by Tim Brunson, PhD
This article discusses the relevance of hypnotherapy in the Age of Science while covering the rationale behind incorporating hypnotherapy into counseling techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
As individuals and as societies, we live in a subjectively delusional world of our own making while simultaneously claiming that we have the ability to remove the rough edges that come in the form of suffering. Due to the limits of our perceptual abilities, the fact that our memories are constantly being updated, and coupled with our constant desire to paint our future in our minds, we exist in a cocoon that we only believe to be real. Yet this existence is often fraught with feelings of inadequacies or physical and mental suffering. Those who consider themselves to be professionals in the healing and helping fields seek to move their subjects toward a stasis of reality that is likewise subjectively delusional. They call the process therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is widely considered one of the most capable methods for achieving these therapeutic goals. It is in this environment that if looked at appropriately, there is a high probability that the proper use of the hypnotic process can enhance mental health interventions.
In the Western world, the history of mankind has always been dominated by a desire to discern truth and reality. Before the 1300's, this effort was largely a religious one. However, since the Black Death, the belief that empiricism and rationality (i.e. science) alone could help us find a reality to which we must align has been our predominant mindset. This bias decries the fact that historical epistemological tendencies also include historical, idealism, and constructivism, which leads me to believe that science may in fact not have all the answers. While scientific thinking predominates at the moment, it is limited by human sensory capabilities and the current state of perceptual instrument technology in conjunction with the restrictions of contemporary rational methodologies. Therefore, scientists are most likely not seeing a complete picture while too often pontificating what is good science and what is pseudoscience. Nevertheless, as science is the predominant mode of analysis when it comes to discovering reality, it must be respected.