hypnosis Definitions of Hypnosis

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Dictionary definitons of the term "hypnosis"

In the quest to become a certified hypnotist it's important to ask "What is hypnosis?" Although it seems a simple question the answer becomes more complex then you might think. This is because apparently every yahoo that comes down the pike claims to be an expert in it. (You may include this site's author of course)

Not surprisingly for a subject as controversial as hypnosis there is much disagreement as to what the definition of hypnosis is. Dictionary definitions may not provide much insight into the hypnotic process but they a good starting point for learning the commonly held viewpoints on hypnotic trance. Here are some of the more authoritative definitions:

American Heritage Dictionary 

hyp·no·sis  n.  (-sēz) An artificially induced altered state of consciousness, characterized by heightened suggestibility and receptivity to direction. Hypnotism. A sleeplike condition.  The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Online Etymology Dictionary  

hypnosis, "inducement of sleep," coined (as an alternative to hypnotism) from Gk. hypnos "sleep" (see somnolence) + -osis "condition."Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper  

WordNet

hypnosis noun  a state that resembles sleep but that is induced by suggestion  WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary

hypnosis  noun - a sleep-like state caused by the action of another person who can then make the sleeper obey his commands hypnotism, hypnotize, hypnotize Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary (Beta Version), © 2000-2006 K Dictionaries Ltd.  

The American Heritage Science Dictionary

hypnosis   (hĭp-nō'sĭs)   A trancelike state resembling sleep, usually induced by a therapist by focusing a subject's attention, that heightens the subject's receptivity to suggestion. The uses of hypnosis in medicine and psychology include recovering repressed memories, modifying or eliminating undesirable behavior (such as smoking), and treating certain chronic disorders, such as anxiety. The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2002 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.  

American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition

hypnosis Placing persons in a drowsy, sleeplike state in which they allegedly become vulnerable to the suggestions made by the hypnotist. Hypnosis may also be used to tap into the unconscious and is often characterized by vivid recall of memories and fantasies. These properties make hypnosis a useful tool in psychotherapy. Hypnosis also has sinister implications, for subjects may be manipulated to perform embarrassing actions or be susceptible to carrying out the hypnotist's commands after the hypnosis session (posthypnotic suggestion).[Chapter:] Anthropology, Psychology, and Sociology The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

American Heritage Stedman's Medical Dictionary   

hyp·no·sis n. pl. hyp·no·ses A trancelike state resembling somnambulism, usually induced by another person, in which the subject may experience forgotten or suppressed memories, hallucinations, and heightened suggestibility. A sleeplike state or condition. Hypnotism.The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary

 hyp·no·sis Function: noun Inflected Form: plural hyp·no·ses /-"sEz/ 1 : a state that resembles sleep but is induced by a person whose suggestions are readily accepted by the subject 2 : any of various conditions that resemble sleep Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.

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