive self-improvement through the inner processes of focused awareness.
Somnambulism: In everyday usage the term somnambulism is used for sleepwalking; however, in the lexicon of hypnotism somnambulism is used to designate the deepest stage of hypnosis.
Subconscious Mind: The psychic processes of which an individual is not conscious. They are often associated with the part of the mind involving imagination, memory and creativity. The subconscious mind is particularly accessible through hypnotic suggestion.
Subject: An older term which denotes an individual submitting to an induction of hypnosis. More modern usage is the term client.
Subjective Time: Time as perceived by a subject (as opposed to real time).
Suggestibility: The capacity to respond to suggestion. The propensity of a subject to accept and act on suggestions.
Suggestion: Hypnotic communication.
Time Distortion: The ability of hypnotic suggestion to make subjective time seem to pass more rapidly or more slowly than real time.
Trance: A term widely used by Milton Erickson and his followers. The term trance is synonymous with hypnosis.
Trance Logic: The suspension of critical judgement on the part of a hypnotized subject and his/her ability to tolerate the co-existence of logically incompatible phenomena.
Unconscious Mind: A term used in psychiatry to denote a postulated region of the psyche, the repository or repressed urges and wishes. The term subconscious is often used as synonym for the term unconscious.