December 12 2008
Hypnotherapy, Out-of-Body Experiences, and Their Therapeutic Uses
by Steve G. Jones, M.Ed., citizen journalist
(NaturalNews) An out-of-body experience, or OBE, involves the feeling of floating outside of one`s physical body. Some people report being able to see their physical body while having an OBE. According to researchers an OBE has therapeutic benefits for people including helping them cope with stress. ScienceDaily reports that one in ten people will have an out-of-body experience in their lifetime.
There are several different types of out-of-body experiences. One occurs during sleep. People who have had an OBE during sleep have also reported having a lucid dream prior to the OBE. They also said that their sleep was not deep. Another type of OBE occurs in near-death experiences. It is thought that either mental or physical traumatic events could cause such an OBE to occur.
Out-of-body experiences can also be induced mechanically, chemically, or mentally. Mechanically an OBE can be induced by binaural beats, electrical stimulation, and sensory overload. Chemically, an OBE can be produced with hallucinogens. Lastly, an OBE can be induced mentally through hypnosis and meditation.
An OBE coincides with astral projection is the belief that your mind can be separate from the body. Often times, people who have had an OBE state that they have looked at their own bodies when they have managed to separate themselves from it. It's difficult to determine exactly what causes an OBE but researchers say that hypnosis can help induce such a state.
In 2004, an article appeared in the American Journal of Psychotherapy about hypnosis and out-of-body experiences. The article addressed a study that had been performed on three individuals where out-of-body experiences were induced through hypnotherapy.
Researchers involved in the study wanted to see how out-of-body experiences would affect the patients view of themselves and if it would influence their behavior. The three participants in the study each had different issues to be addressed.
The researchers concluded that an OBE greatly improved the therapeutic benefits for each of the patients. The article said that an out-of-body experience works best with highly suggestible people.
There are several reasons why out of body experiences work so well in a therapeutic treatment. When someone is treated for anxiety issues, an out of body experience helps the patient better cope with these issues. Also, a form of treatment is to have the patient "separate" themselves from the issues they are having; an OBE can have tremendous benefits in this situation.
It can focus on the idea that we generally are never able to truly see ourselves the way others can. With hope, the mind can alter states for the better and truly change the life of the person experiencing it.
Meyerson, J. & Gelkopf, M. (2004). Therapeutic Utilization of Spontaneous Out-of-Body Experiences in Hypnotherapy. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 58(1): 90-102.