«With sight concealed the psyche views the body's torments...»
Hippocrates (460-370 B.C.)
What is Hypnoscopesis?
Hypnoscopesis is a concept that I developed in order on the one hand to broaden and enlarge the semantics of the concept of hypnosis and on the other to make it more specific. The idea sprang up as I was working with Altered States of Consciousness (ASCs). Others call them Exceptional Human Experiences and others yet call them mystical experiences.
That which is important for us is that these states of consciousness differ significantly from the ordinary forms of consciousness that we live in everyday life and they can be achieved or triggered by a wide variety of inductions. In our case tough we are particularly concerned with hypnotic forms of induction.
The question arises what happens as soon as we reach hypnotic trance? We achieve inner insight. The Greek work for it is endoscopesis. Let us look at the explanation offered by a classic Greek Dictionary Helios: "It is a form of clairvoyance in which people that are in a hypnotic state, describe alterations or the presence of foreign bodies within their or somebody else's organism".
In modern terminology we would say that we have a "Search Engine" that sets forth to track down the root of our problem, that paradoxically, is most of the times very accurate and effective. The difference between hypnoscopesis and hypnosis, then, is that while in hypnosis we have a passive stance, in hypnoscopesis we have an active role and we wilfully participate in the direction of tracking down the root of our problem.
Some scientists in the past tried to bridge over the gap between hypnotists and psychoanalysts by coining the word hypnoanalysis. What they wanted to achieve was analysis through hypnosis. That attempt failed for two reasons. First, it was a time and energy consuming endeavor. Secondly, by definition it was an oxymoron scheme, simply because analytical thinking cannot exist when someone is in hypnosis.
On the contrary, hypnoscopesis is a more accurate term simply because endoscopesis is a complex and multi-dimensional procedure. At first, a heavy load of emotional and traumatic material is released producing a strong sense of relief. Then insight follows. Insight is an automatic process that cannot easily be put to words or described, but is of catalytic importance for our psychic balance and harmony. This psychological process is of imperative importance, (to my view it is far superior to mental processing) which, is finally leading us to the much desired catharsis.
So by coining this new word, hypnoscopesis, by no means do I intend to give the impression of a discovery or an innovation. It is well known that this technique was used abundantly in the Asclepeaums of antiquity the primary temples of healing. At those places the patients were encouraged by the priest-physicians to enter into the hollow depths of mother Earth which were around or in the temples of Asklepios so that during the night they would enter the sleep-like trance state which Greeks called enkoimisis. During enkoimisis the much-desired vision (the onar) came, a dream from the god of Medicine or a message from other gods, in which a specific and personal prescription for therapy would be offered. Ancient Greeks trusted the capacity of the human organism for self-healing. The duty of the priests was to interpret the visions and dreams in case the patients could not… Hippocrates the father of modern medicine was the chief priest on the Asclepeaum of Kos and he must have known a lot when he expressed the statement on top of the page...