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A learning center for hypnosis and self hypnosis education. A resource for finding professional referrals for hypnosis treatment of medical and psychotherapeutic issues. A learning center for hypnosis and self hypnosis education. A resource for finding professional referrals for hypnosis treatment of medical and psychotherapeutic issues.
Member: American Psychotherapy and Medical Hypnosis Association
What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis: Fact and Fiction
Is Hypnosis Dangerous?
Ideomotor Action
Semantic-Imagery Relaxation
Structuring Auto-Suggestions
Administrating Auto-Suggestions
Deepening the Hypnotic Trance
Testing the Hypnotic Trance
Emotional Behavior
Neuro-Dynamics
Psychosomatic Disorders
Rules of the Mind
Language
The Power of Creative Imagination
How to Set Realistic Goals
Self-Inventory
You Can Learn to Relax
Glossary of Terms
Finding a Hypnotherapist Near You
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Hypnosis Learning Modules

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Module 6 -- Waking Suggestions B

Ideomotor Action

The following experiments involve no new principles or factors, but are more steps toward psychical control of physiological responses that will facilitate the development of the hypnotic state. Read the instructions thoroughly so that you completely understand what you are to do. You should try each experiment on yourself and then with a helper. When you practice these experiments it is important that you have no feeling of urgency. Plan to set aside enough time to complete each experiment with out interruption.

Magnetized Fingers

In order to try this experiment on yourself, sit in a comfortable chair; clasp your hands together. Rest your elbows against your body, and hold your hands about ten inches from your face. Separate your first fingers comfortably as far as possible. Stare at your first fingers for a short time and then close your eyes. See Figure 1.

Now imagine that your fingers are made of steel, and are very strongly magnetized. Imagine a magnetic force is pulling your fingers together. Imagine that as they are drawn closer together, the magnetic force gets stronger and stronger. Imagine you can feel the magnetic force attracting the fingers together. When you feel the fingers touch, imagine the force is so strong that you cannot separate them. If you have trouble imagining the attraction between your fingers, you might get two small magnets and experiment with them to familiarize yourself with the forces involved.

In this experiment and those following, make up your mind that once you start an experiment, you will concentrate as much as possible on the ideas presented. If other thoughts occur to you, force them aside and return to your original thoughts (i.e., a strong magnetic force). If you find yourself trying to analyze what is actually occurring, use this as a signal to get your mind back on course.

When you use words to make suggestions to yourself, think in terms of the "second" person. Think "you" not "I." Think as though your "conscious" mind were giving orders to your "subconscious mind."

As you perform the experiments, do not be discouraged if you do not get immediate or complete results. Many will be able to get satisfactory results the first time they try performing these experiments, others will require several practice sessions. Your attitude is a major factor in achieving good results. When something occurs in a satisfactory way, you should let the success build your confidence in your ability to use these techniques. Magnify as much as possible your successes and minimize any lack of response in your mind.

A proper degree of cooperation is important. This does not mean you should just go ahead and perform the required responses consciously. It means that you should eliminate any doubt in your mind that a response will occur. Act "as if" the imagined situations were actually reality and as if the responses were actually occurring because of the existing situation.

When you try this experiment with your helper (the subject) you might proceed as follows: Have the subject position his hands as shown in Figure 1. You can have the subject sitting or standing. Grasp the tips of the subject's fingers and tell him that in a moment you will ask him to close his eyes and imagine that his fingers are magnets. Tell him to imagine he can feel a magnetic force pulling his fingers together. As you are giving him these instructions, actually slowly force his fingers together. Now separate his fingers, tell your subject to stare at an imaginary spot between the two fingers. Then say to him: "As you continue to stare at the imaginary spot I will count from three down to one." "At the count of one, let your eye lids close...three...two...one." "Eye lids close...now tighten your fingers and imagine your first fingers are magnets and that a strong magnet force is pulling them together." "Feel the force getting stronger and stronger." "The more you try to resist the stronger the force gets." "Your fingers are moving... moving... coming closer and closer together." "They are almost touching, the force is getting very strong...very strong." "Open your eyes and look at your fingers."

As pointed out in module five, you may have to alter the model suggestions given above to fit the situation. If you watch the subject's fingers carefully, you will observe that they move in small jerky movements. This is typical of ideomotor responses; the muscular movements tend to occur in small little erratic movements, not in a smooth continuous motion. Practice the magnet fingers experiment until you feel comfortable with it before going on to the following experiments.

The Rubber Band Experiment You can try this experiment on yourself in any comfortable position, sitting or lying down. Position one arm in a position where it is easy to keep your eyes focused on the fingers and the back of your hand. See Figure 2 above. With your eyes fixed on your hand, spread your fingers apart as far as possible. Now imagine there is a very strong rubber band stretched around your fingers. Think of the rubber band as a very thick band with a small diameter. See your fingers inserted through the rubber band stretching it as far as possible. Imagine you can feel the rubber band pulling your fingers together. Think to yourself: "The harder you try to keep your fingers apart, the more the rubber band pulls them together. See this occurring in your mind. Now let your eyelids close as you continue to feel the rubber band pulling your fingers together. Imagine that you are trying very hard to keep your fingers apart, but the harder you try the stronger the rubber band becomes. Imagine you can see the rubber band forcing your fingers together, and think the words, the harder you try to keep your fingers apart, the more tired they feel and the more they are drawn together. Work on this experiment until you get a good response. After your fingers touch, continue to imagine that the rubber band is keeping them very, very tightly together for a short time. Then imagine that the rubber band is gone. Let your fingers relax. Remember to keep a strong positive attitude while performing this experiment. If you have any difficulty, it probably would help if you actually performed the experiment using a real rubber band. This will help you to actually experience the sensation of real pressure exerted by the rubber band. Try the experiment with your helper. Tailor your suggestions to him using the procedure outlined above. The Weight and Balloon

Like the preceding experiments this one involves an ideomotor response. That is the enervation of groups of muscles appropriate to the idea or mental image held by the subject. When you experiment on yourself, it is probably better if you are sitting. When experimenting on your helper, he can be sitting or standing.

Read the following instructions until you are sure you understand them and can proceed without referring to them.

Position yourself in a comfortable chair. Place your feet flat on the floor. You should be able to lean back against some firm support, the back of a chair or a wall. While in this position, extend both arms out straight in front of you at shoulder height with your palms facing one another. See Figure 3. Let your eyelids close. Now, visualize as clearly as possible that a gas filled balloon is tied to your right wrist. It is a big, blue balloon and is pulling at your arm. See it lifting your arm, higher and higher. Develop a clear image of the balloon tugging at your arm, pulling it up higher and higher. See the color of the balloon and its size. Visualize how it is tied to your wrist. Think of your arm floating up, higher and higher.

Once you have the above idea clearly in mind, see a very heavy lead weight tied to your left wrist with a strong rope. Think of how heavy the weight is, visualize its size and shape. Imagine your left arm is so heavy you are unable to hold it up. See it falling lower and lower.

Alternately visualize each of these two concepts for a few seconds. If you find yourself thinking of the actual position of your arms, try to get your mind back to thinking of the balloon and the weight. After two or three minutes, open your eyes. Your hands should be several inches horizontally apart. Your left hand will be lower than your right hand.

Normally if you held your arms in this manner, they would both become heavy and you would find it difficult in maintaining this position more than a few seconds. In this experiment one arm become heavy while the other becomes increasingly lighter. Only a few inches difference indicates success. However, these few inches must occur automatically while you are holding the above concepts in mind, not by just "doing it." When you get satisfactory results from this experiment, try it with your helper. Take turns practicing on each other.

This experiment is similar to the magnetic fingers exercise, except it will involve a larger group of muscles. Although you can practice this experiment on yourself, we will present it as you will practice it with your helper (subject). Have your subject hold his hands as in the weight and balloon experiment. See Figure 4. Palms facing palms, but some distance away from each other. Now suggest that a magnetic force is going to pull his hands together. Grasp his hands and slowly move them toward each other. Now separate them and tell your subject to look at an imaginary spot between his two hands. Then say to him, "As you continue to look at the imaginary spot I will count from three down to one. At the count of one let your lids close and imagine your hands are magnets that are attracting each other." "Three, two, one, let your lids close." "Think of your hands being strongly attracted to each other." "Your hands are beginning to move, coming closer and closer together." "The more you try to resist, the stronger the force pulling then together becomes." "They are moving closer and closer...the closer they come to each other the stronger the force becomes..it is getting very strong now." "Moving closer and closer, they are almost touching now...the force is getting much stronger." "They are moving faster and faster...they are almost touching now...NOW THEY ARE TOUCHING!" "Open your eyes and look at your hands."

Remember, the suggestions given above are only offered as a model. Do not try to memorize any of these models word for word. What you need to learn is the meaning behind the suggestions. You must time your suggestions to fit the current situation. Use your own words to paint a verbal picture that you want to convey to the mind of the subject. You cannot induce hypnosis by memorizing some magic formula that you repeat verbatim. It is the pattern and content of the suggestions, more than the actual words that are important. The basic idea in the above experiments is to get the subject to think certain thoughts or visualize certain concepts. If you are successful, his own thoughts will automatically be translated, reflex-like, into specific patterns of muscular activity. Ideomotor action is a reflex that only differs from the more common variety in that it is triggered directly by higher center activity rather than by afferent peripheral impulses. It is very important that your subject does not use his critical faculties to analyze the suggestions you are giving him; especially at the time they initially take effect. It is a good idea to instruct your subject to make his mind blank, to be completely passive, not to think or analyze what is being suggested, or what he is experiencing.

Hand and Arm Levitation Experiment

As you will see in a latter module, this experiment can be turned into a very effective method for inducing hypnosis (i.e., Wolberg's method). There are several ways to carry out this experiment; the following is one of the simpler ones.

Have your subject sit in a chair and place his hand (right or left - subject's choice) on his lap. Now say to him the following:

"Please sit in this chair and position yourself as comfortably as possible...Now just relax and focus your attention on your right (or left) hand." Think only of your hand and listen to my voice." "As you continue to look at your hand, let yourself become aware of all the sensations occurring in your hand." "In a few moments you may notice a strange feeling in your hand." "You may become aware of a feeling of numbness, or perhaps a tingling sensation." "The kind of sensation doesn't really matter." "Very soon your hand will begin to move." "Just how, I do not know, but it will move." "Maybe a finger will move or maybe just the tip of a finger." "Watch it very carefully, see if you can feels the blood flowing through your hand." Just continue to watch your hand and think of it as moving." "Very shortly you hand is going to move...You feel as if your hand is about to move." "It is moving a little...[If it moves, add immediately: "There, it is moving some more."] "Very soon you will feel a sensation of lightness moving into your hand and into your arm." "Think of your hand as being hollow...like as balloon filled with gas." "Your hand is becoming lighter...and lighter, and soon your hand will begin to rise from your lap." "Let the feeling of lightness flow back into your arm." "Your hand and arm will begin to rise from your lap and keep rising because they are becoming so light." It is as though a balloon filled with gas were tied to your hand pulling it up and up into the air." "With every breath you take your hand and arm are becoming lighter...and lighter." You can feel your hand getting lighter and lighter." "It is going to be light as a feather and will float in the air." "There is a force pulling your hand and arm up... up." "Your hand is beginning to rise, your hand is rising." "Your arm is rising." "Your arm and hand are rising... rising... more and more... they are going... up... up... UP!"

If you are successful with this experiment, the subject's hand and arm will rise up in the air. You should question your subject as to the kind of sensations he was having. If he should tell you that he felt a magnetic force pulling his hand and arm up, next time you repeat the experiment with this subject, suggest that he will feel a magnetic force pulling his hand up. Most subjects will report having felt a lightness or that some force was pulling their arm and hand up.

It is quite helpful when giving these suggestions to watch for any kind of motion of the hand or arm and to point them out to the subject. Very often at the beginning a finger will twitch slightly. If this occurs, you should immediately point this out to the subject. You might say: "See, one of your fingers just moved." "Soon this is going to spread...soon your entire hand will move (etc.)." If following these suggestion, other fingers move, remark: "See the movements are spreading, " As soon as you see his hand is not fully resting upon his lap you should remark: "Now your hand is beginning to rise a little." "It is going to rise much more." "See it is continuing to rise."

In case you are wondering what you should do when the subject's arm has risen as far as possible, or as high as desired, you can say the following: "That's fine." "Now let all the normal sensations return to the hand and arm." "Let your arm relax and rest in your lap." "It feels fine, you feel fine."

It is possible that you may encounter a subject whose muscles will lock and who is unable or unwilling to bring his arm down. If this should happen, have him close his eyes and tell him to listen to you carefully. Then proceed to tell him that his arm and hand are becoming relaxed. They are getting heavier and feeling quite normal in every way. If necessary, continue to tell him that his hand and arm are moving back down and he can use them and move them as he normally does. This is an unusually occurrence, put can happen. In any event, never panic. Remember, what one suggestion can do, other suggestions can undo. You should try this experiment on yourself; you will be surprised at the results you get.

The Pencil Experiment
This is the last experiment we will introduce in this module. Unlike the preceding experiments, this one is not based on ideomotor action. The principle involved here is called "mono-ideaism." Which simply means "one-idea." It is designed to demonstrate how voluntary actions can be inhibited by systematic thinking.

When you concentrate on one idea, without interruption, it is virtually impossible to perform the most simple of voluntary actions. The value of this will become apparent when we talk about physical relaxation in later modules. When you can inhibit muscular activity with your thoughts, you can bring on relaxation with your thoughts.

We have called this the pencil experiment, but you can use any similar object, a knife, fork, small stick, etc. Hold the object you intend to use between your thumb and first finger as shown in figure 5. If you decide to drop the object you could do so very easily. All you need to do is open your fingers and it would fall to the ground. Now lets see how easy it is to inhibit the neural processes controlling the fingers holding the object and block the nerve impulses necessary to activate the fingers. We will see if we can make it difficult or impossible for you to drop the object. This inhibitory effect will only last as long as you continue to think as instructed. Your cooperation is vital, make up your mind that you will, for a few seconds, do exactly as instructed.

Hold the object as illustrated in Figure 5. Position your hand so that you can easily observe it and hold it steady for a few minutes. Now, stare at some point on the object, without removing your eyes from it. While you continue to stare at the spot, think to yourself, "I can drop it. I can drop it." Repeat these words over and over with out interruption.

During the time you are thinking in this manner you can try to drop the object, but you will find you cannot! It is impossible for you to drop the object if you are thinking the phrase as instructed, over and over without interruption. After experimenting with this a few time you will realize that thinking you can do something does not necessarily mean you can actually do it. In this experiment you have been thinking very intently about dropping an object, but while you are so thinking, you cannot do it.

To open your fingers calls for a decision to be made as to when you want to do it. Making such a decision requires mental activity be instigated in your cerebral cortex. This cannot easily occur when you are exclusively thinking of only one idea. Even if it is the idea of the act you wish to perform.

If you should drop the object, it means one of two things. You are not cooperating, or you have misunderstood the instructions. Reread the instructions and try the experiment again.

Continue to Module 7 - Waking Suggestions C



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
About Feelings Network
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