n order to help understand the complex relationship between hypnosis and potential "mind control," I have included this section as a composite of various views of how dramatic personality change occurs from psychological orces. It should be noted that the principles of personality change are basically the same, whether we are talking about forced indoctrination "brainwashing") or psychotherapy. The attitude and ethics of the people attempting the change are the primary difference. The primary elements are breaking down current sense of identity by various means, followed by olidifying a new sense of identity through active participation. Our capacity o resist personality change comes from the strength of our sense of identity, nd our attitude in refusing to cooperate in a change process in order to gain ewards or avoid punishments.
Our deep beliefs and core values are part of our sense of who we are. In order to change these, we would have to change our sense of identity. Our sense of dentity is normally maintained by constant reinforcement provided by our riends, family, and environment. Personality is normally very stable over our ifetime. It is extremely rare to find significant aspects of personality change permanently, short of organic brain damage or unusually traumatic experience, which change personality in unpredictable ways.
physical and social environment that helps maintain their attachment to their urrent sense of identity. Hypnosis can provide psychological and sensory solation, though only temporary, and can encourage enactment of alternate oles or personalities. Lasting real personality change requires control of our nvironment, the breakdown of existing identity sense, replacement by a new dentity sense, and continued reinforcement of the new identity sense. Not only is such complete control of the environment very difficult, but breaking down existing identity sense is next to impossible if someone has a strong ense of who they are.
Part of how hypnosis may sometimes play a role in personality change is that it can very effectively promote extraordinary experiences that may be nterpreted as significant spiritual experiences. These serve as pivotal xperiences that allow our worldview to shift in new directions. This may manifest in any of a number of ways, from a personal spiritual renewal to a ommitment to a totalitarian religious cult. This is to a great extent the basis or the belief by some religious groups that hypnosis is inherently evil. This equires expectations to be carefully set so that the individual will interpret their experience in the desired way.
Hypnosis can also be a catalyst in significant changes by providing a relief of anxiety. As our anxiety is relieved by the relaxation aspect of hypnosis, participation in consciousness altering practices is reinforced, as is dentification with the group. This is an important part of the process of becoming immersed in a new group identity.
Finally, selective amnesia and other effects can be carefully used in hypnosis to help build separate identity senses within the same person. This is in effect practicing playing multiple roles that are distinct from each other.
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HYPNOTISM is by no means a new art. True, it has been developed into a science in comparatively recent years. But the principles of thought control have been used for thousands of years in India, ancient Egypt, among the Persians, Chinese and in many other ancient lands. Miracles of healing by the spoken word and laying on of hands are recorded in many early writings.