Mental Health Resources
A number of references are made to counseling and mental health resources. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please contact your local health groups as this is not a site where therapy is offered. In the United States, no matter where you live, you can find help by dialing 911. You can also text or call the Suicide Prevention Hotline. They offer 24 hour crisis intervention.
Hypnosis and Memory
Hypnosis can be a helpful technique for treatment of a variety of conditions. Hypnosis is a way of inducing a pleasant, voluntary state of relaxed, attentive concentration, an altered state of consciousness, during which the conscious critical mind is relaxed and relatively inactive. In this comfortable state, suggestibility is heightened, mental absorption increased, the senses are heightened and the imagination is activated in a controlled manner. The inner mind is more receptive to acceptable, beneficial suggestions, based on a client’s own goals.
A person under hypnosis is not asleep. When in hypnosis, a client is relaxed and aware of surroundings. Under the laws of certain states, the use of hypnosis could make material recalled before, during and after its use inadmissible in a court of law and if a client uses hypnosis this could result in subsequently not being able to introduce certain (applicable) material in court.
The Nature of Memory
Memory is imperfect, whether or not hypnosis is used. Memory is not like a tape recorder, and rarely will all the details of any recollection be fully accurate. People have been shown to be capable of filling in gaps in memory, of distorting information, and of being influenced in what is “remembered” by leading questions or suggestions. Your memories may sometimes be influenced through reading, movies, or conversations. Thus, research has shown that there is no guarantee that information remembered through hypnosis (or through ordinary recall) is factually accurate.
On the other hand, information that is so remembered through hypnosis may, in fact, be accurate. But the only way one may know definitively whether something recalled under hypnosis is accurate is to obtain independent corroboration. Thus, if you should remember something under hypnosis, regard this information as simply one more source of data that cannot be relied on as more accurate or necessarily superior to material already in conscious awareness. Such further data would simply be information to be weighed and evaluated in therapy along with what you already consciously know. Memory and hypnosis researchers generally agree that it is inappropriate to confront someone in or out of court based solely on information retrieved under hypnosis.
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