The Perridwyn School of Hypnosis presents ...
Hypnosis is a state offocused awareness. It issomething everyone
has experienced countless times; among instances of it are waking up or
getting absorbed in a good book. The characteristics of the state vary;
it cannot be pinpointed on an EEG and the experience is different for
everyone though there are common elements. A person can be hypnotized and
while that state be having a great time at a party; no zombie eyes no
intonations of Yeesss Massterr no wandering about with arms outstretched.
Hypnosis does not have a unique and unmistakable insignia indicating its
This is generally not the case with the PROCESS of hypnosis.
Patterns of hypnosis have been written up and used for decades. You can
find books depicting the process in bookstores and libraries. The process
is intended to create that state of focused awareness. It is this process
I wish to discuss in the remainder of this post. [Hypnosis and being
hypnotized will refer to the process should there be any confusion.]
Hypnosis can be thought of as a game that is binding. The rules are
initially defined by the expectations of the subject which encompasses all
their experiences with it everything they've seen on TV and old movies and
what the subject has been told about hypnosis. These rules dictate what
will and will not be effective; which inductions will and will not work;
and the conduct of the subject while in the state of hypnosis. The rules
are mutable. Debunking misconceptions demonstrations and providing more
information -- accurate or not -- will affect the rules of the game.
A professor at Stanford illustrated how greatly expectations dictate
results. The gentleman told one of his introductory psychology classes
that an unfailing indication of a hypnotized subject was that their right
arm would float upwards. The professor told another class the same thing
only in this case he specified it was the left hand that would rise. When
he hypnotized members of both classes he discovered that students responded
in accord with their expectations. The right arm of the members of the
first class did indeed rise while with members of the second class only the
left hand rose.
Inhypnosis the subject callsthe shots. Their expectations outline
the manner in which the game is to be played. The hypnotist wields no
mystical power; she and the subject have an agreement that the process of
hypnosis is conducted in a certain manner and each player behaves in a
particular way. The level at which the game is played is defined by the
rules and the degree of trust the subject feels for the hypnotist. A
mistrustful subject will be paying far more attention to what you are doing
and what you might be scheming than to what you are saying.
Hypnosis is useful as a catalyst. As seen above the state itself is
not too exhilarating in and of itself. The process and the applications
are what make it fun and useful. You can call on your mind's abilities to
control pain [useful]; you can play the most intense imagination game of
D&D of your life [fun].
The functionof the hypnotist is to provide a focal point and talk
their partner through evoking the intended result. The process usually
begins with a discussion of hypnosis. This is to determine the purpose of
a session debunk misconceptions get a sense of the subject's expectations
generally make things go easier later. The induction consists of bringing
the subject's awareness to something and keeping it focused. The
hypnotist gives suggestions to bring about the determined purpose including
any post-hypnotic suggestions. Then she guides the subject back to a
normal state of awareness.
WHAT HYPNOSIS IS NOT
- It is not sleep. The participant is thoroughly aware of their
surroundings. They may choose to ignore them. The hypnotist may ask the
subject to ignore things or to focus all attention on one idea.
- You can not get stuck in hypnosis. Either you will awaken on your own
or the state will become one of natural sleep. Sometimes a subject
requires a few more moments to return. Sometimes the subject refuses to
return. This is particularly true of stage hypnosis; if a subject feels
pissed off at the hypnotist it can be mightily gratifying to unnerve said
offending hypnotist by not responding. Even if this is the case the
subject will still either return on their own or fall asleep.
- A hypnotized person will not knowingly violate their code of ethics.
Milton Erickson messed around with this a bit and found it to be
particularly true if he made it clear that the subject was responsible for
the consequences of their actions. There are three twists here;
1. A person may do somethingseemingly unethical if it is o.k. according
to their moral standards especially if they believe being hypnotized at the
time is sufficient excuse.
2. Stage hypnotists evoke some silly behavior which might ordinarily be
contrary to the subject's code of conduct. This is a result of group
pressure of the forgivability of stage hypnosis and of the
streak of hamming it up in each of us.
3. A person can be tricked. If I am told I am in a blazing hot
desert sweating buckets and the only way to get cool is to take my shirt
off I might do that. I will not do that because I am an exhibitionist. If
I am directly told to take off my shirt first I will snap back to the here
now and next I will drop-kick the lech out of my house. Furthermore once
such a maneuver is recognized the hypnotist has utterly destroyed the
subject's trust and will have no further success with them.
NITTY GRITTY STUFF
First some things concerning speaking. The hypnotist oughtnot speak in
a monotone; not only is it unnecessary it is an annoyance. Rather she
make her voice congruent with what she's saying. If she is describing a
soothing walk on the beach under a restful sunset she ought not sound
It is useful to use a particular tone of voice when hypnotizing people.
This is helpful because soon there will be an association between The Voice
and the state. In addition it means you will not inadvertently trip an
association if you use your normal speaking voice with someone whom you
see primarily for hypnosis you are apt to zone them out just by saying
Howzit goin The Voice comes with practice and you can pick it out after a
There are definite reasons behind word choices. Sense words make
things more vivid; describe the colors textures and sounds associated with
that soothing walk on the beach. Repeating words and phrases helps
things sink in and adds rhythm to your patter. You may opt to say things
in a permissive way [in a moment you may picture yourself walking upon a
soothing beach; perhaps there is a glorious sunset coloring the sky crimson
and purple] or in an authoritative way [ You are walking on a beach. The
beach is soothing; it makes you more and more relaxed. Notice the glorious
sunset]. The choice of words is based on the situation the hypnotist's
style and most of all upon the personality and rules of the subject. Make
Synonyms for this word include credibility and rapport. Leverage makes
suggestions more effective. Things that generate leverage are accurate
descriptions of present experience and accurate descriptions of future
An accurate description of your present experience may be that your eyes
are moving across these words and you feel the keyboard beneath your
fingers and you feel the chair beneath you and you hear noises in the
background that you have not been paying much attention to until now.
An accurate description of future events can be that as you read these
words you will become aware of your left earlobe. Another is that when you
take your next really deep breath your hand may feel somewhat lighter.
I base my estimation of your awareness of your earlobe on the fact that
mentioning it almost inevitably makes you think about it. The second
assertion is much shakier in this context but stronger if you were being
hypnotised. Relax your hands on your lap for a moment and inhale deeply.
Notice how your shoulders rise a little and tug your arm up a little bit
Things that are bad for credibility are ability tests and blatant
contradictions of present experience. When you use an ability test you
run the risk of it not working. They do work for many people and sometimes
providing useful information but it is very difficult to recover
gracefully from an unsuccessful ability test. The participant may reach
the conclusion that they can not be hypnotized or that you are incapable of
hypnotizing them. Blatant contradiction of present experience as you
carefully scrutinize the upper left corner of your monitor you can become
aware of the little picture of a pink-and-purple hippopotamus. Riiight.
Now to tie these together. If you have been correct in the past few
descriptions you increase the probability you will be in the next one.
As an example presume I am being hypnotized right now. I am told about how
I feel the keyboard under my hands as my fingers dance from key to key
(correct)I glance at my scribblings to help me clarify this thought
(correct)and I hear muffled music in the background (also correct)and as
I notice these things I can feel myself becoming more and more relaxed.
The last assertion is pure speculation; there is no reason that those
should make me feel more relaxed and no real indication that I'm mellowing
out noticing these things. However the hypnotist has been right on three
counts so far. He has acquired a little credibility. My response is going
to be Sure he's been right so far why not now
This point is somewhat esoteric;if it makes sense fine. Ifit doesn't
or even if it does read Trance-Formations listed at the end of this post.
The authors go over this in detail and in a very skillful and clear
fashion. Let this stand the more accurate you are, so much the better; a
really incorrect statement or blatant failure is apt to be disruptive.
The purpose of an induction is to focus awareness on something and
gradually move through to evoking the intended results. The methods are
many and varied.
Very often the focal point is relaxation. Progressive relaxation
consists of deliberately tensing and relaxing (sometimes just relaxing)
each part of the body paying attention to releasing every bit of tension.
Descriptions of soothing surroundings or experiences are also used to
Trance-Formations describes an induction utilizing points mentioned
above. It consists of sets of six statements. The first set contains five
accurate descriptions of present experience and one abstract or
unverifiable statement (... and these things make you feel more and more
relaxed ...and while you notice them you feel a sense of security ... and
strangely enough these remind you of wrecking Aunt Milllie's car). The
next set contains four present-experiences and two abstracts; then three
present-experiences and three abstracts and so on until you're dealing with
just the abstracts.
Confusion inductions consist of confusing the hell out of someone and
then providing them with an understandable option. This confusion often
consists of ambiguous statements or plays on words. Take the words right
write rite and Wright. As you right about the right brothers you realize
you have violated the rights of those whose right this is by righting with
your right instead of your left. The intended response is a huge HUH at
which point you offer an understandable option ... and that makes you feel
really silly! The option is an escape route from all that unpleasantness
and ambiguity and therefore desirable.
Inductions take time. It is common for an induction to take ten or
twenty minutes with a participant who has not been hypnotized much before
or is unused to your style. Signs of effectiveness the participant's
responses match your description. ... and that makes you feel really silly
may be met with a smile; depictions of relaxation are matched with visible
decreases in tension. Requests to picture scenes usually evoke rapid eye
movement. If you ask your partner to do a lot of talking you will notice
changes in their manner of speaking; it becomes quieter slower perhaps a
little less well enunciated. Depending on what you ask them to say and
how familiar you are with their normal speech patterns you may notice
differences in word choices. Subjectively you or the participant may feel
more lethargic and may experience dissociation. For me that means that I
could do a lot of things like move my hand up a few inches but it would
require so much energy and I do not think it important enough at the time
to expend that energy. Also I tend to start loosing track of where I left
my limbs (tee hee); I know they're there somewhere but don't think it
important enough to bother to relocate them.
It is desirable to make series of suggestions flow as smoothly as
possible. Choppy sentences are more apt to create tension than soothe
them. Flowing sentences encourage relaxation have better rhythm to them
and can possess more leverage.
Take these three phrases You feel the chair beneath you. You see the
text on the screen. You are becoming more relaxed than ever before.
The simplest way to connect them is with plain old conjunctions. You
feel the chair beneath you AND you see the text on the screen AND you are
becoming more relaxed than ever before.
Next step up simultaneous words. AS you feel the chair beneath youyou
see the text on the screen AND AT THE SAME TIME you are becoming more
relaxed than ever before.
The most powerful way to hook up phrases is with causal words. SINCE
you feel the chair beneath you AND BECAUSE you see the text on the screen
you are becoming more relaxed than ever before.
This is the portion of the process where you accomplish the stated
purpose; the part of the game that is binding. Suggestion styles include
- Direct suggestion. This is where you flat-out say such and such is going
to happen. When you are going to bed tonight you will feel compelled to
think of purple hippos. As soon as your head touches the pillow purple
hippos will occupy your every thought.
- Indirect suggestion. Comprised of visualization and storytelling.
Visualization is just mentally creating the event. It is not
restricted to just pictures; whichever senses make it more real are the
ones you should appeal to. If you know the person is oriented to one sense
more than another, describe with them. ( See the purple hippos dancing on
your quilt. Hear them thundering up the hallway. Feel the floor shake
with their every step. ) If in doubt it can't hurt to use all of them. [
Most people favor either vision hearing or kinesthics so you needn't
necessarily go into how it tastes to chow down on purple hippo. If you
were visualizing walking in a flower garden however it makes sense to
include smell. Use what is appropriate.] Picture yourself preparing for
bed. Your teeth are brushed; the sounds of traffic are hushed; and the
pillow feels delightfully cool against your cheek. As you snuggle down
under the pillows your mind turns to thoughts of purple hippos.
Storytelling is more subtle than both direct suggestion and
visualization. You relate an event or anecdote which provides a sort of
framework for conduct.
When I was a child every night as I went to sleep I would conjure up a
rainbow zoo dancing on my bed covers. First there would be the lions as
yellow as lemons. Following them were orange alligators... [blah blah blah
through blue ostriches..] And last and best of all were the purple hippos.
They were my favorite part of the procession; I looked forward to them as
soon as my head touched the pillow. And the last thoughts on my mind were
of those purple hippos cavorting on my quilt.
If it's something really strange like the above you probably wish to
attribute it to a weird cousin or obscure newspaper clipping. Lead into
these gracefully; this example might start off with bedtime rituals in
general and in the present then remembering back to bedtime rituals as a
child then into your story. ( How many people will think of purple hippos
the night after they read this)
These should be related in an appropriately serious manner. If it's
silly sound a little silly but present it as if it's important as if you
were sharing it with a friend. If you make it sound important it will be
received as such. Go gently with them too; don't holler PURPLE HIPPOS
CAVORTING ON THE QUILT. Just weave it into its surroundings. Storytelling
is best for going sideways at something for attending to integral
corollaries of the purpose. Their power is in subtlety.
- Subliminals. It is possible to mark out certain words as you say them.
You may make a certain unobtrusive gesture change pitch or loudness
slightly glance off in a certain direction -- something small enough not to
require the participant's full-blown attention but designed so they will
be able to perceive it. This is the hardest thing for me to give an
example of because it's something I have not begun to master. If you could
possibly string the words purple hippo and bedtime together in a few
sentences that make enough sense so the listener doesn't get confused and
go back to review them then you'd mark out those particular words with a
perceivable and unique action. You'd also probably want to throw in
similar words -- lavender going to sleep late-night thoughts -- to be sure
the point gets across. Trance-Formations goes over this too; if you read
it you may find it interesting to observe your own behavior during the
Phrase suggestions as positively as possible. Don't think of purple
hippos is an utterly futile idea. Eating less is better put as being
content with smaller portions. Pain is a loaded word; use discomfort or
the presence of comfort instead. You get the idea.
Participants tend to take suggestions literally. One lady was told to
picture herself leaving the office then turning out the lights. When she
acted on this she left work. She then turned the lights off via the
circuit box. Telling someone .. and your husband is being a big pain in
the neck can translate into a nasty headache. If you're doing hypnosis at
night be careful with words about being wide awake when you're bringing
your partner back. Be as unambiguous as possible; be aware of literal
This is a good place to mention trance logic and literal mindedness.
Trance logic appears when the participant is really into it. Presume they
believe they speak only French. If you ask if they understand English the
reply will be Non. Do they know only French Oui. Literal mindedness
is illustrated by asking your partner if they can raise their right hand
and getting a response of Yes. Will they Yes. Now Yes.
Suggestions should be given at a pace that matches the participant's
breathing. It enhances rapport and is an acceptably leisurely pace.
Appeal to preferred senses.
If you're using hypnosis for habit modification when you're determining
the purpose of the session learn what is motivating the participant. If
the purpose were keeping up interest in exercise and the participant liked
jogging because it created a feeling of independence don't sell the virtues
of those neat suits and funky sneakers. Unless of course s/he likes them
If you are confused by a response ask. Doesn't hurt a bit.
If something unexpected happens stay calm. If it's an unusual action
like drumming fingers you can ask about it. You can also incorporate it
acknowledges and accepts that action. And the drumming of your
fingers makes you more and more relaxed. If someone bursts into tears
suddenly stay calm. Ask why this is happening. Ask if the participant
wants to continue and respect their reply. You can incorporate that too;
... and you feel those tears washing through you cleaning away your
anger leaving you calm and serene. Unexpected interruptions and noises
are better incorporated than ignored unless you discern from a total lack
of response that they were not important enough for the participant to pay
THERE AND BACK AGAIN
Bringing your partner back to the here-and-now is easy.
First undo any unusual suggestions that would make life unpleasant. If
you suggested numbness in a hand be sure feeling is restored. If you're
unsure do a general banishing.
Next make it clear you are concluding. And before you return to the
here and now allow yourself to bask in this feeling of relaxation.
If you look down the hall you will see a door marked EXIT.
Then conclude. When you're ready you can return to the here and now
feeling perfectly fine in every way. 1starting to return2feeling
more alert3half way there4feeling fine in every way5awake!
( Snap if you feel really showy.)
If your participant doesn't sit up and rub their eyes blearily within a
reasonable amount of time ( a couple minutes or as soon as you get to
awake! ) determine if they fell asleep. If they did it's a credit to
your ability to help others feel relaxed. Make certain they heard you and
know what the deal is. Restate it; if you do a count-up the best maneuver
is to leave the ball in their court and let them come back when they're
ready. If that seems to be taking an inordinate amount of time give
suggestions about feeling more alert prepared to come back. And as usual
you're uncertain ask!
A nice reinforcer is to gradually switch back from The Voice to your
regular voice as you conclude. With the 1-to-5 set up you might be
very quietly at one and graduate until at five your voice is somewhat
louder than usual.
Now is an excellent time to ask for feedback. Feedback will tell you
if you forgot to undo anything [ bring them back in, negate it, ask if
anything else needs undoing, bring them back out]. It will tell you how
can make your style more effective in general or with just this person. It
also acknowledges their part in the proceedings. If they're pissed off at
you for some inconsideration it is a good time to clear the air and
acknowledge the validity of their complaint.
If you both desire to create a word, gesture, mental image, whatever
that will bring the participant back to a state of deep relaxation between
the main set of purpose-suggestions and the return is the place to do it.
Select an appropriate item; state that when this item is done AND the
participant consciously desires to return to this state of deep relaxation
that it will happen. Conscious intent prevents accidentally triggering
You do NOT want it to be inadvertently activated while the participant is
driving. It might not be in their rules that they can realize the deal and
correct it; it may take vital moments for that realization to arrive; it
may take time to brush away those cobwebby feelings of deep relaxation --
don't put it to the test.
Pre-induction chats not only let you become more aware of the
participant's rules it prevents problems by letting you debunk. You might
not discover that this person believes they can reawaken only if you say
Ah-La-Peanut-Butter-Sandwiches; telling them they'll just fall asleep is a
nice margin to have.
Be trust-worthy and honorable. A gentleman tried to induce me to swig a
beer. I would not. He has been unable to hypnotise me since then; he has
lost my trust utterly. I will not risk a second chance. Not many people
This is intended to be an overview of general hypnosis. There are
really weird variants that I don't know enough about to write up. [
inducing hypnosis like as in zoning people waaaaay out without formal
inductions just talking with them. NEAT!] I left out a bunch of stuff
you will find in most books on hypnosis -- history depth categories (not
necessarily useful and specifics on applications. Go to your bookstore.
These are my rules of the Game. If you find them useful, keep them.
Hypnosis A Journey Into The Mind by Anita Anderson-Evangelista. The most
thorough beginning book on hypnosis the library possesses. Good stuff!
Trance-Formations by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Kind of esoteric,
but really neat techniques and approaches.
Frogs Into Princes, also by Bandler and Grinder. Provides information on
sense preferences, keywords, and rapport. Does not deal with hypnosis per
se but the information within applies.
Tapes or live sessions are useful for helping you pick up the pattern of
patter. They can provide new approaches and effective ways to say things.
THINGS I THOUGHT TO ADD IN THE WEE HOURS OF THE NIGHT
Presuppositions also possess leverage. A presupposition offers achoice
on the surface and at the root of it is a fundamental Given. Would you
prefer to go into a light or deep trance - the given is that the state
will manifest and it is also presumed that the participant is capable of
An induction related to the Confusion technique is overloading. Direct
the participant's awareness to as many things as possible. The human mind
can only attend to so many things; given too many it will start to withdraw
or cut down. Offer suggestions regarding relaxation along with pointing
out that they can perceive X while thinking of K. Kind of the same
principle as the confusion technique.
Another way to reinduce a hypnotic state is to ask the participant to
recall one. To answer your questions especially very specific questions
your partner re-accesses that state goes into it a little bit. Or a lot.
Depends on the person and memory. If you're working with the same person
you can ask them to review the last session. If your partner has been
hypnotised before you can ask questions about what the hypnotist said how
they were seated or lying down did the hypnotist talk in a slow drawling
manner or in an intense steady one what did s/he say what did the
participant find most effective -- anything pertaining to recreating the
experience is fine. Then you can gracefully start an induction. Ok while
you're still recalling how pleasant it was to be so deeply relaxed why
you just let your eyes close.
When you're giving the main set of suggestions repetition of the main
points is helpful. Drives the ideas home. You may wish to ask if the
suggestions were well understood from time to time.
Whenyou're giving suggestions in generalwatch the participant carefully
especially if you're describing something. You want to be on the alert for
a negative response (handy word comes fastest to mind). If you're
describing something that's really loaded, unpleasant, or plain too weird
you can see it by the participant's responses. Clenched hands tension
around the jaw hunched shoulders tensing up in general; these and anything
you recognize as a negative response are things to look out for. If you
are describing the participant as swimming in the ocean and they are phobic
of water or if Jaws is on their mind you will know it by these indicators.
Your choices are to gracefully offer alternatives (... or if you prefer
you can find yourself in a forest glade) or to inquire.
Next: Taleisin's thoughts