Hypnosis and Christian Counseling: Part 2

If the last article on hypnosis didn’t put you to sleep, let’s dig right in to this week’s second and final look at the subject.  We’ll look at the arguments made last week for the acceptance of hypnosis in society, as well as the arguments made by those people who believe hypnosis can be validated by the Scriptures.  To discredit man’s arguments should be easy, but to refute the claims made by the scriptural supporters may be a bit more difficult.  I’m sure the Bible speaks against the use of hypnosis, and Scripture can’t contradict itself, so it will be a matter of putting their arguments for hypnosis into their proper contexts.  So let’s take some of the major points from Part One and systematically go one by one.

1.  Therapists believe that too much of man’s problems at this point stem from the unconscious, or subconscious minds.  The fact is that the heart of man’s problems is sin and the way to treat sin is through the changing power of Christ at salvation and the life changing power of God’s Word.  Hypnosis is touted as a quick fix, sometimes being completed in one or two sessions.  Romans 12:1-2 tell us that we need to renew our minds daily.  By the way, for God to command us to renew our minds daily implies that we can have control over our minds, where as, in hypnotic therapy, the therapist has control of our mind.

2.  During this trance, which is, for all intents and purposes, an altered state…If we’re going to alter our state of mind, that goes against God’s command to us to remain of a sound-mind.  The word most used in the King James Bible is the word “sober” in such verses as 1st Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8, 2:2,6.  That’s a big reason to stay away from drugs and alcohol because of the inability to maintain a sound mind under the influence of said substances.  The argument is the same as to why one should avoid mind-altering hypnosis.

3.  The patient is in a high suggestability state…If you’re under the influence of a hypnotic trance, and you are placing your hopes for recovery in the hands of the therapist, then you leave yourself completely open to their suggestions, interventions, and ideas.  But, it would stand to reason that if the very act of hypnosis is closely knit with the occult, then you open yourself up to demonic influences as well.  Don’t forget that the devil is cunning and sophisticated and can appear as a wolf in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15). 

4.  After hypnosis the subject cannot differentiate between a true recollection and a fantasy or a SUGGESTED detail.  First of all, if a patient remained in their right state of mind, they would have full control over their memory and be able to recall what they remembered.  To be unable to differentiate between what is real and unreal can certainly cause confusion in the hearts and minds of those who experience the difficulties associated with hypnosis.  But the Bible is clear that God is not the author of confusion (1st Corinthians 14:33).  Therefore, the whole idea of uncovering regressed memories is certainly not a sound therapeutic intervention.

5.  People have sworn to have regressed to former lives.  This is a potentially damnable heresy associated with the unholiness of hypnosis.  The mere chance that someone could regress to a former life is solidly unscriptural.  “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).  To experience a “past life” would negate the existence of Heaven and Hell and thereby negate the need for salvation or the impetus to live a moral and virtuous life.

6.  Hypnosis has occult origins…Deuteronomy 18:10-11 have listed many abominations the neighboring countries practiced that Israel was to have no part in (vs. 9).  Such things as sorcerer (one who uses enchantments) and necromancer (one who channels with the dead) are characteristics of some aspects of hypnosis and they are listed in the cited verse.  God is still the same today as He was back when He was leading Israel, so to be involved in the practice of hypnosis, through which mediums have given testimony of receiving the ability to speak to the dead, is obviously wrong.

Those were man’s arguments.  How about the arguments set forth by those who hold advanced degrees in psychology and theology who can reconcile the use of hypnosis and claim scriptural support for hypnosis.  Let’s see what we can discover…

1.      God caused a DEEP SLEEP to fall upon Adam…A couple of points here.  First, with respect to “surgery” being done while Adam was put to sleep by God, it happens daily in hospitals all over the world.  If hypnosis were the example in this verse, no one would need to take on the risks associated with medical anesthesia.  No, however God did what He did, it was done while Adam simply slept, the way people sleep during surgery.  Two cross-references are Genesis 15:12 when Abram fell asleep and also Genesis 28:11 when Jacob fell asleep.  So seeing the verse in it’s proper context when compared to similar scripture, we find Adam simply…falling asleep.

2.      Joseph did as the Lord commanded him upon awakening from a dream…That account is seen in Matthew 1:20-25.  There’s an easy way to debunk that argument.  Understand that in the current dispensation that we are in, we have the completed Word of God, and God does not need to speak to us in dreams any longer.  God spoke to Joseph in a dream the same way He spoke to Jacob in a dream in Genesis 28.  That’s just how God had to command His people until the completed written Word was in place.  God also chose to communicate audibly through burning bushes and at other times He was present visibly as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  So it wasn’t a hypnosis thing, it was God using whatever means necessary, and of His choosing, to communicate with His people.

3.      Paul laid hands on a man…Acts 28:8 depicts Paul healing a man by laying hands on him.  Just like the dream argument, the Apostles had special gifts that were used to authenticate who they were and Who they represented.  But just as with the dream argument, the healing ability died when the last Apostle died.  So this healing process that was supposedly due to the laying on of hands is miraculous, but keep in mind, healing also took place in the book of Acts with verbal commands, so no healing touches were used, as is the case in Acts 14:9-10, “The same (lame man) heard Paul speak, who steadfastly beholding him, and perceiving he had the faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet.  And he leaped and walked.”  So it would appear that the laying on of hands, as seen in some aspects of hypnosis, isn’t even necessary.

4.      Paul was in a trance after prayer…This follows closely the accounts of the dreams that Joseph and Jacob had, because we find God telling Paul what He wanted him to do.  Again, God is directing Paul, perhaps like a therapist would direct a patient under hypnosis, but the fundamental difference is this…God is the one doing the directing, and the directing was intended to help Paul understand God’s will, which in this case was to get out of Jerusalem (Acts 22:17-18).

5.      “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”   This is supposedly their best argument for the subconscious thoughts coming to the conscious mind until we become, in reality, what we are thinking…subconsciously.  Why do we want to believe them, when God gives us clear understanding in two other verses…that show us it’s what we PURPOSELY think that matters.  Matthew 5:28, “But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”  And, 1st John 3:15 says that, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer.”  You see, it’s not our subconscious thoughts that come to pass, it’s our purposed thoughts which make us murderers and adulterers in God’s eyes.  He has a high standard.

The use of hypnosis by Christians today is a mistake.  The ignorance of Christians with respect to hypnosis and the like is easy to understand.  Learned men who hold impressive degrees will twist and bend God’s Word t make it mean whatever it needs to in order that their practice will appear to coincide with Scripture.  For us, we read these articles and books and they are sprinkled with Bible references and talk of God that we become the people described in Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death.”  No good comes from hypnosis.  Even if good does come of it, is it worth the risks, and, do the ends justify the means.

            As apostasy grows more and more rampant these days, let’s not be those Christians in these latter days possessing itching ears, not enduring sound doctrine and turning our ears from truth to fables (2nd Timothy 4:3-4).  Because in 2nd Timothy 3, Paul describes those people who will come, bringing with them the desire to learn and share false teachings, and they will appear to be the real deal, “having a form of godliness…from such TURN AWAY” (vs. 5).  There is nothing Christian about hypnosis…sleep on that…


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