Are self-hypnosis techniques moral for pain management purposes?

Title says it all. I’ve become interested in some self-hypnosis techniques for pain management since I have heard so many good things about them, but know people who have a vague feeling that such things are frowned upon by the Church. So, let’s have it, what are the arguments for and against them. :slight_smile:

I never heard the Church ever saying anything about it. It’s fine.

LOVE! :heart:

To me it depends on what you mean by self-hypnosis. I think we should try to stay present in this world as much as possible, not seeking any escapes when possible. However, some of my deepest prayer movements my attention is so focused on God or Jesus that I am not aware of what’s happening in my surroundings. If that kind of meditative prayer is something like self-hypnosis, I think it would be allowed.

I know that the Church has no problem with hypnosis as a treatment for various ailments, including addiction. As long as your not channeling gods or spirits.

No, I don’t think so.
I heard an exorcist priest once say that using hypnosis or any sort of altered-consciousness for learning things more quickly is demonic. I am pretty sure that it is demonic to use hypnosis for anything.
Just because there is no official Church ban on things does not mean that they are perfectly okay. For instance, there is no ban on the movie “Avatar”, but exorcists know that avatars are actually some of the most vicious types of demons.

Please don’t take this the wrong way, because I absolutely appreciate your opinion on self-hypnosis on this thread, but its clear you have no idea what the movie Avatar is about if you think it has any sort of connection with demonic avatars. The name is given only because some of the characters use science and technological advances to give themselves a different body to use. Just be a use the same word is used does not mean it is referring to the exact same thing. So, just as a bat could refer either to a baseball bat or the nocturnal animal the word avatar can refer to either demonic avatars or it could refer to an animated picture a person uses to represent themselves online/in games, or, as used in the movie, to refer to a scientific and technological (although fictional) method of giving a new appearance to a person. There is no reason for the Church to ban the movie because there is nothing demonic going on there at all.

Do you think you could expand on this a little more? Also, if you have links to any priests/apologists/theologians opinion on this subject I would love to hear them, so please post links to any articles you can think of. Thanks. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the opinion. :slight_smile:

Do you have any links to articles showing that the Church thinks hypnosis is a legitimate treatment? Any help you can give me in finding more information on this topic is greatly appreciated. :slight_smile:

So, when I searched ask an apologist (which I probably should have done first) I found this.
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=3536&highlight=Hypnosis

Which makes it clear that the Church believes hypnotism is moral and a legitimate form of treatment, however, since it comes with risks, people need to have good reasons to use it and should be careful to take precautions to who d the known risks.

However, it also sounds like they are talking about a different thing than self-hypnosis, so that still leaves me unsure of how exactly self-hypnosis fits in… :confused:

This is sort of like when women worry about becoming enormously muscular when they do a little weight lifting. Only if they abuse steroids will that happen. The average woman will not gain as much muscle as the average man by a long shot, and the average man is in no great danger of becoming muscle-bound from lifting weights either.

Similarly, only about 1 out of 5 people can attain the sort of deep trance discussed in the EWTN link, and that is when they are working with a professional hypnotist. You would be in the minority if you were one of those able to attain a truly deep trance. It’s harder still to be able to do this by yourself, much much harder.

I’d say go ahead and give it a try, but don’t be too disappointed if you can’t make it work. Most people can’t. I know this both from personal experience, and from listening to accounts given by somebody who attempted hypnosis on willing subjects as a project for part of her studies in psychology.

My personal best was when I obtained a kind of light drifting half sleep where I was aware of conversations going on around me and yet I was almost asleep. Unfortunately, while I think this might have been an adequate sort of trance to make things happen, at that point I had lost the capacity to give myself directions. I only got that to that point once in my life though. Most of my other attempts didn’t work at all. Either I fell all the way asleep and woke up an hour or two later or I never got sleepy to begin with. And I tried a lot of times too, a lot of times.

If, per chance, you do succeed at this, please come back and report what you did. I would be interested in hearing about it. :slight_smile:

On another note: I tried lifting weights when I was younger and I was reasonably good at it. I was able to bulk up a bit (never looked even remotely like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I looked fairly strong right after lifting weights, enough so that people would make comments on it) and I never used anything like a steroid. I got so I could bench 300 lbs about 5 times in a row. From my own personal experience, I’d say getting so you can bench 300 lbs. 5 times in a row is a whole lot easier than attaining a deep hypnotic trance via auto-hypnosis.

I did not make this up on my own…the exorcist priest stated that there are demons called Avatars, and he brought up the movie title, asking who had seen it. Maybe there is nothing explicitly demonic in the movie itself, but the title, by its mere existence, may give glory to Satan. Think of how many people have said the word ‘avatar’ aka pronounced the names of demons since its trailers came out!

It is just my personal opinion really. I don’t know if I could find anyone else that has the same view. I believe that God created the world we live in for us humans. We should try to live in this world that God created for us. Self-hypnosis from what I’ve read puts a person into some sort of dream state that can aid healing or pain management and so on. That’s fine to do, but it needs to be tempered with what God wants. God doesn’t want us to suffer, but He also doesn’t want us to run away from all our sufferings either. Experiencing suffering firsthand can help us grow in our faith and to become closer to God and Jesus. Suffering can have a good end result.

I think of self-hypnosis like a drug; it has a purpose, but sometimes it’s best not to use it. Say I have signed up to help with the church landscaping but wake up with a headache. If the pain is so severe that I won’t be able to do a good job, I will take some pain medicine. If, however, I feel like I can deal with the pain, I will take no medicine. I will instead offer the suffering up to reduce my future suffering in purgatory or for other souls in purgatory. People are really suffering in purgatory. They say it’s worse than anything imaginable on earth. If I can help those people in some way, I am definitely going to try.

Anytime one prays the st. Michael prayer they “say the names of demons”. I’m not going to get into this further on this thread, but suffice it to say I do not agree with your concern over the title of the movie avator.

Yeah, I don’t think the self-hypnosis I’ve been looking at is supposed to bring you into the same kind of deep trance that hypnotists do for other purposes, it seems to be something much easier to attain but something that still actually helps people manage pain. Which makes me think its even more likely to be moral since the deeper hypnotic trance is even considered moral when there is a good reason.

[ETA]
Seeing as it looks like there might be different levels of hypnosis or self-hypnosis I should probably clarify. I’ve be one really interested in hypnobabies as a pain management method for an unmedicated childbirth.

Thanks for explaining your perspective, I really appreciate it. To be honest, I do kind of understand where your coming from. I don’t have entirely the same perspective, but I think its a great perspective to have. Having said that, since the pain I am hoping to eventually manage is childbirth and is routinely handled through strong medication because of its severity I somehow suspect you would not think it wrong to look for some relief. :slight_smile:

Seeing as you seem to have much more knowledge/experience with hypnosis than I do, would you mind comparing the description hypnobabies gives of their self-hypnosis to the deep hypnotic trance that you are speaking about above?

Here is what they have to say about it

Many people think hypnosis is like the stage hypnosis shows they’ve seen where people seem to be unable to control themselves, act goofy and provide entertainment for the audience.

In reality it is a state of focused concentration where the body and mind relax together. Hypnosis is very simply: a natural state of mind in which the body and mind are extremely relaxed and yet the mind is also highly aware and focused. As you will read below, we are all in states of hypnosis many times a day automatically, so hypnosis is a very normal state of being that along with it’s ability to provide emotional and physical healing, has been widely and successfully used within the medical community for pain relief and hypno-anesthesia.

All Hypnosis is Self-Hypnosis!

You are always in control of your mind and your body while in hypnosis. You choose to enter hypnosis, stay in hypnosis, accept the suggestions, and emerge from hypnosis at all times.

Hypnosis is a state of relaxation in which you are;

  1. In total control and
  2. Can accept or reject any suggestions you hear

Hypnosis is not;

  1. Being controlled by someone else
  2. A loss of self control
  3. A state of unconsciousness
  4. A state of sleep

Examples of everyday hypnotic states which you have already experienced naturally:

  1. Driving the car
  2. Riding the elevator
  3. Watching TV, movies, computer screens or video
  4. Being bored by another person
  5. Waking up and going to sleep
  6. Daydreaming

So hypnosis is a very natural state of being that we all experience many times a day already…to regenerate and renew, and we are simply helping the process along during hypnosis sessions, just like programming a computer to produce a document, project or program that will produce positive results!

Since I didn’t see a link to anything with the word hypnobabies in it, I’m not sure what you are talking about.

A person able to achieve a deep trance may be able to experience detailed hallucinations in all five senses and to reduce sensations which would ordinarily be excruciatingly painful to a level of mild discomfort or even nothing at all. In addition, some people who do this can control their own blood flow, alter their heart rates, and otherwise have access to physiological activities which we normally do not control. They may also experience enhanced or “hysterical” strength and enhanced ability to remember things.

For an example of a professional hypnotist practicing auto-hypnosis who is able to exert pain control over herself and even control her own bleeding, watch this video: Sharon Waxkirsh - Wisdom Tooth Extraction Under Self Hypnosis

As an example of what one might be able to do if he or she could form a stable detailed visual hallucination, consider what literally seeing a glowing image of a statue in a block of wax would do for someone who had never sculpted before. He or she could simple carve away the excess wax and keep the statue. A similar hallucination on a piece of paper could effect the production of a line drawing by somebody who did not previously know how to make a good drawing - they could just trace the outline of the image. Such an ability could enable a person to bypass the initial stages of the acquisition of artistic abilities which people normally labor a good long time to acquire. Of course, this is not the same as being artistically creative, and there is much more to the production of art than that, but I think most people who are not already artists would be quite pleased to be able to step their ability up that way. I know I would.

Once in a great while I have produced a drawing I was pleased with, but I never really thought the payoff was worth all the effort I had to put into it and so I have never been terribly interested in trying to draw or sculpt. I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination, thus I think I would find being able to take a “hypnotic shortcut” in moving images from my mind to a sheet of paper to be quite interesting.

I think many of those things in your quote are said by hypnotists in an effort to diffuse people’s fears of hypnosis and make them comfortable and even enthusiastic about the idea of attempting it. I don’t think they give an accurate idea of how rare the actual ability to attain a deep trance is though.

Most of my readings in hypnosis were done years and years ago, and were not intended to make me able to hypnotize other people. My intended target was always myself, and I always wanted to attempt the sorts of things I described above along with things like pain management, extended endurance, and enhanced memory.

Many top athletes (including Olympic competitors) engage professional hypnotists to help them boost their performance and break through “walls of pain” (marathon running and long distance swimming are both well known for producing “walls of pain”. Even short races in the pool will produce the phenomenon of weak rubbery arms, especially if the water is warm. Good swimmers just blow right through this barrier; the lesser ones fade when they encounter it. I was a good swimmer in comparison to the general population, but compared to the best in the state I was one of those who faded. If I had been able to make use of hypnosis when I was that young (I didn’t really have any notion of it at all back then), I might have moved up the ranks. Here is an example of a brief discussion of the “wall of pain” phenomenon by a Catholic priest and how he applies the idea to faith: holyspiritinteractive.net/columns/jackmcardle/lookatit/15.asp).

Learned these techniques years ago. Just my opinion, but cannot see how they are a problem with the Church or demons. You are learning how to relax and breathe to stop fighting pain. You’re not reaching out to anything external, just teaching yourself not to fight pain.

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