RELIGION & HYPNOSIS
I'm dedicating a whole page to this subject because some people think of hypnosis as some kind of occult activity or somehow "not holy". If I were concerned that helping people through hypnosis was somehow endangering my soul or the client's, I cease my practice immediately. Hypnosis is a totally normal state of mind that each of us slip into and out of every single day of our lives. Please read and decide for yourself.
MOST major religions see Hypnosis the same as they would any other tool you may use to help you with self improvement. The Catholic Church approved the use of Hypnosis in the 1950’s. The American Medical Association approved the use of Hypnosis in the 1950’s. Most mainstream religions realize Hypnosis has many positive benefits and are in no way anti religious. Of course, there are some religions that forbid their members to use medical services and the use of blood transfusions. Some religions do not want their members to think for themselves. Clergy of whatever faith who respects their member’s right to make their own decisions, have no problem with Hypnosis. In my first Hypnosis class, there was a Baptist minister and a Catholic police Chaplin. Here is a list of a few professional associations:
National Association of Clergy Hypnotherapists.
The Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy
National Guild of Hypnotists
American Psychotherapy and Medical Hypnosis Association
The International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association
International Association for Doctors of Clinical Hypnotherapy
Is Hypnosis contrary to religious teachings?
This question can be controversial to some people and yet to me, it is a necessary question to answer to the best of my ability since my professional goal is to help as many people as possible.
I cannot address this question in regard to every religion but I’ll share the knowledge available to me.
The Catholic Church, while thought by congregational members to oppose hypnosis even into the 21st century, has never condemned the practice of hypnosis. In fact, an argument could be made that they actually support it. A decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office on July 28, 1847 stated in part that, “the use of animal magnetism (the earliest form of hypnosis) is indeed merely an act making use of physical media that are otherwise licit and hence it is not morally forbidden, provided that it does not tend toward an illicit end or toward anything depraved.”
Objections continued to be raised by some theologians stating that if not applied properly hypnosis could deprive a person of their faculty of reason. Saint Thomas Aquinas specifically rebutted this stating, “The loss of reason is not a sin in itself but only by reason of the act by which one is deprived of the use of reason is licit in itself and is done for a just cause, there is no sin; if no just cause is present, it must be considered a venial sin.”
Pope Pius XII is credited as giving the official nod to hypnosis from the Catholic Church. He stated in comments before an audience of obstetricians and gynecologists on January 8th, 1956 that he believed the judgment of the morality of hypnosis would ultimately be based on sound medical opinion.
The Jewish faith hasn’t seemed to speak out on hypnosis in support or disapproval. So it would seem that the faith as a whole has a neutral attitude towards hypnosis there have been several parallels drawn between the religion and hypnosis, these parallels even supplied by rabbis. The most significant is that the Jewish cabbalistic state of kavanah is very similar to autohypnosis.
The word kavanah intimates empathy, rapport, righteousness, and steadfastness. In the Talmud it implies concentration, motivation, and correct attention. It was used to create a deep state of religious enlightenment and also a reflective state of deeper understanding and experiencing of God. The rhythmic rocking of the body during prayer and chanting has also been found to be hypnagogic and the kavanah was used to produce depersonalization in the past so the prophet could see himself elsewhere.
Buddhists also seemed to have been quiet about hypnosis over the years. Their meditation techniques, like the kavanah, appear to be very closely related to auto-hypnosis, leading to insight and wisdom. Viewing the self with a greater openness of insight allows the clear discernment of one's needs leading to a deeper understanding of the self, a deeper self-realization.
Christian opinions of hypnosis vary with each individual. Those who have researched the purpose of clinical hypnosis have an educated and positive view of hypnosis.
However, some Christians have a misunderstanding of what hypnosis really is and have confused it with fortune tellers, sorcerers, mediums, or sooth sayers. In their argument, they sometimes quote bible verses such as the following:
There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer
Or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead…
Hypnosis employs none of the techniques and has nothing to do, in any way, with the aforementioned practices.
The purpose of hypnosis is to help individuals live their lives as God meant for us to live, in a healthy body, fulfilling our purpose.
In fact, there is a Bible verse that guides the direction of every hypnosis session with my clients. The verse is:
Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
You see, we, at Encore Hypnosis are well trained in the profession of hypnotism. I continually update my own knowledge through continuing education courses. Even though I have a great deal of confidence in my own skills, I’m well aware that God, the One who created every part of you, knows best how to heal you through “the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart....”
A clear and simple answer is this, the word hypnosis, or any word meaning hypnosis, does not appear in the Bible or the Talmud. I have not had anyone present me with scripture or verse that condemns hypnosis without committing some sort of overt textual umbrage. So all misgivings I have encountered in the religious communities, including those noted, are not from God but rather from fear and lack of education.