What's your opinion of the use of hypnosis in therapy? Is this really a legitimate clinical tool? Are there any spiritual dangers associated with this practice?
We realize that hypnosis has acquired a bad name in the minds of many Christians. For our part, we see no reason to regard it as "evil" or "dangerous" in and of itself. In actuality, there is little or no basis for most of the popular fears associated with this technique. It is not true, for instance, that a hypnotist can gain control or mastery of another person's will. In fact, some experts are skeptical about its effectiveness in exerting any kind of influence over its subject. That's one of the reasons we have reservations about recommending its use.
Used ethically and responsibly, hypnosis is a method of inducing relaxation as a way of releasing the subject's subconscious mind in an attempt to open the door to deeper personal insight. Under the careful supervision of a well-qualified Christian professional it can sometimes be beneficial. Before submitting to hypnosis, however, it is critical to know the administering therapist and to be familiar with their credentials, background, worldview, value system and personal beliefs. In the wrong hands, hypnosis has the potential to create confusion and to cause more problems than it resolves.
It's worth adding that hypnosis, like any other therapeutic technique, should be rejected out of hand when it takes on questionable spiritual overtones - for example, when it becomes occultic in nature or is clearly connected with the tenets of eastern religion or New Age philosophy.
If you have additional questions about this subject or would like to discuss your concerns at greater length with a member of our staff, feel free to call Focus on the Family's Counseling department.