trance and hallucinations

   The term trance comes from the Latin noun tran-situs, which means passage. It is used as a generic term for various states of altered consciousness, notably those characterized by a markedly narrowed consciousness. Trance states are often accompanied by a diminished responsiveness to sensory stimuli. Conceptually, they are related to other states of altered consciousness such as rapture, " ecstasy, " dissociation, hypnotic states, and somnambulism. It is as yet debatable whether these notions represent distinct types of consciousness, or merely reflect differences in conceptual approach to a single type of consciousness. In a phenomenological sense, at least, the states listed above display a considerable overlap. In anthropology and cross-cultural psychiatry, a distinction is made between a trance interpreted as spirit possession (i.e. a possession trance), and a trance not interpreted as spirit possession (simply referred to as a trance). Moreover, trance states can be either self-induced or induced by others, as in hypnotism. The hypnotic trance state is traditionally divided into three stages, comprising (1) light trance (during which the subject is lethargic, but aware of his or her surroundings), (2) medium trance (characterized by muscular rigidity), and (3) deep trance (during which the subject tends to be the most compliant to the hypnotist's suggestions). It is during the latter stage, in particular, that " illusions and hallucinations can be induced, the most prevalent type being the " scenic or panoramic hallucination. A person intentionally employing trance states for the purpose of exploring the psyche may be called a " psychonaut.
   Goodman, F.D., Henney, J.H., Pressel, E. (1982). Trance, healing, and hallucination. Three field studies in religious experience. Malabar, FL: Robert E. Krieger Publishing Company.

Dictionary of Hallucinations. . 2010.

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