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Originally I had titled this
page "types of hypnosis", but I decided to change it
to "hypnotic methods" because, realistically there
really aren't any different types of hypnosis, rather different
levels of the state of mind termed hypnosis, and a number of
different hypnotic methods used to achieve the level of mind
known as hypnosis, trance, or more correctly termed
the "Alpha, or deeper still the Theta" level of mind, at which
ones focus of attention is so nicely directed, that learning, and the
acceptance of hypnotic
suggestion is easily achieved.
Below you will find an explanation
about auto-hypnosis, elaborations on, along
with an easy to follow format for self hypnosis,
information about the classic and still most well known hetero-hypnosis,
and elaborations about the modern day approach to hypnotherapy
know as Ericksonian Hypnosis. Feel free to
just read on through, or click the link above to take you straight to
your topic of choice.
is usually produced via a previous post
hypnotic suggestion offered by a hypnotist at some previous
time. Every autosuggestion was originally a heterosuggestion.
Varying degrees of autosuggestion and auto hypnosis
account in no small measure for the success of the metaphysical “sciences”
and religious spiritual-healing movements.
Suggestions have a much greater chance of being followed when they appear
to originate from the self rather than being instituted by another person.
If a patient feels that he/she can facilitate recovery by such therapy,
he or she develops more motivation. The resultant self-pride in this
achievement strengthens the confidence essential for recovery. Auto
hypnosis also makes available a tremendous reservoir of unrecognized
potential strength – the “forgotten assets”. Diligent
practice, however, generally is necessary to obtain a satisfactory depth;
lesser degrees are attained more rapidly.
It has been suggested that auto hypnosis is the primary
phenomenon, and that hetero hypnosis is in effect guided self
hypnosis. These findings contradict a stereotype of hypnosis
based on hetero hypnosis as of a passive subject induced by
an active hypnotist.
The induction of the hypnotic state by oneself. With this form,
relaxation is self-induced leading to the hypnotic state. In
this state of heightened awareness and suggestibility,
we are more capable of influencing our bodily functions and providing
ourselves with post hypnotic suggestions. The main questions
I get from those unfamiliar with hypnosis are, "how does
one really know when they have achieved it? Are there signs? Is one
way of doing it easier or better than another? I am a very hyper person
and just relaxing enough to "listen" to myself is hard enough,
but I would honestly love to learn how. Any suggestions?"
The answers provided could be as varied a number as there are hypnotists,
but most of these questions and more are answered on our freequently
asked questions about hypnosis page . Hypnosis
is a very natural everyday experience. Whenever someone asks me about
hypnosis, I tell him/her that at the very least they enter
trance twice a day. Those times would be a momentary passing
through the state of trance as they are going to sleep, and
as they are waking up. It is that dreamy point in time, when you are
very relaxed, and some people will have visions, or simply just lose
perception of their environment, and/or body.
People tend to enter trance, when they are really involved
in a good book, or watching an amazing movie which just draws them in,
deeper as they themselves become part of the scene, and their emotions
begin to change along with the setting, at times causing tears, fears,
sadness or laughter. With experience one will find that the trance experience
is not only different for everyone, but it is somewhat different every
time one experiences it.
of hypnosis will also be quite different for someone as an
observer, compared to the participant, and these signs will change throughout
the trance, as the level of depth and involvement of the trance
progresses. Some people will say they feel a pulling sensation. I myself
find that I attain a complete bodily anesthesia,
yet attaining a profound awareness of my own mental activity. If I happen
to be using music to enhance or change my trance, within moments
I begin to hear the sounds as though the speakers are mounted right
inside my head, and I hear the music internally, which is really quite
cool.(Who needs drugs with an experience like that?)
The best way to enter the
state of hypnosis is again different for everyone. Some people
prefer to lie down, while others like to sit. Some people even prefer
to stand as they are learning hypnosis, so that they can maintain
some conscious awareness, preventing themselves from falling asleep.
Self Hypnosis Routine and Suggestions:
1- Pick a time, and place when you won’t
have any distractions.
2- Lie, or sit down comfortably wearing loose clothing with your hands
at your sides, and your legs uncrossed.
3- Some people like to put on some soft music,( Baroque or ocean waves
are very good, because they help tune the heart rate to about sixty
4- Then you can gently close your eyes, and with your eyes closed, turn
your eyes up to about the 10/11 o’clock position. At this point
take one of your fingers, and lightly touch the back high center point
of your head paying attention to the sensation of the touch as you replace
your hand at your side.
5- Then take a slow deep breath, and hold it for about three seconds,
and slowly let it out as you say to yourself the word “deeper”,
while you maintain your attention on the sensation you last felt from
the touch to your head. (Repeat this step about five times, seven if
you feel you need to relax further)
6- During your fifth, or seventh breath, tell yourself that upon the
complete exhalation of your next breath you will find yourself in a
special place. This special place is your place, your place of solitude,
your place to relax. You might have a special place in mind, or you
might just want to wait and experience what your special imaginary place
7- Once you have had enough rest, or finished your internal work, (suggestions,
visualizations, or a life challenge) which you set yourself to do, simply
state to yourself that after a count of one to five, you will open your
eyes fully refreshed, and feeling much better than before.
One of the best books I
have found on the topic of self hypnosis would have to be Brian
A Complete Manual for Health and Self-Change”. 27 chapters,
and 283 pages, of easy to read and understand, yet very in depth, and
extremely explanatory information, teaching the reader about self
hypnosis, methods of achieving it along with directions as to how
to form your post hypnotic suggestions. Information on using
guided imagery, the language of hypnotic suggestion,
NINE varieties of self
hypnosis techniques, stress management,
relief from allergies
and asthma, thin
sleep problems, maximizing
sports performance, and more. Truly an amazing and masterful piece
of work, and tremendously useful not only to the beginner, but also
to the advanced learner of hypnosis. Those interested can easily
purchase the book directly through the link above.
otherwise known as the Authoritarian approach to hypnosis,
is defined as the induction of the hypnotic state in a subject
by someone else, an operator or hypnotist as so termed.
Hypnosis involves motivation, relaxation and suggestion. With
hetero-hypnosis, the subject allows the hypnotist
to bring about a state of relaxation because the subject desires this
state, and so he or she responds to the suggestions of the hypnotist,
or as I prefer “dream weaver.”
The conception of this Authoritarian Approach derives mainly from the
early writings of historical figures such as Mesmer, Bernheim,
Charcot and Freud. In modern day it is the method most likely to be
adapted by the general public due to its use by the stage
Unfortunately, today's medical community still believes hypnosis
to be nothing other than that of suggesting away symptoms, in turn the
bulk of the medical community has little if any faith in hypnotic
methods primarily due to Freud's failure with it.
If there is one fear about hypnosis that maintains itself as
a public misconception, it's the belief that the hypnotist
holds power over the subject. Fortunately, the authoritarian model is
Another form of Hetero-Hypnosis is known as the Standardized
Approach - initiated by Clark Hull, which seeks to use a standardized
method of hypnosis for all subjects. It is used as a textbook
example in the laboratory setting for measuring levels of hypnotizability.
The only real difference between the Authoritarian and the Standardized
approach is that rather than directed commands, the standardized approach
often uses a permissive style of hypnotic suggestion. Unfortunately,
this method has publicized reports stating that about 20% of the population
is not hypnotizable due to their textbook methods of hypnotic induction.
Reports such as this coming from the "scientific/medical"
community have further mislead the public's knowledge about hypnosis.
It is an all too common experience to hear from people that they believe
themselves to fall into the 20% category of the population that can't
be controlled mentally by another, due to the failure of a stage
hypnotist's ability to entrance them.
“The Naturalistic or
Utilization Approach", focus's on helping each individual patient
find their own talents for problem solving and healing in their own
unique manner. Ericksonian hypnotherapy emphasizes and facilitates
the patient’s own creative processes. To best summarize, here
is a quote from the Father of modern day hypnosis on the Co-operation
Approach quoted from pg. 166-167 of "The
Collected Papers, Volume I":
"Ericksons' approach was first and
foremost one of cooperation: Hypnosis should primarily be the
outcome of a situation in which interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships
are developed constructively to serve the purpose of both the hypnotist
and subject. This cannot be done by following rigid procedures and fixed
methods nor by striving to reach a single specific goal. The complexity
of human behavior and its underlying motivations makes necessary a cognizance
of the multitude of factors existing in any situation arising between
two personalities engaged in a joint activity. (1952; in Rossi, 1980a,
The hypnotist can only guide, direct, supervise, and provide
the opportunity for the subject to do the productive work: To accomplish
this, he must understand the situation and its needs, protect the subject
fully, and be able to recognize the work accomplished. He must accept
and utilize the behavior that develops, and be able to create opportunities
and situations favorable for adequate functioning of the subject. (Milton
Erickson, 1952; in Ernest Rossi, 1980s, p. 167)"
T he key ideas underlying Ericksonian
hypnotherapy are as follows:
1. Each person is unique -
which stresses that therapy should be based on the client's present
beliefs, behavior, motivations, and symptoms.
2. Hypnosis is an experiential process
of communicating ideas - here the goal is experiential participation
by the activation of ideas already within the patient.
3. Each person has generative resources -
clients are assisted in the utilization of their own skills and resources.
4. Trance potentiates resources
- accomplished by offering an unbiased state of self-receptive awareness
in which new understandings and manners of being may unfold.
5. Trance is naturalistic - the
processes of trance are present in everyday states including the hypnotic
6. Ericksonian approaches orient to course-alignment
rather than error-correction - accomplished by guiding clients
towards their goals and interests, rather than restricting self-expressions.
7. A person’s uniqueness can be appreciated
on many levels - expressed as the "deep self" these
include the unconscious mind, the conscious mind, and the contents
8. Unconscious processes can operate generatively
and autonomously - this utilizes the principle that "whatever
the client is doing is exactly that which will allow him to change"
provided new understandings are brought forth.
elementary principles of Ericksonian hypnotherapy are (1) accepting
the persons reality, and (2) utilizing the person’s reality.
To accept the person’s reality the hypnotherapist assumes
and congruently communicates that, what a person is doing is fine; and
is exactly what the hypnotherapist would like the person to
be doing at the present time.
To utilize the given behavior, the hypnotherapist generally
conveys to the client that what he is doing right now is exactly that
which will allow him to do the desired behavior.
and Grinder describe Ericksonian Hypnosis principles
in process-oriented terms: (1) pace all behavior; (2) lead behavior.
means to feed back to the client, the client’s expressions. This
is done for the purpose of establishing rapport and developing trust.
After establishing rapport, the hypnotherapist begins to lead
by introducing behaviors that are different from, but consistent with,
the client’s present state, which move towards a desired state.
Another principle of effective communication is:
is a statement which the hypnotherapist needs to pace some
further aspect(s) of the client’s experience. Ericksonian
hypnotherapist should assume that all experience is valid and utilizable,
then behaviorally paces and leads toward the desired state. Here the
traditional concept of resistance, is better viewed as behavioral feedback
indicating a need for further pacing by the hypnotherapist.
The Utilization principle can be expressed
as: (a) pace and depotentiate conscious processes; (b) absorb
and amplify unconscious processes.
The Ericksonian hypnotherapist seeks to depotentiate recurrent
(undesirable) conscious processes and to enable previously inaccessible
resources to be actualized. To circumvent possible objections (resistances),
approach is often used.
Thus, the final principle states: use indirect communication to the
extent that a client’s conscious processes might object, or otherwise
interfere with the development of the desired changes.
involves the utilization of natural, ongoing processes within the client.
Similarly as the Ericksonian hypnotherapist believes that "whatever
the client is doing is exactly that which will allow him/her to change",
the same type of therapeutic thinking is used in the hypnotic induction
process, because all hypnotic
phenomena are focused duplications of everyday occurrences.
For example, age
regression is an extreme version of memory revivification; amnesia
is a special case of forgetting; hallucinations are vivid imaginings;
post hypnotic suggestions are unconscious associational learnings;
hypnotic dreaming resembles the nocturnal dreams we have many
times each night in our sleep.
The major difference is that hypnosis
greatly intensifies experiential involvement within these basic psychological
processes, sometimes to the point where we forget that our "as
if" world is just a simulation. Also, hypnosis loosens
other mental constraints, such as the rigid and fixed ways we typically
relate to time and space. In short, in trance, critical
faculties become temporarily suspended and experiential absorption
is heightened, thus permitting complete immersion in an experiential
reality. When a person feels protected and secure, absorption in hypnotic
realities can be highly therapeutic, as this enables new ways of thinking
To induce trance,
the Ericksonian hypnotherapist first creates a context where
a client is both willing and able to set aside normal conscious processes,
and explore new ways of being. Naturalistic communications are then
used to immerse the client in experiential realities conducive to both
trance development and personal growth.
The hypnotherapist first assists the client in focusing his
attention either by focusing on an external object, on a monotonous
sound (voice, chanting, drumming, etc.) or, on a specific sensation.
The hypnotherapist then assists the client in accessing and
developing unconscious processes by using associational strategies to
access experiential responses.
The hypnotherapist also applies dissociational strategies
which induce hypnosis by pacing, then depotentiating the trance-inhibiting
conscious processes. A few methods for doing this include boredom, dissociation,
distraction and confusion.
Initially an Ericksonian Induction begins with the
establishment of rapport by securing the trust and comfort of the client.
The hypnotherapist then gradually shifts into hypnotic
communication as he accesses his own interpersonal
trance. The shift in communication involves speaking more slowly
with pauses which encourage reflections.
The Ericksonian induction proceeds
with the utilization of the following points:
1) use the client’s reality as the basis
for the hypnotic induction;
2) apply questions to absorb and direct attention;
3) provide experiential demonstrations to introduce and develop key
4) access real sense memories to access trance;
5) the rhythmic shifting from the specific demonstration or story to
the general and then back to the specific;
6) the progressive and gradual development of each new response from
7) presuppositions that focus attention on how something will be done
rather than whether it will be done;
8) the use of conjunctions to link everything together;
9) the frequent interspersing of ideas regarding trance as
a secure learning context where the unconscious can operate autonomously
10) the framing of hypnotic phenomena as naturalistic processes;
11) occasional silence to let the subject explore on his or her own;
12) periodic shifts in delivery style
13) confusion techniques to depotentiate conscious involvement, and
14) the general and permissive directive style of the hypnotist.
Dr. Frank Valente
3126 McCarthy Court
Mississauga , ON
© 2004, Dr. Frank Valente DCH
If your experience with hypnosis is limited or you simply want
to accelerate the effectiveness of your hypnosis sessions,
and improve your life beyond perceptible measures, just click the link
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