Michael has completed Basic Training in Clinical Hypnosis through the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) and obtained the appropriate training to employ hypnosis and hypnotic techniques as helpful tools in psychological treatment for a variety of conditions. Hypnosis is a way of facilitating the experience of a pleasant, voluntary state of relaxed attentive concentration, an altered state of consciousness, during which the conscious, critical mind is relaxed and relatively inactive, and the separation between the conscious and unconscious mind becomes less distinct and more permeable. In this relaxed state, suggestibility and awareness of the senses are heightened, mental absorption is increased, and the imagination is activated in a controlled manner. The inner mind is more receptive to acceptable, beneficial suggestions.
No one can be hypnotized against their will, and hypnotic techniques only work for a person when they are willing and fully engaged in the process. Hypnosis is not about being controlled by the person facilitating the process, and a hypnotized subject cannot be made to do anything they are not willing to do.
You will not be asleep during the process of hypnosis. You will be aware of your surroundings. You will continue to hear the sound of Michael’s voice, and, depending upon how deeply into your unconscious the work is being done, you will remember more of or less than all that Michael says.
The Nature of Hypnosis
Memory is imperfect, whether or not hypnosis is used. Memory is not like a tape recorder or DVR, and rarely will all the details of any recollection be fully accurate. People have been shown to be capable of filling in gaps in memory, of distorting information, and of being influenced in what is ‘disremembered’ by leading questions or suggestions.
For example, our memories may sometimes be influenced through reading, movies, television, or through conversations. Thus, research has shown that there is no guarantee that information remembered through hypnosis (or, for that matter, through ordinary recall) is factually accurate. On the other hand, memory material brought to conscious awareness through hypnosis may, in fact, be accurate. The only way a person may know definitively whether something recalled under hypnosis is accurate is to obtain independent corroboration or verification.
Therefore, if you should remember something under hypnosis, regard this information as simply one more source of data that cannot be relied on as more accurate or necessarily superior to material already in conscious awareness. Such further data would simply be information to be weighed and evaluated in therapy along with what you already consciously know. I understand that hypnosis is not a ‘truth serum’. When hypnosis is used as a tool to refresh memory, some, much, or none of the memory material recalled under hypnosis may have a basis in objective reality. Material recalled or generated under hypnosis can represent actual memories, distorted memories, fantasies symbolic of inner conflict, combinations of memory and fantasy, or could have other bases.
In session, prior to Michael employing formal hypnotic techniques, you will be asked to review a disclosure very similar to this one and to acknowledge in writing, among other things, that decisions about whether memory material is “true” or not belong to your and not to Michael.
Potential Legal Issues
In many jurisdictions, courts have held that a person who has been hypnotized cannot testify in court about anything remembered during or after the hypnosis. Consequently, if you consent to hypnosis, there is a possibility that anything you remember once the hypnosis begins will not be admissible in a court of law. You should understand that the only way to fully protect your potential right to testify is to forego the use of hypnosis.
Release from Liability
You should understand that, because of the rulings of some legal authorities, there may be some limitations placed on your ability to rely on your recollections after hypnosis for purposes of litigation.
You will be asked to acknowledge in writing that you and Michael have discussed the advantages and disadvantages of using hypnosis in your treatment, as well as the need for proper re-alerting, and alternatives to the use of hypnosis, if applicable.
You will also be asked to acknowledge that you are not currently involved in or planning to become involved in any legal action(s) except those you disclose in writing at the time of consent. You should understand that, if you have any concerns at all about the legal consequences of hypnosis, you should consult with my own attorney prior to consenting to the use of hypnosis in my treatment.
Upon signing the consent to allow for the use of hypnosis in your treatment, you will acknowledge understanding that hypnosis as practiced by Michael, is not a medical treatment, but a process whereby an individual is taught to use their own abilities for their own benefit. With this understanding, you may wish to grant permission to Michael, both to facilitate trance through hypnosis and also to teach you techniques for self-hypnosis. You will also be asked to agree to release and hold Michael harmless from any claims or liabilities arising from the use of or inability to use your recollections, the therapist’s notes, audio or video recordings of therapy sessions, or any other limitations on your or Michael’s testimony in a courtroom or forensic setting. In consenting to hypnosis, you will be agreeing that you do not have a cause of action against Michael, based on his professional and competent use of hypnosis in my treatment.
D. Michael Coy, MA, LICSW, is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in the State of Washington, License #SWI.LW.60534498, effective 3-2015, renewing 12-10-2017.
D. Michael Coy, MA, LICSW, is registered as a Hypnotherapist in the State of Washington, Credential #HP 60620226, effective 12-04-2015, renewing 12-10-2016.