This theory of hypnosis is essential — because it is exactly true — and I bet none of you know it!! People are in hypnosis all day constantly. Symptom Path to Enlightenment by Rossi. Super clean. Hidden Depths, the Story of Hypnosis — this is a fine book on the history of hypnosis history is essential, especially if you plan to become a figure of history yourself. This book allow you to see what your client feels, sees, and gets from a hypnosis session.
It is better than a Pre-Talk, something you will want your clients to read. Available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. This is a great list. Amazon, here I come!
I would have thought the new encyclopedia of stage hypnotism would have been there, ormond gill , i have my voice will go with you, you also want wordweaving trevor silvester, look into my eyes peter masters.. I can imagine a top ten list of books that officially are not about hypnosis that every hypnotist should read. Cal has another book that we did read and as with every hypnosis book you should pick up at least one good idea from it.
Personally it would not be on my top 10 list. There are too many much better books. Awesome list! Having studied with John Kappas, I found his Personality theory and the tests to be huge tools for a therapist. He assisted many athletes to become quite exact in their sports through his techniques. I like all his books and kept them for reference material. I have a copy of The Encyclopedia of Stage hypnotism which is the actual copy that Paul McKenna learned hypnosis from. I have tried to return it to him without success. It is very dated but a priceless insight into the old school methods.
To be fair to Mike Mandel he does make it clear that this is a limited list and a personal choice. List posts always stimulate comments and debate. They become an integral part of the post. In total there are about 20 other recommendations in the comments. That makes around 30 in all and many more could be added. That is the value of posts like this. I believe. By Mike Mandel. Trance-formations: Neurolinguistic Programming and the Structure of Hypnosis Bandler and Grinder Out of print for a long time, this is still an excellent book.
The Collected Papers of Milton H. Erickson 4 Volumes by M. Erickson MD. Erickson Edited and with commentary by Sidney Rosen Milton Erickson was known for his remarkable, seemingly effortless therapy. Heller and Steele A small book and a quick read, but one of my favourite hypnosis books of all time. Free Power Inductions Tutorial. Watch it Here.
Hypnotherapy Dave Elman A classic in the world of directive, authoritarian, paternalistic hypnosis. Training Trances Overdurf and Silverthorn An excellent little book that will teach you much about the evolution of the Ericksonian method. Matthias Muenzer May 22, at am. Great list! Paul May 22, at am. Thanks for the list. Chris Thompson June 21, at am. Arthur July 7, at pm.
Chris Thompson August 19, at pm. The order of appearance is just random here. Robin Nichols July 3, at pm. Very good list though especially as many of these books are going up in value. Chris Thompson July 6, at pm. Joseph April 9, at am. Hidden Depths, the Story of Hypnosis — this is a fine book on the history of hypnosis history is essential, especially if you plan to become a figure of history yourself and so on.
Mike Mandel April 9, at pm. Spoken like a true Enneagram 5! Jerry was SO right about you…. Kristi December 29, at pm. That Jerry is so damned perceptive. Russell Davis August 27, at pm. Hypnotist Larry October 23, at pm. Cmoisan June 24, at pm. Tim kelly July 5, at pm. Mudfire July 7, at pm. Email me the link! Would love to buy this one. James Hazlerig August 12, at am. Influence by Robert Cialdini would be on the list. Joshua August 23, at pm. Chris Thompson August 23, at pm. Nadeen September 19, at pm.
It may tell of a person who rid himself of one symptom and developed another in its place. You usually get a grossly distorted picture of what happened, with many aspects of the case not included. It's a matter of taking [ 25 ] what you want to prove out of context. Propagandists use this technique all the time to get across their message. It's the old story of telling a half truth. Honest criticism and a sincere difference of opinion are always welcome. But criticism must be well-founded from a scientific point of view and not stem from an emotional reaction.
You have probably heard the remark, "I won't let anyone hypnotize me. To them, hypnosis represents some sort of "magic spell" which invokes a state of complete helplessness and dependency upon the hypnotist.
We previously discussed how this erroneous conception can take place because of the manner in which hypnosis is usually interwoven with bizarre fictional stories. For many, the hypnotic state represents a period in which the conscious guard is dropped. They feel they may compulsively reveal the darker side of their nature, confess their hostility or relate information they would never voluntarily divulge to anyone. This is the real danger they see in hypnosis. To protect themselves from it, they attack it. It is much like the fanatic vice crusader who militantly attacks sin in order to alleviate his own feelings of guilt stemming from the fact that vice actually attracts him.
Fear of hypnosis takes different forms, but basically it is the fear of revealing one's true feelings. An employee, for instance, at a gathering which included the employer he dislikes, would never volunteer as a subject for hypnosis if the occasion arose. He would be afraid he would do or say something which might endanger his position. Hypnosis for him would be "dangerous" because he would be afraid to take the chance.
The truth is, however, that this individual would be taking no chance. The hypnotic [ 26 ] state is not a confessional period. The subject is aware at all times of what he is saying. If the subject does not wish to pursue a line of questioning, he tells the hypnotist. If the hypnotist persisted further along this line, the subject would shake off the hypnotic state.
Another misconception about hypnosis is the widely held belief that the subject is unconscious. This represents a threat to the security of the individual. Actually, the hypnotic state is a period of extreme awareness in which the subject is hyperacute. Furthermore, the subject is not asleep, nor is he in a trance state in the correct meaning of that term. He is in an altered state of awareness with his faculties and reasoning ability intact. Inducing hypnosis merely creates a mood or state in which the powers of suggestibility are heightened. When the general public and the medical profession become familiar with the true nature of hypnosis, we shall have a greater acceptance and utilization of this power.
It is a slow process but one which will finally evolve. In the final analysis, I believe the only danger that exists is in the mind of the individual who fears hypnosis because of whatever subjective qualms he has about his own emotional involvement in the hypnotic process. Of course, all persons using hypnosis for the alleviation of pain should consult their family physician. Pain is nature's way of indicating that something is wrong with the organism. It would be foolish to suggest that a pain in the stomach will disappear when this may be a sign of a needed appendix operation.
The same may be said of constant migraine headaches. It must be determined that the headache is not a symptom of a brain tumor or some other pathological condition. It may be of interest to know that hypnosis is presently being used to relieve pain in [ 27 ] terminal cancer patients.
There is an excellent article on this subject, and I recommend it to doctors reading this book. There are at present several thousand dentists throughout the country using hypnosis. They have formed their own society and publish a quarterly journal, The Journal of the American Society of Psychosomatic Dentistry. An excellent article is "Danger! Hypnotherapist at Work" by M. He concludes: "It is the author's opinion, based on an extensive personal experience of over 15 years, that the use of hypnotherapy by a physician or dentist who has been properly trained and who uses this technique strictly within his field of competence carries with it no more and probably less 'danger' than the use of many other techniques of treatment used in medicine today.
Price: 75 cents. Hennepin Co. George Estabrooks, professor of psychology at Colgate University and author of the book, Hypnotism , made the following two statements in a paper called "The Future of Hypnosis" given as part of a program on "The Nature of Hypnosis" at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in In this respect, direct suggestion is under the ban.
For example, a dictum, 'Never remove the symptom unless the cause is understood,' is much emphasized. Its validity is greatly open to question, since much of medical practice is direct symptom removal, as only a little thought makes apparent. Reasonable and thoughtful consideration of the extensive role of the unconscious [ 30 ] in daily living and functioning renders this dictum much less creditable. I should like to discuss both of these statements in some detail as they invariably arise in the mind of the individual seeking help through hypnosis. The first thought that comes to mind is that all the religious healings cited in the Bible involve direct symptom removal.
The cures that are effected by religious devotees traveling to sacred shrines are also in the realm of direct symptom removal. I have yet to hear a criticism of this type of treatment directed at religious leaders or condemnation of the religious shrines. These cures are accepted as evidence of the power of faith or attributed to the super-natural. In these cases, nothing is ever done to make the person cured understand the nature of the unconscious mechanisms which contributed to his problem.
Religious healing cannot be dismissed by merely saying, "It isn't scientific. It is of no value if it doesn't help the individual seeking help. We must face the fact that not all people can be helped by the same psychological treatment. We can readily see this in the following extreme example: An aborigine suffering from a psychological problem certainly wouldn't be a candidate for psychoanalysis as we know it. He could, no doubt, be helped much more readily by a witch doctor. It also stands to reason that the sophisticated Westerner would not be influenced by the incantations of a tribal medicine man.
Going further, we find there are many schools of psychotherapy and many approaches to solving man's emotional problems. The cure rate for all of them, however, is approximately the same. I think we must accept the fact that there is no one sound, logical, scientific approach. The goal of all therapies is to help the patient free himself from whatever emotional problems beset him. This approach, to some readers, may seem an oversimplification of a very complex problem, but I think it's time that we had a simple, workable formula devoid of technical jargon.
Too often, complex technical terms and theories have been glibly used to explain away failures. I believe we need more and more emphasis on measures to make the patient feel better rather than spending most of the time trying to find out why he doesn't feel well. This, of course, is symptom removal again. I should like to point out an interesting fact pertaining to Biblical healers.
So long as the fame of the healer preceded his arrival in any country, he was able to heal the sick. However, where his fame as a healer was either unknown or discredited, he found no faith and subsequently no cure. The earliest reference to hypnosis is in the Bible, Genesis ii, William Malamud, 86th president of the American Psychiatric Association, in an address delivered at the annual meeting in , stated the following in a paper called "Psychiatric Research: Setting and Motivation":. This trend, which could be characterized as a 'cult of objectivity,' has already had an important influence on psychiatric research.
It is true that in its emphasis on critical judgment and valid criteria, it has helped to curb unrestrained flights of imagination and sloppy methodology. But the overglorification [ 32 ] of objectivity and the insistence on rigidly single standards of acceptable methods have resulted in a concentration on certain phases of the science of human behavior at the expense of other very important ones.
I believe that most individuals have a fairly good understanding of how they came to have the problem that they have. I have yet to encounter the person who protests he has no idea why he doesn't function as he would like to in a certain area. From a practical standpoint, not many have the time nor money required to delve into the unconscious background of the problem. The high cost of treatment is a very real objection and cannot be discounted lightly.
People suffering from emotional problems usually suffer financial reverses as well. Who is to help these people? There are very few places in the country where they can receive competent psychiatric help at a reasonable fee. Is there this type of help in your own community? It is only when the individual is destitute that the state provides whatever help it can.
However, at this point it's a long hard struggle back to good emotional health. The National Association for Mental Health and its affiliates issue about 10 million copies of different pamphlets on various aspects of mental health. To assess the value of these pamphlets, 47 mental hygiene experts held a conference at Cornell University. A report on this outstanding conference has been published.
This is a different matter. Many unhappy and problem-ridden people, though by no means all who have tried it, have profited from psychotherapy. Indeed, all the mental health pamphlets, as a postscript to the self-help methods they advocate, wind up by advising the reader to seek professional care if his problems are serious enough. But the skeptics at Cornell cited statistics which to them show that psychiatric treatment is as remote for the average person as a trip to the moon.
Aside from the expense, which most people would find prohibitive, there simply are not enough therapists to go around. The U. If everybody with emotional problems decided to see a psychiatrist, the lines at the doctors' offices would stretch for miles. I assume that most readers of this book know that state hospitals are understaffed and unable to provide proper care for the mentally ill. In this book he tells us that every other hospital bed in the United States is occupied by a mental case.
Mental illness costs the country two and a half billion dollars a year besides the more important untold human suffering that can never be equated in dollars. The book is a shocking story of how we have let this happen; are still letting it happen; and of how little, for the most part, we, the general public as well as the medical and psychological professions, are doing to correct this deplorable situation.
It is time that we re-examined the dictums that say a symptom can never be removed unless the cause is understood and the unconscious background of symptom-complexes [ 34 ] must be made conscious and understood before a cure is effected. There are many positive thinking groups functioning in the religious field. Many of these religious groups are in existence primarily because of the dynamic philosophy or psychology they offer for every day living.
Couple this with a strong faith in God, and you have a combination which approaches infallibility. Recently we have had a series of best-selling books which expound this very theme. Does it work? Of course it does when used properly. You can be sure that there has been criticism of this religious psychology.
The criticism is that the basic causes of the problem are never dealt with and the unconscious conflict is not resolved. It's the same argument over and over again. What about the people helped? They seem to have made tremendous strides and are leading lives as well adjusted as anyone else. Once imbued with this spirit or feeling of well-being, it permeates every phase of their relationships in a constructive manner. The only reason that there isn't more criticism is that this type of psychotherapy is incorporated into the religious tenets of these groups, and criticizing another man's religion makes the detractor's entire philosophy unacceptable.
I am strongly in favor of these groups because I would prefer having a religion that keeps pointing out the positive side of life and that "life can be beautiful" if you put your faith in God and practice positive thinking. It is certainly better than the cynical philosophy of its detractors or the grim religions which stress punishment. Think of the guilt feelings involved in the latter. No one can live up to such a formidable creed. Of course, if you suggest to positive thinking, religious individuals that they are using a form of self-hypnosis, [ 35 ] they will emphatically deny and debate the issue.
Since we are primarily interested in mental hygiene and not in winning a debate, it is well to leave the matter as it stands. The point to keep in mind is that so long as a person feels that this methodology is the answer to his needs and so long as no one is being hurt by his belief, I feel he should cling to his conviction. He should not allow it to be destroyed by those who are thinking in different semantic terms.
I would like to bring up another common example pertaining to the two basic concepts that we have been discussing. It is the example of the many individuals who have taken public speaking courses to overcome stage fright. In most cases, the person involved hasn't had too much opportunity to be a public speaker. Because of this, he suddenly feels he may not say the right thing or forget what he wants to say. This anxiety can create the very situation or block that he fears.
What is the solution? Certainly not psychoanalysis to find out why he functions the way he does. You could use this approach, but I don't think it's the most constructive one. It is like asking, "What am I doing that's wrong? Before proceeding further, I believe it is necessary to point out that I am not just being critical of the convictions of other sincere and dedicated individuals engaged in the field of mental hygiene.
It is always good to re-evaluate our present thinking on any subject, no matter how sincere or convinced we may be that what we are doing is correct. At times, we can become so immersed in our convictions that we cannot take criticism and respond [ 36 ] emotionally to ideas or interpretations that do not coincide with logical thinking. What, then, is the answer to mental health problems? There is no single answer. It is a very complex situation. There are many promising drugs and treatments which, if adequately developed and widely used, could do a great deal toward promoting good mental health.
Fundamentally, the problem will always be that of trying to understand human behavior and helping those in distress with an efficacious formula. What is that formula?
Customer Reviews See All. In a very short time you can have the fun of performing for friends and family. According to Will Durant , hypnotism as a tool for health seems to have originated with the Hindus of ancient India , who often took their sick to the temples to be cured by hypnotic suggestion or "temple sleep,"   a practice of staying at night at a temple for meditational self-observance and communication with the gods, called Nidra in India. Dave Elman — helped to promote the medical use of hypnosis from until his heart attack in Johann Joseph Gassner — , a Catholic priest of the time, believed that disease was caused by evil spirits and could be exorcised by incantations and prayer.
I believe hypnosis can contribute in part to the answer. Needless to say, hypnosis is contraindicated in many emotional problems because of the very nature of the problem itself. Some emotional difficulties must first be worked out on a conscious level. After this, hypnosis can be instrumental in achieving the final goal.
Frank S. Caprio, a prominent psychiatrist, in his book, Helping Yourself with Psychiatry , states the following: "A whole new world of self-confidence and positive living is open to every person, young and old, through hypnosis, self-hypnosis and self-suggestion or auto-hypnosis.
There's an old Chinese proverb that states: "One picture is worth a thousand words. For example, it isn't sufficient to say, "I will be confident. If you say, "I can't visualize myself as a confident person because I have never been that way," you can "borrow" those personality traits that you want for yourself. Imagine yourself endowed with the characteristics of some confident person that you know. The qualities that you seek may even be borrowed from a famous person.
If this isn't possible, make up a personality which is a composite of all the things you want to be. See yourself walking, talking and carrying on activities. Keep fortifying this image with the mental suggestions that are needed. It won't be long before these mental impressions give rise to the confident [ 38 ] feelings that you seek.
As you keep implanting these images, they will become a natural part of your conscious personality. He calls it "'3-D' Technique in Medical Hypnotherapy. Incidentally, the same procedure can be used in attaining the hypnotic state itself. You see yourself entering the state of hypnosis in your initial attempts. This, in turn, sets up a conditioned response and a favorable emotional reaction which is necessary.
In this method, after the cause of the trouble has been discovered and as a part of his re-education, the patient is instructed while under only light hypnosis to 'form a picture' in his mind. He is asked to imagine a movie screen and to see himself 'just like an actor' on this screen playing a part. He is told that the picture looks 'very real'—'3-D' in fact—and that he can see himself acting and looking the way he really wants to look and act. Various scenes are suggested such as In each he is instructed to see himself—'as in real life'—always succeeding.
For instance, the stammerer might be asked to picture himself speaking easily to people, and feeling perfectly at ease. The patient is also instructed how to form these 'success pictures' for himself, and it is stressed that [ 39 ] he will only be able to see himself as he wants to be—successful. Since the pictures give rise to the appropriate feelings, it is not long before the patient begins to show the benefit of his private '3-D' film shows. After explaining this technique to students, many have inquired, "Is that all there is to it?
It seems so simple. This is one of the difficult aspects of this type of program. Let me enumerate some of the problems I have encountered in teaching self-hypnosis. As mentioned, one of the difficulties is that the technique seems too simple. Students become skeptical. They feel it should be more complicated and involved in order to get results. I suppose people better appreciate something that comes only after a hard struggle. This procedure is devoid of this. Of course, I am not saying that once a person begins to use this technique his problems will automatically vanish and his life will be cheery forever after.
We have been conditioned to think that success in anything can only come after a long, hard struggle. This is the basic theme of the American way of life. We have been accustomed to believe that conflict and struggle are part of life and large doses of it are necessary before we achieve success in any field. I can only reiterate that the information contained in this book is all you need to get results. It is necessary that you follow through and not give up after you have tried the program for a short while and have obtained no appreciable results. This brings us to another point.
Many persons expect immediate results when they begin to use self-hypnosis. If they don't get the results they anticipated immediately, they want to know "what's [ 40 ] wrong? Certainly, one doesn't become a proficient typist, musician, actor or sportsman because he has mastered the basic techniques. It takes time to acquire proficiency. Let me assure you that anyone using and applying this technique can benefit from it.
One of the troubles in dealing with any problem is routing defeatism and hopelessness. You can incorporate posthypnotic corrective measures in the suggestions that you give yourself. However, I believe that they must be dealt with on a conscious level as well. You must believe that you can conquer your difficulties no matter how long you have had them. If you are prepared to work with self-hypnosis in an unremitting manner, you will achieve the self-help that you seek.
Now and then, you can anticipate a setback in your progress, but this needn't discourage you from your overall task. Recount the progress already made. If you have a "let-down" because you expected quicker and more dramatic results, remember that this is a common feeling shared by many with emotional problems. Remember, also, how long you have had the problem. No doubt, you have tried other methods and became discouraged because you weren't making the progress you had anticipated.
You dropped the idea and landed back where you started. Make up your mind, consciously, that you will work with untiring sincerity and a perseverance that will not falter because your chosen goal is not achieved immediately. I know of no therapy that leads straight to positive results without obstacles and intermittent failure. Success comes in spite of intervening failures because the ultimate direction has been clearly thought out and charted. Self-hypnosis will finally work because [ 41 ] you are constantly conditioning your subconscious to react in a positive, constructive manner.
The program must, of necessity, become automatic in nature. When it does, you will suddenly find yourself feeling the way you wanted to and doing the things that you set out to do with the aid of self-hypnosis. You actually cultivate those feelings that you want. Hypnosis will not work with skeptics. Every so often such a person comes to my office seeking help. He tells me that his family physician or his spouse feels he should take my course in self-hypnosis.
I inquire if he feels he might benefit from the course. If his answer is not positive, and if after talking to him at length about the benefits of hypnosis, I still feel he is not ready for the course, I suggest another mode of treatment for him. The reason for this is that unless the person is optimistic and enthusiastic about self-hypnosis, it just isn't going to work as effectively as it would otherwise. The very nature of a skeptical attitude limits the constructive forces that we wish to harness. Occasionally, individuals want indisputable proof that hypnosis is going to help them.
It is impossible to give them the proof and unqualified reassurance that they seek. Yet, these same people do not require proof from their physicians. No one can guarantee success. However, I do point out that the continued and intelligent use of self-hypnosis can be instrumental in directing the healing, curative, constructive forces of nature. Many times, a metaphysical rather than a scientific approach is required. It's a matter of trying to satisfy the patient's needs. At times, it is helpful to allow the patient to attend a class in self-hypnosis.
Being able to communicate and identify with other individuals seeking self-hypnosis often is enough to change his attitude. This is [ 42 ] especially true when one or more of the students relates dramatic changes. Self-hypnosis works because we are able to condition ourselves to various stimuli. We condition ourselves consciously and unconsciously to many activities.
When we experience anxiety, it stems from a conditioning process which could have been conscious or unconscious. In self-hypnosis, the individual consciously works toward implementing and strengthening his own inherent strength and resources. These objectives, when attained, result in feelings of confidence, relaxation, self-mastery and well-being. Furthermore, hypnosis utilizes a natural mental process. We all know that placebos work admirably in numerous cases. The dictionary defines the word placebo as, "an inactive substance or preparation, administered to please or gratify a patient, also used in controlled studies to determine the efficiency of medicinal substances.
Several years ago many such tests were carried out with antihistamines to prevent colds. The results were always the same. We are interested in what makes the placebo act as effectively as the true medication. It stands to reason that a chain reaction is set up, actually causing a physiological result from a psychological reaction.
The unsuspecting patient declares, "I've never felt so good in my life. A recent scientific study by one of the leading pharmaceutical houses concluded that one third of the effectiveness of any medication depends upon the faith and trust that the patient has [ 43 ] in the prescribing physician. I am sure that the placebo results and the patient's faith in the physician as contributing factors to the effectiveness of medications do not come as a revelation.
We are all aware of such information. Our problem is how to harness this unconscious process for constructive goals. The answer is through self-hypnosis. Self-hypnosis, as we have explained it, uses a technique called visual-imagery. This has been referred to by many different names, but for our purposes we'll call it visual-imagery.
Within this technique lies one of the keys for achieving the goals that you want. There have been many famous books written incorporating this technique as a basis for achievement. Bristol and The Power of Positive Thinking , already mentioned, have become well-known. I am sure the older readers of this book have heard of his famous saying, which I will repeat here for emphasis.
As the reader can deduce, we are not theorizing about a startling new discovery. The technique is as ancient as man himself and his dream of a better tomorrow. All books using the visual-imagery technique tell you to paint a vivid, mental picture of the material things you wish to acquire, if it is a case of material wealth.
For personal improvement, they tell you to paint a vivid picture of the [ 44 ] individual you want to be. In most cases, you are told to do this in a relaxed or meditative state with as few distractions as possible. The next two requirements are constant repetition conditioning and a "burning desire" motivation to achieve what you set out to do.
Aren't these books really talking about self-hypnosis? Aren't they describing precisely the techniques of self-hypnosis? The terminology is different, but the approach is the same. With these techniques there is an aim to direct thinking, picturization, positive thinking, suggestions and constructive thoughts or images to the "inner self" or "real self. I have no argument with any workable approach to emotional maturity, but in many cases we are actually becoming involved with the meaning of words semantics.
The quickest way to the subconscious is through self-hypnosis. In this self-hypnotic state, you are able to consciously direct suggestions to your subconscious mind. You will note that this chapter precedes instruction on how to attain self-hypnosis. The reason for this is to alleviate whatever anxiety you may have in regard to the question, "If I'm hypnotized, how do I awaken myself? It is only necessary to say or think, "I shall now open my eyes and wake up feeling fine.
It should be remembered that while we sometimes use the word "sleep" to describe the hypnotic state, we are not actually referring to true sleep. This accounts for much of the confusion. The individual thinks, "If I'm asleep, how can I awaken myself? Actually, the subject is in a special or heightened state of awareness. In self-hypnosis, he is extremely conscious although his general physical appearance is one of passiveness.
In the self-hypnotic state, the individual consciously gives himself whatever suggestions he desires. This proves he is conscious and, therefore, can awaken himself with the appropriate suggestions. Occasionally, the subject falls asleep while giving himself suggestions or while relaxing to get into the right psychological mood. Naturally, in this case, the subject will awaken in due course.
If the subject practices hypnosis when he is normally set to fall asleep in bed, he would awaken refreshed in the morning at his usual time. Before beginning to give yourself therapeutic suggestions, you could give yourself the following suggestions which give you a specific length of time that you will work with self-hypnosis:.
At the end of that time, I shall open my eyes and wake up feeling wonderfully well, wide awake, confident, cheerful and optimistic. The moment I open my eyes, I'll feel refreshed. In case of any outside danger, I'll be able to awaken immediately, be fully alert and act accordingly. You will notice that these suggestions take into consideration the possibility of something happening of danger to the individual, such as fire, etc. These points arise in the minds of most individuals attempting self-hypnosis and are well taken.
You could also set an alarm clock to awaken you at a designated time. Let us assume to arouse yourself you gave yourself a suggestion to open your eyes and be wide awake at the count of five. You count to five and for some reason [ 47 ] you are unable to open your eyes. Remain relaxed and give yourself the suggestions over again, emphasizing to yourself that at the count of five you will absolutely, positively be able to open your eyes very easily and will feel fine.
You then begin the count again reiterating between each number that you will positively open your eyes at the count of five and be wide awake. This should do it. Relax for a few minutes and try again. You'll be able to open your eyes and wake up. I hope I haven't frightened you with the prospect of not being able to awaken. I bring this up only to acquaint you with the procedure to use.
Actually, the problem of dehypnotization is a rare one. I should point out a very important fact. I have never had a subject practicing or using self-hypnosis tell me he had the least bit of difficulty in awakening himself from the self-induced hypnotic state. I have had persons tell me that they heard or read of a case where the hypnotist could not bring the subject out of the hypnotic state, and, as a result, the subject slept for so many days.
Not one of the stories could be documented. Years ago, for publicity purposes, stage hypnotists would have a subject sleep in a store window for several days. This was on a voluntary basis, though, and should not be confused with what we are discussing. In working with subjects, I have very rarely had a subject who did not awaken at a specific count, but I have had this experience. I have usually found that the subject is so relaxed that he just didn't want to awaken for fear of losing this pleasant sensation. When the subject doesn't awaken, I merely ask him in a calm manner, "Why don't [ 48 ] you wish to wake up?
You can answer me without awakening from the hypnotic state. I agree to this extended period while getting a firm commitment from him that he will awaken after this period. This is usually sufficient to bring the subject out of the hypnotic state. Occasionally, the instructions to wake up are not clear to the subject. If this is the case, clearer instructions should be given.
You could also deepen the hypnotic state and then give suggestions to awaken at a specific count in a very authoritarian manner. Every so often, I have found that the subject has fallen into a natural sleep and just hasn't heard the instructions. In this case I raise my voice which is usually sufficient or gently shake the subject awakening him as you would any sleeping person. I would like to relate a rather interesting experience that I had with a male subject. I had worked with this particular subject six times previous to this occasion.
He was a good hypnotic subject, and he failed to awaken in the usual manner. Since he had carried out several posthypnotic suggestions, it was rather perplexing to analyze what had happened. After about ten minutes, he finally agreed while he was under hypnosis to awaken at a given count. I asked him what was the nature of the difficulty. He replied, "I wanted to see how you would react. In conclusion, having difficulty in dehypnotizing yourself is extremely rare.
Should it happen, keep calm , and repeat the suggestions with emphasis. Even in hetero-hypnosis, where the hypnotist hypnotizes a subject, it is extremely rare. There are explainable psychodynamic factors for this. However, they can be met adequately while the subject is under hypnosis. Let us begin with the hypothesis that anyone can learn and practice, to some degree, the science of self-hypnosis.
We shall assume that you have carefully thought out what you want to accomplish. You have, through self-analysis, come up with reasonable goals of therapy and self-improvement. The next step is the acquisition of the hypnotic state, per se. Before giving you the specific instructions, I would like to clarify a question which invariably arises in teaching a student self-hypnosis. It is: "Are the suggestions that I give myself as effective as the ones you would give me in hetero-hypnosis?
It is natural to assume that the suggestions of the hypnotist would be more effective than those given by the subject himself, but both have the same intrinsic value. It is well to remember that all hypnosis is really self-hypnosis, and all hetero-suggestions are transposed into self-suggestions. If the hypnotist firmly suggests, "From this moment, you [ 50 ] will feel very confident in all life situations," the subject automatically and unconsciously rephrases the statement, "From this moment, I will feel very confident in all life situations.
The easiest and quickest way to learn self-hypnosis is to be hypnotized and given a posthypnotic suggestion to the effect that you will be able to put yourself into the hypnotic state at a given stimulus whenever you desire to do so. The hypnotist need not be a professional. Anyone understanding the rudiments of hypnosis can do this. However, let us assume you want to learn self-hypnosis and cannot find help. If you understand and consciously practice the instructions that I shall outline, you will attain your goal. Sit in an easy chair or recline on a sofa or bed. Next, choose a point of eye fixation on the ceiling, preferably a spot behind you which would normally cause eye fatigue or strain.
Now, breathe very slowly and deeply. As you do this, repeat, aloud or mentally, the word "sleep" as you inhale and "deep sleep" as you exhale. Do this for several minutes in a very monotonous manner until such time as you find yourself getting drowsy. Next, suggest to yourself that your eyelids are becoming heavy and tired. The goal is to acquire eye closure using this method. You want to reach a state where it is uncomfortable to keep the eyes open. Once you get your eyes closing, seemingly of their own volition, you have reached the first step in achieving self-hypnosis.
You can repeat to yourself such suggestions as, "My eyelids are becoming very heavy and tired My eyes are becoming very watery My eyelids are blinking I just [ 51 ] want to close my eyes The moment I close my eyelids, I shall fall into a deep, sound, hypnotic sleep Even though in a deep state of hypnosis, I shall be aware of my surroundings and be able to direct posthypnotic suggestions to my subconscious mind.
When your eyelids actually become heavy or when your eyes actually begin to water, you intensify these feelings by repeating affirmative suggestions along these very lines. This is known as "the feed-back technique" and helps to reinforce the actual condition that exists. Proceeding in this way hastens the actual closing of the eyes and attainment of the hypnotic state, per se.
Let us assume that you practice this procedure and seemingly nothing happens. Continue to practice it again and again until such time as you are able to achieve an eye closure. You will eventually be able to do this within a relatively short period of time. One of the best times to practice the technique just given is when you are falling asleep at night.
The lights are out and you are lying in bed. Choose an imaginary spot above and behind your eye level so there is some strain on the eye muscles. Now begin giving yourself suggestions that your eyelids are becoming heavy, etc. The reason this period is such an excellent time to practice self-hypnosis is that the suggestions you give yourself spill over into your subconscious as you drift from consciousness to unconsciousness. It's like telling yourself to wake up at a certain time in the morning. The suggestion reaches your subconscious and activates you consciously to waken.
Using this approach, you can give yourself dynamic, constructive suggestions at this time as well as giving yourself the posthypnotic suggestion that the next time you practice self-hypnosis, you will fall into a deeper, [ 52 ] sound, hypnotic state at the count of three. You also emphasize that your eyelids will close involuntarily whenever you relax for five minutes and afterwards count to three. This conditioning process will be augmented by the use of the sleep period. The suggestions will tend to work unconsciously during this period and hasten your attainment of the constructive goals as well as the self-hypnotic goal itself.
Once you have achieved eye closure, deepen the hypnotic state by the following suggestions: "As I count to three, I shall go deeper and deeper into a profound, hypnotic state. As I count to three, I shall find myself becoming more and more relaxed. As I count to three, I shall fall into a deep, hypnotic sleep. In doing this, you take on the characteristics of a deeply hypnotized subject. Part of the difficulty in learning self-hypnosis is that the subject is aiming at a state of mind in which he has no experience.
If I say, "Act happy" or "Act sad," there is an immediate reaction from your experiential background, and you can react accordingly. If you have never seen anyone hypnotized and I say, "Act as though you were hypnotized," you must, of necessity, act in a manner that you would assume approximated that of hypnosis.
If you had actually seen someone hypnotized, you would naturally take on the characteristics you had observed. This would either be done consciously or unconsciously. Some individuals describe the hypnotic state as a state of "complete relaxation. Some get a "floating" [ 53 ] or "drifting" feeling, likening the experience to lying on deep clouds. Others experience a heavy, pleasant, "sinking" feeling. Still others get a feeling of "peace and serenity. Yet, there are some who do not feel a definite change. They describe it by saying, "I just felt that I had my eyes closed.
I heard everything and was completely aware at all times. You have now reached the point where your eyes are closed, and you have given yourself further suggestions to deepen the state of hypnosis. This has taken from about six to ten minutes. You are not sure, though, that you are under hypnosis.
There are many ways to test this, and I shall outline one of these tests later in this chapter; however, for your initial attempts, it isn't too important whether or not you are under hypnosis. You are still to give yourself the posthypnotic suggestion that the next time you attempt to hypnotize yourself you will fall into a deeper and sounder state after you have relaxed for about five minutes and counted to three. In your initial attempts, you will be trying to establish a conditioned response to the count of three which will subsequently cause your eyes to close and put you under hypnosis.
Eventually, you should react instantly to the count of three or any other cue you may use to trigger the response. The key words or stimulus become associated with the action that you seek. Through repetition, just thinking about the stimulus can bring on the response. This is known as ideomotor action and is present in the [ 54 ] waking as well as the hypnotic state.
Pavlov's famous experiments which induced dogs to salivate when a bell was rung after previously having had food fed to them at the same time are examples of this type of conditioning. Don't we generally become hungry if someone tells us it's noon and time for lunch when, in fact, it's only 11 o'clock? I had a common experience recently that I am sure many readers have shared. One of my neighbors, seeing my car was parked in front of my house and knowing I was home, called to say he was dropping in to see me.
While working on the manuscript of this book, I thought I heard the doorbell as I was typing. I went to the front door and no one was there. I even walked around the house looking for him because I was so certain I heard the bell. This is another example of an ideomotor action. I told my friend about it when he arrived approximately 30 minutes later. He looked at me rather whimsically, and we both shared a laugh. Haven't you thought you heard the phone ring when you were waiting for a call? In the chapter, "How Does Self-Hypnosis Work," stress was laid on the importance of the visual-imagery technique.
During every attempt to achieve self-hypnosis, you attempt to visualize yourself going into the hypnotic state. Once you have deepened the state, you begin the process of visualizing yourself exactly the way you want to be. You may experience difficulty at first, but as you keep at it, you will be able to picture yourself the way you want. You use the visual-imagery technique whether you think you are under hypnosis or not.
These images become clear as you constantly hammer home these suggestions. This is the exact procedure necessary, and you needn't complicate it. Let us suppose that you are getting your eyelids to close at the count of three and have achieved a good state of relaxation. With these prerequisites, you can anticipate going deeper into the hypnotic state. Actually, being able to get the eyes to close at a specific count is the first test in determining if the subject has gone under hypnosis. If you have conditioned yourself this far, then you can go to the next step. The next test is called the "swallowing" test.
You mentally give yourself suggestions that as you slowly, to yourself, count to 10, you will get an irresistible urge to swallow one time. You further suggest that this will happen even before you reach the count of You then begin the count. My throat is parched, and I feel an irresistible urge to swallow one time. My lips are becoming very dry, and I feel an irresistible urge to swallow. My throat feels very dry, and I feel an irresistible urge to swallow one time.
Before I reach the count of 10, the urge to swallow one time will become irresistible because my lips and throat are so dry. Once I swallow, I shall no longer have the urge to swallow again, and as I swallow one time, I shall fall into a deeper and sounder state of hypnosis. Once you actually swallow, you discontinue the suggestions and, instead, give yourself suggestions that you are falling deeper and deeper into a sound hypnotic state and that the constructive suggestions you now give yourself will work for you.
Once again you practice visual-imagery, seeing yourself the way you want to be, while fortifying this image with forceful, positive suggestions. You close by giving yourself suggestions that you will enter the hypnotic state whenever you relax for five minutes and count to three. The suggestions are just as effective whether given aloud or mentally. Many subjects report that they are reluctant when it comes to giving suggestions to themselves. I can only say that as you continue to work with yourself, you will develop confidence in giving yourself suggestions. In order for the suggestions to be effective, they cannot be given in a reticent or hesitant manner.
They must be given with enthusiasm and anticipation. If you assiduously follow these instructions, you will derive the benefits you seek in the shortest possible time and witness the positive, tangible results of your suggestions and efforts. In the next chapter, you'll learn how to deepen the self-hypnotic state. For each progressive test, it is usually necessary to have accomplished the preceding tests.
However, this is not an absolute rule. Frequently, a subject responds to tests at the beginning of the depth scale and then to others at the end of the depth scale. Certain tests in between do not work. I have had the following experience more than once while teaching one of my classes in self-hypnosis. In testing the depth of hypnosis, I run the gamut of all of the tests from light to deep.
In this way, the subject can ascertain how far he has progressed.
One frequent test for the deep state is to give the subject a posthypnotic suggestion to the effect that the next cigarette he smokes will have a vile taste and it will be absolutely impossible for him to take more than three puffs. It is further suggested that after the third puff, the cigarette taste will be so unbearable it will become necessary for him to extinguish the cigarette.
We can expect an excellent hypnotic subject to comply with these posthypnotic suggestions, but a subject who [ 58 ] hasn't even passed the eye closure test test No. How can you account for it? There is no simple or positive answer. If we hadn't given him this particular test, he would have felt that he wasn't making progress in his determination to become a good hypnotic subject.
Because of this, he might not have given himself therapeutic suggestions because he would feel he hadn't reached a state of hypnosis which would benefit him. Remember, follow the instructions of giving yourself whatever therapeutic suggestions you want, regardless of the fact that you feel that "nothing has happened.
They were baffled because of their inability to pass certain tests which they felt were a prerequisite to the success of constructive suggestions they gave themselves. It is commonly felt that the deeper the state of hypnosis, the better the results. In actual practice, I have not found this to be so.
I have had excellent results in a relatively short period of time with subjects who only achieved a light state, and it has been necessary to work with others who achieved a deep state of hypnosis for a longer period before lasting results were in evidence. Naturally, each individual presents a different set of needs and even though the symptoms may be basically the same, each will respond favorably when his requirements are met. This happens on a conscious as well as unconscious level.
For example, the mere assurance by a physician that the patient is all right and has nothing to worry about is [ 59 ] often sufficient to bring about desirable results. Another example is the mother who stops the sobbing of her hurt child by a loving kiss.
A logical approach, pointing out to the child that he really didn't hurt himself, would never have worked. We have all heard stories of primitive tribesmen who have died because they knew they were the objects of "death wishes" by another member of the tribe. The key to achieving a greater depth of self-hypnosis lies in the use of the visual-imagery technique.
You "see" yourself going into the hypnotic state deeper and deeper. You even picture yourself, using this technique, passing various progressive hypnotic tests. The second part of the key lies in giving yourself a posthypnotic suggestion that each succeeding attempt will put you into a deeper state as a result of a given stimulus—such as the count of three. The following instructions should not be attempted usually unless you have been successful in achieving the two basic tests—the eye closure as well as the uncontrollable urge to swallow followed by the physical act of swallowing at a specific count.
If the conditioning process works for these two tests, you have achieved the lethargic state of hypnosis. This is the first state of hypnosis and is generally referred to as the "light" state. Therapeutic suggestions can work admirably in this state. The next stage of hypnosis is known as the cataleptic state and is referred to as the "medium" state. Generally, hypnosis is divided into three states: the lethargic light state ; the cataleptic medium state ; and the somnambulistic deep state. As you deepen the hypnotic state, you can accomplish the progressive tests that I shall outline for you.
I'll also number these tests for the convenience of having a reference. Deepening the hypnotic state requires the same type [ 60 ] of practice or conditioning as the first two steps. Let us call eye closure—No. We are now ready to proceed to the "hand tingling" test—No. You have just completed tests No. Now give yourself the following suggestions: "As I count to ten and even before I reach the count of ten, I shall feel a light tingling or numb feeling in my right hand.
Once again, you practice the technique of visual-imagery, tapping your experiential background for this feeling. You can recall how it feels when your hand goes to sleep. Once you get an initial feeling of lightness, tingling or numbness, reinforce this feeling by the feed-back technique as you did with the eye closure test. As you practice this procedure, it will work with greater effectiveness. The following is a very important point to remember.
Be sure that you give yourself a posthypnotic suggestion that the tingling, light or numb sensation will disappear as you continue to count to For example, "As I count to 15, the tingling feeling in my right hand will disappear, and I shall experience only normal sensations. The tingling feeling is leaving. Now it is leaving faster. I can feel my hand returning to normal.
The tingling feeling has left. My right hand feels perfectly normal. Once this test is accomplished, you are ready for the "foot" test—No. You will remember that the key to achieving a greater depth of hypnosis lies in visualizing yourself going deeper [ 61 ] with each attempt and accomplishing progressive hypnotic tests. Keep this in mind. For a moment, let us go back to the hand tingling test—No. Once you have been successful in accomplishing this test, use the visual-imagery technique to see yourself successfully responding to the foot test.
When you have actually accomplished test No. In other words, you use each step to enhance a greater receptivity for the following progressive test. As you couple this approach with posthypnotic suggestions that you will go deeper and deeper into the hypnotic state at a given stimulus, you set into motion a conditioned response mechanism which must ultimately guide you into a profound state of hypnosis.
The foot test can be accomplished while sitting or lying down.