Due to some shows and TV shows suggestive techniques have been severely damaged, lost their credibility, and are seen as some kind of spell by which a hypnotist can get anything from another person. From being a musical prodigy to making it the most ridiculous absolute.
But nothing could be further from the truth, suggestion is a very studied psychological process and this, carried out by trained health professionals, can be of great help in certain cognitive-behavioral treatments.
What’s the suggestion?
In literal terms, it is known as a suggestion of the psychological process which enables the mental manipulation of other people through a number of techniques; other people, media or all kinds of agents such as music or books, they have the ability to guide or direct the ideas, emotions or behaviors of people.
Although traditionally associated with hypnosis, the suggestions are effective and commonly used in other areas where the person is outside of a hypnotic state. For example, media advertising has always been accused of manipulating our behavior to achieve its own ends and benefits.
However, suggestion can exert tremendous power over our behavior, as well as the way we perceive reality. But for this it is equally important both the ability of a person or agent to exercise the suggestion, and how suggestible or manipulable the object person is.
This means that a highly suggestible person is likely to be manipulated by an agent without the agent realizing it. In these cases, it is very likely that she will get carried away by what is shown in the media, advertisements and advertisements or by what others tell her.
Its application in hypnosis and clinical practice
As described in the previous point, suggestion has traditionally been associated with hypnosis practices. And although they are closely related, there are factors that differentiate them. By hypnosis we can understand the entire process by which the person is immersed in a mental state of trance or altered consciousness, while suggestion would be the concrete act of conveying a certain message or information to the person.
however, there is extensive debate on whether hypnosis or the hypnotic state is a true trance state or if, on the contrary, the alteration in behavior is explained by motivating factors or conditions such as the attitude or the expectations of the person. Although for many years these techniques have been strongly questioned, in recent years there has been a gradual increase in their use in clinical and health settings, both physical and psychological.
The main reason why these procedures have traditionally been widely questioned is that they have been portrayed as an almost magical practice in which a person, looking more like a magician or sorcerer than a professional psychologist, practiced. a series of spells on the other that caused him to behave in eccentric or strange ways. However, several studies have shown that, carried out with seriousness and always in the hands of a professional in psychology and hypnosis, suggestive techniques they can become considerably effective in addition to cognitive-behavioral treatments.
This means that, according to this research, treatments for a number of specific conditions or diseases that are accompanied by a few sessions including hypnotic techniques, are more effective than if done without them.
These interventions include smoking cessation treatments and certain behavioral addictions, management of physical pain, sleep disturbances, weight loss processes or nocturnal enuresis in children; for which hypnotic processes have been shown to be very effective.
Likewise, many other experts point out the possible effectiveness of hypnotic techniques such as part of cognitive behavioral therapy for the treatment of emotional disorders such as anxiety or depression.
There is a broad classification of the types of suggestion, which differ according to whether it is made directly or indirectly, depending on when the effect of the suggestion is made or depending on the reaction to be provoked.
Direct or indirect suggestion
The first classification is that which distinguishes direct and indirect suggestions.
1. Direct suggestion
Also called authoritarian, in this type of suggestion we tell the person directly what they are supposed to experience. For example: “notice how your eyelids are getting heavier and heavier”.
2. Indirect suggestion
Incorrectly named permissive suggestions, in which case an attempt is made to elicit a response without the person’s conscious consent. They are particularly useful in people who are skeptical. or be wary of the treatment.
Suggestions according to the moment
On the other hand, depending on whether the effects of the suggestion cease or not at the end of the hypnotic intervention, we can differentiate between hypnotic suggestions and post-hypnotic suggestions.
1. Hypnotic suggestions
By referring to hypnotic suggestions, we are talking about those that begin when the professional begins the suggestive technique and ends with the goal of the hypnotic state. In other words, that is to say the person will only feel the effects of hypnosis for the duration of the session.
2. Post-hypnotic suggestions
In this second type of suggestion, more used in clinical practice, the suggestions are given or ordered during the session, but they are experienced by the person once they have finished. The intention is for the person to change their behavior or thinking in everyday life, not just throughout the consultation.
Suggestions according to the reaction provoked
The last and most extensive of the classifications is that which divides the types of suggestion according to the reaction one wants to obtain. In this case, we can distinguish the following elements.
1. Engine suggestions
Motor suggestions are aimed at a physical or motor response. This includes both the induction of certain movements and their inhibition. Thanks to them, you can get a person to move one of his joints or, on the contrary, plunge him into a state of paralysis or catalepsy.
2. Sensory-physiological suggestions
By sensori-physiological suggestions, we mean induction of all these responses related to the psychophysiology of the person, As well as with a proprioceptive capacity.
Examples of these suggestions are those which attempt to induce or inhibit in the person sensations of pain, temperature changes, heaviness, or any sensation related to the senses, except life and the auditory sense, which are included in the suggestions. Cognitive-perceptual.
3. Cognitive-perceptual suggestions
Finally, cognitive-perceptual suggestions refer to reactions caused in higher mental processes such as memory, as well as auditory and visual sensory processes.
Therefore, suggestive techniques can impair a person’s ability to perceive a specific stimulus, as well as cause some kind of hallucinations or visual or auditory images.
However, it should be noted that these hallucinations they have nothing to do with what they intend to provoke or pretend to perform in traditional hypnosis shows, As well as hallucinations experienced in certain psychiatric disorders.