Hypnosis is recognized as means of producing hypermnesia, which is a special heightened psychological state of vivid or complete memory. Hypnotized people have the ability to concentrate intensely on a specific thought while stopping sources of possible distraction. Hypnosis is done with the help of therapist using a verbal repetition and mental images (Shepherd, 1999, p.167). People under hypnosis usually feel calm, relaxed and are more open to suggestions.
It also helps an individual to gain control over un-desired behaviors, as well as help one to cope well with anxiety or pain. Hypnosis enhances self-confidence and encourages the degree of mastery for the individual to improve himself (Shepherd, 1999, p. 170). On the other hand, hypnosis can deliberately distort the mind of a deeply hypnotized individual to the point of brain washing.
Though hypnosis has a significant value in the investigative field, the testimony given by hypnotized individual is said to be reached under undue-influence, and thus unreliable. This is because hypnosis is associated with hyper-suggestibility, hyper-compliance, and confabulation which make the testimony unreliable and inadmissible in the court of jury. In addition, the courts have noted that hypnosis creates a possibility of producing inaccurate recollections and increases the suggestibility of the subject. However, hypnosis has the ability to uncover information locked in the memory of the witness (Shepherd, 1999, p. 172).
In conclusion, for hypnotized testimony to be admissible in court, hypnosis should be conducted by a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist. Moreover, the courts of the jury should set guidelines which the trial should consider in the pre-trial of the hypnotic sessions. However, on the basis of foregoing, there is still no definite rule as to the admissibility of hypnotically enhanced testimony in either civil or criminal cases (Shepherd, 1999, p. 172).