WHAT IS HYPNOSIS? The American Psychological Association Division of Psychological Hypnosis provides the following definition. Hypnosis is a procedure during which a health professional or researcher suggests that a client, patient, or a subject experience changes in sensations, perceptions, thoughts, or behavior. The hypnotic context is generally established by an induction procedure. Although there are many different hypnotic inductions, most include suggestions for relaxation, calmness, and well-being. Instructions to imagine or think about pleasant experiences are also commonly included in hypnotic inductions. People respond to hypnosis in different ways. Some descibe their experience as an altered state of consciousness. Others describe hypnosis as a normal state of focused attention, in which they feel very calm and relaxed. Regardless of how and to what degree they respond, most people describe the experience as very pleasant. Some people are very responsive to hypnotic suggestions and others are less responsive. A person's ability to experience hypnotic suggestions can be inhibited by fears and concerns arising from common misconceptions. Contrary to some depictions of hypnosis in books, movies or on television, people who have been hypnotized do not lose control over their behavior. They typically remain aware of who they are and where they are, and unless amnesia has been specifically suggested, they usually remember what transpired during hypnosis. Hypnosis makes it easier for people to experience suggestions, but it does not force them to have these experiences. Executive committee of the Amercian Psychological Assocaiton Division of Psychological Hypnosis(1993, Fall).



Clinical Hypnosis plays a vital role in every dental practitioner's interaction with patients. The frightened patient walking into the dental treatment room is most certainly in a trance state. The dentist with training in medical hypnosis can transform that intense sense of powerlessness and fright to a state of inner calm and comfort. Probably the greatest benefit of medical hypnosis to the dentist is the ability to recognize the patient's state of consciousness and apply verbal and non-verbal hypnotic strategies to promote patient comfort and enhance healing.
Medical hypnosis has been actively utilized in the dental setting for the past sixty years. Official recognition of the modality was established when the book "Hypnodontics" by Aaron Moss, D.D.S. was published in 1950. In 1958 the American Medical Association recognized hypnosis and recommended that it be taught in medical and dental schools.
In addition to the management of dental phobia, medical hypnotic strategies are also very useful in modifying harmful oral habits such as bruxism, finger sucking, nail biting, and hyperactive gag reflex.
Offering thepatient hypnotically positive ideas and suggestions makes the difference between the fight-flight-bite response and the cool, calm and relaxed dental experience.




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