Twelve Hypnosis Wisdoms of Hypnotherapy Ethics
Hypnosis Wisdom One: “Clients” not “Patients”
There are strict laws against “diagnosing, prescribing, and treating” someone without having a medical license. Do your best to stay away from the word “patients” unless you’re telling someone to have patience. But in all seriousness, if you are not a doctor or a nurse, do not use the term patients. The people hypnotherapists work with are not “physically ill” they only have “behavioral issues or challenges” and want to master them through hypnosis.
Hypnosis Wisdom Two: Maintain Neutrality
Witness or experience the session without the need for personal opinions or judgment. A good trick to do any time you notice you are judging someone else, all you have to do is say, “hmmm, that’s interesting..” instead of thinking about the actual judgment. An example would be: “that person has a very interesting hair style.”
Hypnosis Wisdom Three: Reeducate Behavior Patterns
Hypnosis provides an opening to change things around in the mind. Reeducation of education patterns essentially means that as the hypnotherapist you want to give someone the information necessary for them to see things from a different angle and change their own attitudes. The hypnotherapist’s responsibility is to get their client to take responsibility for their own problems, thoughts, and actions.
Hypnosis Wisdom Four: Maintain Confidentiality
The exchange of information you have with you clients is a professional exchange. Keep their information to yourself; the hypnotherapist you are in your office does not leave your office.
Hypnosis Wisdom Five: The Golden Rule
“Do unto others as you would wish done onto you.”
Hypnosis Wisdom Six: For the Greatest Good of Your Client
During hypnosis and all hypnotherapy, it is crucial that you make the physical and mental well being of your client your number one priority. Keep you clients feeling safe and protected and respect them. Do your best to provide equal help and assistance to all of your clients.
Hypnosis Wisdom Seven: Stay Professional
Receive every situation with the dignity and professionalism that proves you worth of your business profession as a hypnotist or hypnotherapist. Never violate your client. Uphold the highest moral standards. Embrace your services with the highest moral standards that can be applied to other therapy professionals within the limits of your competence.
Hypnosis Wisdom Eight: Continue to Improve Your Hypnosis Skills
Study, attend classes, share ideas with friends and other professionals, join a hypnosis association, and accept any chance you get to practice hypnosis.
Hypnosis Wisdom Nine: Learn From Others, But Do Not Copy Others
Hypnosis is a form of art which is as versatile and as unique each and every person on this planet. Create your own masterpiece and your own techniques — after getting some training or even a university education in the creative arts field. Then use your passion and creativity. Think of it this way, an original Van Gogh sells for millions, while a copy will only go for 50 buck.
Hypnosis Wisdom Ten: Publicly Promote Hypnosis
Hypnotherapists should constantly be advertising themselves as the Certified or Clinical Hypnotherapists they are. If you encourage and promote hypnosis and hypnotherapy you will raise public interest and bring more clients to your office. Maybe give demonstrations at school, offices, companies, wherever you can.
Hypnosis Wisdom Eleven: Stay Away From Exaggeration
Stay with the truth. Honesty will always bring more positivity and honesty into your life. Besides, hypnosis is so utterly profound and amazing that there is no real need for exaggeration. The value in exaggeration is low to say the least. Do not imply that your hypnotherapy services are better than someone else’s especially if you have never experienced that person hypnotherapy hands on.
Hypnosis Wisdom Twelve: Look Upon Each Person as a Trinity of Body, Mind, and Soul
“The body/brain combine together in activating the physical body in 3-D space; it is not immortal. The body is the outer form you wear for a limited space and time. It is mortal and in time will die, as you advance on to live with another body. Think of body as a suit of clothes. Min and spirit combine together, and dwell within your body as your soul, which is the individual you. Mind and spirit together form consciousness. There is no other consciousness precisely the same as yours in the universe.” – Ormond McGill
Basic Structure of a Hypnotherapy Session
1. Building Rapport
The First definition of rapport in the dictionary describes rapport as “a close relationship characterized by harmony.” So how does one go about create such a harmonious relationship, especially with a person who they have never met before? The good thing about having never met the person or client you are working with from a rapport stand point is that you are already in harmony because both of you have a blank slate in this upcoming relationship. A fantastic way to make a great non-verbal impression is to look your client confidently in the eye while holding warm thoughts of friendship in your mind. Their subconscious will quickly pick up on this and your friendship will commence. What you can do to create this rapport-building situation is simply ask you client to join you for a few moments of silence to ready themselves for the upcoming change they will begin for themselves. Sitting in silence for 5 minutes or so can cause confusion as well, especially if you don’t explain why you are just sitting there. This confusion will begin putting them in an altered state before the session even begins making your job much easier.
2. The Pre-Talk
The pre-talk for a new client will consist of some general back-round information about hypnosis as well as you basic consultation. When explaining hypnosis to a person who has heard little correct information about it, it is important to make sure it sounds as safe and “normal” as possible. Be sure to talk about a few natural everyday occurrences of hypnosis, such as driving, movies, and sleeping. Take this chance to also nullify any false beliefs your client has about hypnosis and hypnotherapy (check the page on common misconceptions of hypnosis).
As far as the consultation itself you simply should actively listen to the reason as to why the client has decided to seek out a hypnotherapist and the story behind whatever it is they want to improve, change, or “fix.” The main thing you are searching for during this conversation is eliciting a positive desire that is the core of what they want and need. The consultation time will vary per client, it doesn’t matter how long it takes because this is the basis for your therapy, if you don’t really know what they want, then how are you supposed to help the get it. Also what you are looking for is to find certain key anchor words, which are basically words that have meaning for that person when it come to achieving this goal. You want to be able to use words in your session that resonate with this person. So do your best to get exactly want your client wants in their words, try not to put words into their mouth. In short, allow ample time for the client to fully express what their goals are for this hypnotherapy.
3. The Hypnotic Agreement
The dictionary describes agreement as “A harmony of understanding. A harmonious arrangement.” The hypnotic agreement essentially consists of three parts in which both the client and hypnotherapist must agree upon certain things. The first part of the agreement is that both parties agree that the hypnotic induction can proceed and will be performed without any resistance from the client. The second part of the agreement states that the client will agree to follow any instructions given by the hypnotherapist and allow the hypnosis to occur. In the third and final part of the agreement the hypnotherapist agrees to use their full professional skill and ability to aid in accomplishing what the client desires to be accomplished.
4. Inner Cogitation
The dictionary explains cogitation as “to quietly ponder,” which is exactly what you have you client do. Briefly after the consultation and hypnotic agreement create a time of thoughtfulness for your client; just a very short period of time to collect thoughts and allow them to be completely ready. You can invite your client to sit comfortably and relaxed in a recliner or some other “special” chair, and as they are doing this, tell them to quietly thin about what the two of you had just discussed, mainly about what the client wants to accomplish. If your office allows it, you can guide your client to a different room with dimmed lights and meditation music so they can feel the “change” occurring on a subconscious level already. 5 to 10 minutes is ample time for this simple exercise.
5. The Hypnotic Induction
The dictionary will define an induction as an “to motivate the occurrence of the occurrence.” So what is a hypnotic induction anyway? A hypnotic induction is essentially the process used by hypnotherapists to produce a state of hypnosis. It takes you client from there common state into the state of trance. I guess a more important question would be “how does one perform a hypnotic induction?” There are many types of hypnotic inductions and many ways to go about inducing someone into trance. An induction can take anywhere from 30 minutes, to 30 seconds, to even 3 seconds. The most common and easily performed and learned induction is what is called progressive relaxation. Progressive relaxation is a bit more on the longer range of hypnotic inductions, but it is also a very comforting way to hypnotize someone who has never dealt with hypnotism before.
Progressive relaxation mainly consists of slowly suggesting that the person’s body is relaxing more and more. What is done is that one tells the client to focus on a certain part of their body, starting from their feet up to their, and you simply tell them to feel relaxing sensation entering each body part as you continue to talk about them. More details about Progressive relaxation can be found on the hypnotic inductions page.
6. Deepening Techniques
Deepening techniques are most of the time used to assist the person in going deeper into trance. Helping them to continue relaxing during the entire session. Most deepening techniques are based upon a suggestion that the person will allow himself or herself to go deeper. An example would be to tell the client that every time they take a breath in they go even deeper into trance. You can even use things that might normally be disturbances in the case of relaxation and instead suggest that every sound the client hears will help them to go deeper and feel more comfortable.
7. Beneficial Suggestions
The dictionary will define a suggestion as an “act or intention to suggest a desired occurrence.” In hypnotic terms a suggestion is described better as a “subconscious realization.” Suggestion are created from telling a client to believe, imagine, realize, admit, and understand that the new better situation will, is, and can be realized in the present time or near future.
Suggestions are also commands given to the subconscious, to help it understand that the current programs, habits, and behaviors it is running are not beneficial to the person. The most important suggestion to give your clients is that their subconscious will doing everything in it’s power to correct this issue and bring the person closer o their goal. When it comes to giving suggestions, it is the hardest thing for hypnotherapists to realize that the client’s own subconscious knows much better how to help the person than you do. So when you throw in a suggestion like the one above, you guarantee that your work is coupled along with the work of their subconscious mind.
8. Hypnotherapeutic Processes
There are hundreds of popular hypnotherapy techniques that create change in people. Here is a non-exhaustive list of therapeutic processes:
Affirmation, Aversion, Behavior Modification, Bio-feed-back, Breath-work, Rapid Therapy, Catalepsy, Cell Demand, Chakra Balancing, Cognitive Shift, De-Hypnotizing, De-Programming, Desensitizing, Dream Therapy, Elman Method, Eye-Movement Desensitization & Re-Processing (EMDR), Emotional Release, Energy Balancing, Ericksonian Indirect Hypnosis, Forgiveness, Gestalt Therapy, Guided Imagery, Hypnoanalysis, Hypno-Yoga, Hypnoansethesia, Hypnocatharsis, Ideomotor response, Inner Child, Joy Therapy, Life/Reality Strategies, Mask Therapy, Magnetism, Memory Chain, Mental Rehearsal, Mesmerism, Metaphor, Mind Mapping, Mind Mastery, Motivation, Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), Nocebo Effect, Sub-Personality, Placebo Effect, Posthypnotic Suggestion, Progression, Projection, Reality Therapy, Rebirthing, Reframing, Regression, Reinforcement, Release, Re-parenting, Reprogramming, Reverse Speech, Self Hypnosis, Sensory Distortion, Sleep-Learning, Soma-Psychic Integration, Swish Method, Squish Method, Tantra, Tapping (EFT), Time-Line Therapy, Channeling, Quantum Focus, Visualization, Well vs. Illnes.
9. Arousal from Hypnosis
This step may also be called “re-alerting” or “re-awakening” and basically what is happening in the step is that you will guide you client from the hypnotic state back up to the waking state. During the arousal from hypnosis, you have four goals you are looking to achieve.
- You are going to reinforce all of your suggestions during the session as well as implant the final suggestion that they can go quicker and easier back into this state of hypnotic relaxation.
- You further deepen the hypnosis process by going through the awakening, constantly suggesting that the client is in the best depth possible to be receptive for all the suggestions.
- You suggest that the client is become more aware, revitalized, refreshed, and recharged full of energy for the rest of their day.
- You can take advantage of the opportunity to re-hypnotize your client immediately and make them go “deeper then they ever have before.”
The arousal is best when begun as a gentle process and it progressively becomes more filled with joy, excitement, and energy. It is your job as a hypnotherapist that they client is complete aware in the waking state so when they go back out into the world they are not too overly sensitive and receptive. Here is an example of a simple arousal:
“You are in an extremely deep hypnotic state, going deeper and deeper until I tell you to begin coming back up. The deeper you are, the more all my suggestions are absorbed into your subconscious and acted upon immediately by your subconscious mind. In a few moments I will count upwards from one up to five, and when I reach “five” you will be completely awake and aware of where you are and what has gone on, completely ready to take on any challenge no or in your future head on striving for success. And in the future, whenever I span my fingers you can easily and quickly re-enter this wonderfully relaxing hypnotic state. I’m jst about to counting so I would like to ask you to begin coming up now with number one. Two. You are recognizing where you are and how you body feels again. Three. You are feeling an energy building inside you are you’re eyes are getting ready to open up. Four. You are feeling completely energized and ready to sit up in your chair and take an amazing strech as you come back to full consciousness. And 5! Wide Awake! Completely awake filled with energy, feeling great!”
10. Ending Encouragement:
The session ends right here; give you client a few moments to reorient to their environment and say positive things such as: “wasn’t that a wonderful experience?” Remember that at this stage your client is still quite susceptible to your words so be sure to simply be social and positive for a few minutes so they can get completely back into their average waking state.
Dismiss you client with the reassurance that they will see more improvement in the days to come and that you have already seen and felt a big change from the beginning of the session. Let them know that you Believe that together the two of you have accomplished a lot as a team and that you client should be one the road heading in the right direction to their goal now.
Prior to this step you have by now already gained a strong sense of rapport with your client, and they have confidence in you as a hypnotherapist. You have chit-chatted with the client about exactly how and why hypnosis is right for them, and how hypnosis can be used to assist them in solving their own problems. The interview before this step also included a good deal of information about what hypnosis is, what hypnosis does, and why hypnosis works. Here is a very small, but important thing while doing pre-hypnosis hypnosis, you should always ask the client if they have been hypnotized before, because that can make your job ten times easier if they’ve already had a good experience with hypnosis the can go back to in the mind. However, it is also good information because if they have experienced hypnosis and it hasn’t been with good result or wasn’t a favorable experience, you as the hypnotherapist know what methods not to use when hypnotizing them this time.
If your client doesn’t think they have ever experienced hypnosis before you can ask, “What do you expect will happen during this session?” The client may have expectations that they will enter a deep trance where they are completely unconscious, or they may also have no idea what might happen. Once you’ve gathered what they do or don’t know about hypnosis you can tell them something along these lines:
Hypnosis is a state of mind in it’s own right where the conscious mind steps aside and the subconscious accepts positive and beneficial suggestions. Some feel that they are wide-awake and merely relaxed while they take on the suggestions. Others are completely unconscious of what is occuring in hypnosis. Your hypnosis experience will be what you create for yourself. Whichever experience you prefer, you’ll naturally advance your awareness in that direction. In fact, the form hypnosis takes today will have nothing but effectiveness in correcting the problem you came to solve and your results will be terrific.
Make sure that your client understands these concepts so that they can come out of hypnosis with a good experience knowing what it was like, and knowing for them self that they have indeed experienced hypnosis. The mental state and mindset you create before the actual hypnosis begins in some sense regulates how the rest of the experience will play out. Use everything the client tells you to help expand and enhance their experience in your session. Your client expects to succeed in attaining their goals here with you the hypnotherapist and as a result of hypnosis. Be the one to guide them towards their goals and the way they expect to experience hypnosis.
Suggestion Formula for Pre-Hypnosis Hypnosis
An alternate way to explain hypnosis, especially to a person who has no knowledge of it would be to state something along these lines:
“Some will say that hypnosis is related to sleep. Others say hypnosis is related to wakefulness. The truth is that hypnosis is related to both and is neither. Hypnosis lies within the realm of sleep and the realm of wakefulness. Hypnosis is a state of mind in it’s own right. It is an altered state of consciousness in which the critical faculties of the conscious mind are placed aside and the subconscious mind is brought forward. In this sense, the conscious mind becomes unconscious and the unconscious mind becomes conscious. In hypnosis, subconscious behavior becomes more active while the conscious mind steps aside. The more you understand how the subconscious mind operates, the better you will understand hypnosis. In hypnosis, the subconscious easily accepts ideas and acts upon those ideas that agree with your own set of beliefs. In hypnosis you will be fully aware in not more aware at time, as well as relaxed and highly receptive to suggestions. Whether you feel awake or asleep is actually very unimportant, it is how you are responding to suggestions that is really important. Suggestion is the ‘key’ to how hypnosis works. Also the form your hypnosis session takes has no relation to the effectiveness of correcting the problem you came here to correct. You may feel relaxed, you may feel awake, and it’s completely up to you. The key thing is that you are completely open to have this experience and allow it to become whatever it needs to.”
Make sure that your clients completely grasp these concepts. Otherwise, it is possible that some clients who are aware in and out of hypnosis will leave your office feeling that they did not experience hypnosis or be hypnotized because they thought or felt that they had to completely lose consciousness. Also, you may come across the case where people will not remember anything form the session and think that nothing has happened and they just fell asleep.
Whether or not a person will remember their experience when they come out of hypnosis is directly related to how deep they go into hypnosis and what suggestions they receive. It is a good idea to have some kind of explanation of this before you begin your session, because this amnesia may trigger some fear, confusion and doubts in your clients. Explain to them that being hypnotized will be very similar to dreaming. Sometimes dreams are vivid and the memory of it is imprinted in your brain, other times dreams are less vivid and seem nonexistent because they simply aren’t important or interesting enough to recall. This dream concept is a parallel occurrence of hypnotic amnesia besides during a hypnosis session and both experiences can be comparable.
By explain all of the concepts to your client and telling them they are in control “puts the ball in their court,” so to say. It places the outcome of the experience in their hands. In this way, their mind will create the adventurous journey that is exactly what they need to experience. They will be able to be completely relaxed and comfortable as they are unconcern with where this experience takes them, they are only along for the ride. The important thing to have installed before the session begins is not necessarily the allowance to experience hypnosis, but the belief that their desired hypnotherapeutic results will be obtained.
Creating the Hypnotic Mood
From Awake to Trance
Waking Hypnosis is very powerful and can be all that your client will ever really need once you understand the great potential it possesses. And of course, a formal hypnosis session will be included either way as it is expected from the client so they can feel that they are getting their money’s worth. It is my opinion that it is a good idea to experiment as much as possible with Waking Hypnosis to gain an appreciation and understanding of it’s effectiveness.
The first secret of Waking Hypnosis is to inconspicuously hypnotize someone without even the need to mention anything about hypnosis. By simply speaking to a person you can use this disguised hypnosis technique to allow your client to unknowingly experience hypnosis (Wonderful for any first time session). Simply tell your client: “I will show you how to relax using the power of suggestion. Would you like that?”
The question at the end of the sentence has two very subtle effects that can be very powerful in any hypnosis session; number 1, by asking permission you are gaining agreement on a subconscious level as well as a conscious level therefore it is not a question of whether the person will or will not follow your directions because they have already agreed on all levels (it is a good idea to ask permission whenever you do something in the office because it provides the client with a choice and freewill which will allow them to feel much safer). And number 2, you are creating compliance because there is no reason for anyone to refuse relaxation it is a thing that everyone can appreciate. And the more a person is led into relaxation, the more their critical mind is relaxed as well therefore allowing more suggestions to slip through unnoticed. One way hypnotic influence is produced through compounding suggestion upon suggestion, and in this case piling unmentioned hypnosis upon hypnosis.
“This method offers relaxation throughout the body. It is wonderful, as in just a few moments of concentrated relaxation you can obtain the equivalent of a full hour of rest. Sit comfortably in your seat. Think of nothing special. Just let your mind drift. To obtain this complete relaxation, just listen to the sound of my voice and just do as I tell you. Ready, set, go. Now close your eyes as you relax comfortably in your seat. All comfortable! Your eyes are closed! Fine. Now keep your eyelids tightly closed and roll your eyeballs up just as if you are looking right into the top of your head; right inside your brain. Eyes closed, looking right up inside your head. Relax, comfortably relaxed and thinking of nothing but what I tell you. I am going to count from one to six, and while I am counting you will find it is impossible to open your eyes. You are relaxed all over with your eyes closed, looking right up inside your head… eyes tightly closed.
- One. You cannot open your eyes because the more you try the tighter they keep shut.
- Two. Your eyes are so tightly shut, looking up into the top of your head that, try as you will, you cannot open them. Try, Try hard, but it is impossible for you to open them because they are so tightly shut.
- Three. You cannot open your eyes. They are glued shut. You are relaxed and comfortable all over. You hear nothing but my voice. You think of nothing but what I tell you. Your eyes are tightly closed.
- Four. You still cannot open your eyes and you do not want to now, for it is so comfortable sitting there, comfortable and relaxed, with your eyes shut, hearing nothing, thinking of nothing but the sound of my voice. Eyes shut, shut tightly relaxedand comfortable.
- Five. You cannot open your eyes because you are sinking into such a comfortable, pleasant deep relaxation that it makes you feel sleepy. You feel like dropping into a deep, deep sleep. You are so nice and relaxed all over, dropping into a deep sleep, into the realm of sleep. Thinking nothing, hearing but my voice; all comfortable and relaxed. Dropping intothe realm of sleep. Sleeping. Going deeper and deeper into sleep.
- Six. You are now so relaxed and comfortable, as you drift and drift down into the realm of sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Go deep to sleep, and as you go deeper and deeper into the realm of sleep, and as you drop down deeper and deeper into sleep, let this become your reality.”
Now you have the option of giving them suggestions for success in the task that they came to you for, or maybe bring them deeper with deepening techniques, or maybe awaken them after allowing them to enjoy the relaxation for a few moments. This method has such a powerful effect that it was able to produce a hypnotic mind set without even using the word hypnosis or anything related to it. It also conditions the mind for receptivity and responsiveness to whatever your next “experiment” will be.
Hypnotic Prelude BEFORE Consultation (or interview)
Allow your client the privilege of being welcomed into a happy place in space and time. Bringing people into the “hypnotic mood” is apparently so simple that many hypnotists over look it’s value for the client. Yes, it is simple, but the simpler the better when it comes to improving your clients experience in your office. It is important to do anythin in your power to give your client the opportunity to feel relaxed and at peace. Keep your office a bright clean and pleasant place by maybe having flowers or allowing fresh air to come through a window. All these little things are the things the subconscious mind of a person is paying attention to so the person can decide wether or not they feel comfortable with you as a therapist. It is best to stay away from any mystique or clinically medical settings. You want your office to convey strength, guidance, and protection.
In this approach, the client will be using auto-suggestion to program receptivity for profound hypnosis for themself. Auto-suggestions is also know as self hypnosis or simply defined as suggestions the client gives themself. What you want to do is ask your client to enter an adjoining room alone, or if there is no extra room available, then step out of the room for a few moments and leave them there. You want the room to be warm and dimly lit with soft pleasant music playing in the background. A comfortable recliner chair is perfect for this or a softly covered couch will work just fine. Instruct your client to:
“Sit in the chair, close your eyes, place your hands over your ears, and repeat out loud the following suggestions…over and over… for five minutes, ‘I want to be profoundly hypnotized for my personal benefit. I allow it to happen.”
Once the five minutes have expired you may invite your client back into the office or gain their attention by saying:”We can now begin our consultation and interview (or formal hypnotic induction).”
Hypnotic Prelude AFTER Consultation (or interview)
Now in this approach you are able to conduct your preliminary interview and consultation before you pre-hypnotize the client. ”Now that we know what concerns you, we are going to use hypnosis to remove that concern. Before we start, go in my adjoining room. You will find it silent and peaceful. Take a seat, relax comfortably, and close your eyes, if you wish. Sit quietly for ten minutes while you think to yourself how you feel the experience of being hypnotized will be. Give your full attention to this. Do not allow your mind to wander from that purpose. Do you understand?”
Or if you don’t have an adjoining room
“I am going to dim the lights and leave you alone in your chair for ten minutes while you think to yourself how you feel the experience of being hypnotized will be. Give your full attention to this task, and do not allow your mind to wander from that purpose. Do you understand? (Client agrees)”
Give your client no hints as to what the experience of hypnosis will be like. Such conjecture is exactly what the client expects the experience to be like. The instruction to “give full attention to thinking about what the experience of being hypnotized will be” and the command that “your mind must not wander from that purpose” are both literally impossible suggestion to complete. Because how can a client experience something that to their own knowledge they have never experienced before? How can you keep your attention focused on something of which you know nothing about? In this case, the command to “not to allow the mind to wander” forces the mind to wander even more. The presence of the hypnotherapist’s suggestion will continue to force the client to attempt to follow it. So their attention will swing from focused on the suggestion to unfocused, going away from the suggestion to going back towards. Back and forth the pendulum swings, from attention to inattention. In this a paradox has been created, and since a paradox cannot be logically solved, either the critical mind will be forced to give up control, or at the very least it will bored the mind causing it to go blank.
So what? Who cares?
The time your client spends alone in the dark room, before their return to your office (or your return to the room) to be hypnotized will seem like almost an hour. Once the time in the room thinking about how it would feel to be hypnotized is over, your client will have developed some kind of attitude towards hypnosis. “Will it work, or will it not work?” By this point the mind will have become completely indifferent to the outcome. And with indifference, just like going to sleep, indifference is the best way to go to sleep. Not care when, not caring how, just knowing that it must come. Also the mind will be eager to get busy and do something again that can keep it busy and entertained. that “entertainment” and “doing something” is going to be hypnosis.
Somnambulism, according to a man named Charcot in the mid-1800s, is supposedly the lightest state of hypnosis. In more recent times, it is known more as a curious state in which people seem to do things that are amazingly unexplainable. A state where a person can walk and talk in their sleep, awaken, and remember nothing of the experience. A state that has vexed hundreds of thousands and bent beliefs as to the limits, or better yet, the possibilities of the mind. Ormond McGill described it as “the attic of the mind that makes you subjectively responsive to suggestions.”
Somnambulism could be understood as a simply interruption in the supposedly constant stream of consciousness where you would do things that you are unaware that you are doing. Not unconsciousness, just a simple interruption. Statistics, which say nothing about the individual, say that about one in five people enter a somnambulistic state when put into hypnosis. For some it happens instantaneously, for others it takes repeated trial. I believe that everyone is capable of entering the somnambulistic state of hypnosis and it is simply a level of mentality that can be practiced, exercised, and reached in time, but that is another topic.
In somnambulism is where the most outrageous of hypnotic demonstrations are followed out without second thought. Post hypnotic suggestions are followed precisely and literally in the somnambulistic state. The somnambulism state is where reality can be altered, hallucinations created, and amnesia can take place.
Older texts speak about somnambulism and they say: “Somnambulism is a very deep state of hypnosis where remarkable achievements are made with great ease. This state is often sought and rarely attained. The operator must be satisfied working in lighter states of hypnosis.” Quite contrary to the words just stated, somnambulism is a state that is easily attained when provoked properly. It is actually quite a common state of mind that most of us experience everyday either to a delight or rather more of a nuisance. After all, if you think about it, somnambulism is characterized mainly by amnesia and absent-mindedness.
Somnambulism occurs frequently without invitation. Have you ever been working ever so vigilantly at you desk, possibly finishing up some important paperwork when something out of nowhere interrupts you for what feels like only a few seconds? “The papers have seemed to vanish into thin air; and where is that darn pen? I swear I just had it…” You look around in all the places you know it could, would, and should possibly be, and you seem to get more and more frustrated. All of a sudden the paper and pen reappear right in front of you in a place you are sure you checked, yet for some reason you convince yourself you must have just looked right past it. Is that really the case, or was that possibly a negative hallucination brought on by a state of somnambulism. If you brain waves were being monitored at that point in time, I am sure what the answer would be, what about you?
Have you ever been driving along the freeway or the highway, and in the extreme boredom of driving your mind just seems to wander? And then all of a sudden you jerk back to reality and remain disoriented for a few moments maybe even questioning where you are. “Where am I?” “Darn it!” you say to yourself, “I’ve gone past my exit!” After another few moments you realize that you have driven miles on a busy highway without even being aware you were driving. “Wow,” you say to yourself, “I should pay more attention while I’m driving, and not daydream.”
Dangerous? Yes and No
You may not have consciously been paying any attention to the road, but subconsciously you were. Your subconscious is conditioned to PROTECT YOU. Survival is the number one purpose of the subconscious and how it approaches life. The danger in driving unconsciously does not come from your own self, as rather the other drivers on the road who are less aware and not under your control. Safe driving will always be defensive driving, and I have some doubts that a Highway Patrol Officer would accept the excuse that you were in a state of somnambulism. Generally, it is not recommended to be in a somnambulism state while driving.
Have you ever misplaced your keys? “I should know where I put them, but somehow I’ve forgotten.” It almost drives you crazy, as the keys become very important to living a worry free, happy life somehow. “Those keys… where are those keys, I know I had them!” You look and look, and the more you look, the more the loss becomes. Do you want to find your keys? Stop looking and allow the state-of-loss to sink in. Stop worrying, and suddenly they appear. You say to yourself, “Funny, here they are. I wonder how that slipped my mind?” And then you rationalize, “Oh well, the important thing is that I found my keys.”
When you hypnotize a person the first thing you do is invoke relaxation in the body. Relaxing the body is an early stage in reaching hypnotic depth. Begin by suggesting, “The muscles in your eyes relax until the point that they become so relaxed they will not work and you will be unable to open your eyes, no matter how hard you try. The next thing you will realize is how the relaxation moves or rather spreads from your eyes down over your entire body to create total relaxation.”
To go deeper and obtain somnambulism you must also relax the mind. Remember, somnambulism is characterized by the production of amnesia otherwise known as an extreme case of absent-mindedness. By having the subject relax sufficiently, for a fragmentary pause in time, you can cause the mind to become blank concerning certain things. It doesn’t matter what the certain “thing” is. You have produced amnesia. Tell the subject, “Now your body has become completely relaxed, next you will relax your mind and produce somnambulism. As your mind relaxes, amnesia will occur, and you will forget familiar numbers that you would normally know.”
Next, suggest that they have forgotten their Social Security Number; this is a good number to start with because most people can’t remember their Social Security Number anyway. “You cannot recall what your Social Security Number is! The numbers have completely dropped out of your mind. Understand? If you agree, lift your left pointer finger.”
Wait for the Agreement signal. Then…
“Tell me the first digits of your Social Security Number.” There is no answer, because the mind will go blank, first test is a success. Lets move on to bigger fish.
“Now you will find that your telephone number has likewise dropped out of your mind, completely forgotten. You can’t for the life of you remember your telephone number… What is your telephone number?”
There is no answer. The mind has gone blank. Then…
“All numbers drop away completely from your mind. You can’t even remember your home address, where you live. You cannot recall it. It has vanished from your mind. What is your home address?”There is no answer. The mind goes blank. Step-by-step you have systematically lead the mind into amnesia, and that is the same as leading the mind into somnambulism. “You can’t even recall your own name. You can’t even remember who you are.” Blank. Blank. Blank. You have produced somnambulism. If you were to pinch the subject, there would be no response. Their mind is now conditioned and ready to manifest all manners of somnambulistic phenomena, in response to your suggestions. In this state you can suggest to the subject: “Open your eyes, and as you do so you will go even deeper into hypnosis. With eyes open you can observe the indicators of hypnosis everywhere.”
Every manner of medical and dental procedures would find this state extremely advantageous. It works brilliantly well for surgery and when the session is over and the operation is completed without pain, do not be surprised if some patients say, “How could I have been hypnotized? I was wide awake and watching you during the entire treatment.”
The somnambulistic state awakens a person to wonderful powers within the depths of their own mind. What should a hypnotherapist do if a client refuses to go into somnambulism? Nothing. Quit trying. After all, it is not your responsibility if the client chooses to turn critical mind against using the remarkable potential of their subconscious. Appreciating that somnambulism is an euphoric state in which the client gains an appreciation of him or herself is an important thing to understand. And while it can cause amnesia, it never cause unconsciousness, the client never loses consciousness. Instead, they gain a sense of heightened awareness. Some researchers claim that a person’s awareness surprisingly quadruples while in a state of somnambulism.
You, as the hypnotherapist have the choice to either conclude the session at this point, or take the subject clear down into “the basement of the mind,” The Hypnotic Coma. Before you bring them back to being normally awake and aware, be sure to reinstate their “memory.” “You have an excellent memory and easily recall you name, your Social Security Number, telephone number, home address, and anything else you would like to remember.”
How to Elicit the Hypnotic Coma
Intentionally induce the hypnotic coma by promising, “How pleasant it will be. Those who have experienced said it is the best hypnotic experience the have ever had the opportunity to enjoy. It’s simply fantastic.”
Next, hypnotize your client into wonderfully relaxed somnambulism using your favorite induction. Then affirm, “You are deeply in hypnosis now and wonderfully relaxed. You enjoy the relaxation so much that you crave to go deeper and become even more relaxed. You know deep within yourself you can go into a depth of relaxation far beyond and much deeper than the relaxation you are in right now. You want to go into the very basement of relaxation inside yourself. If you are ready now to go into the basement of relaxation, simply nod your head.” (Client nods their head)
“Good. Get ready now to descend into the basement of yourself. Imagine you are in a spacious house of your very own. It has an attic, which is the space you are in now, and below the attic is Floor A… and below Floor A is Floor B… below Floor B is Floor C, which instead of Floor C we will call the Basement of your house. There is an elevator in your house that will take you down to these floors lower and lower inside yourself. We are going to take this elevator and go down in it to these lower floors, and with each floor you reach you will become twice as relaxed as you are right now, here in the attic of your somnambulistic self until your reach the very basement of relaxation. How eager you are to reach that basement of relaxation. If you understand this, simply nod your head.” (Client nods their head)
“Good. Fine. Get into the elevator now and we are going to start on our way down. All ready. Good. Ready, set, go. Down we go to Floor A in which you become twice as relaxed as you are right now. Down…down we go and we have reached Floor A now. Enjoy the relaxation for a few moments –of this floor which is twice as deep as the relaxation you enjoyed while you were in the attic of your house.” (Allow the client some quite moments to sink into the relaxation and completely enjoy Floor A.)
“When, you are ready to go down the elevator now to Floor B even deeper, nod your head.” (Client nods their head.)
“Good. Back in the elevator now, and down we go to Floor B. Down. Down you go and reach Floor B where yet again you enjoy twice the relaxation you enjoyed on Floor A. Enjoy some moments of this great relaxation you have now that you are on Floor B. Are you ready to go down to Floor C now, which is the basement of relaxation inside yourself. If you are ready, just nod your head.” (Client nods their head.)
“Good. Back in the elevator we go… down and down we go… into the basement of extreme relaxation inside yourself. You are in the basement of relaxation now. Get out of the elevator and enjoy the delicious space you are in… Down in the basement of relaxation.” (Observing the hypnotized client, you will notice what seems like absolute contentment settles throughout their face. This is HYPNOTIC COMA.)
Somehow the person has become self-contained and it appears you have lost contact. You try to communicate and there is no response. Even a suggested command; there is no obedience. In the Hypnotic Coma the person becomes in rapport with him or herself. They are not unconscious and they hear you and know you are there. But they have become so pleasantly withdrawn within themselves that they can’t be bothered to do anything but enjoy. They are so far withdrawn that even outer noise and pain are not reacted to.
Then, the interesting phenomena of catitonia sets in. you lift up an arm of a person in Hypnotic Coma, and it just stays their, suspended in mid air. If left for some time it would gradually descend towards the floor, but for the most part, arms and legs stay where they are moved to. Bend a person at the waist and they stay bent. It is quite the sight. A psychiatrist would call this an abnormal state of “waxy flexibility.” Abnormal in comparison to whatever it is we call the “normal state,’ but for the Hypnotic Coma it is as common as seeing a person breathe.
Awakening Someone From the Hypnotic Coma
What if you tell the client to come out of the coma and there is no response what-so-ever? First attemp to count them back up from the basement to Floor B and then Floor A, and the attic and so on. Be calm and collected so not to send the impression that they are difficult to arouse. Your confidence is necessary to remove the trance you have produced. You could say, “I want you to wake up now. I know that you rare sleepy and tired, but you must wake up now. YOU HAVE SLEPT LONG ENOUGH. I’ll tell you what I’ll do, I’ll count you back up from the basement up to Floor B, Floor A, and finally the attic very slowly and when you wake up you will feel even better than you do now. Fair enough. Will you wake up when you get to the attic? (Persevere until you get some kind of response.) Alright, here we go, Floor B, Floor A, and then, the attic WIDE AWAKE FEELING GREAT. EYES WIDE OPEN. WAKE UP. WAKE UP. WAKE UP.” Snap your fingers or clap you hands loudly as you say “WAKE UP.” Don’t worry about the startling noise re-inducing trance because this subject is lethargic in nature.
If all else fail, resort to bargaining and technically threats. This is a very direct and simple way to bring a person back up, however it is not recommended due to the necessity for small threats (Only use for Hypnotic Coma). “If you don’t come right out of this state now, you will never have another opportunity to experience this euphoria again in the basement of absolute relaxation.”
Why does this work?
Because being in coma provides freedom from all stress and bodily ches and pains. It feels so good. It is euphoric. The client very much looks forward to being given the opportunity to enjoy it again.
If the client still remains in self-centered rapport and not with you, just relax and say, “Go ahead and do whatever you wish. I will pay no more attention to you. You are paying by the hour, so the longer you stay the better for me.” Go ahead and go about your business ignoring them completely. Surprisingly enough they will come out of the state rather quickly after that.
Elman’s Hypnotic Coma
The hypnotic coma is rarely ever mentioned in hypnosis literature and information, and even when it is, it is normally discredited as “too rare to be concerned with.” Somnambulism still reins as the deepest “useful” depth of hypnosis, so even other authors acknowledge the existence of the hypnotic coma
The hypnotic coma is a state of hypnosis so deep that the client completely loses all contact with the hypnotherapist, and drops into an abyss of him or herself. The hypnotic coma seems to be such a wonderful and peaceful state that most of those who enter it and feel it’s luxuriously extreme relaxation caress their body and mind do rarely see the need or want to leave. They would be completely content to remain in the hypnotic coma and simply let the world go on without them. It is a great therapy for people such as students who need a mental break from university study.
Whilst in the coma, one does not wished to be bothered or distracted by outside communication. A person in the hypnotic coma simply wishes to be alone, yet not lonely, because one can never be truly alone when connected to true SELF. Any clutter that seems to have made it’s way into the mind is easily gotten rid of. And any stress of the body and mind completely dissipates as the body and mind are allowed to wander and rejuvenate.
The hypnotic coma state is totally harmless, enjoyable, and a pleasure clearly praised by those who have entered its gates. For the ill, the coma would be the perfect state to recover in. It is highly possible that this is it’s main purpose of existence. Being in such a profound depth of hypnosis simply for the state itself void of any suggestion is the best hypnotherapy there is: like coasting in catatonic cruise control.
Doctors would benefit greatly from using the hypnotic coma in surgery, as their patients would seem to automatically anesthetize themselves without any need for special suggestion to do so. Although the clients within the hypnotic coma seem unreachable by physical suggestion and simply non-responsive, they easily follow mental suggestions to the letter. A suggestion such as removing a migrane is immediately responded to.
In this state of the hypnotic coma, the hypnotherapist seems to have lost all guidance and control over their client, as the client begins to just take off on their own. The client becomes completely independent from the hypnotherapist. Rapport between the two is seemingly lost. The “I just don’t care feeling” of the hypnotic coma will quickly turn into “leave me the hell alone.” To a hypnotist who cannot comprehend the coma, this state can be a cause for concern. “What if the person never comes back to the here and now?”
“Worry. Worry. Worry. How the hypnotist worries when his subject goes so deep into hypnosis he will not follow suggested commands. For heaven’s sake, stop worrying and be thankful you have made things so pleasant for the subject that the coma state is achieved…
The coma is the most profound state of relaxation body/mind can reac. In the coma state, such a deep phase of relaxation has been obtained that the subject does not want to be disturbed. And so he turns off the hypnotist, so he can fully enjoy by himself the euphoria he is in. He drops within himself, and to heck with the hypnotist outside. That is HYPNOTIC COMA…
The coma is not so difficult to understand when you examine the reactions yourself at times. For example, you are relaxing in a hammock, a little breeze sways gently, it is a lazy balmy day, you enter a state of peace with yourself. It is so nice you just want to be left alone. If anyone intrudes upon your reverie you are annoyed, and your inner mind says to itself, ‘Please go away and leave me alone so I can just enjoy my being, as I am right now.’ And so you withdraw and remain very quite, and hope they will go away.” — Dave Elman
For more than one hundred years it was believed that the coma state occurred randomly in only one in a thousand cases. Textbooks say that should it occur during your session, it is best to leave them alone and in time they should pass from the coma into natural sleep and wake up eventually. Nonsense.
First of all, very few people, if any, find it possible to fall asleep while in the hypnotic state. From the hypnotic coma the subject will not simply slip from the coma into natural sleep, and then arouse him or herself when they are done resting; the person simply arouses him or herself when they are good and ready. They will arise of there own will only when they know they are ready and are satisfied with their experience. If asked after experiencing the coma, “Were you asleep?” they will simply respond “No, I just didn’t want to come back from where I was… it was so nice to be there.” A person can be quickly aroused from the hypnotic coma state when the right suggestions are applied.
This amazing state of hypnosis is not even a coma at all, as the person has complete awareness and can remember everything that took place when they return from it. Amnesia rarely even occurs in the coma state. Even amnesia is not unconsciousness, or sleep. It’s sub consciousness that is in motion from one stream of consciousness to another, and a lapse may occur in the continuity of memory. Elman suggests that even in profound hypnosis the client always has the element of choice. “Freedom of choice is there in both the objective and subjective states of mind; only habit can tie you up.”