Is Hypnosis Credible?

#1
Hello, I have been doing research on consciousness and find the use of hypnosis in the retrieval of supposed past life memories and abduction experiences to be very interesting. I am skeptical, however, because I understand that hypnosis will only work if you believe that it will. On the other hand, isn't it possible for a hypnotist to implant ideas or thoughts on their client through the hypnosis process?
 
#2
Memories "retrieved" under hypnosis are considered too suspect to be of any validity in a court of law and will invalidate the entirety of a witness's case if found to have derived even in part through hypnosis. Yes there is potential for 'Memory falsification' or confabulation due to hypnotic operator mishandling such as using leading techniques (-you're a child now, do you see a large man over you? What is he doing to you?-). Often the operator (the hypnotist) desires a specific outcome and accidentally allows this desire to cause voice inflections, leading patter and so forth. These hypnotists are often either Therapists (who are eager to find a root cause to resolve the issue) or law enforcement (who are eager to convict) or hobbyists (who are eager for novelty). In the past hypnosis was widely used to convict people of paedophilia until it was learned that human memory is not reliable and is especially not so when under hypnotic suggestion. In part this is due not just to operator mishandling but to hypnosis itself. Hypnosis theory varies but the general understanding is that it is a form of directed attention, often using the imagination. Depending on how relaxed the operant is brought there may even be hypnagogic phenomena which would not aid veridical recall at all. I would personally never tell anyone that what they experience in a hypnotic trance is literally real as there are too many states that can be brought on, too much psychological contamination to produce reliable results.

Now while it may not be reliable, it may not be entirely false. After all even confabulations ought to contain some truths else whence could lies spring? I'd like to briefly talk about two authors whom I enjoy. Michael Newton and Dollores Cannon are two hypnotic 'between life' regressionists who have produced separate but similar cosmologies featuring primacy of spirit over matter. In regards to reliability they consider their results to be true because their results are mirrored across what they claim is hundreds of clients and that they are very careful to avoid leading questions. I quite enjoyed reading their material because it gives me some hope about the future of my demise and that of those around me though I cannot vouch for their truthfulness. Both taught their methods to disciples who produce similar stories from their regression sessions, so this could be thought of as a form of independent replication but not verification. I believe there was even one of these fellows on the show https://skeptiko.com/243-scott-de-tamble-explores-lives-between-lives/.

My only qualms with these two researchers is that they never made the supposed thousands of transcripts publically available, so there is no evidence to my knowledge that they didn't simply fabricate significant portions or all of their results and it seems clear to me that in Michael Newtons books only a handful of people are used for the material. It could be that the results weren't as strong from others, the others did not exist as was stated or even that the handful of people used could have been leading him on or even been plants. Again something independent replication will do well to ease if they can return as significant of results, which to my knowledge has not been produced at such a quality since.
 
#3
I should add, academically people are considered to be either more or less hypnotizable (labeled suggestibility, an improvement from susceptibility which implies the hypnotizable are more guillible). It seems to be an inherent trait possibly linked with a persons ability to imagine and concentrate as well as their ability to trust others. While a person does not have to believe in hypnosis for it to work, it certainly helps it work better while a negative belief in hypnosis would cause it to work substantially less, Placebo vs Nocebo.
 
#4
I guess it depends what you mean by "works". If you mean for recall of past lives and recovering memories I can't comment but from experience I would say it does therapeutically and it doesn't seem to matter how sceptical the client is. That's not to say a person cannot resist it if they decide to.
 
#5
Hello, I have been doing research on consciousness and find the use of hypnosis in the retrieval of supposed past life memories and abduction experiences to be very interesting. I am skeptical, however, because I understand that hypnosis will only work if you believe that it will. On the other hand, isn't it possible for a hypnotist to implant ideas or thoughts on their client through the hypnosis process?
Why not tell us something about your research? Is this personal research, or work at a university?

With regard to your skepticism, wouldn't something similar apply to all use of hypnosis to obtain forgotten information? Are you suggestion that this is a deliberate act by the hypnotist?

David
 
#6
No, not necessarily. Yes, this is more curiosity research than anything. There is some evidence that a hypnotist can perhaps unknowingly cause the subject to create false memories, which is why I don't feel that hypnosis can be considered viable evidence for reincarnation or alien abduction. As the posters above mention, hypnosis is not permissible in a court of law, due to the unreliability of retrieved memories from the subjects. As the above poster mentions, hypnosis is based almost entirely on a suggestion, and the effect is much weaker on people that do not believe it is viable, suggesting that some form of gullibility is perhaps used in retrieving supposed memories.
 
#7
I think the law has to set a high bar for unusual forms of evidence. It is right that evidence from hypnosis and/or psychic evidence is not usable in court, although it can, of course, be used to focus an investigation and maybe someone gets convicted as a result.

However, I think that is different from ignoring such evidence at a research level.

There are, (I think), cases in which someone has recalled a past life under hypnosis, and records of that previous life have been discovered to corroborate the hypnosis evidence. I think Michael Newton did such investigations with some of his patients. The only way to discount such evidence is to make fraud allegations.

Perhaps the situation is analogous to that with psychics. There are psychics that can perform under blinded test conditions, however that does not mean that you would want to trust the word of every single psychic - particularly in court!

David
 
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