An eBook by Michael Stevenson, CCHt
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An introductory look at hypnosis, hypnotherapy, stage hypnosis and self hypnosis. The sample chapters of this ebook are free for anybody to read. If you want to learn hypnosis for any reason, this is the place to start. Written by Certified Clinical Hypotherpist Michael Stevenson, Learn Hypnosis ... Now! focuses on first helping you understand what hypnosis really is, minus all the hollywood hocus pocus and mystery. Then, once we have dispelled the myths and you have a firm understanding of hypnosis, you will learn how to use this amazing skill to help yourself or others in limitless ways.
This book is entertaining for anyone who wants to learn hypnosis - and even if you don't plan to buy the full book anytime soon, the sample chapters alone are very informative. You will find yourself saying "Hm.... I didn't know that!" over and over again. Whether you want to learn hypnosis to impress your friends and family, learn hypnotherapy to help people better themselves and make a nice living at the same time, learn stage hypnosis to entertain hundreds or thousands at a time, or learn self hynposis to improve yourself in limitless ways, Learn Hypnosis ... Now! is the book for you. Let's begin...
Dedicated To Jonathan
Everything I do is for you.
Copyright © 2002 Michael Stevenson
Published by Liquid Mirror Enterprises, http://www.liquidmirror.com/
All Rights Reserved. No part of this text may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, desktop publishing, recording, or otherwise, without permission from the publisher. No patent liability is assumed with respect to the use of the information contained herein. While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher and author assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.
All terms mentioned in this book that are known to be trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks have been appropriately capitalized and are denoted with a ®, a TM or an SM. The publisher cannot attest to the accuracy of this information. Use of a term in this book should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any registered trademark, trademark, or service mark.
Welcome! You are about to embark on a fantastic journey. You will learn many things about hypnosis and the human mind along the way. We will cover the history of hypnosis, the theory and mechanics behind hypnosis, five different styles of hypnotic induction, the structure of suggestion, and hypnosis for therapeutic purposes (i.e., pain management, smoking cessation, weight loss, etc.). We will also cover common myths about hypnosis (there are more than you know, and many that you probably believe to be true!)
Hypnosis is a journey into the subconscious mind of you or your subject. It can be used in a variety of situations from having fun on stage or at a party, to relieving pain, to breaking habits, to achieving hypnotic anesthesia for surgery. Prepare yourself for the ride of a lifetime.
This book is for anyone! If you have a desire to have fun, explore the human mind, learn how the subconscious mind works, understand how to give suggestions to people that work, and become more at peace with yourself, you have come to the right place.
Hypnosis is more than a stage show. It’s more than ‘hocus-pocus’. It’s more than showing off to friends, family or audience. Hypnosis is a journey inward. I offer you the opportunity to learn the inner workings of yourself, as well as the ways of others.
Don’t get me wrong… hypnosis is fun too! Children, teens, adults and the elderly each have their own style and charm in hypnosis. Stage shows, if done right, are humorous and fun for everybody. So, pick your path. Our journey begins shortly.
The simple answer is yes. Hypnosis is not regulated in most of the United States*. No license is required to practice hypnosis, although certification is a good way to begin your journey.
There are certain rules and laws that govern acts used in hypnosis. For instance, certain issues should not be addressed without approval from the subject’s physician or therapist. These issues will be addressed in the section titled “Should I Cure This?” in Chapter 3.
The most difficult part of hypnosis is finding subjects. I suggest that you keep your study of hypnosis quiet at first. Otherwise, people will be skeptical, no doubt. Begin by asking a friend or family member to experiment in a “relaxation technique” that you heard about. Before they know it, they will be in a deep state of relaxation and hypnosis.
For the first time or two, keep suggestions, which you will learn about in Chapter 1, out of the game completely. Just take them into trance, let them experience the beauty and benefit of it, and then bring them out. You will experience this for yourself in Chapter 1 when I explain how to download your sample hypnosis induction from our website. Eventually, you can begin to let them know that you’ve been dabbling in hypnosis. At this point, you will have hypnotized a few people and become more confident in your own abilities.
· Depending upon your specific context, you may be working with a client, patient, volunteer, audience member, relative, friend, guinea pig, or victim. As I cannot predict the use of your skills, I will settle on the word “subject”, throughout the book, to refer to the target of your hypnosis.
· New Words will be italicized to indicate that the word may be looked up in the Glossary (i.e., Now would be a good time to try some convincers.)
· Within quoted text, italicized words are called embedded commands and are to be spoken with a different inflection, temp or tone. This concept will be covered before the first occurrence.
· Within quoted dialog or instructions, commands to you as the hypnotist will be enclosed with [square brackets] and colored red.
· Focus on This! Factoids, trivia and other fun information will be displayed under this heading.
· Don’t Trance Out!Reminders and other important information will be placed under this heading.
I am an avid student of Hypnosis, Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Body Language. After quitting smoking with a self-hypnosis tape that I bought at a stage show at the county fair, I became fascinated with hypnosis. My first trip to the library yielded no results whatsoever. I began going from bookstore to bookstore looking for any information I could find on hypnosis.
Since then, I have read nearly every book currently in print on hypnosis and NLP (NLP will be discussed briefly in Chapter 1). I live in Aliso Viejo, CA where I am a computer programmer, web-engineer, and a musician in my spare time. I have a certificate in Clinical Hypnotherapy from American Pacific University and I’m a member of the American Board of Hypnotherapy.
Although a computer programmer and owner of Liquid Mirror Software by day, my current focus is in maintaining my level of practice as a hypnotist and opening up an office for hypnotherapy. Feel free to contact me any time at email@example.com
Part I - Fundamentals
In this chapter, we will take a look at what hypnosis actually is. While we don't fully understand hypnosis from a medical/scientific standpoint, many studies are in process at the time of this writing that will shed some more light on exactly what this wonderful state is and how we can continue to use it in the future. Here's what we do know about hypnosis…
Hypnosis is a natural state that each of us has the ability to enter. Some people are more talented than others at entering deep trance (This deep level of hypnosis is commonly called somnambulism). Everyone is able to enter this somnambulistic level of trance, but some enter it more easily than others. We will discuss this further in Chapter 1.
Nearly every school of thought about mental health defines two major parts to the entity we call personality. Some call it Id and Ego; some call it Child and Parent. We will call it your Conscious Mind and Sub-conscious Mind (or Unconscious Mind, as some people prefer to say).
Your conscious mind is the part of you that you "think" with. It consists of all of your conscious thought, while your subconscious handles the many millions of details that you encounter every day of your life. A good analogy that I like to use is that of a sailing ship. The Captain (your conscious mind) does all the logical, rational thinking. He makes conscious, informed decisions on a high level based on the information before him. He does not deal with the lower-level, more mundane tasks... that's the Crew's (your subconscious mind's) job. If he wants the ship to turn right, he might give the command "All Hands! Full to Starboard!!!"
The captain obviously doesn't turn the boat himself... this is where the crew comes in. "Behind the scenes", there is a man who rings the chime to indicate a turn, which prompts engineering to fire up a motor, which requires more steam and prompts workers to shovel and burn more coal, which needs still other workers to replenish coal. These men work hard and deserve a good meal, so there are cooks that make food that waiters need to serve. Others have to replenish the food supplies, sweep the floors, check the weather, monitor sonar and radar, plot courses and a million other tasks... All just so the Captain can bark his next order. In order to do so, he must pay attention to the feedback from his crew.
Can you guess what happens when the Captain starts ignoring, or even worse, mistreating the crew? That's right... Mutiny. Which is exactly what happens when some of us get out of rapport with our own subconscious.
Basically, hypnosis allows us to open the subconscious mind to suggestion while the conscious mind wanders, or is otherwise distracted. In other words, hypnosis whips your "Crew" back into shape.
Hypnosis is not mind control, brainwashing, black magic or voodoo. The hypnotist has no "special power". Hypnosis is a cooperative activity, which requires the full consent of the client or subject. As a matter of fact, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. The subject enters hypnosis of his own accord - the hypnotist merely guides the subject through his experience and offers therapeutic suggestions (or entertaining suggestions, depending on his line of work) along the way.
You may not know it, but chances are you've already been hypnotized! Have you ever been daydreaming; so oblivious to the world that you didn't even hear someone speaking to you or calling your name? Ever read a book or watch a movie and get so into it that you lose track of all time and feel as though you are there? Have you ever been driving down the road and suddenly "snap to", wondering how you have traveled the last few miles? These are all altered-states, where your subconscious mind has jumped to the surface and taken over while your conscious mind wanders. In essence, you have been hypnotized!!!
Many people react to hypnosis in many different ways. Because of this, no simple table can accurately describe everyone's reaction to hypnosis. Some people appear to be "out cold", while others will have fluttering eyelids or some other types of twitching. Young children, who are actually in altered states most of the time, will squirm or even giggle while in hypnosis. My point is that hypnosis is almost completely subjective and just because a subject may or may not show one or more of these signs does not necessarily mean that the subject is or isn't hypnotized. These three levels of trance are simplified and not really meant to signify concrete states of hypnosis. More will be said about this in the section titled "The Stages of Hypnosis".
Figure 1.1 - Signs of Hypnosis
Effect is another highly subjective area of hypnosis. While there are some similarities in the experiences of most subjects, none of these effects are a requirement or a direct indication of successful hypnosis.
Figure 1.2 - Effects of Hypnosis
Most subjects will experience an intense feeling of relaxation. Although, relaxation is not necessary for trance, many methods of hypnosis promote trance through dissociation with the body. This is usually done through deep relaxation.
Floating or Sinking
Many subjects report the gentle feeling of floating or sinking into the chair or couch that they are on.
While hypnosis usually involves dissociation from the body, typically, many people report that they also become aware of certain things through an increase in the sensitivity of their senses.
Many people experience amnesia about the content of the hypnotic experience. This is actually encouraged, and even intentionally suggested, when using hypnosis in a therapeutic setting.
Trance can do some amazing things to a person’s perception of time. Many sessions that last an hour feel like ten or fifteen minutes to an awakened subject. Sometimes, twenty-minute sessions feel like hours. Time distortion is completely subjective - everyone experiences it differently.
Hypnosis is generally regarded as having three levels or stages of "depth". There is a fairly heated argument between different camps regarding the actual levels (even if there actually are any) of hypnosis and what characteristics belong to each level. The chart I use here has been adapted from Tad James, 2000
Figure 1.3 - Stages of Hypnosis
Feelings of lethargy and relaxation
Catalepsy of the eyes
Catalepsy of the arms or other muscle groups
Floating or sinking feelings
Full body catalepsy
Smell and taste can be suggested. For example, making an onion taste and smell like an apple.
The ability to totally erase or block numbers from the mind.
Amnesia of certain events
Automatic movement. For example, if you begin to move the subject’s hands in orbit around each other, they will continue to move that way automatically, without verbal suggestion, until you stop them or suggest that they stop.
Positive hallucinations can be suggested. For instance, in my hand, you will see a tennis ball. What color is it?
Negative hallucinations, while more difficult to suggest than positive hallucinations, can sometimes be suggested at this point. For instance, the chair you are sitting on has just disappeared… you can no longer see the chair anywhere.
Comatose, or what has been commonly called, the Esdaile state.
Bear in mind that these stages are very fluid. Please, do not get the idea that only a person in medium trance can receive post-hypnotic suggestions, or that only a person in deep trance can experience anesthesia. Everyone is different and people respond in different ways to hypnosis. This table is only presented as a loose outline and is not meant to limit your options in any way. Remember... Anything is possible!
Let's face it... Hypnosis has not fared well under the skeptical eye of most. There are many reasons for this - Media being the biggest. The image of hypnosis most commonly put forth by Hollywood is one of magic, mystery and power. In these movies, some sinister villain usually waves something shiny in the "victim's" face and gains full and complete control.
Well, as we have learned, this is all false, but most people don't even have the small amount of knowledge about hypnosis that you have recently gained. In order to help these people to trust us and relax sufficiently, we must dispel a few myths about hypnosis. Most uncertainties about hypnosis stem from issues where the client/subject believes that they will lose control and be made to bark like a dog or something of the sort. I will provide some specific ways to combat these fears later in this book, but for now, let's look at some of the most common questions people have about hypnosis and the ways that I like to answer them.
No, you will not fall asleep. While many people look "zonked out" while in trance, this is usually just a product of the extreme relaxation and comfort of the subject. Hypnosis is not sleep. At all times, you will be completely awake and in control.
Not at all. Hypnosis is a cooperative activity, which means that you must consent to everything that I suggest to you. If I were to suggest something that would make you uncomfortable, cause harm or is out of line with your morals, you would either come out of trance, or simply ignore the suggestion. You are suggestible under hypnosis, but not commandable!
Have you ever known anyone personally that has gone on stage? The stage hypnotist plays with a bit of a stacked deck. Think about it... Who goes up on stage? Volunteers! Those are people who enjoy hamming it up. Heck, I'll bet if you watch most of them volunteering, they were probably standing on their tippie-toes on their chairs saying "Me, me, me, me, me, me!!!!" They enjoy the attention! Chances are they might bark like a dog even if they weren't hypnotized just to get a laugh! This is not meant to take anything away from stage-hypnotists - stage hypnotism is an extraordinary art that is difficult to master. But, in order to put ten to fifty subjects under trance in less than ten minutes, and then have them do entertaining things, it helps to have the right type of subjects.
Focus on This!
In the above paragraph, you'll notice that certain words are italicsized. Those "chunks" of the passage are meant to be said at a slightly different volume, tempo or tone of voice. This type of emphasis is called embedded commands, which speak directly to the subconscious mind. Embedded Commands will be discussed further in chapter 2
Hypnosis can feel radically different to different people, so I can't tell you exactly what you'll feel. But I can tell you this... It will be completely comfortable...you will relax completely... And you will have a profoundly incredible and positive experience. The best way to learn about it is to experience it.
Everyone can be hypnotized. Let me say that again: Everyone can be hypnotized. This does not necessarily mean that everyone will submit to hypnosis. Remember, hypnosis is cooperative... The subject is always in charge. But rest assured that, anyone with an I.Q. above that of a cucumber, who can relax, comprehend and follow simple instructions, can be hypnotized.
This is the most common fear that people ask me about. It’s also the most silly. In the entire history of hypnosis, no one has ever gotten "stuck" in trance. You've never become permanently "stuck" daydreaming, have you?!? Of course not! While a few people are reluctant to "snap to", just because hypnosis is so cool and feels so good, everyone comes out of hypnosis feeling great, refreshed and full of life.
As I said before, the best way to learn what hypnosis feels like is to experience it. Now that we've taken all the mystery and hocus-pocus out of hypnosis, and dispelled all the common myths that you may have believed, you get your chance.
Simply log on to the website using the link below and download your own hypnosis induction, which is free to you as an owner of this book. Please be mindful that the audio file you are about to download is copyrighted material and should not be shared with others who have not purchased this book. Listening to the recording constitutes your acceptance of the terms in Appendix V.
While hypnosis itself is not dangerous, closing your eyes and trancing out while driving, or doing some other activity that requires your attention, obviously is dangerous. So the standard warnings apply: do not use while driving any type of vehicle, operating heavy machinery or power tools, babysitting or parenting or performing any other activity that requires your attention.
This is a simple induction using relaxation techniques and guided imagery. There are a few suggestions for general happiness and well-being, then you will be brought back out of trance. Allow yourself about 30 minutes of quiet, peacetime where you can be alone and undisturbed. Follow the link below, or copy & paste the address into your browser to begin. The file is in mp3 format and will require a player, such as Microsoft Media Player, to listen. http://www.liquidmirror.com/bin/Hyp02.zip
The field of hypnosis is as varied as any of the other "helping" professions. There are many different styles of hypnosis in use today. It probably won't surprise you to know that the style most commonly portrayed by Hollywood, the media and mystery writers is the style that is least likely used by real, knowledgeable, professional hypnotists.
Let's take a look at five common styles of hypnotic induction: Permissive, authoritarian, Dave Ellman style, Milton H. Erickson style and rapid induction. Although some may argue it until they are blue in the face, my belief is that none are inherently better than any other. Each style has its own advantages in different situations. As a matter of fact, most inductions are a mix of styles. So don't artificially limit yourself by learning only one style.
Authoritarian style is the style that you most often see from Hollywood or read in horror/mystery novels. Using this style, the hypnotist litterally commands the subject into hypnosis.
"Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths and begin, now, to relax every muscle in your body."
This previous passage is indicative of an authoritarian type of induction. This sort of style usually works on people that like to be told explicitly what to do. Stubborn people, skeptics, defiant or people with polar-reactions and people with otherwise "strong" personalities are probably not good candidates for an overly authoritarian induction.
Permissive techniques are much less commanding. The idea with a permissive approach is to let the subject make the decisions about what he/she wants to do. There is virtually no emphasis on the "power" that the hypnotist has over the subject (because, if you remember, the hypnotist has no power over the subject!). Use of embedded commands is usually used fairly often to clue the subconscious mind into what it is you want them to do. Embedded commands will be discussed later in Chapter 1, but for now, just realize that embedded commands are commands that are "hidden" within normal conversion. The command words themselves are said with a slightly different tonality or tempo to mark them out to the subconscious mind.
“If you would, sit down with in a comfortable position. I wonder if you can begin to relax completely. It feels good to relax, doesn’t it? You might be able to notice that your eyes are getting heavier and your eyelids will soon feel very, very tired. Please close your eyes and listen to my voice.”
In the above example (embedded commands were italicized for emphasis), you can see that the mood is much more friendly, and polite than the Authoritarian approach. At all steps, the subject is asked to do things, not told.
Dave Elman discovered a rapid approach that works very well on many people. While most hypnotists at the time were worried about eye fixation and achieving eye-closure before inducing hypnosis (sometimes taking an hour or more), Dave Elman simply asked for it. His theory was that hypnosis is a state that we’re all capable of and familiar with, so induction could be rapid.
Milton Erickson was a man who truly understood how to communicate with the subconscious minds of others. Nearly everything he did communicated on multiple levels. In order to communicate that effectively, you need to learn to use everything around you - from the subject’s history to events and noises around you at the moment to the subject’s responses – in your communication. That is why this style of hypnosis is often called utilitarian. For example, if someone inadvertently came in through the door during an induction, most hypnotists would panic and think the session a failure. Milton would have simply said something like
“…And as the doors to your subconscious open… they allow you to go even deeper inside…”
Much like a phony fortuneteller, one of the keys to this style of hypnosis is deliberate vagueness. Ericksonian techniques use vague statements and fuzzy descriptions to pace the subject’s ongoing reality – in other words, to match what the subject feels at the moment to create more of a reality. For example, Erickson might look at you and say “Sometime, maybe very soon, you will blink…” When you eventually do (as, of course, will happen), he will say “That’s riiight… And that will allow to your relaaaax even deeper…” Or he might say “In a moment, you’ll begin to feel a sensation in one of your hands… Maybe one will be lighter or heavier than the other… Maybe you’ll notice that one is warmer or cooler than the other…” This will cause the subject to become curious and withdraw to ponder the situation and check his hands. Of course, no two hands are alike, so the subject is sure to feel some difference, and he’ll believe that this is the one Milton speaks of!
This serves two purposes. First, it serves to pace the reality of the subject, thereby creating a greater level of rapport, trust and belief. Second, and most important, it begins to get the subject into an altered state by occupying the subject’s conscious thoughts and causing the subject to withdraw.
Rapid inductions, while usually less successful with subjects new to hypnosis, can be very powerful when used in the right situations. The key to performing successful rapid inductions is to use them at times when other factors contribute to the success of the induction. Here are a few examples:
Highly Hypnotizable Individuals: Sometimes, very suggestible subjects can be hypnotized using rapid induction techniques. These are the types that are so suggestible that they often trance out just watching someone else being induced!
Shock: Very useful in the medical fields is the shock induction. Consider a situation where a patient comes in to the E/R in shock, such as say a compound fracture of the femur, and you simply don’t have time to administer anesthetic, or you can’t calm the patient sufficiently to work on the affected area. Simply jumping toward the patient with arms and hands out and screaming “SLEEEP!” is often enough, coupled with the shock, to put the subject in a mild trance. This approach is obviously extreme and not recommended for most patients… it could, as a matter of fact, get you punched, or cause your patient to have a heart attack. Use at your own risk!
Social Proof: Social Proof is a very powerful concept that has been studied for years by all types of professionals. Have you ever noticed that people tend to do what they see other people doing? Ask a question in a crowded room that requires a show of hands. For the first four or five seconds, nothing. Then maybe one or two will raise their hand. Seeing this, more raise their hands, etc. The answer to your posed questions had always been yes, but most didn’t feel comfortable answering until social proof dictated that it was acceptable to do so.
Social proof is used a great deal in stage hypnosis. There are usually a huge variety of people on stage at any given show. By the time they’ve been on the stage two minutes, the experienced stage hypnotist already knows who the joker is, who the reserved one is, who will be their star, who is willing to try on clothes of the opposite sex, etc. But most importantly, he knows who is the most suggestible. By concentrating on getting these easiest people into trance first, he is setting up social proof that works with his as he moves down the line to the more difficult subjects. In most shows, after the first four or five people are tranced out, all the hypnotist has to do is look at a subject, maybe yank their arm, and say “Sleep!”... The anticipation and social proof is enough to do the rest!
Veterans of Trance: Trance is a skill. Some people, of course, are naturals. But for most, the more they get to experience trance, the better they get at it, and the faster and deeper they can go. Many times, people who have experienced trance and know what it feels like can easily put themselves back into that state with little or no help from the hypnotist. Rapid induction works well for these people, especially if you’ve previously given them a post-hypnotic command to go back into trance upon command.
Children: Children are notorious for their imaginations. Imaginary friends, imaginary worlds (my kids come up with imaginary promises that I supposedly made!)… They walk around much of the time in an altered state! Because of this, it’s usually very easy to get a child into trance using a rapid induction. Most children simply won’t respond to longer, more boring inductions, anyway.
I’m going to says something now that will shock you. Nobody is ever cured with hypnosis. That’s right. Hypnosis is not in itself a cure for anything. Instead it is a tool - and a very powerful one at that - that allows you to speak directly to the subconscious mind of your subject. This part of the process is called the intervention, and it’s what you say at this point that is most important.
There are many opinions about scripts. Most hypnotists think that scripts are useless because they don’t target the specific needs and situation of the subject. Some believe that scripts are fabulous because they are tried and tested over and over, otherwise people would not be distributing or publishing them.
I tend to take the middle ground on this issue. I believe that scripts are a great starting point for anyone. They are a record of something that someone did that worked at one time on a subject or subjects under certain conditions. Many times, especially for beginning hypnotists, scripts are the only way to get a head start… after all; you don’t just magically know what to say to a subject!
Please notice that I said scripts are a good starting point. They should only be used to get a general idea of where to go… then you take over. It can be very counter-productive to be continually telling a subject “your arm is getting lighter… soon, you will notice your arm floating in the air…. Your arm is lifting off your leg…” for five minutes when his/her arm lifted after thirty seconds. This type of thing is a possibility when reading verbatim from a script and can get very annoying to the subject, causing his/her trance to falter and fail.
The most important thing you can do is to be in tune with our subject. Pay attention to body language and visible signs and tailor your session to match. This will net you the best level of rapport and the best trance that your subject can achieve. Just use your common sense and you’ll do fine.
These similar concepts are two of the ways that you can reinforce suggestions and interventions in your subject. Often, a perfectly good suggestion can crumble under real world conditions. For instance, someone who has had suggestions for smoking cessation may do wonderfully until Friday night while drinking with friends at the club.
This is where future pacing becomes important, if not essential. The idea is to have the person visualize, as vividly as possible, a time in the future. They will visualize themselves with all the new resources they've acquired (i.e., the ability to refuse a cigarette or eat sensibly or posses self-confidence), and using those resources successfully.
The largest benefit is to the subject who has now been able to realize their goal. The key is that they realized it in the safely and comfort of your presence, instead of in the real world, full of pitfalls and temptations. There is also a benefit in that you can immediately get valuable feedback and determine whether you should give key suggestions again. Better this than to have the subject come back later, dejected with a loss under his/her belt, ready to give it one more "try".
Other forms of visualization can be very useful as well. Visualizations can help to calm and relax, and there are even studies to show that visualization can heal.
Focus on This!
These techniques are not only valuable while you have a subject under hypnosis. They work equally as well when trance is not used! Try this with your children, spouse, co-workers… anyone! You’ll see better results in your every-day communication.
There is much to be said about the structure of a good command or suggestion. Good, clear and concise communication is key to giving successful suggestions.
There have been whole books written on the art of suggestion and persuasion. Check the Bibliography for more references on suggestion. For now, here are some pointers to get you started.
Be congruent: When forming a suggestion, the pitch and tone of your voice should always match your intended meaning. For statements, your tone and pitch should remain relatively flat or constant. For commands, your pitch should go down slightly at the end of your sentence/command. For a question, your pitch should obviously go up at the end of your question. This may seem like common sense, but you wouldn't believe how many beginning hypnotists forget tonality and say something like "In a moment your arm will become lighter?" Not only does it confuse the subject but it also makes your suggestion less effective. If you don't believe it, then your subject certainly won't, so be confident, be direct and be congruent.
Be Thorough: Make sure that you explicitly specify what you want. You are speaking directly to the subconscious mind, which can take things very literally. If you are working with someone who wishes to lose weight, your initial reaction might be to suggest, "From now on you will eat less." This suggestion seems perfectly acceptable to you... But, remember, you're hearing this with your conscious mind! To the subconscious mind, this could mean something as silly as taking one less bite per meal. Or worse, the subconscious could interpret this as "From now on, I'll only eat once a week." As you can see, thoroughness is important.
In our previous example, a better suggestion might be "From this point forward you will only have the urge to regularly eat healthy foods. Chocolates, candy and fatty foods will only be eaten moderately or on special occasions. You will no longer decide when your meal is done based upon taste or mood, but based purely on need and fullness. After taking each bite you will consciously check your stomach to see if you need to eat more. You'll stop eating when you are pleasantly comfortable, at 6 on a scale of one to ten, one being hungry, ten being full. Etc, etc, etc." As you can see this suggestion leaves very little to interpretation and will net much better results than a vague suggestion.
Be Positive: I cannot stress this enough. Because of the way the human brain works, we cannot process negative statements very effectively. When interpreting communication, the brain first makes a picture of the thing that is being discussed, and then negates it. For example, have you ever noticed that when someone looks at their child and says, “Don’t spill that milk!” the first thing the child does is knock over the glass? The parent’s simple error was that they didn’t form a positive suggestion. The child’s brain heard and comprehended “Spill that milk!”, and acted on it before the brain had a chance to negate it.
A more productive suggestion might sound like “Be sure to keep your glass upright.” or “Please keep your milk either in the cup or in your mouth.” Or even simply, "Be careful with your milk."
Positive suggestions may sound funny because we are so used to giving negative suggestions, and you may have to get a little creative to come up with good wording, but the fact is, positive suggestions are easier for the subject to accept and have a far greater chance of being accepted for what they are.
Stack Suggestions: “ Stacking suggestions” is simply stringing suggestions together so that the subject has less of a chance of rejecting the group of suggestions. People, in general, are more or less amenable. We usually like to please people and will respond to simple requests. Fire off many different suggestions or requests to a person at once and they may tell you to take a hike for asking for so much.
The basic principal works like this. Suppose you ask your son to pick up his bike. Then ask him to close the garage. You’ve asked him to do two, individual things, which he will evaluate separately and may or may not reject one or both. Chances are, he’ll pick up his bike and maybe forget to close the garage. Now, consider this phrasing, “Johnny, please close the garage when you pick up your bike.” You’ve now stacked suggestions (you’ve also presupposed that he will pick up his bike and close the garage. Presuppositions are very powerful and will be discussed next). He will have to evaluate these suggestions as a whole, and because of our amenable nature, will most likely respond favorably.
Presuppositions: Presuppositions are extremely powerful. In essence, you are stating something to the subject that must be true in order for the rest of your sentence to be true. If I’m speaking to a potential client, I might say, “You will really enjoy the feelings you experience when you go into trance”. I’m presupposing a few things here, even though this person is just asking me a few questions. I am telling the subject that they will have feelings that will be enjoyable. But in order for that to happen, I must presuppose that the client will willingly and successfully be hypnotized by me: “when you go into trance”. This is a trick that is used quite often in sales when a clerk will walk up to you and say “Would you like to pay for that with cash or charge?” They didn’t ask you if you want to buy it… they’re presupposing that and cutting right to the chase. In essence they are saying, “I know you are going to buy that, so how would you like to pay for it?” Very simple, yet very powerful.
Stack Realities: Another example of stacking or layering is to Stack Reality – Frequently called Yes Sets. This is a bit of a combination of the last two techniques. When stacking realities, you state the obvious (or the apparently obvious) to the subject – Things that the subject can only say yes to – in order to persuade the subject to say yes to the resulting suggestion. It is difficult for a person to discount one part of a sentence if they have agreed to the other parts.
For example I could say, “You’re sitting there, reading this eBook, learning about hypnosis and you suddenly want to buy all the products that Liquid Mirror has to offer…” What I’ve done is stack realities. There are most likely three realities in the previous sentence, and one suggestion that I hope would become a reality. By stacking realities, I’ve gotten you to say, “Yes, I’m sitting – Yes, I’m reading, - Yes, I’m learning about hypnosis” and hopefully, out of sheer repetitiveness and habit, you will say “Yes, I want to buy all products from Liquid Mirror.”
When stacking realities in a hypnotic setting, often the only reality we can stack is the subject’s experience. Since we obviously haven’t perfected the Vulcan Mind Meld, we don’t really know what the subject is feeling or experiencing, because hypnosis is so subjective. In this case, we turn to the Utilitarian styles of Milton H. Erickson. By using vague, ambiguous words we can, more or less, describe the subject’s experience. “You’re sitting there… thinking those thoughts… feeling those feelings… noticing the temperature of a hand or a foot… maybe a leg…. wondering what will happen next… knowing that you can close your eyes and relax any time you want.” This is another very powerful technique that can be applied in every day communication. Practice and learn it well.
Stories have been used since ancient times to teach, entertain and heal. A metaphor in this setting is a type of story that has specific, personal and therapeutic meaning in relation to the subject. Metaphors are usually short stories that, when interpreted on a subconscious level, give new resources or solutions to the subject.
The structure and creation of therapeutic metaphors is beyond the scope of this book. Learning to structure metaphors can be very valuable to the practicing hypnotherapist. Check the Bibliography for references to books that can help you learn this skill.
Coupling hypnosis and NLP can be very beneficial, sometimes making the difference between a subject’s success and failure. Many times, NLP can be used in lieu of a hypnosis intervention (as in the rapid-change techniques used for curing phobias), using hypnosis only to future-pace the subject and reinforce the treatment.
NLP is beyond the scope of this eBook, and quite possibly beyond the scope of any one book. It is not just a field, but can be a way of life in many ways. There are many great references available in the Bibliography to get you started in this excellent and fascinating field. I highly recommend it.
As you can see, hypnosis is a wide and varied field. There are many different styles and techniques at your disposal. Each has it’s own strengths. None of them is hypnosis alone, but they all make up hypnosis together. In the next chapter, we’ll begin to look at some of those techniques in depth.
If you like what you've read so far, you'll love the rest of the book. Visit http://www.learnhypnosisnow.com/ today and get your copy! Buy it today! Here are some of the things you will see when you buy your copy:
· Specific induction instructions that will teach you how to hypnotize anyone.
· Ideas and instruction for Stage Hypnosis.
· Learn how to hypnotize yourself to overcome your fears, break bad habits and improve yourself in limitless ways.
· Many scripts are included in Appendix III of the full book.
Hypnosis spans back as far as written time in one form or another. Ancient Egyptians used sleeping temples in order to revitalize their spirits. Buddhists have been using mediation - a phenomenon very similar to hypnosis - for millennia.
Modern Hypnosis, however, began in the 18th century with a man named Franz Anton Mesmer. It was curiously tied to magnetism, which still has a following today.
Focus on This!
To this day, the term “mesmerized”, derived from Mesmer’s name, is used to describe someone in a captivated trance.
Franz Mesmer was a physician and a graduate of the famed Medical School of Vienna in 1776. After studying with a Jesuit priest, Mesmer became interested in magnetism. Magnetism was a holistic medical practice where magnets were passed over the bodies of patients to promote healing. The results were fabulous and Mesmer became Europe’s foremost expert.
Mesmer believed that each living being had an invisible magnetic “fluid” that ran throughout its body. It was his theory that a person with enough of this magnetic fluid would be strong and healthy. If a person had a lack of magnetic fluid he would become very ill and possibly die. This was termed “Animal Magnetism,” coining the popular phrase.
Mesmer routinely practiced his magnetism, becoming very famous. One day, while tending to a patient, he discovered that he did not have his magnets. Wanting to perform, Mesmer went through the motions without his magnets, not expecting his session to be successful, but to Mesmer's surprise, the patient was cured of his ailment. Mesmer declared that he no longer needed the magnets for he had enough of the fluid within him that he could administer the healings himself. This, along with his claim that women need not suffer pain during childbirth, caused a terrible blow to his reputation. He moved from Vienna to Paris in 1778 to escape constant reticule.
As Mesmer’s popularity grew in Paris, he inevitably became over-confidant. He insisted that King Louis XVI establish a panel to prove the reality of his practice and quiet his detractors. This was a grave mistake.
A panel of noteworthy men was commissioned at the order of the King. Antoine-Laurent de Jessieu, a famous botanist, Dr. Guillotin, inventor of the guillotine, Antoine-Laurent Lavosier, a chemist, and Benjamin Franklin, serving as an American Ambassador in France, were set to the task. Benjamin Franklin spoke for the commission when he wrote “This fellow Mesmer is not flowing anything from his hands that I can see. Therefore, this Mesmerism must be a fraud.” His reputation ruined, Franz Mesmer died a poor and lonely man in Germany in 1815.
Some time later, Marquis de Pusseguyr continued the study of
Mesmer’s work and later coined the term somnambulism, which we still use
today to describe a deep state of hypnosis.
Focus on This!
Hypnosis was originally called Neurohypnotism, meaning Nervous Sleep. It almost became Monoideaism, meaning to hold one idea, but luckily that name didn’t stick.
A surgeon in Manchester, England, James Braid was the first person to accurately describe hypnosis as more than magnetism.
In 1841, he set out to discredit Mesmerism at a public demonstration by the traveling mesmerist, Lafontaine. Instead he became convinced of Lafontaine’s young volunteer’s deep trance. This fascinated Braid to no end and he began studying its usefulness in relation to surgery.
In 1843, James Braid published the first book on Hypnotism, which gave it its name, titled “Neurohypnotism”. His focus was on using hypnosis for pain-free surgery.
Before the discovery of Chloroform or other anesthesia for surgery, the mortality rate was alarming. Up to 50% of patients died during major surgery from fear or shock alone. Not the most pleasing odds.
James Esdaile, a Scottish surgeon working in India, beat those odds hands down. Esdaile would spend up to two hours preparing a patient for surgery. Using eye fixation, sounds, and slow, sweeping motions Esdaile would put his patients into a deep hypnotic state, causing full anesthesia throughout the body. His mortality rate dropped from 50% to between 5% and 7% - Something unheard of at that time.
Esdaile performed over 1000 operations using hypnosis as his only anesthesia - over 300 of them major surgeries, and 19 of them amputations – before he was tried by the Medical Association of England, losing his medical license.
Ambroise A. Liebault (1823 – 1904) was a French Physician living near Nancy, France. Commonly known as the “Father of Suggestive Hypnosis,” Liebault moved to Nancy where he worked for free to avoid persecution from the detractors of mesmerism. As long as he didn’t charge for his services, they could not call him a "quack". In 1866, he published the culmination of all his hard work titled “Du Sommeil”. Only one copy was sold.
Leibault’s work went largely unrecognized until he teamed up with Hippolyte Bernheim (1837 – 1919), a professor at the Nancy School of Medicine. Bernheim was a more logical and scientific man than his predecessors. He didn’t make extravagant claims about hypnosis, but merely stated the facts. He published these facts in his work “Suggestive Therapeutics: A Treatise on the Nature and Uses of Hypnosis”. They soon opened the Nancy School of Hypnosis where many of the future hypnotists of the world were trained.
Charcot was a neurologist in Paris in the 1800’s specializing in the study of neurological disorders. He is probably most famous for first documenting and studying what later became known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.
His initial conclusions about hypnosis were not favorable. He believed that hypnosis was an abnormal behavior, and furthermore, was a state of hysteria. He was later discredited by Bernheim because of this belief and went to study with him at the Nancy School of Hypnosis.
The father of Modern Psychotherapy, Sigmund Freud, then a physician in Vienna, began taking an interest in hypnosis as it gained popularity and became more mainstream. He went to France to study with Charcot at the Nancy School of Hypnosis. When Freud returned to Vienna, he began to practice and research hypnosis with his partner Dr. Breuer.
Eventually, Freud denounced hypnosis – a crushing blow that would destroy its reputation for years – when he claimed that a young lady suddenly jumped up and kissed him on the lips while in trance. The actual story is a little less exciting than all that.
Freud frequently used cocaine leaves between his cheeks and gums to control pain, a common practice at that time. This eventually led to the destruction of his gums, which caused his dentures to fit poorly. Because of this, Freud slurred and could not speak clearly enough to lead people into hypnosis. Regardless, his public “story” severely damaged the credibility of hypnosis in the medical field.
He later credited hypnosis for driving him in the right direction. From his studies of hypnotism, he began to formulate his theories of “talking therapy” and the concept of modern psychology was born.
Hypnosis enjoyed a revived interest in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Approved as a valid treatment medium by the American Medical Association in 1958, physicians, dentists and therapists began, once again, to experiment with and study hypnosis.
Born in Aurum, Nevada and raised in Wisconsin, Erickson became interested in hypnosis after witnessing a demonstration by Clark Hull. He was so impressed that he met with and hypnotized Hull after the show! He taught himself hypnosis from that point on.
Erickson had a great understanding of the human mind. While a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist, he received his most important training at a younger age. He explains in this quote taken from “Dr. Erickson's Personality and Life” by Jay Haley - 1967:
"I had a polio attack when 17 years old and I lay in bed without a sense of body awareness. I couldn't even tell the position of my arms or legs in bed. So I spent hours trying to locate my hand or my foot or my toes by a sense of feeling, and I became, acutely aware of what movements were. Later, when I went into medicine, I learned the nature of muscles. I used that knowledge to develop an adequate use of the muscles polio had left me and to limp with the least possible strain; this took me ten years. I also became extremely aware of physical movements and this has been exceedingly useful. People use those little telltale movements, those, adjustive movements that are so revealing if one can notice them. So much of our communication is in our bodily movements, not in our speech. I've found that I can recognize a good piano player not by the noises he makes, but by the ways his fingers touch the keys. The sure touch, the delicate touch, the forceful touch that is so accurate. Proper playing involves such exquisite physical movement." -
Milton H. Erickson essentially revolutionized the field of hypnosis. While there are those that promote and teach a pure Ericksonian technique, elements of Erickson’s wisdom are present in almost every hypnotists style these days. While a proper discussion of Ericksonian techniques are beyond the scope of this book (there are, in fact, entire books written on the subject – Check the bibliography).
As a young boy, Dave Elman had to watch his father, a stage-hypnotist, dying a terribly painful death from cancer. A week before his father was to pass away, a friend of the family, also a hypnotist came and put his father into trace to take away his pain. This was the last time the Dave Elman saw his father peaceful, playful and in good spirits. It made a lasting impression.
Elman spent the rest of his life dedicated to teaching hypnosis to healing professionals. Doctors, psychologists, dentists, pediatricians and more flocked to his classes week after week as Elman traveled the country with his wife. Elman specialized in a rapid induction that worked very well much of the time. This opened the door for medical applications where the doctor did not have the time to spend ten to twenty minutes inducing the patient into hypnosis. Word of mouth spread fast and Elman’s class was a success. He wrote one book that describes it all before he passed away. In my opinion, it is a must read for anyone… medical or not. Check the bibliography for more information.
The Dean of Modern Stage Hypnosis, Ormond McGill has been described as "…one of the true giants in the history of hypnotism” by hypnosis greats such as Gill Boyne. Beginning in the late 1920s, McGill developed a stage style that is unrivalled even today. Many of today’s great hypnotists have gotten their start or honed their style at Ormond’s seminar. His book, The Encyclopedia of Stage Hypnotism is a must read for anyone that aspires to perform hypnosis.
Bandler and Grinder are the co-founders of NLP, also known as Neuro-Linguistic Programming. NLP is loosely related to hypnosis in one form or another and is based, in part, on theories of “quick change” in psychotherapy. NLP has become a favorite tool of many hypnotists because of its rapport building abilities and the ability to squash phobias and cause change quickly in the subject.
Richard Bandler was a mathematics and computer science major studying at the University of San Jose in the early 70’s. He became interested in psychotherapy while editing a book written by Dr. Pearl and approached John Grinder and professor and master or linguistics to propose a study of the structure of the language patterns that therapists use to cure patients. The combination of Bandler’s structured logical thinking and Grinder’s breakdown of language was something that therapy had not seen before. By studying the patterns of noteworthy, successful therapists (Fritz Pearl, psychologist; Gregory Bateson, Linguistics/General Semantics; Virginia Satir, Family Therapy; Milton H. Erickson, hypnotist), they developed a set of “cookie cutter” therapies that anyone could use to cause change.
While NLP has taken many directions, we will look at its benefits of healing and hypnosis. NLP has also been applied to everything from persuasion to power writing to selling anything to seduction. There are many resources available in the Bibliography.
Founder of the American Board of Hypnotherapy (originally called the California Council of Hypnotherapy), Dr. Krasner has pioneered and taught many of the techniques used in modern hypnotherapy. His simple, no frills technique for putting the subject at ease (and then putting the subject into trance) is documented well in his book (see the Bibliography). His style is taught at the American Pacific University, endorsed by the American Board of Hypnotherapy. Dr Krasner’s contribution was so great that he was selected for inclusion in the Directory of Distinguished Americans for outstanding contributions to the field of hypnotherapy.
· Amnesia: Total forgetting of a specific event or subject.
· Anesthesia: Complete loss of sensation in a particular area of the body.
· Analgesia: Loss of pain sensation, but retention of pressure and heat sensations
· Auto-Hypnosis: Self-Hypnosis
· Catalepsy: A perfect balance of the opposing muscles in the area of the body, keeping an appendage or the whole body rigid.
· Cessation: The act of removing a habit, such as smoking cessation
· Congruence: Behaving in a way that is in line with the words that you speak.
· Direct Commands: Commands given to a subject in a direct manner, such as "stand up", or "you will quit smoking".
· Eye Fixation: Having the subject stare at a spot until the eyes become so tired that they close on their own.
· Fractionation: Bringing the subject out-of and back in-to trance repeatedly to deepen their trance.
· Glove Anesthesia: Anesthesia that begins in the hand and can be transferred to any part of the body through the hand.
· Intervention: The act of "curing" a person using suggestions and other modalities such as NLP.
· Metaphor: A short story tailored to the situation of the subject.
· NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming: A modality for creating generative change in your subject using many techniques.
· Pace: Following your subject with your body language, movements, tonality, tempo, or choice of words.
· Pattern Interruption: A technique whereby the hypnotist can interrupt a common movement in the subject to rapidly induce trance.
· Post-Hypnotic Suggestion: Suggestions to be carried out after the subject has been awakened. Sometimes triggered by a specified event or word being spoken.
· Rapid Induction: An induction which utilizes the five traits of good suggestions to rapidly induce trance in a subject.
· Rapport: A feeling of comfort and trust shared between the hypnotist and the subject.
· Suggestion: Words formed in a way such that the subject feels compelled to act out the command.
· Tempo: The speed and rhythm of the words you speak.
· Tonality: The pitch, or relative high-ness or low-ness of your voice.
· Yes Sets: Stacking realities, where each portion of the yes set requires the subject to answer yes, so that a yes outcome for the desired part is more likely.
· Native Trance and Wind Trance by Christopher Wayne Morrison
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