Hypnosis for finding lost items
One of the more specialized areas of hypnosis is the field of forensic hypnosis. Training in forensic hypnosis is designed to teach hypnotists to help people recall key events that may be blocked or forgotten during stress or over time. While the practice has been debated extensively in legal circles and is not currently allowed in criminal court cases in some states, forensic hypnosis techniques can be used to help people find missing items or missing information from their past.
One of the most common requests for forensic hypnosis is finding a misplaced item. Clients may contact a hypnotist trying to find a missing mobile phone, keys, cash, jewelry, or other valuable possessions. In some cases clients may wish to review an event from their past to pick up clues to know what people were present or what things were said during the event.
It is critically important in forensic hypnosis that the hypnotist avoid guiding the participant but rather ask questions that can lead the client to remember the elements on their own.
“If a hypnotist asks what time the white car appeared, that can plant the suggestion that the car in the event was white - even if it wasn’t,” explained Randy Hampton, a Master Hypnotist at Hawaii Hypnosis Center. “However, a trained hypnotist avoids providing details and instead asks questions about possible elements of the client’s memories.”
Forensic hypnosis questioning may include asking details about a missing item before it was missing or the feelings that the item brought up when it was obtained. Other questions could be about environmental factors such as the temperature outside or smells in a restaurant. Questions about things like the time on a clock, the angle of the sun, or the reflection in a mirror can free up small pieces of client’s memory.
“By eliciting small memories and the emotions of events, hypnosis can create a cascade effect where the more important elements are suddenly remembered,” Hampton said. “This is because memories are generally stored in the brain more around what you were feeling in a situation, not in the typical chronological order that people try to remember things.”
When humans attempt to recall a missing item by searching their memory chronologically, they are often unsuccessful and may even further isolate the missing information. For the brain to perform its primary function of self-preservation, memories are instead stored by whether a situation was scary, rushed, or happy. With proper technique a hypnotist will guide a client through the process of opening up memory. Human memory is one of the many things that hypnotists are trained to understand.