What happens to a hypnotized person

Question to the brain

answer fromProf. Dr. Dirk Revenstorf, Clinical Psychology Uni Tübingen, Head of the Milton Erickson Society for Clinical Hypnosis, Regional Office Tübingen:The brain has several interesting departments for hypnosis. On the one hand, the prefrontal cortex, in which our everyday mind, but also our scientific mind, can be located. The second part is called the precuneus, which sits in the middle of the brain, a little below the roof of the skull. This part of the brain becomes active when you hear your first name, read a text in first person form or look at your own passport photo. Generally speaking, the precuneus comes into action when thinking revolves around the self. We need both centers, the critical mind and the self-awareness, because we are constantly thinking, even without thinking about it, whether something suits us, whether we are allowed or should something, how something fits with our self-image, etc.

During the trance state of hypnosis, these two regions are shut down in activity. That means that we then stop thinking about ourselves, whether something suits us or not. The ego no longer plays a role in this situation, and the critical mind that analyzes what the consequences of my actions are also disappears. What at first sounds like a weakening is exactly the opposite, because it frees up your own imagination and the thought process.

Therefore, in this particular configuration or in this state of the brain, one can speak of increased permeability. Be it in the direction of the personal past, for pictures and graphic comparisons or for the interrelationship between body and mind. This results in the somewhat delicate possibility for the hypnotist to say something to a person in a trance that the person does not check. The therapist's suggestions are more likely to be received in a trance like a parental, well-meaning recommendation. A parent-child situation arises in which the person in a trance trusts the hypnotist unconditionally. That is why I speak of permeability, because what is said is not repelled, but integrated. Milton Erickson, an American psychiatrist who died in 1981, said that trance is a state in which you revert to a child's condition and therefore become so capable of learning.

So who are you talking to? I would say you talk to the subconscious. With the self-awareness, like in a dream. Only that the self-consciousness in a trance is much further in its catchment area. With regard to which and how far memories and body regions can be influenced. As in dreams, which can also be very wild and creative, which one often does not understand at all, but where it happens that the networking of content becomes possible in a very astonishing way. This networking of experiences is increased by the less active, otherwise controlling, brain regions in trance.

So one speaks in trance with an expanded self.

Recorded by Dr. Jochen Müller