By: Traci Patterson – Owner, Advanced Pathways Hypnosis
I am a Christian myself; I was a volunteer with Young Life for many years and served as Christ’s ambassador to youth from the foster care system too. Then my journey took a turn and I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). This turning point took my life in a different direction and introduced me to many things that I would have never experienced; good and bad. Bad, being chronic pain and a debilitating illness. Good, a new career path in the field of Hypnosis / Hypnotherapy, and helping others in the same way that I was helped.
After I got into remission with my Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) via clinical hypnosis (that included a multi-therapeutic approach) I took the steps to gain my certifications and credentials in Hypnosis, and additional certifications in Pain Management and Cancer Care. I already had a background in the healthcare industry, and with my experience as a chronic pain patient this was a natural transition for me. I wanted to bring the information that helped me regain my life to those suffering needlessly as I had for so many years with chronic pain.
Then, an interesting thing happened after I announced that I was opening an office in the field of hypnosis. I received emails from some in the church that felt that this was not a Christian way of treating chronic pain, others referred to hypnosis as mind control and a few felt it was perhaps witchcraft. No one took the time to ask me questions. Instead they made assumptions based upon misinformation, stage shows they had seen or Hollywood movies they had watched.
Since I started my practice as a hypnotist there are still some in the Christian religion that want to have nothing to do with me as a hypnotist / hypnotherapist. In light of this very narrow minded view of the church, I thought it was good that I write something about the truth of hypnosis and hypnotherapy (from a Christian’s point of view). That is the reason for this article.
Hypnosis has been present since the dawn of mankind as an ancient healing treatment. The popularity of its use has gone up and down, according to societal factors. Early man used drums and chanting to create altered states. The Roman Empire, in particular, was especially keen on hypnotic states and their healing effects. Christianity was spreading when the Roman Empire was about to collapse. Many early Christian leaders frowned upon hypnotic practices and fulminated against it as white witchcraft. Many evangelical authors referred to hypnotists as “charmers” and “enchanters”. They believed that hypnosis put the soul in jeopardy by putting it in a passive receptive state, thereby opening the door to morbid spiritual influences.
What made the early priests and rabbis take such a strong stand against hypnosis? Part of the reason was because healing in hypnosis seemed to take place without God. Priests were afraid that people would no longer believe in the power of God. The concern may not even have been religious. It was a politics of numbers. If more followers fell away from Christianity, the priests would lose their power.
Today, hypnosis is neither anti-religious nor pro-religious. Most religious groups accept the proper and ethical use of hypnosis for helping people. Hypnosis is steadily gaining recognition in the world as the means to help people be successful and experience abundance in their lives. The late Pope Pius gave his approval of hypnosis, stating that the use of hypnosis by health care professionals for diagnosis and treatment is permitted. In the context of medical hypnosis, patients are in safe hands, and on the road to recovery. Practitioners have an ethical code, and it is important to note that hypnotists have no mind control powers. They can’t read the future, can’t cast spells or talk to the dead. Plus there are many studies that have been done on the efficacy of hypnosis by Stanford University, Harvard, Yale, Mayo Clinic, NIH and in Sweden.
There is also an irrefutable safeguard of hypnosis that keeps hypnotists from abusing the power. Any suggestion or idea not in accordance with the patient’s beliefs, morals, wishes, principles, or desires will quickly and automatically be rejected. No one can make anyone do anything they do not wish to do through hypnosis. If the hypnotist gives a suggestion and the person absolutely does not want to accept that suggestion, then he will not do it. No one can be hypnotized against his will. As God’s creatures, humans have the freedom to choose and decide and act; free will.
When evangelical authors wrote that hypnosis opened the door to evil spirits, they did not fully understand the Word of God. Jesus says that light and darkness cannot live together. Christ is the light, so if you are saved, that means Christ lives within you. If Christ lives in you, it means no demon or evil spirit can take residence. The light of Christ drives out the darkness. It is much like the case of the leper – those with faith in their therapists, who trust and believe that hypnotherapy can help/heal them will get well. Those with faith well – placed can and will be healed, inside and out. It is true that there are still some among us who are a little wary of hypnosis. In actuality, hypnosis is a powerful and valuable tool God has given to man to heal the mind and body. God created hypnosis for the good of man. He has a purpose in allowing us the ability to alter our consciousness, even if it seems to take place without Him. But nothing takes place without his knowledge and permission. Hypnosis and faith in God can work hand in hand to turn lives around.
Jesus indicated by his teachings that we should help people to live life to the fullest and to relieve pain whenever possible. Hypnosis is a means to help people live a better and more abundant life and is a means of reducing and/or eliminating pain. This was the main treatment that helped me to get pain free and into remission with my CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome).
The Bible records several instances of hypnosis: In the book of Acts, it mentions, “Peter fell into trance.” In the same book, there is also a reference to an apostle healing a person by gazing into his eyes. “This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who when he had fixed his gaze upon him, and had seen that he had faith to be made well, said with a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.’ And he began to walk.” There are also various hypnosis acts performed by Jesus to manifest miracles.
Hypnosis has been used in place of anesthesia in World War I, and is used in modern day to rid unwanted behavior, relieve headaches, relieve chronic pain, induce pain-free labor etc.
Often, patients seeking solutions experience lack of confidence / focus and have ongoing issues because of limiting beliefs or a multitude of misinformation. In hypnosis, the subconscious mind directs millions of neurons to produce positive mental pictures. A patient can hold and project the idea and image of health, wellness or ‘abundance’ within the mind, causing it to happen in reality. This therapy is in accordance to Christian beliefs. Jesus said, “I come so that you may experience life in abundance.”
In Proverbs 23:7 it states that as a person thinketh in his or her heart so is he/she. This can be interpreted that whatever images or thoughts held in the mind becomes reality. Picture happy moments, experience it again in your mind. By thought, you make feelings present again. The use of positive imagery improves life and health.
The brain is the channel which God communicates with Christians. By using hypnosis to overcome the ruinous effects of negative thinking, anger, discontent, health issues and selfishness, we can keep our minds pure for God.
Frequently, unhappiness and discontentment are caused by our reaction and thoughts to situations. It is estimated that 75% of cancers and body pains are caused by unresolved emotions. In the Bible, God calls us to experience a renewing of our minds. As we change the way we view things via hypno-suggestions, the same positive changes are manifested in our lives. We are able to let go of the bad habits we once clung to. We attract the abundance we desire. We dissolve our hurts and sorrow.
During the storm in the sea of Galilee, the apostles panicked. “Wake up, Jesus, don’t you care that we perish?” Jesus said, “Have no fear. I am with you. Peace be with you.” And the disciples grew calm. If you are a Christian in the midst of a crisis, God is present amidst your broken hopes and dreams and stress. In life, when the harsh winds of illness or injury blow, when we experience sorrow or grief, realize that we can, too, experience peace in the midst of the storm. This peace comes from knowledge that He is with us to endure it all.
Through positive thinking and optimism; relaxation and imagery induced by hypnotism; life can get better. The past is still there, but we can begin where we are. I had an opportunity to experience this first hand with my journey with CRPS. I utilized hypnosis to regain my life, and it allowed me to take the steps to do things that I would not be doing otherwise. With hopeful expectations comes a new life.
In Christ, suffering is not removed. It is transformed into victory. The setback experienced causes the patient to forge a closer bond with God. In the years ahead, may those who discount hypnosis come to see its value as a gift from God to help/heal us and the means from which we can experience his blessings.
The proper use of hypnosis can help those suffering with chronic pain, CRPS, Fibromyalgia, Arachnoiditis, Migraines, PTSD, stress, anxiety, phobias, help break unwanted habits, and more! Owner and Clinical Hypnotist – Advanced Pathways Hypnosis 8 Corporate Park, Suite 300, Irvine, CA 92606.
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