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Hypnosis is a psychological state whose existence and effects are strongly debated. Some believe that it is a state under which the subject's mind becomes so suggestible that the hypnotist, the one who induces the state, can establish communication with the subconscious mind of the subject and command behavior that the subject would not choose to perform in a conscious state (even behavior to be performed after the subject has left the hypnotic state, through post-hypnotic suggestion,) or even behavior the subject would be incapable of in a conscious state, such as not feeling pain, manifesting skin blisters as if the subject had been burned, or recalling things the subject's conscious memory does not retain. However, there is strong dispute and skepticism about what behavior and effects hypnosis can induce; some believe that the state does not actually exist, and that all effects of 'hypnotism' that have been observed are in actuality a combination of subjects' expectations (based on their beliefs of hypnotism's effects) and their desire to please the hypnotist (see Hawthorne Effect).

Not surprisingly, given the disagreements described above, there is also wide disagreement about whether it has merit for use in fields such as mental health, medicine and law enforcement. Some promote hypnotism as a powerful tool for therapists to treat patients, claiming that it can bring up to consciousness painful repressed memories. Some even claim that it can retrieve repressed memories of alien abductions, Satanic ritual abuse, or memories from past lives. Others point to this very fact, that subjects under hypnosis can develop and come to wholly believe in "memories" that are implausible, as proof that hypnosis is, if it even exists, a tool proved too unreliable to be safely used in any important undertaking.



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