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The Use of Hypnosis in Sport Heather Lamb Erasmus Canada 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "The Use of Hypnosis in Sport Heather Lamb Erasmus Canada 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Use of Hypnosis in Sport Heather Lamb Erasmus Canada 2008

2 Hypnosis The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis's web site defines hypnosis as a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention. Can be used for many different purposes including therapy, addiction control, education, rehabilitation, entertainment and, todays topic, sport.

3 Sport Psychology Elite athletes make a career out of participating in sport and as such their results are very important Sport psychology has long been used as a method of coping with stress and anxiety prior to competition as well as to identify the appropriate state of mind for optimal performance

4 Flow Flow is a concept first identified in 1975 by Csiszentmihalyi and is defined as the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing, characterized by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity In some ways flow is similar to hypnosis in that it both change the way the athlete thinks, processes information and dissociates from the task (acts with out thinking)

5 Hanin and Unestahls Theories Hanin proposed a sport psychology theory based on the idea that each athlete has a zone of optimal function which is correlated with their state anxiety level. He uses non-hypnotic retrospective recall accounts to identify precompetitive anxiety levels Unestahl had a similar idea but called it ideal performing state. Unestahl believes that when an athlete experiences ideal performance, they often have memory lapses which hinders their ability to analyze their competition afterwards. Thus he uses hypnosis to help them recall.

6 Using Hypnosis to Identify an Optimal Zone of Performance By using hypnotic regression, sport psychologists, including Unestahl, believe that they can bring an athlete back to a peak performance and have them describe their feelings at the time. Once the feelings, moods and emotions from that peak performance are identified, an athlete has a better understanding about when and why they perform well These zones of optimal functioning (ZOFs) as Hanin describes them are very specific to the athlete and thus must be determined individually

7 Three Other Ways Hypnosis can be Utilized in Sport 1. To use trigger controls in order to try and relive an ideal performance during a competition 2. To help relieve pain 3. To perform skill analysis

8 Using Hypnosis to Condition Trigger Controls Taking hypnosis one step further, Unestahl has also identified certain triggers to be used. Natural triggers such as the grip of a racquet, or the feel of a ball Artificial triggers including specific words Through hypnosis Unestahl conditions positive emotions tied to a previous ideal performance to certain triggers in order to allow access to an optimal performance in the future

9 Using Hypnosis to Treat Pain Well documented cases where hypnosis has been effective in the reduction of an athletes pain Study by Ryde in he used hypnosis to treat injuries including tennis elbow, shin splints, achilles tendon sprains and others all successfully Important to note though that there was no comparison to a control group treated with a placebo Other studies have shown that pain can be effectively treated by morphine or a placebo in anxious patients

10 Using Hypnosis to Perform Skill Analysis Professional and elite athletes inevitably encounter slumps or periods of sub-par performance There are documented cases of athletes undergoing hypnosis to help them self- analyze their problems A study was published in 1961 regarding a baseball player using hypnosis. The hypnotist counted to 10 and upon reaching 10 the athlete was supposed to realize what was causing his poor performance

11 Conclusion There does seem to be supporting evidence that shows hypnosis can be a useful tool in sports psychology In certain aspects it is more useful than others - no evidence that hypnosis can increase muscle endurance for example Careful not to use just as a relaxation mechanism because people have individual zones of optimal achievement - function well with a certain level of anxiety. Instead use hypnosis to help identify that zone Lots of room for further research and development in the future


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