The Argument Against Hypnosis Revisited (A Pictorial For Dummies)

Since this is for dummies, needless to say it’s a visual. I’m saying it, though, because it is for dummies.

The argument for using hypnosis as a memory retrieval technique usually goes something like this: Whycome we can’t keep using it? It works.

Oh, it works all right, Chester. As a behavior influencing technique.

First up, please visit this link to the Renegade Hypnotist.

I don’t know what’s so renegade about this abhorrent behavior. Seems like it’s been going on for a mighty long time.

Then there’s….


On a saner note….

Then there’s….

Now let’s take a look at what happens when you apply a behavior influencing technique to memory retrieval.

                                                                    and

Uh-oh. Looks like things go wrong. Really wrong. But that doesn’t stop folks from trying….

Hmm. Maybe that’s why alien abduction hypnotists with a predisposition toward space brothers get space brothery clients and alien abduction hypnotists who find malevolent space doctors a more palatable reality find themselves surrounded by traumatized space doctory clients. Maybe there’s some influencing going on because… because that’s what this technique does. It makes you suggestible. But not to go back in time to the perfect memory that we aren’t even clear can exist in the brain regardless of hypnosis–no. Suggestible, period. And if you suspect something happened that you can’t remember and you go to someone who puts you in a highly suggestible state to retrieve the memory, you’ve already given yourself the cue to find it. It’s a setup from the word go. Yet, for some unscrupulous characters doing the hypnotizing, that’s not enough. They’ll lead you–brainwash you–with your consent anyway, because, while you may want to get to the truth, you’ve found someone who wants to get to the next big story.

This is called abuse. Memory retrieval hypnotists are abusers. You are a victim of humans who are here to help.

Emma Woods UFO Mag Cover

About these ads

16 thoughts on “The Argument Against Hypnosis Revisited (A Pictorial For Dummies)

  1. Hypnotic memory retrieval has done so much damage, everywhere it has been used.

    Parents have been sent to jail for sex abuse crimes they never committed. Families have been torn apart. Patients with mild depression have ended up being “treated” for multiple personalities they never had. Experiencers have been left with “memories” (and associated trauma) of violent assault, rape, abduction, and vivisection/medical testing that most probably never happened.

    At least where people went to jail and medial practitioners were sued, the use of hypnosis for memory retrieval has become out of favor.

    But in the world of Ufology, where experiencers can be desperate and isolated, and researchers have no oversight, hypnotic memory retrieval thrives. No doubt, the wake of personal devastation of experiencers continues.

    Added to that, researchers like David Jacobs abuse the power hypnosis gives them for their own personal gratification. Since their “research” is not considered such by the bodies responsible for the protection of human research subjects, they do not come under any oversight. Their human subjects are left to fend for themselves.

    Hopefully one day there will be proper controls put in place, and hypnosis will just be used for what it’s good for: behavior modification and anesthesia.

    If that happens, I am sure that

  2. It should be equally illegal for a professor of history to perform regression hypnosis as it would be for him to perform surgery on my foot to remove the bit of collected iron that an alien clearly implanted there.

  3. I know what you mean. Especially when the professor misrepresents his research to his prospective subjects, telling them they are participating in scholarly research under his university. And moreover, has them sign research consent forms citing the university that later turn out to be bogus.

  4. You are so cool! I don’t suppose I’ve truly read something like that before.
    So wonderful to discover someone with a few original thoughts
    on this subject. Really.. thanks for starting this up.

    This site is one thing that’s needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

  5. For what it’s worth, hypnosis as a memory retrieval tool has been successful in retrieving information that was consciously unknown to the subject, information which was subsequently proven to be accurate.

    The first example that comes to mind would be a man in a Discovery Channel documentary on hypnosis (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOccILONdUU – at around 40 minutes). This man was wrongfully arrested for murder. While in prison, he was told by another inmate the names of the actual murderers, but by the time he had an opportunity to speak to his lawyer (a long time later) he could not recall the names.

    He was placed under hypnosis and through this process he was able to recall the names. They then tracked these men down and found corroborating evidence, and the man in prison was set free.

    This is a very mainstream, non-controversial source which presents evidence that hypnosis can in fact retrieve memories that are beyond conscious recollection.

    I’m not a cheerleader for hypnosis, you have presented very valid criticisms of this practice in the past. However I think it’s important to present the subject in an objective light, which means not excluding the fact that it has been a successful memory retrieval tool.

    What this means is that the fact that hypnosis was used, though calling the retrieved information into question, does not immediately qualify that information as false.

    The fact that hypnosis can fabricate and alter memories is not simply a critique of hypnosis, but rather an illustration of the true nature of human memory and our consciousness.

    • Yes, it can retrieve memory. Plus all the other stuff it accidentally retrieves. That’s the problem.

      You’re always going to be able to cite cases where the memory turned out to be accurate, but that’s not good enough because it’s not indicative of the general reliability of hypnosis.

      Now add to that the fact that we aren’t talking about forgetting where you put the car keys or a suspect’s name in a criminal case. We’re talking about something as nebulous as “missing time.” And add to that the presumption that either one’s own brain or an alien intelligence blocked out events on purpose to create this missing time.

      You can’t turn to a behavior-modification tool to get at that even if there are cases under normal “forgetting” circumstances where it worked at retrieving memory. And maybe it can’t be gotten to at all because, as you noted, human memory isn’t as solid as we pretend it is.

      We are a species that fills in blanks. Perhaps “missing time” is too tempting to fill in with anything but fantasy from the start. I dunno.

      • Thanks for the reply. We’re on the same page, just wanted to contribute to the discussion.

        As I understand, it’s not understood exactly how or “where” memories are stored, so for myself personally it feels premature to jump to many hard conclusions in subjects that relate to the mind and consciousness.

        It could be that hypnosis, if performed in a precise and specific manner, might be an excellent tool for retrieving memories of actual events. However, since largely everything about our consciousness is poorly understood, hypnosis as a rule is generally performed in a sloppy or haphazard manner.

        The image in my head is of a bunch of cave-men somehow acquiring a surgical kit. If used properly, that kit could really benefit those guys. But more than likely they will just end up screwing each other up pretty badly.

        Thanks for the quick reply, I always enjoy reading your stuff :)

      • Thanks.

        Regarding hypnosis, the problem with the primitives using it wrong theory is that the latest studies against it as a memory retrieval tool come from academics doing controlled experiments. If they’re part of the primitive problem, too, then we can’t figure it out, period. So either we’ve figured it out and it doesn’t work or the brightest among us can’t either. In either case, would ya bet the ranch on alien abduction or that retrieved past life knowing this? (I know YOU wouldn’t, but the general “you.”)

  6. So what are these studies you refer to?

    This discussion strikes me as interesting on a superficial level in so far as it points out that hypnotic regression a) retrieves some genuine memories and some other stuff and b) can be dangerous in irresponsible hands – but where to from there?

    Isn’t the next question how much accurate stuff it is capable of retrieving in ethical hands?

    If the answer is a useful amount of accurate stuff, then it needs to be managed like any other process that garners evidence for use in court rooms – lie detectors, events witnessed while intoxicated, testimony given under duress, clarity of perception of an event, police line-ups etc the list goes on – each has a place in the proof of facts.

    I’d hate to see the baby thrown out with the bathwater because some scuzz bags are abusing the process.

    • “Isn’t the next question how much accurate stuff it is capable of retrieving in ethical hands?”

      Yes, and the answer is ‘Not much.’ Or to paraphrase Dr. Scott Lilienfeld, it’s not better than getting someone drunk. Google search the Stanford and Harvard studies. Here’s something interesting:

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=hypnosis-memory-brain

      Dr. Lilienfeld also points out that what is learned by academics may take a while to trickle down into the practitioners’ sphere–or not make it to them at all–because they don’t tend to keep up on the latest research. So for folks like you and me, we still believe this is all up in the air or throwing the baby out with the bathwater, because no one in a specialty has come on TV and told us what they’ve learned. Unless we actually look into it ourselves, we remain in the dark being led by unethical scoundrels.

  7. Interesting article – but JayVay the problem as I see it is, and this goes for just about every topic of interest in the paranormal that I have have followed down endless rabbit holes since my teen years, is that for every article you can throw my way, I can throw one your way that suggests the contrary.

    Spend of a bit of time googling the arguments in support and you’ll find a lot of “experts” who claim that hypnosis has high evidentiary value – at least according to Police Departments around the world. Try this one

    http://www.marxhowell.com/Police-Use-of-Investigative-Hypnosis-Scientism,-Ethics,-and-Power-Games.html

    Sure its not from Scientific American, and the name Scientific American has to count for something but call me cynical, but its also a very mainstream publication that is not real keen at looking at anything seriously that doesn’t fit the paradigm. And part of a mindset that is still hung up on the fact that when studied a specific brain state can’t be isolated on an EEG – whilst the rest of world knows from experience hypnotism is an extremely powerful behavioural modification tool, and use it accordingly – regardless of the fact that experts can”t isolate a specific brain state.

    I’ve spent the last 15 years as a barrister (the equivalent of a US trial attorney) and I assure you I can find an expert opinion for just about any position you might imagine. And they will have letters after their name, and sound very convincing when they speak.

    So I’m not convinced yet that it doesn’t improve or act as an aid to recall..not yet anyway..

    Oh so much cognitive dissonance and so little time… ;-)

    • In addition to what Emma says, let me just add that the quality of the source counts. Sure, you can always find someone to say the opposite of facts as though they are the equal, opposite side. But unless they include the latest peer-reviewed scientific studies, they are meaningless except to protect the status quo.

      There’s still a Flat Earth Society, isn’t there? That doesn’t make the “theory” any more credible.

  8. Hypnosis can definitely aid recall at times. I remembered mundane things under hypnosis that I was later able to check, and they were accurate.

    However, hypnosis can also lead to false memories, and these can feel the same as real memories.”

    There are two main reasons why I think using hypnosis for memory recall is not a good tool.

    Firstly, you cannot know which are the real memories, and which are the false ones. This makes it impossible to use the memories for anything, because you don’t know of they are real or not.

    Secondly, and more importantly, people can confabulate traumatic false memories, and they feel real. This is not good for the person concerned.

    I don’t think there is any real effective way to conduct hypnosis for memory retrieval with safeguards against confabulation. False memories come with the territory.

    Maybe if you are just trying to remember a number plate, and it can later be checked for accuracy against the real thing, it is okay.

    But if you are trying to remember things you cannot check the accuracy of, which may be traumatic and/or may involve “remembering” actions by others, then it can, and has, led to a lot of grief.

    • Thanks for this reply, it really helps to clarify the subject for me.

      Presently, it seems we don’t yet understand the conditions under which false traumatic memories are created, as opposed to true memories. So it is better not to play with fire, until perhaps a period in the future when these conditions are better understood and physicians can perform hypnosis with the proper safeguards in place.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s