Religion is sometimes used as an excuse to refuse hypnosis help. This belief is based upon mis-information.
Religion Vs. Hypnosis
Hypnosis first came into the public spotlight as “animal magnetism“. In the late 18th century they thought that a magnetic field surrounded each of us. By waving hands in front of a person who needed healing, they could disrupt the field and heal the patient.
Stage hypnotists attempt to convince audiences that they hold some sort of mystic power. They want the audience to believe they can “make” someone “cluck like a chicken” or “bark like a dog.” Were it not for “stage-hypnosis”, clinical-hypnosis would not have happened. The two have different purposes and usage though. Because of entertainment hypnosis some people have a fear of it and think it’s mind-control.
If you believe it is mind-control, you probably also believe it is evil. I’ve had clients who said their pastor told them, if they underwent hypnosis, the devil would be allowed into them. Scary stuff. Of course, Hollywood loves a good horror film, so the negative possibilities this plot-line provides converts to dollars at the box office. The more you scare the folks, the more money the film will make.
Pope Pius XII
Many well-intentioned, but mis-informed, folks spread a mis-conception that hypnosis is evil. Let’s take a look at the facts. To paraphrase the 1847 Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office (Roman Curia) decree: (The use of animal magnetism [early hypnosis] if used for good is not forbidden). In 1956 Pope Pius XII permitted hypnosis for diagnosis and treatment of disease. He also permitted it for assisting child-birth, anesthesia and scientific research. Today there are Christian pastors, preachers, ministers and other leaders of religion that not only approve of hypnosis to help people, but have their own hypnosis.
Some religions forbid outside intervention by some medical procedures. Some don’t believe in life-saving blood transfusions, but hypnosis only improves the natural hypnosis states we deal with every day. For example, a child told repeatedly that if they do not eat all the food on their plate they are bad is actually hypnotized to accept this as fact. The child can later develop an over-eating habit. As an adult they could become obese and at risk for health problems.
The parent in this scenario hypnotized the child because the child’s critical-factor was by-passed. The child’s conscious mind was not sufficiently knowledgeable to critically analyze and reject a false claim. Later in life, this person might benefit from hypnosis. If someone objects to hypnosis based on their religion, they might reconsider the premise’s validity if they thought about how their problem arose in the first place.
Saint Thomas Aquinas
There are a few theologians who believe hypnosis goes against. They think it takes away a person’s faculty of reason. To refute this thinking I would quote Saint Thomas Aquinas who said
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.
In short, if you are prone to thinking hypnosis is some sort of black art or that it is a type of mind-control, then hypnosis is not for you. If you are afraid of losing control, it is less likely you would relax enough to receive full benefit from a hypnosis session. Those who can relax into the process, have trust in the hypnotist, and use their imagination, will benefit the most from clinical-hypnosis for a positive change.