States of Consciousness Altered States Some states of consciousness don’t occur naturally and must be induced in some way. These include hypnotic states, meditative states, and drug-induced states. Hypnosis Hypnosis is a procedure that opens people to the power of suggestion. A hypnotist puts a subject in an altered state by encouraging relaxation and sleepiness and often describing the sorts of physical sensations a subject should be feeling. Once a subject is in the altered state, he or she may act, perceive, think, or feel according to the hypnotist’s suggestions. Not everyone can be hypnotized, and some people are more hypnotizable than others. The following chart shows what hypnosis can and can’t do. Hypnosis can: Hypnosis can’t: Cause people to be relaxed, have a narrowed focus of attention, and be highly engaged in fantasies Work equally effectively for everyone Produce anesthesia and treat a range of psychological and medical problems Force people to do things against their will
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