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What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis: Fact and Fiction
Is Hypnosis Dangerous?
Deepening the Hypnotic Trance
Testing the Hypnotic Trance
Rules of the Mind
The Power of Creative Imagination
How to Set Realistic Goals
You Can Learn to Relax
Glossary of Terms
Finding a Hypnotherapist Near You
Certification: Licensed Professionals
Hypnosis Training For Professionals
Hypnosis Learning Modules
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(Hypnotizing Without Suggestions of Sleep)
Using this method a subject cannot only be hypnotized without reference to sleep, but without his awareness that he is being hypnotized. This method does require a lot of skill on the part of the hypnotist. The postural sway method is actually a form of the sensorimotor method of trance induction. When practicing the waking suggestions exercises, you may have found that some of your subjects passed into a condition no different than hypnosis, especially when using a series of progressively more complex waking suggestions. W.R. Wells wrote about "waking hypnosis" as the result of using waking suggestions. He began by talking to his subjects about involuntary ideomotor action and about the phenomena that happens naturally to persons in their everyday life (dissociation phenomena). He followed this with a few preliminary exercises, then asked the subjects to fix their visual attention upon some small object. He then gave the subjects suggestions of eyelid catalepsy, using the methods described in previous modules, except he did not place his finger on the subject's forehead. If this was successful, he proceeded to produce other muscular contractures (i.e., hand clasping, arm rigidity, etc.). If the eye closure suggestions failed, he recommended that one should go on to other suggestions and then come back to it. At the end of a "waking hypnosis" sessions he brought about dehypnotization by telling the subject that at a given signal he will return to his normal self. The term "sleep" or "waking" was never used.
The following is a Verbatim description by M.H. Adler and L. Secunda of a method used by them to induce a trance. They called it an indirect method because no direct suggestion of hypnotizing the subject or putting him to sleep is made. Although the authors have described the method in a therapy setting, it can be adapted to other situations.
We made use of two frequent complaints -- inability to relax and to concentrate -- as the only orientation to the hypnosis. After the preliminary case study, the procedure is introduced saying: "I shall teach you to relax and concentrate." The patient is interested in learning this procedure for it offers relief from symptoms in an objective manner. The patient is seated in a comfortable arm chair and is told to let all his muscles go limp; the head should be inclined slightly forward; the arms rest fully on the chair arms with the hands hanging limply over the edges. He is then asked to fix his glance on the thumb and forefinger of one of his hands. The physician then states: "I am going to ask you to close your eyes soon, but continue to concentrate on your thumb and forefinger. As you concentrate I shall count, and as I count you will become more and more relaxed. As you do so you will feel your thumb and forefinger draw closer and closer together. When they touch you will then know you are in a deep state of relaxation."
After this explanation, the patient is requested to close his eyes and concentrate on his thumb and forefinger. The physician repeats: "I shall start to count. As I count you will feel your thumb and forefinger draw closer and closer together as you become more and more relaxed. When your fingers touch, you will know you are in a deep state of relaxation." The count is synchronized with the patient's respirations, and continued indefinitely. At one hundred the formula is repeated. "Continue to concentrate on your thumb and forefinger. As I count you will feel your thumb and forefinger draw closer and closer together as you become more and more relaxed. When they touch you will know that you are in a deep state of relaxation." When the thumb and forefinger are in contact, the patient is told, "Now you know you are in a deep state of relaxation."
The movement of a larger muscle group is then undertaken. The physician continues: "As I count further you go into a deeper state of relaxation. As you do so, your left hand gradually, and without effort on your part, moves from the arm rest and comes to rest on the chair beside you." When this occurs, the patient is told: "Now you know you are in a deeper state of relaxation." At this point the patient is at least in light hypnosis, i.e., inability to move a limb at suggestions of heaviness and hyperesthesia to pin prick.
To bridge the gap between light hypnosis and deep trance, the suggestion of Erickson is followed. It differs only in that the words "sleep" and "trance" are omitted: "Without further counting you will continue to relax more and more, as you do so, your hand will rise without effort, and touch your face. However, your hand will not and must not touch your face until you are in the deepest state of relaxation. Then the touching of your face will be a signal that you are in a profound state of relaxation."
When this has been accomplished, a brief orientation procedure is gone through, i.e., "What is your name?" "What are you doing?" At this point the patient can be tested for depth of trance; however, deep hypnosis is not required for therapeutic results.
The patient is then trained for future induction into the same depth of trance he had attained by suggesting to him that from now on, as the physician counts from 1 to 20, he will go into this depth of relaxation and at this point his hand will rise automatically and touch his face, as a signal that he has reached the required depth of trance.
To return the patient to his non-hypnotic state the physician says: "As I count from 1 to 5, you will gradually awaken -- at 5 you will be wide awake."
After the patient awakens he usually asks whether he has been asleep or hypnotized. Whichever term he uses is then accepted by the physician who then confirms what has occurred, using the phenomena as reassurance for the patient's ability to relax under adverse circumstances.
Then a discussion follows on the use of the technique to obtain subconscious and repressed material, and an opportunity is given to the patient to express his opinions on what has occurred. Since no attempts are made in the first session to produce hypnotic or posthypnotic amnesia, the patient recollects the entire process. No patient has every expressed objections to the matter in which he was introduced to hypnotherapy.
J. H. Conn described a similar technique that he used to facilitate free association. After a satisfactory transference relationship ("rapport") was established he introduced the topic of relaxation and its therapeutic effects. The patient is then requested to move to a more comfortable chair. Once seated he is asked to look up at a bright object placed several inches from his eyes and just above the horizontal line of vision. At this point, Conn emphasizes that he "carefully defines how he expects the patient to act" by telling him that he will not fall asleep so they can communicate when complete relaxation takes place. Suggestions of progressive relaxation are then given, followed by suggested eye closure. Simultaneously the bright object is gradually lowered below the line of vision. Although progressively deeper relaxation is suggested, the word sleep is never mentioned again. In some cases the eyes remained open and staring, in which case the hypnotist should ask the patient to close them. The entire procedure takes 3 to 5 minutes.
Once he obtained some overt signs of hypnosis he brings up the matter of free association by telling the subject that if anything comes to mind while he is relaxed and he feels like talking, he should do so, but that it should come without making any effort, just as easy as breathing. From this mention of breathing, he instructs the subject to "breathe in" and "breathe out" in a rhythmic manner. He tells the subject that this will keep him "listening" and close to the waking state. From this point on the procedure is directed at obtaining free association.
(A Semi-Indirect Method of Trance Induction)
This interesting and ingenious technique of induction was reported by M. V. Kline. He found it to be particularly effective with refractory subjects. He claims that a light to medium trance can be obtained in about 10 minutes. He referred to the procedure as a "visual imagery technique." He divides the procedure into five steps. We will now quote Kline in his own description of the method:
A similar technique combined with the hand levitation method has been described by A. A. Moss. He asks the subject to select something he has seen (i.e., a movie, TV show, baseball game, etc.) and then try to recall it in exact detail and to keep it in mind. Also, the subject is told that his right arm will rise when he sees a faithful reproduction of the scene he has selected. Moss then waited for a short period. If nothing happened, he urges the subject to concentrate more, and tells him again that his hand will rise when he sees the picture. This is followed immediately with suggestions of hand levitation. As soon as the hand begins to rise, he urges the subject to keep the picture in mind and pay attention to nothing else. At this point he also adds suggestions of sleep: "...as you keep looking at the picture you are going into a pleasant deep sleep. Deeper and deeper. Sleep! Deeply! Deep sleep!" Moss then takes the subject's right arm and raises it up and forward. At the same time he tells the subject his arm will bend and his hand will move toward his face and touch it, and at that moment he will go into a deep sleep. He also suggests that the subject will continue to see the picture. He then suggests that the arm is bending, etc.
When the hand touches the face, he says in a firm voice, "Deep sleep! Deep sleep!" and returns the subject's hand to his lap (if the subject does not do this himself).
Another method of hypnotization by image visualization is described by M. Powers. He has the subject, with his eyes closed, visualize a large blackboard. As soon as the subject reports he sees the blackboard, Powers tells him to visualize himself drawing a large circle on the board. Following this, he is asked to mentally draw a large "X" in the center of the circle. If he is successful, he is then asked to erase the whole picture from his mind. The subject is then again asked to visualize the empty circle and told to visualize, then erase, each letter of the alphabet in consecutive order. Powers verifies that the subject successfully enters the first few letters, then instructs him to continue, and makes no father check. As the subject continues with the letters, suggestions of deep hypnotic sleep are given. Powers claims this method is particularly effective with individuals who have a low attention span.
This ingenious procedure used to induce hypnosis without the subject's knowledge, under circumstances when it is probable the subject would not have been willing to be hypnotized, was reported by E. M. Erickson and L. S. Kubie. The subject was a patient who was known to have a roommate. The roommate was contacted and her cooperation in the procedure was obtained. The patient was then requested to act as a chaperone while her roommate, who she believed to be a patient of Erickson, was being hypnotized. At the first hypnotization Erickson suggested that the patient pay close attention to the hypnotic procedure because she might someday wish to try it also. The remainder of the process is described in the author's own words:
Upon entering the office, the two girls were seated in adjacent chairs and a prolonged, tedious, and laborious series of suggestions were given to the roommate who soon developed an excellent trance, thereby setting an effective example for the intended patient. During the course of the trance, suggestions were given to the roommate in such a way that by imperceptible degrees they were accepted by the patient as applying to her. The two girls were seated not far apart in identical chairs, and in such a manner that they adopted more or less similar postures as they faced the hypnotist; also they were so placed that inconspicuously the hypnotist could observe either or both of them continuously. In this way it was possible to give a suggestion to the roommate that she inhale or exhale more deeply, so timing the suggestion as to coincide with the patient's respiratory movements. By repeating this carefully many times it was possible finally to see that any suggestion given to the roommate with regard to her respiration was automatically performed by the patient as well. Similarly, the patient having been observed placing her hand upon her thigh, the suggestion was given to the roommate that she places her hand upon her thigh and that she should feel it resting there. Such maneuvers gradually and cumulatively brought the patient into a close identification with her roommate, so that gradually anything said to the roommate applied to the patient as well.
Interspersed with this were other maneuvers. For instance, the hypnotist would turn to the patient and say casually, "I hope you are not getting too tired waiting." In subsequent suggestions to the roommate that she was tired, the patient herself would thereupon feel increasing fatigue without any realization that this was because of a suggestion that had been given to her. Gradually, it then became possible for the hypnotist to make suggestions to the roommate, while looking directly at the patient, thus creating in the patient an impulse to respond, just as anyone feels when someone looks at one, while addressing a question or comment to another person.
Once deep hypnosis was induced (which took an hour and a half) the authors took a number of measures to insure continuance of the trance, cooperation of the subject while in it, and that there would be future opportunity to use hypnotherapy. The patient was gently made aware that she was hypnotized. She was also told that nothing would be done to her that she did not want done, and there would be no need for a chaperone in the future. She was told that she could break the trance if the hypnotist should offend her. We will continue to quote the authors:
Finally, technical suggestions were given to the patient to the effect that she should allow herself to be hypnotized again, that she should go into a sound and deep trance, that if she had any resistances toward such a trance she would make the hypnotist aware of it after the trance had developed, whereupon she could then decide whether or not to continue in the trance. The purpose of these suggestions was merely to make certain that the patient would again allow herself to be hypnotized with full confidence that she could if she so chose disrupt the trance at any time. This illusion of self-determination made it certain that the hypnotist would be able to swing the patient into a trance. Once in that condition, he was confident that he could keep her there until his therapeutic aims had been achieved.
Although the above method is described in a therapeutic setting and involves the cooperation of a roommate, it can be adapted to other situations. It is not uncommon, as will be seen in the next module, while giving hypnotic demonstrations before groups, to find some members of the group responding to the suggestions unintentionally. This can be used to obtain additional subjects. Frequently a sudden shift of attention to these individuals with a strong command of "Sleep!" will put them into a trance.
"Drug Hypnosis" Not a lot is known about the effects of drugs on suggestibility and hypnosis. Three things are fairly well known:
These effects may not be related to hypnosis, but it too can produce them. Possibly this is because, as Wolberg suggested, hypnosis and drugs partially act upon the same cortical loci. It has been shown by Brazier and Finesinger that barbiturates depress the frontal lobes first, then the motor cortex and occipital lobes.
Nowhere, as far as I know, has it ever been demonstrated that any drug by itself induces a hypnotic state. At present all we can really say is that certain drugs (i.e., any strong depressant of the nervous system) can be used as an aid in inducing hypnosis by the Standard method or related techniques. They do seem to increase waking suggestibility. However, the exact action of these drugs on suggestibility is far from clear.
Narcotics may indirectly aid in inducing hypnosis because they produce many of the symptoms of sleep that we suggest to the subject in the verbal part of the induction procedure. In the early stages of inducing hypnosis it is the temporal contiguous association of the response with the suggestion that the response is taking place or will take place that is important; not what causes the response to actually take place. If drugs will produce the suggested symptoms in the correct time frame, then we can well expect that drugs will help in the production of hypnosis.
In the early history of hypnotism, chloroform and Cannabis indica were first used as adjuncts to suggestions. When the barbiturates were developed there was a shift to there use. They proved to be safer, have a rapid action and their effect wears off quickly. Also their effects on the subject can be better graded and the optimal dosages determined. If the dose is too small the subject's suggestibility is not affected. To large a dose will depress the subject too much. We will list some of the dosages preferred by those who have had considerable experience with this technique.
Among the earlier experts, Schilder and Kauders recommended using 0.5 to 1 gm. (Maximum 1.5 gm) of Medinal. They claim quicker action can be obtained with 4 to 12 gm. But with a too rapid induction of narcosis you are more likely to miss the critical range when hypnosis can be induced, or you may not have time to produce hypnosis.
E. Stungo used Evipal sodium, about a 10 percent solution that was injected intravenously at the rate of 1 cc./min. He found that 1 to 3 cc. are required. To determine when the subject had reached the proper stage he had him count backward. When the subject began to display confusion he took this as a signal the subject had reached the desired stage. He then tried to maintain this level of sedation by continuous injection.
Wolberg recommended 6 to 9 gr. of Sodium Amytal be taken orally 30 minutes prior to hypnosis, or 1 to 2 drams of paraldehyde be taken 5 to 10 minutes before induction of the trance. If the preceding failed he suggested using intravenous injections of other drugs. He recommended 1 gm. Sodium Amytal in 30 or 40 cc. of distilled water injected at a rate of 1 to 2 cc./min.; or 7.5 gr. Sodium Pentothal in 20 cc. distilled water given in a similar manner.
Horsley in his book "Narco-analysis" states that 2 cc. of Sodium Pentothal (presumably a 2.5 percent solution) is usually sufficient, but for anxious individuals 4 cc. may be necessary. In a later book "Narcotic Hypnosis" he recommended giving orally 3 gr. of Nembutal about 30 minutes prior to the induction of hypnosis. According to him the choice of the drug used depends upon whether the patient was an in-patient or out-patient. Long-acting drugs like Nembutal are recommended with in-patients and short-acting drugs like Pentothal with outpatients.
As a rule the barbiturates used intravenously should be injected slowly with the patient counting backward. As soon as the patient becomes incoherent in counting the injection should be interrupted. This level of sedation should then be maintained. Rapport should be made prior to the injection and should be continued during and throughout the narcosis.
The standard practice using these drugs to induce hypnosis is to give a sub-anesthetic dose, just enough to cause a state of confusion and relaxation. Once the proper sedation has been obtained the subject is given suggestions aimed at inducing hypnosis proper, testing and deepening the trance as usual.
Many early writers on hypnosis (and some modern ones) spoke of natural sleep being converted or passing into the hypnotic state. Some spoke of giving suggestions directly to the sleeping individual who, presumably, remained asleep. Suggestions can be effectively given to an individual who is initially asleep. However, it is debatable just what the individual's real condition is at the time the suggestions take effect. Hull has argued that when a suggestion is given to a sleeper and it is effective, he always awaken to some degree and then passes into a hypnotic state. Hull also claims that sleep is never converted directly into hypnosis, nor are suggestions ever effective if natural sleep is present. Data reported by N. Barker and S. Burwin seems to support this position.
The method consists of speaking to the sleeping person in a soft whispered monotone. Something like this is said to him: "Sleep. Remain deep asleep. You are sleeping deeply but you can hear me. You will not wake up, but you will listen to what I tell you. You are comfortable. My voice does not bother or disturb you. You are going deeper asleep, deeper all the time. But you keep hearing me. You can understand everything I tell you, but you are going more deeply asleep all the time. You will not wake up until I tell you. Remain deep asleep. You hear everything I say. You will now raise your hand to indicate to me that you can hear me. You are now raising your hand, but you will remain deep asleep." After the subject has responded to a few suggestions, tell him that even though you are going to speak louder, he will remain deep asleep. Continue to suggest sleep while raising your voice gradually until you speak in a normal tone of voice. After this proceed with whatever suggestions you want to give.
Color Contrast Method
The following method was first reported by B. Stokvis. A piece of plain gray cardboard 14 by 23 cm. is used. On it two strips of paper 8 by 3.2 cm are pasted parallel to one another with a space of 5 mm. between them. The strip on the right is light blue in color and the one on the left is light yellow. Both strips have a dull finish. The lower right corner where the subject will be asked to hold the cardboard is rounded. See Figure 13-1.
The subject lying on a cough is given the cardboard and asked to hold it at arms length. He is requested to fix his gaze on the slit between the two strips. While the subject is doing this, Stokvis says:
...he is asked what he sees there. He will naturally reply "A piece of gray cardboard on which a yellow strip is pasted on the left, and a blue on the right of it, with a gray slit between." The subject is told that, as he continues to watch the picture, especially the slit, he will soon observe some additional colors appearing. These chromatic phenomena, as a general rule, will be observed physiologically by any normal person, including the so-called "red-green dichromatics," and by all "anomalous trichromatics;" they consist in appearance of the respective complementary colors along the outside edges of the yellow and blue strips.
"When you have seen the color phenomena appear, that will be proof that the hypnotic state is going to set in," I tell the subject. "In fact the appearance of the colors is the first sign of the effect of the hypnotic influence; it is a kind of fatigue phenomenon of the eyes," I assure him.
"In the same way as you have seen these color phenomena, you will observe some other signs of the approaching hypnotic state. Do keep looking at the slit; then you will soon see that the inner edge of the blue strip, that is to say, the edge bordering on the slit, becomes more intensely blue, while the rest of the blue slip will become a much duller shade. In precisely the same manner you will notice that the part of the yellow immediately bordering on the gray slit becomes more intensely yellow, while the rest of the yellow strip becomes more faintly yellow. Just keep watching sharply ... keep looking fixedly at the slit ... look very closely; you will see something else happen as well. You will also see colors appear in the slit; you will see a yellow border appear along the edge of the blue strip, and a blue border along the edge of the yellow slip. These two newly made colors will touch at about the center of the slit; now and then they will overlap; they may even disappear for a moment or two; perhaps because your consciousness is now beginning to waver, owing to the hypnotic condition, which is on the point of setting in." I will continue in this (purposely long-winded) strain.
Although the subject may perhaps feel somewhat skeptical at first toward this method of treatment, there is no doubt that by this time he will have abandoned this attitude; for he now sees before his eyes, point for point, that what is being told to him is also actually happening, with the result that his confidence in the physician will increase correspondingly.
"You remember what I told you just now" (I continue very softly and monotonously) "that, as you observe the color phenomena, you will find that your eyelids are getting heavier and heavier ... Still heavier all the time ... you will feel that you are getting more and more tired ... tired and weary ... and you will soon get so tired that you would just love to shut your eyes. When you feel like that don't resist ... don't resist ... you may close your eyes.
From this point on Stokvis' technique is the same as others. Note that he did not mention sleep anywhere in the procedure. Stokvis goes on to comment that although this technique does not usually bring about a very deep trance, there are many situations in therapy where this is not essential. Also the trance could be deepened by other means.
A method very similar to the color contrast method has been described by Powers. He recommends that the hypnotist use a pencil flashlight and aim its light into one of the subject's eyes. The subject is asked to concentrate his gaze upon the light until his eyes become heavy with fatigue. The hypnotist also tells him that he will count to five, at which time he (the subject) will close his eyes and go into a deep trance. A slow count of five is then given. If by that time the subject has not closed his eyes, he is asked to close them at his convenience. Then it is suggested that he will see a red spot inside the eye exposed to the light. He is asked to look for it and report it to the hypnotist if he sees it. When the subject reports seeing the red spot, it is suggested that it will disappear in a flash and that in its place a purple spot will appear. If the subject responds to this suggestion, other color spots are suggested. As the subject watches for color changes, suggestions of relaxation are given. From this point on the technique is one of deepening the trance.
This technique is not as subtle as Stokvis' and probably will not work with someone that has some elementary knowledge of sensory phenomena. The principle involved here is that of suggesting real sensory or perceptual effects and then suggesting very similar effects that normally would not occur. The main problem with these techniques is in preventing the subject from suspecting the true nature of his initial "hallucination."
|The instructions presented are from the personal collections and writing library of Mr. Robert E. Cutter, who died December 13, 2001, while in the process of completing the transfer of his work to the internet. These are offered as educational instruction only. The purpose of this instruction is the effective learning and use of hypnotic techniques for vocational or avocational self-improvement. This instruction is not offered as a substitute for, nor as a supplement to, any form of therapy concerned with physical, mental, nervous or emotional illness. Robert E. Cutter served as web consultant for American Psychotherapy and Medical Hypnosis Association for three years. His hypnosis education came through the training he provided at a school he owned in the 1950's in Los Angeles, California, along with his wife who preceded him in death in 1980. Robert Cutter was not a psychologist and did not practice psychotherapy, but his interest in hypnosis motivated him to provide free resources materials for others who wanted to learn to use the power of their minds to improve well being and health-related issues.|
Michael A. Robinson, R.N.- BC Psychiatry
Licensed Texas State Nursing Board Registered Nurse
Texas State Nursing Board Certified in Psychiatry
In Honor and Memory of Robert E. Cutter, B.S. 1923-d.2001
From the Writings of Robert Cutter's Self Hypnosis Center
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