W. Leo Peacock, retired Army Chaplain

I have been interested in hypnosis for a number of years and have done some academic study on the subject. A few years ago when I was given the opportunity as an Army Chaplain to earn a Master’s Degree in a civilian institution, I Asked the dean for permission to work in the field of religious hypnosis.

He responded with great alarm and gave an emphatic refusal, stating that the very concept was dangerous. He even suggested that Adolph Hitler may have used hypnosis as a tool to manipulate the masses to submit to his will. So, my degree was not earned in hypnosis but in the principles of education and communications. I later earned a Doctor of Philosophy in management in management and communication; however, I continued to study in the area of hypnosis.

I could discuss the history of hypnosis, but there is much already in print on that subject.

Hypnosis is now recognized by the American Medical Association as a valid therapy – with a single world of caution and that is that the techniques of hypnosis can be learned by anyone within a few minutes of practice. The procedure is very easy to learn. How one uses the practice must be incorporated into ones own ethical and professional behavior.

Since I had read a number of books and article on hypnosis, I chose to look at another book with which I have some familiarity and to my amazement, I found a firm biblical basis for the use of hypnosis. It is described five times in the New Testament.

I. The Hypnotic Experience of Joseph
The first of the synoptic gospels presents the classic description of an individual being hypnotized and while under hypnosis being given a post-hypnotic suggestion on which he immediately acts as soon as he awakens form his hypnotic trance. This account comes in the very first chapter of the first book of the New Testament. It is as if much of the New Testament is built upon this experience.

In Matthew l:24, the Greek word, “hypnos” is used. It is interesting to note that in Greek there are three different words of which two are translated into English as “sleep”. They are “Katheudo” and “Koimaomai”. The other is either transliterated – the sound in Greek is “hypnos” – or is translated as “sleep”

The account in Matthew reveals that a massager from God went to visit Joseph after Joseph had discovered that Mary was to have a child. Joseph knew that he was not the father. The Greek word “aggelos” is either translated “angel” or “messenger”. It does not always convey the meaning of a heavenly, winged creature.

A messenger from God came to Joseph after Joseph had made it know that he would not follow through with his vow to marry Mary. The scripture indicates that all of this occurred in a dream. Joseph was told that it would appropriate for him to follow through with his marriage plans because Mary had conceived by the Holy Spirit.

In verse 24, The Greek text indicates that when Joseph came out of hypnosis, he acted on what had been suggested under hypnosis. He took Mary and they went home as husband and wife. He had received positive insight through a hypnotic experience upon which he immediately acted as soon as he regained full mental awareness. This is a classic example of post-hypnotic behavior which had been agreed upon under hypnosis.

II. The Mount of Transfiguration
The experience of Jesus on the Mound of Transfiguration with Peter, James and John is recorded in all three of the synoptic gospels, but the one in Luke is most interesting – particularly since Luke is the only Gentile writer in the Bible and is also the only physician (Luke 9:28-33). There were no Jewish physicians. That function was fulfilled by the religious leaders or, in later years, gentile physicians were engaged. That is how Luke became involved in the Christian movement. He was enlisted by the Apostle Paul.

The biblical narrative in Matthew, Mark, and Luke is similar. Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on a mountain or high hill. The three disciples became sleepy and then they says Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus and telling Him that he must go to Jerusalem and allow God’s will to prevail.

The significant difference in the three accounts is that Luke the word “hypnosis” to describe the sleep of Peter, James, and John. Since Luke was a physician, and hypnosis was a common experience of the first century it is logical to accept that a hypnotic induction occurred. Since there were only four people who went up on the mountain top and three of them underwent hypnosis, it is a logical conclusion to draw that Jesus was the hypnotist.

It was used as a positive force to enable the disciples to be able to accept that which would later develop in Jerusalem. It was the not only reinforced by the great teacher, Jesus, but by the most revered lawgiver and prophet, Moses and Elijah.

III. The Sleep of Lazarus
The Gospel of John records the vivid account of the misunderstanding of the death of Lazarus (John ll:1-44). Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was ill, yet Jesus did not immediately respond and Lazarus died. When Jesus was informed that Lazarus was dead, he declared that he would go and awaken him. The disciples misunderstood what Jesus was saying. The understood Jesus to say that he would awaken him from a hypnotic trance, but in reality Jesus had stated that he would bring him forth from the dead. The significant point to be made at this time is that hypnosis was understood and practiced during biblical times.

IV. Paul as a Hypnotist
The author of Acts is the same as the writer of that gospel which bears his name: Luke. He was a great first-century writer who wrote from a physician’s point of view. There are more of his lines in the New Testament than anyone else other than from the Apostle Paul. In Acts 20:7-12, Luke Records incident in the life of Paul, the evangelist.

In Troas, Paul has met with a number of believers who gather for communion and worship. Paul is the preacher and he goes on and on. A young man sitting in an open window by the name of Eutychus finally drops off to sleep and falls out the window, to the street below. Luke describes this incident by saying that Paul hypnotized Eutychus and after a while Eutychus lost his balance and fell. Paul went down to see what had happened. Many thought Eutychus was dead, but Paul said, “No”. Paul awakened him out of hypnosis and together the group went back upstairs and spent the rest of the night enjoying food and conversation.

V. The Hypnotized Society
The Apostle Paul uses the concept of hypnosis in a different way (Romans 13:18). He suggests that it is time for society to be aroused from a hypnotic slumber and become fully aware of its god-given potentials to live the Abundant Life. He indicates that no longer does one need to struggle with all the negative aspects of broken laws and demanding rules which cause sluggish behavior like one under hypnosis. He urges us to become fully alive and simply live a life of love of God, of others, and of self and all the laws would fulfilled.

The point is that hypnosis was very much a part of the first century. It was not limited to those with a Judeo-Christian perspective, but it was very common to them. It is described in Matthew, Luke, John, Acts, and Romans. It was known and practiced by those who wrote the majority of the New Testament, but how can it be used today to enable the people of God to become in fact that they are in faith; powerful, dynamic people who experience and express the Abundant Life?

I. Personal Control
The classic introduction of the New Testament hypnosis is encountered in the early life of Joseph, the husband of Mary. He seems to have been in complete agreement with the suggestions received under hypnosis for his behavior validates his consent. He was, in fact, able to follow through and live as was suggested

There is no question but that a dedicated mind is the greatest asset one can surrender to God, but what does the individual do who seems at a loss to explain an inability to follow through on personal choices and inner convictions? How can you help the individual who knows what to do and genuinely desires to follow through, but for some reason just does not?

Hypnosis can be a marvelous support. It is questionable if it is the ability to coerce or significantly override the moral character of another, but it can uniquely support with abundant encouragement that which one feels is proper and should be done.

I would never suggest that hypnosis be used for anything other than to enable an individual to become the good person one desires to be. Every post-hypnotic suggestion must be one of agreement with the individual and one with moral, healthy, and therapeutic values.

There are many was in which hypnosis can have positive values. Three involve enhancement of the body in the areas of weight control, smoking, and drug abuse.

The Bible teaches that the body is the temple of God and should be respected as holy. Most people from a religious background will readily admit that they must assume full responsibility in providing the best of care for their bodies. It is interesting to note that the first recorded act of disobedience involved the breaking of a diet by Adam and Eve.

In a recent program at DDEAMC, over 200 people participated in a seminar on religious hypnosis and weight control. The majority expressed greater control over their diet. The agreed to avoid snacks between mean, to take smaller portions and even feel good about leaving food on their plates. They also agreed to become more exercise conscious and to realize the value of adequate rest.

The other two qualities of being a great person, other than being a gourmet, taking exercise, and getting rest included the avoidance of alcohol abuse and the curtailment of the use of tobacco. It is not surprising that anyone who agreed to these practices would very quickly notice a healthy improvement in bodily appearance. Hypnosis can re-enforce these kind of

There are two methods of hypnosis which are commonly practiced. One is that practice decisions by a hypnotist, such as I, when the individual is assisted in the hypnotic induction . The other is self-hypnosis. They both normally begin using ancient practices of relaxation therapy. We don’t yet completely understand what happens to the body under relaxation and/or hypnosis but it seems to be very healthy. Negative responses are few and far between. I have never known of a negative response to religious hypnosis. Religious hypnosis is always aimed at enabling the individual to become more fully that which God desires. There are so many biblical aids which support this concept

II. Biblical Cases of Personal Control
The greatest assurance which the Bible can present to a believer who is beginning to lie the Abundant Life is the quote from the pen of the Apostle Paul according to the Clarified Bible- in Philippians 4:13, “I can do what I ought to do for God will provide me the power.” This one verse has given great strength to millions who quote it daily. Many follow the prescription of saying it three times a day. Under hypnosis, an individual can be assured that he/she is able to follow through with the good decisions which have been made for God will provide the power. All of the energy does not have to come from within. You can be re-enforced with the power of God.

The author of the Gospel of John, in the first chapter, indicates that God has given the power, for those who believe, to be children of God. There is a great power available for those who believe to enable one to live in such a way that a healthy body will be the results. Simply say “no” to excess food, excess alcohol, or drugs and “yes” to adequate exercise, proper rest, and nutritious food. The individual who desires can be strengthened under hypnosis.

One of the greatest biblical affirmations is that “as a person thinks in his heart, so is he?” The thought is the leader of the deed. Every rational person thinks before he acts. As the mind goes, so goes life. A classic biblical example is the prodigal son. The father of two sons was approached one day by his youngest son who requested his share of the estate since he intended to leave home. The father quietly submitted to the son’s request and gave him a bonus as he left. The son made a choice and left home. Most people identify with the prodigal son. After a time of deliberate debauchery and damaging drifting, the young man so made a decision, “I will return to my father.” This was a strong-willed and determined son because no sooner had he visualized whom he could be than he began to take steps to realize his visualization. He saw himself working once again on his father’s farm and if not as a son, at least as a hired hand.

Once the decision is made to return to the best that you know, then you may face trouble. You may have a mind that agrees but a body which is reluctant. This is an area in which religious hypnosis can be helpful. You can go towards the best that you know. Resources are available to support you on your journey. A dedicated mind has the potential to influence all of one’s life for good. A healthy mind is the greatest support for a healthy body.

A leper came to Jesus and said, “Lord, if you will, I know you can make me whole.” Jesus said, “I will. Be clean.” A man with a diseased arm believed that Dr. Jesus could supply the therapy to provide healing. He was healed. A woman who had been caught in the act of adultery looked up into the face of Jesus after her other accusers had departed and said, “lord, you can still condemn me.” Jesus quickly replied, “I don’t condemn you. Arise and live the Abundant Life.”, And the sinner of the streets became the saint of the sanctuary.

We must believe in ourselves. We have the ability to be successful in life, healthy in body, and dynamic in faith. We can use personal meditation, corporate worship, and religious hypnosis to achieve these spiritual and personal goals.

By Carol Daly

Some professionals provide religious counseling, and other use hypnosis to treat patients, but Dr. W. Leo Peacock has combined the two and dubbed himself a religious HYPNOTHERAPIST. He is, he says, one of a kind. Dr. Peacock explains how he uses “creative imagination” and “conscious dreaming” to allow his “students” to see themself as something they aren’t but want to become.

As he opens the door to his cozy office in the Bon Air on Walton Way, Dr. Peacock’s enthusiasm fro life is immediately apparent. His face brightens and his greeting is warm. He gestures with his hands and face as he begins the tale of his profession. Most of us don’t control our bodies, but operate on whims and impulses, Dr. Peacock said. “Most os us literally turn our minds off.” But Dr. Peacock holds that God wants his children to be successful. God also wants us to use our minds and bodies to their potential, since they are “the temples of God.”

A former hospital chaplain and associate pastor at a Baptist church, Dr. Peacock said it is important not only to feel one’s faith but also to act upon it. “Faith must be apparent in one’s daily life. God wants you to be healthy, successful and have a dynamic faith.” he said. Many people are held back from becoming what they want to be because they don’t believe in themselves, he said. He helps them to overcome their doubts and problems though religious hypnosis. “God and love are the most powerful motivators.” he said. For example, a fat person sees himself a being thin. An alcoholic sees himself as sober. A person who has suffered migraine headaches for years is free of pain. Dr. Peacock said he helps them realize their dreams through religious hypnosis.

The best way to understand religious hypnosis is as a conscious dream, Dr. Peacock said. It is a normal dream experienced while sleeping, the individual will do anything, being unaware of ethical or moral standards. In contrast, all hypnotic dreams originate in the conscious awareness and are screened by the conscience and must pass ethical and moral inspection, he said. Thus, “a conscious dream includes the best of your mind with total support from your own world of faith.” Dr. Peacock explains in a booklet outlining his unique practice. There the dream is implanted in the unconscious mind and motivates a person to behave in the positive manner he has pre-determined.

The difference between religious hypnosis and other hypnotic practices is that religious faith deliberately is included in the behavior-modification process, Dr. Peacock said. The induction procedure may will be the same as other types of hypnosis, but the preparation for the experience will be different and the positive suggestions offered to the student will always include references to the power of God, he said. “The belief in the personal power of God to uniquely aid the individual is essential both for the hypnotherapist and the student.” according to the booklet.

The basis for his philosophy is found in a legend adopted by Dr. Peacock. The story, “The Peacock Image,” relates a tale of God’s benevolence to the peacock. Upon finishing his seven days of work in creating the world , God took a look at his handiwork and chose to make a personal inspection of the earth he had created. God’s eyes were said to have fallen on the peacock, which was not a lovely creature in those days. The peacock didn’t have a melodious voice or a beautiful body. His feathers were dull and he couldn’t fly. The peacock asked God to recall him, but God replied that he couldn’t recrate a single thing after his work was done. However, he agreed on a compromise. He told the peacock to close his eyes, relax and to visualize the desired changes. The peacock did what he was told. he knew he could never fly and be believed that he could never be a songbird, but he could see himself as a beautiful creature.

The peacock is said to have felt his back grow into a fan shape and his feathers radiate with beautiful colors. The bird sensed his increasing self-worth and growing awareness of self-confidence, the legend said. “The peacock awoke from his hypnotic sleep and to his amazement he had actualized that which he visualized.” Dr. Peacock said. The peacock’s ability to dream combined with God’s creative power was enough to allow the transformation to take place, he said. Dr. Peacock applies “The Peacock Image” to his work.

Since Dr. Peacock believes few people use their minds to their full potential, great things can be accomplished when those inner resources are tapped, he was discovered. For many years, Dr. Peacock has been a counselor to individuals, couples and families. He said he discovered some time ago that there is a gap between the decisions people make and actual accomplishment of their goals. “For years I didn’t make a connection between religion and hypnosis,” He said. Until one day, when he discovered the word hypnosis while reading the New Testament in Greek. He has since discovered six such references in the Bible.

In Matthew l:24, the Greek work “hypnos” is used to tell about a “massager’s ” (some versions interpret the word as angel) visit to Joseph after Joseph had learned Mary was going to have a child. At that time, Joseph had decided to quietly break off the engagement to Mary. However, the messenger encouraged Joseph to carry out his marriage plans because the child had been conceived by the Holy Spirit. The scripture indicates all this occurred in a dream. Dr. Peacock contends there are two other Greek words which man sleep and more appropriately would have described the dram had Matthew not intended to indicate Joseph was in some way hypnotized.

Dr. Peacock also sites the account in Luke 9:28-33 of Jesus and disciples Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration. The disciples were said to be “asleep” and upon waking found Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus. Although Matthew and Mark both tell the story only Luke, “the physician” uses “hypnos” to describe the sleep[. “Since Luke was a physician, and hypnosis was a common experience of the first century, it is logical to accept that a hypnotic induction occurred.” Dr. Peacock deduced. “Since there are only four people on the mountain top and three of them underwent hypnosis, it is a logical conclusion to draw that Jesus was a hypnotist.”

Though Dr. Peacock’s theories may be criticized because they’re novel , he said has helped scores of people overcome weight problems, smoking, drinking, and stress. The energetic, light-hearted doctor gladly recounts details about students he has helped. One man’s job was on the line because he couldn’t get to work on time. He couldn’t hear the alarm clock or the telephone. Through religious hypnosis, Dr. Peacock enabled the man to wake up a moment before the clock went off each day and ultimately cured his job-threatening problem, he remembered, his eyes dancing as he tells the story. Another man, although well-prepared and very intelligent, was unable to make a speech in front of a group of his peers. Without the ability to impart his knowledge, the man could not fulfill his job requirements. Again, Dr. Peacock enabled the man to gain the confidence and reassurance he needed and perform successful before the group

Retired after 35 years of active and reserve duty in the military, Dr. Peacock said he is foremost a Clergyman. Before opening his practice at the Bon Air, he served as associate pastor at Waikiki Baptist Church for about a year. Prior to that, he was a chaplain at Eisenhower Army Medical Center for four years.

He earned his master’ degree in divinity as well as art and education. He also has a doctor of philosophy degree in education and communication. “Many people don’t feel that they can, that’s why they can’t.” he said, “But you and God make an unbeatable combination.”


Hypnosis, a word that evokes skepticism and even fear, is actually no different from Madison Avenue advertising or the prayers one hears in church, according to a counselor with 20 years of experience in hypnosis. An advertising jingle or a prayer, hard over and over again, has the same effect as hypnosis, and that power o suggestion can change a person’s behavior, said the Rev. George C. Anderheggen, a member of the National Association of Clergy Hypnotherapists and director of the Newtown Counseling Center. About 70 members of the clergy from across the country belong to the organization.

The elements used to create the altered mental state in hypnosis, such as music or monotone of spoken words, are the same as the chanting voices and incense found in a church or the repeated admonishing of a preacher, Anderheggen explained. “Every clergyman who stands up there is a hypnotist, whether he likes it or not. Anderheggen, 59, is a state-certified marriage and family therapist and has been in private practice for more than 15 years, Before that, he was a counselor of Episcopal Social Service and assistant rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bridgepost.

He said many of his clients are corporation executives who use hypnosis to cope with great amounts of stress. Hypnosis also can be helpful to people trying to break addictions.

“The biggest obstacle to hypnosis is fear of surrender. People fear that they won’t be able to come out of the trance, that they will be made to look foolish or to reveal a dark secret about themselves.” Anderhaggen said. But prayers, something more people are comfortable with, can change one’s state of mind. Since the clergy has power and authority, a prayer that drives home the point that a person is unworthy can make him feel unimportant, Anderheggen said, noting that a pastor could turn that situation around and create prayers that help people improve their self-esteem.

Members of the clergy who use hypnosis in counseling see it as a tool to help grow spiritually and discover more meaning in their olives. More simply, positive suggestions spoken repeatedly are used to transform destructive areas into positive behavior. “You can change a few words, ‘I won’t get well.’ to ‘I will get well.” he explained. Most churchgoers, however consider hypnosis “a tool of the devil,” Anderheggen said. “There are a lot of people who want to run away from hypnosis. It’s almost worse than the word, ‘sex'”. Being in the altered state does not mean giving up all control, as many people think, Anderheggen said, “The person who goes up on stage and barks like dog wants to do that,” he added.

Hypnosis, according to one practitioner, is similar to daydreaming, or driving down a highway and going from one exit to another without being aware of what happened in between. Or it can be likened to walking in a forest and feeling small and overwhelmed by its beauty, explained Candace Reedbenyie, a psychotherapist and an Episcopal lay reader at Christ Church, Redding. Since it isn’t easy to convince members of the clergy of the benefits of hypnosis,

Aderheggen often works with a few interested church members at a time who may be willing to voice prayers in positive rather than negative terms. “You take it slowly and suggest that everything in life has a hypnotic quality about it.”

The Rev. William Curtis, director of the National Association of Clergy Hypnotherapist, said he uses hypnosis to help someone, he is counseling relax and allow different thought to enter his mind, Curtis, a Presbyterian minister who lives in Florence S.C., said, “If I can get that person to relax and let go of his conscious mind that says, ‘I’ll never amount to anything,’ we can make that person begin to believe in himself as well a God.”

Anderheggen said a positive prayer might begin, “O Lord God, we appreciate your many gifts. In every way we grow stronger and become more aware of our fellow men, more aware of our inner sacredness…” “That’s a positive approach,” he said.


(Article originally written for NACH Journal “Deepening” NACH is not “Clergy Special Interest Group/National Guild of Hypnotism)

It is well documented that in ancient times, the priest and physician were one and the same. In the Judeo Christian Bible in the Old Testament is the Book of Isaiah which is believed to have been written between 800 to 600 B.C. Chapter 61 verses 1 and 2 of Isaiah “read the Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that art bound. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.” In Luke 4:18, Jesus read this scripture in Nazareth. This clearly shows that the “temple priest” healed broken spirits as well as broken bodies, i.e. priest and physician were one and the same person.

On the wall of the temple of Kom Ombo located about 30 miles north of Aswan, Egypt is carved a picture of the first know medical-surgical instruments. This suggest that the temple priest started teaching non-priest how to care for (heal) the sick and/or injured. The exact date of this temple is difficult to determine Champollian fund a gateway in the south wall that was 28th dynasty i.e. about 1550 to 1307 B.C. Stones of the new kingdom period of Egypt i.e. 304 to 30 B.C.

The medical-surgical instruments on the wall of this Egyptian temple corroborate the passage in Isaiah that a few hundred year B.C. the priest and physician were one and the same person. Isn’t Jesus, the greatest of priest’s also famous as the greatest of healers; he not only healed the blind, lame etc., he also raised the dead (Lazarus). Jesus taught his disciples (which means learners or followers) to teach, preach, and heal.

As stated in Concise World History by Ben Finger, Jr. (Philosophical Sibrarz, Inc. NY, NY 1959) on page 8, “…Eventually, the Bishop of Rome established himself as the supreme authority in the church. The church, when it became a centralized organization, did much good, but it leaned towards authoritarianism, legalism, superstition, and commercialism. Christianity as the organized state religion (of the Roman Empire) tended to drift away from the original spirituality of the its founder.”

As Brain l. Weiss, M.D. states in Many Lives, Many Masters (Simon and Schuster, 1988) on page 35 and 36; the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great in 325 A.D. prohibited the teaching of reincarnation as part of the Christian religion. This action was upheld by the Second Council of Constantinople in 553 A.D. This council declared the concept of reincarnation a heresy. By the 1700’s, the separation of priest and physical had been complected. (There were some instances where the touch of the King in England and France was reported to have cured the sick; King not Clergy.)

There is ever increasing evidence in the second half of this century to show that a merging of physician and clergy is occurring. Alfred J. Cantor M.D., a Colo-rectal surgeon published a book in 1965 called Unitrol staring on page 29, Dr. Cantor states “…A human being consists of more than a body and its component parts. There are certain built-in reactions in all of us, peculiarities resulting from the reaction of your body-mind to its environment. But the whole is still greater than the sum of its parts, and there is an indefinable something within each of us – the spirit. I would go still further and say that this spirit is indestructible and immortal. It is part of God. Indeed, you can say, with justification, that God dwells within you. (I interrupt Dr. Cantor to quote Genesis 1:26-27 “and God said, ‘Let us make man in our image after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and every creeping thing creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image.”) Resuming D. Cantor words, “In that sense you are God.” If this is true, then the powers of God, His omnipotence and omniscience, are your powers.

“This is a startling statement. It means that you have the power to control your destiny. The power of God within you. You can make yourself ill or you can produce good health at will. You can lengthen your life or shorten it. You can make yourself old before your time or you can rejuvenate yourself exactly as you wish. There are no limitations to the powers of God and insofar as you believe that God dwells within you, and that His power are your powers, there are no limitations to your powers. (From the Book of John “Believe and all things are possible.”)

“Unitrol takes spirit into account, and when I say that you control your mind/body unit, the you is your spirit, the power of God within you, your personality structure if you will.

“As I have already indicated, we must work through the power of God if we are to achieve maximum results with Unitrol. It is important to realize that when there is a conflict between your will and your emotions, your emotions will win. For example, if you say to yourself. I want to get rid of this pain, but I don’t feel that I can do it, rest assured that you will not get rid of the pain. Your feelings always win out over your thinking. You will not get rid of the pain. Your feelings always win our over your thinking. You must have faith, you must implant positive suggestions on the emotional level if they are to be fully effective.” (Matt 17:20 “If ye have the faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place and it shall remove and nothing shall be impossible unto you.)

Francis Mac Mutt, O.P., a Roman Catholic priest wrote a book called Healing, (Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, Indiana 1974) in which he tells about his training and experiences in healing. This priest had been accepted to medical school at Washington University in St. Louis, MO in 1944. However, he was drafted into the army ten days before the start of classes. He did serve as a medical corpsman in World War II and became a priest after the war. In the preface of this book, he stated that he was asked by a Protestant friend to pray for healing of his son’s partial blindness. Rev. Mac Mutt’s response was refusal, thinking that only saints could heal. Over a period of time he remembered that Jesus was very famous as a healer. He knew hat something was missing from his ministry. He goes on in the preface to say, “What kind of spiritual direction could I give to all these people coming for counsel, many them sent by their psychiatrist? They were depressed some to the point of attempting suicide; some were alcoholic, some homosexual, some hopelessly confused, feeling worthless and unlovable. they were not OK “people.” Their emotional problems could not be separated form their “spiritual” lives; as human beings they were being dragged down by sadness and guilt.” The book then goes onto tell how this priest again became a physician i.e. how he completed his training.

The American Holistic Medical Association was formed in 1978 by C. Norman Shealy, M.D. Ph.D. and a group of like-minded physicians. Their description of Holistic health was; “a system of health care which emphasizes personal responsibility and fosters a co-operative relationship among all those involved, leading toward optimal atonement of body, mind emotions and spirit. Holistic medicine encompasses all safe modalities of looking at the whole person including analysis of physical, nutritional, environmental, emotional. spiritual and life style values. Holistic medicine particularly focuses upon patient education and patient responsibility for personal efforts to achieve balance.”

The above is their description of Holistic medicine; their description of Holistic Health is the absence of disease plus a harmonious balance between mind, body and spirit.

Thus we have seen that in ancient times priest and physician were one. For some centuries they were separated. In the last twenty five or so years with the work of physicians like Dr’s Cantor and Shealy and Clergy like Francis Mac Mutt and NACH (Now Clergy Special Interesting Group/National Guild of Hypnotherapist); all are very much involved in healing mind, body, and spirit of their patients, priest and physician are again becoming one




(INTRODUCTION BY BISHOP AUSTIN PARDUE, EPISCOPAL CHURCH) The Reverend Joseph Wittkofski has been a close friend of mine for over twenty years. We met when I was Dean of the Episcopal Cathedral in Buffalo. He had been a Roman Catholic priest and had left the Church for intellectual and personal reasons. He had come to Buffalo to work in the Curtiss Wright airplane plant, and had visited the services of the Cathedral, making himself known to me, wasting no time in telling me of his past, and seeking information about the Episcopal Church. I found him to be one of the most brilliant men I had been privileged to meet. We soon became fast friends because of our mutual interests in the practical application of religion to the personal needs of the individual. I think we can say that we are deeply indebted to each other because of our invaluable and lengthy conversations over our mutual interests.

We talked hours on end about the problem of reaching man’s inner consciousness so that faith could motivate men through the establishment of spiritual reflex actions. We were conscious of the fact that so much religion is related only to the intellectual level or else to a series of ritualistic observances which rarely penetrate the level of the unconscious mind, where true driving forces are to be found.

I was particularly interested in the meaning of the word heart, as it is frequently used in the Book of Common Prayer. For instance, every climax of the ancient liturgical Office of the Holy Communion, which is so commonly used by many communions, is centered in the word heart. Such great phrases as these are used:

“Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; cleanse the thoughts of our hearts.” “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy hear, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” “Lift up your hearts.” “Feed on him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving.” “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God.”

Dr. Burton Scott Easton, one of the great New Testament scholars of this century, told me that in essence the word heart is related to “the sum total of one’s inner attitude toward life:’ He went on to say that the mystery of the unconscious self is bound up in the deeply established attitudes that are embedded in human consciousness.

So, Joseph Wittkofski and I talked, studied, and read in this direction and along many lines relating to comparative religions, the occult, and modern psychology . Subsequently, I wrote a book on the theme, called Create and Make New, published by Harper & Brothers.

In the meantime, I became a Bishop and Joseph Wittkofski was soon received into the priesthood of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. The more deeply he became immersed in pastoral problems, the more he sought to find ways whereby he could reach the deep self of his individual people and help heal them spiritually, mentally, and physically. He took up a detailed study of hypnosis and read in many directions in this field. He is a scholar at heart, and left no stone unturned in his research on the subject. He has now been using hypnosis as a part of his pastoral therapy, and with marked success. He lives in a reasonably small industrial city in Pennsylvania, and yet people Come to him from far and wide for counsel, spiritual direction, and psychological therapy. He has never publicized himself, since people told one another of their good fortune through his ministry. His whole technique is rooted and grounded in the orthodoxy of historic Christian experience.

Thus, I write this introduction, not as one who knows anything about hypnosis, but as one who is aware of the good work he has done and of his years of search for a way by which he could minister more deeply to the hidden processes of thought, emotion, and motivation. Personally, I have not gone into the hypnotic field, but I am indeed aware of the fact that there must be a profound relationship between religion and hypnosis.

Only a week ago I was confirming in a small church in western Pennsylvania and was approached by a mother and her twenty-year-old daughter. The mother told me of the hopeless illness that “Susan ” had experienced for years. She told of the innumerable doctors who had been unable to assist her with her many complaints, among them a continuous problem of falling asleep and thus being unable to attend school or hold a position. The mother told how she had spent literally thousands of dollars on the daughter and how Father Joe had been the instrument for a remarkable cure. The daughter is referred to in this book as “Susan.” Thus, I introduce to you Father Wittkofski.

Austin Pardue, Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

Some ministers have been working with hypnotic techniques for many years. But in not a few cases, hypnotism is a discipline of the secret. There is a widespread fear about the reaction of a congregation if the cleric’s use of hypnotism became a matter of public information. (Durbin, today many clergy are openly using hypnosis in their pastoral ministry as noted be the growing number of clergy joining the National Association of Clergy Hypnotherapist. I must admit that even among clergy who should know better some still do not understand and may oppose the use of hypnosis by clergy.) Actually, superstition has long been associated with hypnotism, popular misconceptions are now being rapidly corrected. That is not to say that people are not longer afraid of hypnotism. The experienced worker in this field knows that usually the first encounter is fearfully approached. When a good degree of confidence has not been won, much fear and trembling may exist. Ordinary pastoral counseling can be directed carefully to prepare the subject for the first hypnotic experience. The minister should vividly point out that his vocation requires him to do all things possible for the welfare of people and that his present efforts come within the scope of his calling. To ease the normal tension in the face of a new experience, the operator should always explain the hypnotic process as well as possible and honestly answer all questions the subject puts to him. This kind of approach creates a relaxing rapport that strengthens faith and engenders a healthy anticipation. With the presence of these attitudes, the whole hypnotic process is eased and offers promise. (p. 18-19)

The pastor should never try to keep his work with hypnosis under wraps. Every successful worker in the field of hypnotics know that his efficiency is increased by public notability. The fears that the use of hypnotism might gender to cheapen the ministry is absolutely groundless. Occasionally, it is true, some scoffers will be encountered in a congregation, but frequently these people will be the first to run to the pastor when they are seriously beset by a pressing problem. On the whole, it will soon be discovered that members of a parish will develop an added sense of security when they know that the minister can really help them with their problems. This kind of pastoral relationship also promotes the attainment of a high level of spiritual maturity because the Church contributes something to life that can be easily sensed. The clergyman from whom people receive tangible help will have no trouble with the parish budget. (p. 19)

The pastoral use of hypnotism can be employed to deaden the pains of arthritis and other chronic diseases. Much can be done to overcome the problems of overweight, of loss of appetite, of fear of medical and dental requirements. of nervous spasms, of long-standing menstrual difficulties that have not yielded to medical treatment, of insomnia, of poor work in school, of inferiority complexes, of morbid fears, of asthma and allergies, of migraine headaches, of smoking, of alcoholism, and of various emotional disturbances. (p. 19)

Every pastor has a pressing right and an important responsibility in the healing of body, mind and spirit since these attributes of his office are consequent upon his calling by our Lord Jesus Christ. Christian healing may employ the techniques of hypnosis as well as the medical arts, but Christian healing, by means of its ultimate objectives, extends beyond the mere motivations of its ultimate objectives, extends beyond the mere motivations of natural life. (p. 33)


Is a religious ministry not existential in nature really any ministry at all ? A man may be set aside, consecrated, seated, and robed in the garments of a bishop but such a one is no real bishop unless he consequently functions as a bishop. The same thing can be said of any other minister, priest, or rabbi. In our dislocated society, we now have clergymen functioning as sociologists, as politicians, and as various kinds of executives. For this reason, because they are operating in a secular role, they have to that same degree relinquished their claim to any sacred ministry.

The purpose of a religious ministry looks to making people aware of their potentiality to become the children of the living God. All the liturgies and structures of organized religion should be directed toward its primary function. Unlike all other things which mankind knows, man himself has an entrance into the innermost recesses of his being. The possession of a reasoning mind and of a will-power marks the human creature in the likeness and image of God.

The minister of whatever sort should aim his essential activities toward opening the eyes of people so that they come to recognize their standing face to face with their God. In this relationship, they begin to understand the means through which they can grow more and more Godlike. Here is the fundamental for healthy self-esteem which makes love for neighbor and for God into an actual possibility.

Whether people live in the East or in the West, in spite of many external pressures to the contrary, their happiness demands appreciation of the fact that the individual person is more important than the collectivity. Toward this purpose, recognition must be continually cultivated that the human spirit, personal freedom, and the ability to love lifts the individual above the state. People do not exist for a government but government exists for people. Human well-being requires that no man has any right to make a complete self-surrender to any superior force except almighty God. The urge in the direction of collectivism, in both the worlds of Communism and noncommunism, tends to reduce people to the level of alienated objects. A dominating state dooms society and its citizens to a futile and sterile existence.

There is a lot of hand-wringing and of questioning about what is wrong with our world. The answer is quite simple; in many places, the intelligent and more sensitive people have submitted to a mass insanity while they have given up their own judgments to the collective which ignores the ultimate destiny of the individual personality.

The times call desperately for the ministry to exercise its proper function in human society.

Too often, clergy are to be found in the ranks of the collectivists.

They take places beside the psychiatrists and the psychologists who deny the reality of human aspirations toward God-likeness.

A few years ago, Dr. Brook Chishold, who had been president of the World Mental Health Organization, insisted that the concepts of morality are the evils of past ages while people with consciences are medieval. He added, “The reinterpretation and eventually the eradication of the concept of right and wrong which has been the basis of child training must be substituted by rational thinking, guided by psychiatry.” Of their goals, the forces of collectivism make no secret. Unless the ministry sees fit to adopt some of the new weapons of depth psychology and of hypnodynamics, these techniques, like nuclear energy, may be employed for the destruction of the human race. The common strategies of the religious ministries are hopelessly out of date. In his excellent but very much neglected book, A Christian Therapy for a Neurotic World, Canon E. N. Ducker writes, “There is no doubt that psychological understanding revolutionizes the Christian ministry in its every aspect. It gives to preaching greater penetrating power, new relevance to human need, new awareness in the depth and power of the Scriptures to raise the fallen and to sustain life. The over-all gain is an increased ability to know people more intimately, and therefore, more effectively to meet their need.” Honesty forces the admission that the so-called free world is losing a struggle which could be won while the openly atheistic world of Communism is winning a conflict which it must lose. As a result of an artificially contrived efficiency, gained by crushing the human spirit of its victims, Communism has enjoyed victory after victory. Marxism, call it Socialism or Communism, carries within itself the germ of its own destruction. Man can be free and happy to the extent that he becomes aware of his inner nature and of personal relationship to the Absolute which is named God. In its attempt to usurp the divine sovereignty for human society, Socialism writes the death warrant for its partisans. Is the situation in the free world much different today? During the past twenty years, has there not been a drive in the United States to challenge the sovereignty of God over human society ? Does not the ministry bear much responsibility for the powerless forms of religion in the modern world ?

As a religion is de-energized and de-spiritualized, people are robbed of the necessary faith which is a sine qua non element in the healing of both the social and the individual organism. The true function of the ministry, depending upon the renovating factor of faith, tends to place intelligent creation in proper relationship and in communication with the Source of Being. It may be called by many other names but what we term hypnosis has always played an effective role in religion.

Now , in the quest of a false scientific respectability which ignores teleology, there have been many attempts completely to de-religionize the practice of hypnosis. Historically, however, this technique for development and reconditioning had its birth and development in the religious area. No matter how disguised, it has always been dependent up- on some kind of faith. Here the ministry has a special opportunity. Not long ago, a leading practitioner in the field told the writer, “I find that I am using the Bible more and more in my daily practice.” Faith, either healthy or unhealthy, always stands outside the fold of empirical science. When coupled with a distracted concentration and with some anticipation, faith develops a particular capacity for good or for ill. The manipulation of this faith in the hands of a trained ministry, by the very nature of human existence, can move both psychological and physiological mountains. Not in-frequently, the special therapy of faith offers the only hope for restoration to wholeness.

In the performance of pastoral functions, every minister, from time to time, has the opportunity to observe the therapeutic and the sustaining action of lively faith. Some years ago, when Dr. Hess headed the American Medical Association, he told of his experience with a woman, a terminal cancer case. One day she, knowing that the doctor was a member of the Episcopal Church, asked him to read Morning Prayer to her. He did this and he noted on the patient’s chart that the nurse on the case was to read daily both Morning and Evening Prayer to the sick woman. Such was faithfully done. Dr. Hess reported that until the day of the patient’s death, there no further need for narcotics.

Research in psychosomatic healing suggests that the building of new conditioned reflexes in people can be a determining activity of the ministry. Almost under laboratory conditions, workers in the field have carefully determined that aberration in either the conscious or unconscious components of the mind is capable of producing body disorder. Physical well-being usually depends upon healthy mental states. On many occasions, the Man from Nazareth said, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” From the context of the reports which we possess, we can deter- mine that these words not only carried a meaning in the world of the spirit but they also referred to an effect in the physical order. Through the cybernetics of faith in heart and mind, health was gained for the body. If psychology can be defined as the physiology of the nervous system, a place must be left for faith which, by its very nature, is outside the realm of science. Several recent case-histories will illustrate the reason for such a demand

Several years ago, a few days, before Christmas, Rosella came to the pastoral study seeking

help. Many years before, her husband, a hopeless alcoholic, had ended his own life. She was left with five children. With little means, her life had been extremely difficult. The tensions of her anxious life produced a severe case of duodenal ulcers. At the time when she first requested pastoral psychotherapy, she had lost forty pounds; she could not retain food or medicine; she found it difficult to sleep; and she endured continual pain. After several sessions of religion orientated hypnosis, her tensions were released. Soon after, her disturbing symptoms began to disappear. After eight weeks, she had gained more than twenty pounds, she was without pain, and she was able to eat and to sleep without difficulty. Rosella’s longstanding depression had been replaced by a faith generated optimism. Although she still had many problems, she now felt equal to her task. The suggestions of faith, having been worked deeply into her subconsciousness, replaced life-developed feelings of personal inadequacy. X-ray examination indicated that her ulcers had completely healed

Although the case of Nellie requires considerable space to outline, much of pastoral value can be learned from the study. Nellie had been referred for possible psychotherapy by her own pastor. In many ways, she seemed to approach the ideal of a religious woman which, if true, could create a powerful argument for Freudianism. Nellie sang in the church-choir and was active in parish organizations. She would rarely miss church services. Actually, she became so busy with her parish duties that she frequently neglected her home chores. In spite of some natural attractiveness, Nellie was not really happy. She, too, had developed ulcers of the stomach. She found it difficult to sleep at night and often, to her husband’s disgust, she would remain in bed until afternoon. As she grew more frustrated, her guilt feelings increased. Her minister urged her to confess and to confess again. Each confession seemed to make God more remote; since she found little relief from guilt, she was pushed toward despair. To win God’s acceptance, Nellie, at the suggestion of her minister, hastened the pace of her church-activities. She raised her church-giving from one to ten dollars a week. But her neurotic condition grew worse. Her well-intentioned minister, like many of his colleagues, had little understanding of guilt. Between the psychological and the moral variety, he could make no differential diagnosis. He believed that the remedy for guilt feelings was always confession to God. When liberation was not forthcoming, he assumed that the person was in some way insincere. More confession, therefore, was needed. When Nellie began to develop some obvious schizoid symptoms, her minister found himself helpless.

Before any pastoral hypnotherapy was undertaken, preliminary counseling indicated that Nellie’s girlhood was marked by many unwholesome experiences. Several sources of her psychological guilt seemed to raise their ugly heads. She was able to explain that she entered into a loveless marriage with Harry to escape a miserable home environment. Husband and wife, however, had one thing in common-both were guilt-ridden. Inauspicious from the start, the marriage relationship went from bad to worse. Nellie found that sexual experience magnified her guilt-feelings. Within a few years, she had become completely frigid. Harry attempted to sublimate much of his energies in his work and the overdrive led to some little success. The couple decided to adopt a child. Nellie, through her fanatical efforts to extricate herself from her increasing guilt, induced more and more alienation in her relationship with Harry. His own guilt reactions were obvious but, in total revolt against his wife’s feverish religious activity, he tightly closed his eyes to his own inner states. He sought escape in heavy drinking. Sensing her own part in this, Nellie enlarged her self-blame.

Many months of counseling and pastoral hypnosis were required to open the door of the personal prison in which Nellie had confined herself. Harry’s attitude did not ease the work. Weeks of psychodynamic manipulation were required to establish even a little communication between them. The need of conjoint therapy was clear. Harry, however, refused to seek help. An indirect method had to be devised. But progress came slowly and results often were disheartening. True, transitional relaxation soon freed Nellie from many of her symptoms. Lasting improvement, however, required that her husband obtain the help he needed. To reach Harry through her became a defiant challenge. With a gradual elevation of Nellie’s moods, Harry became less bellicose. He did continue his drinking and he entered a lengthy phase of sullenness. But the home was no longer the scene of violent clashes. Nellie, with progressive liberation from her inner tensions, was able to concentrate her efforts upon the building of new habits. When she reached the point where, in dealing with others, the use of suggestion became natural with her, she found that she could coax Harry out of his ingrowingness. Indeed, the indirect efforts toward Harry had no rapid result but eventually they became effective.

After a time of relative normalcy, suddenly without previous discussion, Harry asked Nellie, “Will you marry me?” Without any hesitation or show of surprise, Nellie enthusiastically answered, “Yes.” The minister who first married them agreed to the service of remarriage. On this occasion, the couple were beginning anew life on some solid grounds of mutual need, love and understanding. The disorder in their inner personalities had prevented both from attaining that religious experience which can become a supportive element for normal human existence. When Harry and Nellie returned home from their honeymoon they discovered that the domestic environment had changed very much. At Harry’s suggestion, family morning and evening prayer became part of the daily routine.

Although many complicated factors were involved, Nellie’s own honest facing of her inner states probably marked the beginning of her recovery. After a few month’s work, her pastor protested that her condition had clearly grown worse because she was neglecting parish activities, no longer attended church-services with regularity, and had discontinued her extravagant giving. When confronted, Nellie admitted the charges were. true. She added, “I now realize that I have been using the church for a crutch. Because I held myself in low regard, I sought compensation in the admiration which I was able to get from other people. I have every intention of resuming an active church-life but I must be sure as possible that my motivation is right.

The existential exercise of the ministry demands a lot of skill, understanding, and patience.

The life-story of Cora demonstrates the importance of facing criticism with persistence. At a recent meeting of the churchwomen’s group to which Cora belonged, she was asked how she felt. The woman replied that she has been feeling fine ever since she got her nerves under control. Pressed to explain how she overcame her “nerves,” she answered, “Father Joe did it.” Six or seven years ago, Cora had developed some very serious symptoms. She was sure that her neighbors were persecuting her. They had wired her home for eavesdropping and set up devices to communicate with her in varying ways. She would go to the phone and hear imaginary voices which threatened her. After many months of medical care, she showed no improvement. Her husband decided to bring Cora to the pastoral study. During the counseling, the reality of Cora’s symptoms was never questioned. Her problems were only discussed as her “nerves.” She was told that tension tends to convert to body dysfunction while depth relaxation would serve to relieve the tension. She accepted these ideas.

During hypnosis, she was given a steady stream of positive suggestions which only obliquely touched her symptoms. After three or four months, all indications of mental illness had disappeared.

The writer, a decade ago, proposed the hypothesis that much mental illness could well be the result of an induced self-hypnosis. Experience with many people seemed clearly to justify this approach. If there be solid evidence for such a conclusion, therapy for many should neither be sought in drugs, nor in institutionalization, nor in shock treatment but, instead, in dehypnotization and counter suggestion. The writer’s ideas, at the time, produced a storm of ridicule, scorn, and professional questioning. In the October, 1969 issue of Hypnosis Research and Practice, Dr. B. J. Hartman has published an excellent article entitled, ” Accidental Autohypnosis: A Hypno-Cybernetic Approach to Emotional Disorders.” Dr. Hartmap supports the writer’s thesis and maintains that the role of suggestion in emotional disorders is largely ignored in professional literature dealing with psychodiagnosis and psychotherapeutic treatment. He writes, “When a person is in the grip of an emotion, the .subconscious mind takes over. Just as in hypnosis, there is a loss of consciousness and the person may unknowingly slip into a trance; just as in hypnosis, he becomes extremely suggestible. A remark may be made or the person may have a thought which is accepted or carried out by the subconscious mind as if it were a post-hypnotic suggestion. Under intense emotion, the subconscious mind seems to automatically register a statement as though a tape recording is being made. With reinforcement through association (the same as a posthypnotic suggestion) the idea will be carried out compulsively.

For Cora, a severe family crisis produced the emotional situation which became the premises for her autohypnosis. Her anxiety of what others would think and say created the suggestion which took root and grew stronger tending to separate Cora from reality. When the damaging suggestion had been removed by heterohypnosis, she was released from her case of “nerves.” The sensitive minister will always be aware of the importance of suggestion in human living. Several years ago, the writer was spending a vacation in Canada. In the parking lot of a Toronto hotel, he stumbled over a placard which had likely been used during a convention at the hotel. It read, “Remember Cancer is neither a Bacteria nor a Virus but is a State of Mind.” Psychosomatic research gives reasons to suspect that the mind does playa role in the development of the disease. When a government orders an inscription on each package of cigarettes about possible harm from cigarette smoking, does it not run the risk of using suggestion to spread the disease ? When the American Cancer Society uses many coughing and hacking people to introduce an advertisement against smoking, could this not be an immoral use of suggestion ? If cancer is promoted by suggestion, we can now expect many more to become its victims who may not have developed it otherwise. An existentially conceived ministry cannot afford to ignore the abuse of suggestion in interpersonal relationships.

The pastoral use of hypnotic technique should never be regarded as a game or as a panacea. It should be employed in the framework of ministerial function. In the chaotic relationships, today, of spirit, mind, and body, sometimes the causative factor for disorder can be pinpointed in the conscious area. Simple re-education may do the job. There should be no indiscriminate use of hypnosis but, if simple re-education fails, hypnotic technique offers hope.

During the past twenty years, the writer has had the opportunity to work with many hundreds of men, women, and children. Very few failed to respond to hypnosis. Many have been sent to the pastoral study by medical doctors. Among these victims, some required the deadening of the pains of arthritis and other chronic diseases. Some simply required help to overcome fear of dental or surgical assistance. Some needed self-confidence to face an examination or a change of position in life. Others had difficulties with overweight, loss of appetite, nervous spasms, enuresis, insomnia, morbid fears, asthma, allergies, migraine headache, smoking, alcoholism, marital problems, and emotional disturbance.

From the pulpit, the induction of a light trance can more than triple the effectiveness of a sermon. In this particular application of hypnotic technique, time usually does not permit a full explanation so the congregation should not be made fearful by use of words like hypnosis. Rather, the technique should be introduced as merely a spiritual exercise. Every individual in the pews should be asked to give full cooperation. Many who have participated in the pulpit use of hypnodynamics have been enthusiastic in the description of their reactions. Although every good preacher can elicit some hypnotic response, the clear-cut use of hypnoidal techniques offers definite controls for guiding people into deeper appreciation of religious faith.

Can we not suspect that autohypnosis undergirds many of the disorders on our campuses and in society ? Does not the spreading use of narcotic drugs give evidence to a drive for narcosynthesis which is the induction of an hypnotic state by means of the drugs. By the way, the person who has been on narcotics can usually have just as good “a trip” with hypnosis and without harmful after-effects. Clearly, society and its members require a lot of dehypnotization. Many are the challenges presented to the minister who seriously regards his vocation !

The times scream for an existential ministry. That of yesterday has passed away with yesterday. Many of our seminaries, if not in horse and buggy days, remain in model-T-Ford times as far as the cure of souls is concerned. Some institutions have tried to update their training but too often they have only succeeded in reorientating their graduates in the directions of collective sociology and parochial administration. Rarely is the minister taught to handle the real problems of flesh and blood men and women. The seminary study of pastoral hypnosis can contribute much to make the ministry relevant today. Obviously, the minister is never to be a substitute for the medical doctor but modern conditions require a closer relationship between an existential ministry and the medical professions. The experts of yesterday in the fields of pastoral theology, unless they are willing to learn new disciplines, can no longer qualify as experts for today and tomorrow.


Religion and hypnosis have been inextricably interwoven from their beginnings but neither would dare openly recognize the existence of the other within the fabric of its being. This would be just like the warp and the woof of the cloth each denying that they had any connection with the other since they are woven perpendicularly to each other, or in opposite directions. But just as the cloth could not exist without the warp and the woof neither can man’s religion exist without hypnosis.

Religion is the greatest hypnotizing agent or influence in the world.

It always has been, is now and ever shall be, and unless a person understands the basic principle of hypnosis he will ever be enslaved to his religion instead of allowing his religion to free him from enslavement.

In nearly every age, however, religion has consistently denied any relation with hypnosis. With all due respect, however, to religious leaders this denial has not been done maliciously but out of sheer ignorance of the principles governing both religion and hypnosis. Even today the majority of the great religions of the world will deny any connection with hypnosis and would viciously fight me for calling attention to that connection. Nevertheless the search in man’s mind for truth will eventually lead all great religions not only to see this connection but to make use 0£ it in the advancement 0£ their work.

It appears to me that the big battle in the fight with reference to hypnosis will be waged between the medical profession on one side which claims to have a monopoly upon scientific advancements in the field of healing and the religious professions on the other side which claims to have a monopoly upon the working of the inner man. Both of these battle with each other because they do not understand the real truth with which they are dealing.

When two persons or groups of people that are earnestly seeking the truth disagree, then the truth that they are seeking hasn’t yet been found. Both religion and medicine have always, are now, and always will be dealing with the principles of hypnosis whether they recognize it or lay claim to it or not.

The combination of conditions in the average religious service is very conducive to hypnotic effects upon the congregation. Scores or even hundreds 0£ male and female voices sing together and establish thereby a condition of harmony between the members of the group. The rhythmic marching cadence or the slow sweet meditative melodies of the music coupled with the atmosphere of fragrance from the flowers, beautiful suggestive symbols, and the elaborate decorations of the church interior, the subdued lights and flickering candles, colorful windows, comfortable seats filled with worshipers dressed in their “Sunday Best”,these and many other influences exert an effect nothing short of hypnotic on the participants, interesting them and lifting them out of their self-consciousness and bringing pleasing effects to them physically, mentally and spiritually.

The clergyman, perhaps without even being aware of it at all, uses all the arts of the hypnotist in getting “en rapport” with his audience. He uses quartets or choirs composed of male and female voices to help him induce a condition of receptivity. He has the audience sing together certain moving hymns and repeat together certain rituals, creeds or responsive readings. Then the people are bound together again in oneness of thought through the contributions they make to a common unifying cause in their offering, which perhaps is followed by a female soloist’s rendition. All of these conditions create an atmosphere which causes the individual member to forget himself and his surroundings; and he becomes an open vessel to receive the suggestions offered by the orator in the pulpit who has the opportunity for a period of from a half-hour to an hour of presenting any ideas or suggestions that he may choose. These ideas thus presented may be either beneficial or harmful to the listener depending upon the degree of sympathetic interest and love the speaker has for his congregation, and the breadth and depth of his understanding of truth and life.

Man is by nature a religious being and has in all ages been so. (He may deny this even with oaths and curses because he does not understand himself; yet little does he realize that with his very profanity he recognizes the Infinite Power of a Being who has ability far beyond the human to send either curses or blessings.) Man is by nature a seeker after truth (it’s apart of his reasoning ability), and everyone seeking answers to the riddles of life must either have a philosophy of his own or be bound down by the creeds or dogmas of some religion which is trying to mould him according to its own fixed ideas. People, therefore, should neither be praised nor blamed for their religious beliefs and acts, for, as a rule, they are largely creatures of circumstance definitely related to their heredity, environment and educational experiences. (Jesus said, “I judge him not.”-John 12:47.)

If it were not for the principle of hypnosis operating in the minds of people there could be no religion, no church, no single congregation. The minister or priest or rabbi or whatever name is given to the leader of the religious group must of necessity be the operator or the originator, and just to the extent that the members of the congregation give their attention and become listeners concentrating upon the message of their leader, do they allow him to become the operator and they in turn become the subjects. He is the originator and they are the executive part of the combined church personality. The ideas he drives into his listeners are expressed then through the combined body of the leader, the congregation, the church facilities, the community, etc., as the medium of expression. The leader becomes the king, the listeners become his subjects, and just to the extent that they become his subjects they are unable and unwilling to challenge or question or even think about or reason upon the statements made by their operator. Just as in olden times a subject realized that he would have his head cut off if he questioned the mandates of his king, so in like manner symbolically the religious subject today feels that his head would be cut off (his reason dethroned or killed) if he challenged the reasoning of his religious dictator.

It is because man has retained a part of his originative or reasoning faculty that in every age he based to some extent challenged the dictates of another to reason for him. This accounts for all the great religious splits that have happened down through the centuries, such as the break of Martin Luther, the break of John Wesley, and in our modern day and time the splitting up of the Christian religion into hundreds of varying sects, denominations, cults, etc. Each time, however, a leader breaks away from the accepted domination of another he then in turn generally gathers together a few followers whom he can then direct with his own changed ideas. Without realizing it he becomes another hypnotic operator who failed to respond fully to the hypnotic ideas of his predecessor. Not realizing, however, that’s what he broke away from, he proceeds to do the very same thing to a group who will accept him as their leader Such is the course of religion through the ages. Whenever one person gets enough wisdom to become a leader he unknowingly or ignorantly – even though very sincerely and devotedly – proceeds to enslave a group who will listen to him to become his followers and adopt the tenants of his reasoning. They continue to follow him until at length someone in this new group cannot go all the way with him and breaks off with other new ideas – the result of his own human reasoning ability – to form another group of those who will listen to him and later become enslaved to his ideas. Thus the cycle of religion continues to evolve in every age.

The basic urge in every human personality, the one deep, sincere longing of every soul is to find God, or the Unknown Creative Spirit that created, rules, sustains, and orders the universe – whatever be the name assigned to this Power. Since every man is seeking this Power and since he can be put into direct touch with that Power that is within him in a process which is absolutely the same in every way as the principle of hypnosis, then it seems high time that man were made aware of this deep seated principle within his own being.

When a minister asks his congregation to pray with him, whether he tells them to or not, it is generally understood that they will assume a relaxed position, not thinking but wholly listening, and concentrating upon the words of the minister. In nearly every instance they are asked or automatically know that they should close their eyes and bow their heads. The whole set-up is ideal for hypnosis.

The founders of every religion and the religious leaders of every age have recognized a Great Power and have given it many names. Jesus taught that this Power, which He called The Father, was within and could be directed by man, and He even went so far as to say the things which He did and even greater things could be done by His followers (John 14:12) . Jesus also taught that man could become one with this Power (John 17 :21-23 ) and in becoming one he could direct or release it. He said the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand – it is here now to him who understands “Behold, the Kingdom of Heaven is within you” (Luke 17 :21b ) . Since every sincere soul is seeking to find that Kingdom of Heaven, that is the sincere and only longing of his heart. No matter what other longing he may think he has, all his longings are subsidiary to this one great urge to find God within. His longings for a friend, a mate, a loved one, liquor , sex, or what not, is only his intense desire to find the Power that is able to express itself in all those manifestations which attract him. The easiest way a person may quickly understand himself, his deep longing, and then find the answer to that longing, is through an understanding of hypnosis; and whether he recognizes it as such or calls it by this name is immaterial.

Hypnosis had been practiced for thousands of years by people not knowing they were practicing it long before Braid ever gave it the name in an attempt to explain Mesmer’s method less than 200 years ago. In every walk of life people are practicing it every day without naming it. Parents hypnotize their children to certain concepts of living, eat in g, clothing, religion, etc. Schools, churches, business houses, newspapers, radios, T – V, magazines, are constantly filling the mind of the listening public with ideas which the y accept without reasoning Whenever anyone is placed in a position to accept an idea without reasoning upon it, he is hypnotized to that extent; and all hypnosis is always listed in a matter of the extent, the degree, the stage or the percentage of the reasoning mind which is given over to the operator.

The business houses are paying huge prices to people who know the art of getting others to listen without reasoning. The T-V commercials are filled with ideas which flow in such rapid succession and in so many attractive forms that the observer does not have opportunity to use his reason.

If we are to help man in his search for his real self we must know what hypnosis is, why it works, and what the power is that is set in motion through its use. There are many people – even professional hypnotists – who do not have a clear cut idea of hypnosis and how it works. They study and review over and over the various ways of inducing the hypnotic state and they marvel at the various phenomena which hypnosis produces. They get new ideas of things they are going to tryout when opportunity affords itself, yet they know little or nothing about just what takes place in the human personality when under the hypnotic influence.

In my philosophy we teach that every person is both an operator and a subject. Everyone who is able to think and reason as a normal, human being is able to learn the laws that govern his personality and thereby can be either an operator or a subject; or with this understanding can be both operator and subject at the same time, thereby practicing self-hypnosis. These principles should be taught to the masses so that everyone can know that he is capable of giving and receiving a hypnotic suggestion (concept) at will and thereby becomes his own master. It is high time that we were realizing that man is a complete entity within himself – a triune entity, who does not need to be enslaved by anyone. The sooner we teach people this, the quicker we will have a race of people who know how to be real selves and not puppets in the hands of anyone who happens to have authority or power over them.

The biggest battle in the religions of the world has been whether a man has aright to go direct to the Source of Omnipotent Power himself, or whether he has to channel his request through some authorized and accepted agent or agencies which claim to have a monopoly on the use of that Power.

We are all hypnotized to a degree – and in no place does this show up better than in the realm of our religion. Our religious beliefs are an indication of the degree of our hypnotism. We have to be that way, for we must of necessity inherit and accept some of the basic concepts of our forefathers, and religion is one of the most significant. This is true of all religions in the history of man: Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Confucianism, Judaism, Christianity, Mohammedanism, Bahaism Christian Science, etc., etc. And some who claim to be atheist may smile and say to themselves that they are free here and are not subject to the hypnosis of religion but they are – their hypnosis is to a DENIAL rather than to an ACCEPTANCE of the religious theories and ideas of those about them.

Yes, we are all victims of suggestion, – the sum total of the suggestions that have come to us from all of life. We have each been hypnotized to a slightly different degree, so to each of us life is an INDIVIDUAL PROPOSITION. In each one of us the POWER of the CREATOR is being released in a different way, depending upon the basic concept in our life. Only as one understands that can he help another to change and to become what he wants to be. An understanding of the true principles involved in hypnosis gives one the key to life.

Many religious healers today who would fight hypnosis do not realize that they are using its fundamental principles all the time. When I realized that Jesus was thoroughly familiar with the principles and practice of hypnosis it came as one of the greatest shocks of my life. Up till then I had accepted the idea about it that I had been taught, that it might be of the devil; but when I became aware that it was the means of releasing the very POWER OF GOD WITHIN and was the very method of Jesus, I was stunned.

To pray is to use the imagination. TO PRAY IS TO IMAGE. In praying one takes ideas and puts them together to make an image. Just as in building anything the builder has to take ideas and collect them together to make anything, a table, a hotel, etc. An architect takes ideas and puts them together to get an image in his mind (but he does not yet have a house – just an image); then he takes that image and reduces it to a thought-form, pattern, concept, or we would say in his terms, a blueprint (but he still does not have a house – just a blueprint of it) ; then he gathers the material substance – the things required on the physical plane – and has them put together according to the plan, and he has a house on the physical material plane. That is the process of creation that is always used regardless of who, when and how it is used.

This CREATIVE PROCESS was clearly demonstrated to me when I visited the General Motor’s Motorama at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (Thursday, Oct. 16, 1953). The theme of this magnificent spectacle was entitled “Imagination in Motion”. As the program climaxed showing how the Firebird ~o. 3 automobile, new concept in automotive design, was conceived and developed or has evolved, I was all the more impressed with the truth of this theme – “Imagination in Motion”, – for on the giant screen was illustrated the methods by which this new automobile became a reality-: first starting with IMAGINATION in the mind of its creators; next taking LOGICAL shape in the mind of the engineers; and finally going to the factory for PRODUCTION at the hands of the workmen. As I watched this the truth became more thoroughly fixed in my mind that this is an application of the creative process which has been used for all time, and it is applicable toward the creation of every thing, thought and act.

HYPNOTISM is the CREATIVE PROCESS in action, regardless of who practices it, when and how. Its principles involve all creation – so they will always be used whether the user is aware of it or not. It is the natural process of creation in operation and we only have to open our eyes to become aware of it. There may be limitations put upon certain forms of hypnosis but nothing can ever stop the mother from tenderly caressing her baby and thereby comforting the baby’s mind. Nothing can ever stop the salesman from trying to sell his wares. All these activities in the normal life of humans are applications of the hypnotic principle. And as we become wiser we will see WAKING HYPNOSIS being used on every hand. It is the eternal plan of the Creator and we can be sure and safe in applying its principles and thereby become creators ourselves.

In what we refer to as HYPNOSIS the methods of the operator SIMULATE THE IMAGINATION of the subject. If stimulated sufficiently toward the idea of SLEEP , then, of course, deep sleep or SOMNAMBULISM occurs. But the stimulating of the imagination of the subject ( or the listener) is also what everybody else does when he has a listener. That’s the method of the preacher, that’s the method of the doctor, the teacher, the salesman, the mother, the young man in love, and everybody else. We are all trying to find ways of stimulating the imagination of our listeners to get them to think our way. And, of course, if we can logically get them to think our way it will naturally follow that they will act our way also. We are all acting as hypnotists in every way without knowing it.

The preacher collects ideas and builds an image in his mind. He passes this image on to stimulate the imagination of his subjects (congregation) . (They are LISTENING intently or at least ought to be) . The congregation (individual subjects ) THINKS on it till it appears to be LOGICAL. That makes it LODGE in the subconscious and they are HOOKED with the image or idea. It then begins its manifestation through their acts.

Just to the degree that the operator stimulates the imagination of his subject, and is successful in projecting his image into the subject’s mind is the effect he is building up produced. Of course some subjects may refuse to accept the ideas of the originator (the operator), and so they will not allow them to be executed through their bodies; but the principle is no less true; for in such a case the subject is trying to act as his own originator; or, in other words, he wants to be the creator of his own images and not allow anyone else to stimulate his imagination. The only way such a person can be changed is by the TEACHING process. He must be taught logically higher truths than he is aware of at the time. The creation of anything starts in the images which we make with and through the ideas we collect. God first created (we are told in the Bible) (Gen. 1:27) in HIS IMAGE. And we all do likewise. All creation or reproduction is the result of the action of an originative (imaging) male factor upon an executive (receptive) female factor, the product springing after a period of incubation directly from the executive ( receptive female) factor or member. This is the LA W OF GENDER and it has been practiced in full force since the beginning of all creation” for everything that has been created fits well into its operation. Nothing can stop it for it is natural, universal, timeless truth-it is LAW.

As we study and practice hypnosis we are led to an understanding of this great law and the fundamental principles behind all creation, and thus we become CREATORS in our own right.

So as a minister I use the principle in my prayers,-when the listeners are turned to me and listening with their eyes closed. I do not have to tell them to relax and get comfortable and close their eyes for they have already learned to assume this position. Thus when they are listening to me I can help them in their problems of physical, mental and spiritual health. With my understanding of their problems I simply collect ideas of a positive nature and put them together to form a positive image that replaces the negative image they have formed by collecting ideas of a negative nature from their environment, education and heredity. As they are listening attentively and not thinking they are wide open to suggestion and thus I am in tune with the POWER WITHIN them that is and has been expressing through their lives. I just tell this POWER to express differently. I do it in the same way and with the same understanding that you give an order to a subject under hypnosis-for alter all, we are talking to the same INNATE INTELLIGENCE WITHIN. Thus I can guide and counsel the listeners to KNOW THEMSELVES better. I try to lead them thus to understand that everyone of us is a separate expression of the DIVINE POWER which is in all of us, and that POWER must of necessity express differently through each one. I try to release them from their enslavement to traditions, conventional opinions, and any limiting concepts that hold them down in a rut of discouragement. By teaching them the truth about the way their personalities function under the POWER WITHIN I help them to become free. As I understand it Jesus wanted all to be free when he said: “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32). By inference the opposite to this is if you do not know the truth then you are enslaved by ignorance. You are hypnotized and you need something to help you become de-hypnotized or un-hypnotized or whatever the label is that you attach to it.


In order to help clarify the Christian viewpoint on hypnosis, The Hypnosis Network interviewed two religious scholars (who are not associated with our company) about hypnosis and Christianity:
John Court: To Lovitch website:
* Professor of Psychology, University of South Australia
* PhD Clinical Psychology, University of Adelaide
* Diploma of Clinical Hypnosis, Aust. Society of Hypnosis
* Certificate in Theology, Sydney
Paul Durbin:
* United Methodist Minister
* Chaplain (Brigadier General) United States Army: Retired 1989
* Director of Pastoral Care & Clinical Hypnotherapy: Methodist Hospital, New Orleans, LA: Retired 2001
* Director of Clinical Hypnotherapy: MHSF, Affiliated with Methodist Hosptial: Retired June 30, 2005
Below are their answers to frequently asked questions:
Q: Some Christians are concerned that by undergoing hypnosis they might be going against their faith. What is the reason for this?
John Court: Because they have been told, or have read in Christian books, that hypnosis is condemned in the Bible. Those who love to find a proof text for their beliefs use one word in Deuteronomy 18 (vv 10-11). In English the Hebrew word is usually translated ‘charmer’, or ‘one who casts spells’, and from other contexts it is clear that the word refers to snake charming. To relate it to hypnosis is quite misleading. Good exegesis of course calls for more than a simple proof text and this is lacking. On the other hand there are two examples in the Acts where it refers to Peter going into a trance (the Greek word is ekstasis from which we get ‘ecstasy’) and both events are reported as both positive and significant.
Paul Durbin: As you well know there are many misconceptions concerning hypnosis which makes some people (religious or non-religious) have some fears of hypnosis. A few years ago, I read an article in “Family Weekly” titled, “Boom Days For Devil Hypnosis.” Hearing that title: what ideas, images, thoughts come to you? Though the article had what I considered a very negative title, it was a very positive article on hypnosis in the health care field. The only reference to the devil was in the last paragraph, “Some conservative religious groups consider hypnosis to be the work of the devil.”
Hypnosis is mistakenly viewed as mind control or demonic by many misinformed people. Recently I received a physician consult to work with a Catholic woman for pain management. As I explained the process of relaxation, imagery and hypnosis; I could see that she was very responsive. As I concluded my pre-talk, she said, “I am really looking forward to this experience, but I need to tell you that my daughter is a self-proclaimed born-again Christian and she may say something negative to you about this. If so, do not pay any attention to her, for I am the one who is hurting and I want this.”
As I completed the induction, the phone rang. I told the patient, “Just allow the ringing of the phone and my answering it to add to your relaxation.” I answered the phone, “This is Mrs. Doe’s room. As she is in therapy, please call back in 30 minutes.” and hung up the phone.
When the procedure was completed, I walked out of the room and there was her daughter standing in front of the door with arms folded over her chest. She said, “What have you been doing to my mother?” I explained that I had taught her mother relaxation, self-hypnosis and pain reduction. She responded, “I am a born-again Christian.” Before she could continue, I raised my hands and said, “Praise the Lord, so am I.” She was speechless, so I continued, “I will bring you some information on hypnosis, but regardless of how you feel about hypnosis, your mother has found it very helpful in the reduction of pain.” Some would say that there is no place in religion for hypnosis. I believe that hypnosis and religious faith can work hand in hand to bring about a better life. Jesus said in St. John 10:10, “I am come you may have life and have it more abundantly.”
Q: Christianity of course includes many different denominations. Which denominations support hypnosis and which do not? Please explain why some do and some do not.
John Court: This is not easy to answer. In general the Catholic tradition has no problem. The Anglican tradition also has no problem. Lutherans have varied some for some against. Seventh Day Adventists used to be against it but appear to be changing. It is mostly the smaller Bible based and fundamentalist churches, and especially Pentecostals who have taught against hypnosis largely teaching from second and third hand writers who have observed some aspect of hypnosis but without personal study of the subject …Apart from the Biblical evidence the other major issue that has caused this is that some of the less orthodox traditions such as Christian Science have favored hypnosis and so the orthodox seek to create distance.
Paul Durbin: Each one here comes with his/her own history: religiously, personally, and professionally. I come to you as a Christian Minister who looks upon hypnosis as a valuable tool of counseling. Coming from a religious profession and working in a church related hospital for 30 years, I was often asked, “Why does one of religious faith need hypnosis?” or “How can you use hypnosis? Isn’t there a conflict between religious faith and hypnosis?” I believe that these questions can be responded to by referring to the statement of Jesus in John 10:10, “I am come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” Hypnosis is one of the gifts of God which help people experience the “more abundant life.”
Hypnosis is neither anti-religious nor pro-religious. It can be used for good or bad depending on the hypnotist and the subject. Today, most religious groups accept the proper ethical use of hypnosis for helping people. The Roman Catholic Church has issued statements approving the use of hypnosis. In 1847, a decree from the Sacred Congregation of The Holy Office stated, “Having removed all misconceptions, foretelling of the future, explicit or implicit invocation of the devil, the use hypnosis is indeed merely an act of making use of physical media that are otherwise licit and hence it is not morally forbidden provided it does not tend toward an illicit end or toward anything depraved.”
The late Pope Pius give his approval of hypnosis. He stated that the use of hypnosis by health care professionals for diagnosis and treatment is permitted. In 1956, in an address from the Vatican on hypnosis in child birth the Pope gave these guidelines.
(1) Hypnotism is a serious matter, and not something to be dabbled in.
(2) In its scientific use the precautions dictated by both science and morality are to be used.
(3) Under the aspect of anesthesia, It is governed by the same principles as other forms of anesthesia. This is to say that the rules of good medicine apply to the use of hypnosis.
Except for exceptions noted, no other Protestant or Orthodox Churches have any laws against the proper-ethical use of hypnosis. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no opposition to the use of hypnosis in the Jewish faith when it is used for the benefit of mankind. Many of the Eastern Faiths: Buddhism, Yoga, Shintoism, Hinduism and others approve the use of hypnosis and they often use hypnosis in their worship. The Moslem religion has no opposition to hypnosis that I have been able to discover.
Hypnosis should not be condemned as anti-religious just because some people misuse it. Some oppose hypnosis because the say it is used by the occult, but do they condemn prayer because prayer is used for occultist purposes? Hypnosis can be a very helpful tool in counseling. Without apology and when appropriate, hypnosis can be used for growth, health and the benefit of people
Q: In order to prevent persecution from church members, are there any Christian denominations where hypnosis is absolutely forbidden? (We want to make sure no one gets our CDs and then regrets it because of this reason).
John Court: There are certainly some strong prohibitions in some Christian books but the readership is I think restricted to fundamentalists.
Paul Durbin: Exceptions are Christian Science, Seventh-Day-Adventist and some individuals of various churches. In recent years, the Seventh-Day-Adventists have lessened their resistance by using relaxation therapy and suggestion therapy. A hypnotist by the name of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby greatly helped Mary Baker Eddy overcome an illness and she used many of his teachings and techniques in developing the Christian Science Church. Though Quimby used hypnosis to help her, she denounced hypnosis while using its techniques. Though many in various churches opposed to hypnosis are using the principles of hypnosis (relaxation, concentration, suggestion, repetition) in their healing services, they denounce hypnosis.
For those who oppose hypnosis on religious grounds, I remind them of the words of Baptist Van Helmont, “Hypnosis is a universal agent … and is a paradox only to those who are deposed to ridicule everything and who ascribe to Satan all phenomena which they cannot explain.”
Q: Is hypnosis a form of mind control?
John Court: It can be and in stage hypnosis obviously is. In clinical work the control is negotiated between therapist and patient so that control is largely with the patient, who is then invited to allow the therapist to work within clearly identified ethical boundaries. There is also self hypnosis, which emphasizes the point that ultimately the control of the mind is with the person in trance (either self induced or delegated to the therapist). Certainly clinical hypnosis is about enabling the patient to gain greater control of the mind; that is, empowering, not taking control away.
Paul Durbin: Hypnosis is no more mind control than watching TV, listening to a political speech, or attending a worship service. It is my belief that a person will not do anything under hypnosis that is against his/her will. There is a story about Milton Erickson going to his secretary and telling her that he was tired and wanted to rest so if anyone called, she was to say that he was out of the office. She agreed to do this for Dr. Erickson. Some days later he put her in a hypnotic state and make the same request. She responded that she could not. He asked her “Why?” and she responded, “Because it would be a lie.” She had stronger moral resolve under hypnosis than in the normal waking state.
There is an area where there is a danger and that is in what I would call “brain washing,” which can be accomplished in or out of hypnosis; where a person is bombarded with suggestion time after time, day after day. Many therapists of the past 30 years produced false memories for their clients by telling them that they would never get well until they admitted that they were sexually abused as children even though they could not remember it. They would have them imagine what might have happened and even used guided imagery to help them remember. The results from many were the recovery of false memories, which brought havoc to the client and family of the client. I have had several articles published on the subject of “False Memories” and one can find articles on my Web site by me and others on this subject
Q: Does someone who uses hypnosis for themselves risk punishment in some divine way?
John Court: No.
Paul Durbin: I certainly do not believe that one risks divine punishment for using hypnosis or I would not use it in my counseling. Some may risk criticism from their church, but not from God.
Q: Based on your experience, you have used hypnosis with many devout Christians; do you have any examples of people who feared hypnosis that ended up benefitting?
John Court: Yes often. My book contains a number of examples of clients experiences, published with their permission.
Paul Durbin: While a hospital Chaplain and Hypnotherapist, I had some people who feared hypnosis either on a personal basis or religious basis. Often a physician would send me a referral to work with a patient who was from a Pentecostal-type church. Many said, “Is it alright for me to call my pastor to see if it is OK?” and in each case their pastor said that it was OK. I had been a Chaplain at Methodist Hospital in New Orleans for six years before I began practicing hypnotherapy so the pastors knew me so did not fear me working with their members.
Q: It has been our position that hypnosis actually gives a person more control as opposed to less control — what are your views on this?
John Court: Agreed.
Paul Durbin: I totally agree. It gives the person the power to use what he or she already possesses but has not been able to control. Control over bad habits, control over fears and phobias, and the list goes on.
Q: I know this is a personal question and just your opinion, but do you see any reason why a person would not try hypnosis only because he or she is a Christian — please explain.
John Court: I know of people who do adopt that position. They have been told Christians must not be hypnotized because that would be to relinquish their free will to another person. If that view can be shown to be false then it is possible to proceed. I am saddened at how many Christian people feel unable to accept hypnotic based interventions, when they could be very helpful in dealing with physical and emotional issues. Christians will also often report with surprise that the experience is spiritually beneficial, as it is possible to incorporate prayer and meditation into the therapeutic
Paul Durbin: I can see a person who would not use hypnosis because of his/her church position or on their personal understanding. I was referred to a lady for pain management who wanted her pain medication long before the required time. I told her that I had been referred by her physician to help her reduce pain with hypnosis and she said, “No, I am a Christian.” I talked with her about that and even explained some of the common misconceptions about hypnosis. I told her that hypnosis was a normal experience that we pass through many times a day, but she said “No” so she just hurt till her drugs were due.
Q: We have heard that people are concerned that hypnosis can over ride a person’s “will” and/or create space for evil spirits to enter. What are your thoughts on this?
Paul Durbin: The vast majority of research disagrees with the above statement. A person in hypnosis will not do anything against his/her will. They may do things that they would not normally do, would do if the situation were such to entice them to do it.
For a physician, it is not unethical to prescribe drugs to stop pain, but it is unethical for a physician to intentionally set up a situation where the patient becomes dependent on that drug so the physician can make more money. I am a theologically conservative United Methodist Christian and ordained clergy of the United Methodist Church. Hypnosis happens all the time, watching television, driving your car, being involved in a worships service and just before going to sleep and just after waking up. Any thing can be used unethically but that is a problem of the person involved, be he clergy, physician, fireman, policeman, business person, wife, husband, teacher, hypnotherapist, but don’t condemn the profession or the roll for the unethical or we would no professions. People who have been smoking for years, no longer smoke due to hypnotherapy and at a much higher rate than patches, gum or drugs. People are released from fears in a few sessions that have been going to therapy for years. People in pain have had pain reduced or eliminated. Babies have been born to Mom who did not have to take any drugs, a positive for baby and Mom. Cancer patients have been able to take chemo with some of the side effects and have been helped to reduce the pains of cancer and even be healed of cancer. Burn patients have been able to have 3rd degree burns reduced to 2nd and 2nd to 1st when cared for by a hypnotherapist within the first few hours following burns and to undergo painful procedures following burns with a great reduction of pain. These are blessings from God to be used to help relieve suffering emotionally and spiritually.


I am an Ordained Minister of Religion and is a Christian by confession. I served as Christ’s ambassador (or some may say, ‘servant’ which is what I embrace joyfully) as a pastor in Perth, Western Australia. I was also an adjunct bible school/seminary professor in theology, psychology and counseling for many years.
After my stint as a pastor, and since I was already trained in psychology (and corollary to that training, I was also trained in hypnotherapy), I decided to return to my first love to augment my financial support in the ministry. By doing this, I can use the practice of hypnotherapy as a financial vehicular mode for my ministry (as a tentmaker) to teach in places that would have no financial means to support me. (I was invited to teach in places like Pakistan and Cambodia with no financial returns: which I enjoy doing. Knowing that I will receive my rewards with my Lord.)
With my practice as a clinical hypnotherapist, I could continue my ministry as a pastor, bible school teacher and missionary without being burdensome to those who cannot pay my wage. (I am now a very successful hypnotherapist with a practice of approximately 20 hypnotherapists under my wing based in a medical and clinical setting in Singapore: the Camden Medical Centre. )
Then, the bombshell dropped on to me. I was suddenly stopped from my teaching job as a bible school adjunct professor in theology, psychology and counseling. Suddenly I was not good enough to teach. Not that my pedagogical skill in delivery was substandard. I was getting good feedback from the students. My classes in theology, psychology or counseling were packing in. Even the Academic Dean (of these two bible seminaries) attested to the fact that my students’ feedback was so good, that they (these seminaries) were not even wanting to take, albeit current and future students’ feedback of my teaching. They knew of my standing as a bible school teacher.
What I learned later was that I was dropped as a bible school teacher because I started my practice as a hypnotherapist and they would not have anything to do with me as a hypnotherapist. In light of this very narrow minded view of the church, I thought it was good that I write something about the truth of hypnosis and hypnotherapy (from a Christian’s point of view). That is the reason for this article. Hypnosis has been present since the dawn of mankind as an ancient healing treatment. The popularity of its use has gone up and down, according to societal factors. Early man used drums and chanting to create altered states. The Roman empire, in particular, was especially keen on hypnotic states and their healing effects. Christianity was spreading when the Roman empire was about to collapse. Many early Christian leaders frowned upon hypnotic practices and fulminated against it as white witchcraft. Many evangelical authors referred to hypnotists as “charmers” and “enchanters” They believed that hypnosis put the soul in jeopardy by putting it in a passive receptive state, thereby opening the door to morbid spiritual influences.
What made the early priests and rabbis take such a strong stand against hypnosis? Part of the reason was because healing in hypnosis seemed to take place without God. Priests were afraid that people would no longer believe in the power of God. The concern may not even have been religious. It was a politics of numbers. If more followers fell away from Christianity, the priests would lose their power.
Today, hypnosis is neither anti-religious nor pro religious. Most religious groups accept the proper and ethical use of hypnosis for helping people. Hypnosis is steadily gaining recognition in the world as the means to help people be successful and experience abundance in their lives. The late Pope Pius gave his approval of hypnosis, stating that the use of hypnosis by health care professionals for diagnosis and treatment is permitted. In the context of medical hypnosis, patients are in safe hands, and on the road to recovery. Practitioners have an ethical code, and it is important to note that hypnotists have no mind control powers. They can’t read the future, can’t cast spells or talk to the dead.
There is also an irrefutable safeguard of hypnosis that keeps hypnotists from abusing the power. Any suggestion or idea not in accordance with the patient’s beliefs, morals, wishes, principles, or desires will quickly and automatically be rejected. No one can make anyone do anything they do not wish to do through hypnosis. If the hypnotist gives a suggestion and the person absolutely does not want to accept that suggestion, then he will not do it. No one can be hypnotized against his will. As God’s creatures, humans have the freedom to choose and decide and act.
When evangelical authors wrote that hypnosis opened the door to evil spirits, they did not fully understand the Word of God. Jesus says that light and darkness cannot live together. Christ is the light, so if you are saved, that means Christ lives within you. If Christ lives in you, it means no demon or evil spirit can take residence. The light of Christ drives out the darkness. It is much like the case of the leper – those with faith in their therapists, who trust and believe that hypnotherapy can heal them will get well. Those with faith well- placed can and will be healed, inside and out. It is true that there are still some among us who are a little wary of hypnosis. In actuality, hypnosis is a powerful and valuable tool God has given to man to heal the mind and body. God created hypnosis for the good of man. He has a purpose in allowing us the ability to alter our consciousness, even if it seems to take place without Him. But nothing takes place without his knowledge and permission. Hypnosis and faith in God can work hand in hand to turn lives around.
Jesus indicated by his teachings that we should help people to live life to the fullest and to relieve pain whenever possible. Hypnosis is a means to help people live a better and more abundant life and is a means of reducing and/or eliminating pain
The Bible records several instances of hypnosis Gen 2:21-22 “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon man, and while he slept, took one of his ribs and closed up in its place with flesh, and the rib which God took from man. He made woman and brought her to man.” In this case, God used hypnosis as anesthesia so Adam felt no pain when his rib was taken out. In the book of Acts, it mentions, “Peter fell into trance.” In the same book, there is also a reference to an apostle healing a person by gazing into his eyes. “This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who when he had fixed his gaze upon him, and had seen that he had faith to be made well, said with a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.’ And he began to walk.” There are also various hypnosis acts performed by Jesus to manifest miracles. Hypnosis has been used in place of anesthesia in World War I, and is used in modern day to rid unwanted behavior, relieve headaches, induce pain-free labor etc.
We were made in the image and glory of God. Every faculty of our mind and soul reflects the Creator’s glory. Hebrews 2:7 Endowed with mental and spiritual gifts, Adam and Eve could discern the wonders of the universe ….. Many Christians find lack and limitations. They do not see themselves living with the splendor of the Creator. How do we live with glory? I believe the answer lies in the depths of our untapped subconscious mind. Our subconscious mind is a suggestible instrument, easily accessed through hypnosis.
Often, patients seeking therapy experience lack and problems because of limiting beliefs or values. In hypnosis, the subconscious mind directs millions of neurons to produce positive mental pictures. A patient can hold and project the idea and image of abundance within the mind, causing it to happen in reality. This therapy is in accordance to Christian beliefs. Jesus said, “I come so that you may experience life in abundance.”
St Paul wrote in Galatians 6:7, “Whatsoever man soweth that shall he reap.” and in Proverbs 23:7 also states that as a person thinketh in his or her heart so is he/she. This can be interpreted that whatever images or thoughts held in the mind becomes reality. Picture happy moments, experience it again in your mind. By thought, you make feelings present again. The use of positive imagery improves life and health.
The brain is the channel which God communicates with Christians. By using hypnosis to overcome the ruinous effects of negative thinking, anger, discontent and selfishness, we can keep our minds pure for God.
Frequently, unhappiness and discontentment are caused by our reaction and thoughts to situations. It is estimated that 75% of cancers and body pains are caused by unresolved emotions. In the bible, God calls us to experience a renewing of our minds. As we change the way we view things via hypno-suggestions, the same positive changes are manifested in our lives. We are able to let go of the bad habits we once clung to. We attract the abundance we desire. We dissolve our hurts and sorrow.
During the storm in the sea of Galilee, the apostles panicked. “Wake up, Jesus, don’t you care that we perish?” Jesus said, “Have no fear. I am with you. Peace be with you” And the disciples grew calm.
If you are a Christian in the midst of a crisis, God is present amidst your broken hopes and dreams and stress. If you can hear Jesus speaking to you, you can experience calmness, despite the problems still being there. Peace can be felt with or without a change in your circumstances.
In life, when the harsh winds of illness or injury blow, when we experience sorrow or grief, realize that we can, too, experience peace in the midst of the storm. This peace comes from knowledge that He is with us to endure it all. Through positive thinking and optimism, relaxation and imagery induced by hypnotism, life can get better. The past is still there, but we can begin where we are. With hopeful expectations comes a new life.
In Christ, suffering is not removed. It is transformed into victory. The setback experienced causes the patient to forge a closer bond with God, and becomes an entrance into the kingdom. In the years ahead, may those who discount hypnosis come to see its value as a gift from God to heal us and the means from which we can experience his blessings.
Jesus said, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to teach the gospel to the poor. He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” (Luke 4:18)
Following this guidance, and with the proper use of hypnosis, we can heal the brokenhearted, bring deliverance to those in captivity to pain, fear and phobias, we can give sight to the emotionally and spiritually blind, and set at liberty those bound by unwanted habits. Director & Senior Hypnotherapist HYPNAE CENTER PTE LTD 1 Orchard Boulevard #13-01/02 Camden Medical Centre Singapore 248649 Tel: +65-63336776]
It is my prayer that Christian workers open their eyes and see the truth of the benefits of hypnotherapy: for did not the bible itself make mention of the fact that ‘my people will perish for lack of knowledge.’


[Dr. Keethai Neill is Founder of iHealth Center and iHealth Hypnotherapy School, Roanoke, Texas. Date: Sept 22, 2009: In 2008 when Steve and I attended the IMDHA and IACT conference at Daytona Beach, we met Dr. Casey. At first it was just a Chinese person meeting another Chinese person at a conference. We went out for a meal and got to know each other a little better. I came from Malaysia and he from Singapore. Besides having a good time talking Chinese, we learned that we shared a passion in hypnotherapy. We became friends instantly. I learned that he was gifted in so many ways. He could do hypnotherapy in FIVE languages. I was humbled. I only speak three and have so far only done work in one. I was touched by his compassion, brilliance and insights. We spent long conversations planning to bring a conference to Southeast Asia to share hypnotherapy with that part of the world. I knew he was a teacher with heart. We were kindred spirits. I felt I found a brother. I sat through his sessions at the conference and we had fun working together. This year, when we needed a letter of support to apply for our state school license he responded enthusiastically. In reply to an email yesterday, thanking him for his support and to share the good news that we are now licensed, we received this devastating news. A little late, but no less sincere: Thank you Dr. Casey. Dr. Casey’s passing brings great sadness to me and to all whose lives have in one way or other been touched by him. My husband and I join our international community in mourning the loss of a brother, a teacher, a healer and simply a kind soul. May you rest in peace, dear Casey. We pray for Katherine and Samuel for healing and peace. We share your loss. I feel like I have lost a brother. I read this ancient poem at my own brother’s memorial service in 1995. I return to it at the loss of another brother.

TO: Dr. Casey Chua, A Virtuous Soul

Sweet Day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky:
The dew shall weep thy fall to night;
For thou must die.

Sweet rose, whose hue angry and brave
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye:
Thy root is ever in its grave,
And thou must die.

Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses,
A box where sweets compacted lei;
My music shows ye have your closes’
And all must die.

Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
Like seasoned timber, never gives;
But though the whole world turns to coal,
Then chiefly lives. [GEORGE HERBERT (1593-1633)]


Many of you met Casey at last year’s conference. He was a friendly fellow and a great supporter of the International Hypnosis Federation. Here in his words is how he became a hypnotist: “When I was 12 years old I fell into a pond trying to catch tadpoles and I developed a phobia for water. In 1973 I was a registered nurse for the Singapore army and my instructor took care of my phobia with hypnosis. He did progressive relaxation. Ever since then I am swimming every day.

In 1980 I went to Canterbury, England to get my PhD in Psychology and also became a Hypnotherapist certified by the now-deceased George Fox. I have been practicing hypnosis ever since.

The best thing is to see someone smile when they leave your room. I was e-mailed recently by a mother of a young boy who told me her son was praying for my safety so I could come back and help his younger brother.

In Singapore we were the first private practice to be based in a medical hospital (Camden Medical Center) in all of Southeast Asia. We have 20 full time hypnotherapists. I write articles for magazines to promote the art and science of hypnotherapy. I translated a book “On Death and Dying” in Malay written by the American author Delores Kuenning. I run the Hypnea Training Center in Singapore.”

We were honored to have Dr Chua at our International Hypnosis Federation conference last March. He had a splendid time and I had a chance to talk with him at length. He came home from the trip and called me when his son suffered a terrible accident. He and his family were and continue to be in our prayers. Here is what he wrote to me:

“To My Dearest friend Shelley: Please help me with this… I am very sad… My youngest son (Samuel, 22 yrs) was hit by a taxi on last Wednesday 23:45 hours 1 April 2009 (Singapore time) when he was trying to help someone along the Pan Island Expressway. It was widely published in the Singapore papers. If you google his name, Samuel Chua Jie Liang, you can get the story. He had two brain operations to remove the blood clots. He is now admitted to Singapore General Hospital at the Neuro ICU. Please pray for him, Dennis and if you could do distant healing for him please. I already lost my eldest daughter (who was 27 yrs) some 7 yrs ago, I cannot afford to lose another one. This time my youngest… Please pray for him and if you can spread the message to my friends… I know that with so many knocks on Heaven’s door, it will open and pour out mercy on him. He is so young and has many years ahead… I covet your prayers for his early recovery and thank you.

Love, Casey Chua