The Perridwyn School of Hypnosis
Hypnosis is a state of focused awareness. It is something
everyone has experienced countless times; among instances of
it are waking up or getting absorbed in a good book. The characteristics
of the state vary; it cannot be pinpointed on an EEG and the
experience is different for everyone though there are common
elements. A person can be hypnotized and while that state be
having a great time at a party; no zombie eyes no intonations
of Yeesss Massterr no wandering about with arms outstretched.
Hypnosis does not have a unique and unmistakable insignia indicating
This is generally not the case with the PROCESS of hypnosis.
Patterns of hypnosis have been written up and used for decades.
You can find books depicting the process in bookstores and libraries.
The process is intended to create that state of focused awareness.
It is this process I wish to discuss in the remainder of this
post. [Hypnosis and being hypnotized will refer to the process
should there be any confusion.]
Hypnosis can be thought of as a game that is binding. The
rules are initially defined by the expectations of the subject
which encompasses all their experiences with it everything they've
seen on TV and old movies and what the subject has been told
about hypnosis. These rules dictate what will and will not be
effective; which inductions will and will not work; and the
conduct of the subject while in the state of hypnosis. The rules
are mutable. Debunking misconceptions demonstrations and providing
more information -- accurate or not -- will affect the rules
of the game. A professor at Stanford illustrated how greatly
expectations dictate results. The gentleman told one of his
introductory psychology classes that an unfailing indication
of a hypnotized subject was that their right arm would float
upwards. The professor told another class the same thing only
in this case he specified it was the left hand that would rise.
When he hypnotized members of both classes he discovered that
students responded in accord with their expectations. The right
arm of the members of the first class did indeed rise while
with members of the second class only the left hand rose. In
hypnosis the subject calls the shots. Their expectations outline
the manner in which the game is to be played. The hypnotist
wields no mystical power; she and the subject have an agreement
that the process of hypnosis is conducted in a certain manner
and each player behaves in a particular way. The level at which
the game is played is defined by the rules and the degree of
trust the subject feels for the hypnotist. A mistrustful subject
will be paying far more attention to what you are doing and
what you might be scheming than to what you are saying. 667
Hypnosis is useful as a catalyst. As seen above the state
itself is not too exhilarating in and of itself. The process
and the applications are what make it fun and useful. You can
call on your mind's abilities to control pain [useful]; you
can play the most intense imagination game of D&D of your
life [fun]. The function of the hypnotist is to provide a focal
point and talk their partner through evoking the intended result.
The process usually begins with a discussion of hypnosis. This
is to determine the purpose of a session debunk misconceptions
get a sense of the subject's expectations and generally make
things go easier later. The induction consists of bringing the
subject's awareness to something and keeping it focused. The
hypnotist gives suggestions to bring about the determined purpose
including any post-hypnotic suggestions. Then she guides the
subject back to a normal state of awareness.
WHAT HYPNOSIS IS NOT
- It is not sleep. The participant is thoroughly aware of
their surroundings. They may choose to ignore them. The hypnotist
may ask the subject to ignore things or to focus all attention
on one idea.
- You can not get stuck in hypnosis. Either you will awaken
on your own or the state will become one of natural sleep. Sometimes
a subject requires a few more moments to return. Sometimes the
subject refuses to return. This is particularly true of stage
hypnosis; if a subject feels pissed off at the hypnotist it
can be mightily gratifying to unnerve said offending hypnotist
by not responding. Even if this is the case the subject will
still either return on their own or fall asleep.
- A hypnotized person will not knowingly violate their code
of ethics. Milton Erickson messed around with this a bit and
found it to be particularly true if he made it clear that the
subject was responsible for the consequences of their actions.
There are three twists here; 1. A person may do something seemingly
unethical if it is o.k. according to their moral standards especially
if they believe being hypnotized at the time is sufficient excuse.
2. Stage hypnotists evoke some silly behavior which might ordinarily
be contrary to the subject's code of conduct. This is a result
of group pressure of the forgivability of stage hypnosis and
of the streak of hamming it up in each of us. 3. A person can
be tricked. If I am told I am in a blazing hot desert sweating
buckets and the only way to get cool is to take my shirt off
I might do that. I will not do that because I am an exhibitionist.
If I am directly told to take off my shirt first I will snap
back to the here and now and next I will drop-kick the lech
out of my house. Furthermore once such a maneuver is recognized
the hypnotist has utterly destroyed the subject's trust and
will have no further success with them. 668
NITTY GRITTY STUFF
First some things concerning speaking. The hypnotist ought
not speak in a monotone; not only is it unnecessary it is an
annoyance. Rather she should make her voice congruent with what
she's saying. If she is describing a soothing walk on the beach
under a restful sunset she ought not sound hyper. It is useful
to use a particular tone of voice when hypnotizing people. This
is helpful because soon there will be an association between
The Voice and the state. In addition it means you will not inadvertently
trip an association if you use your normal speaking voice with
someone whom you see primarily for hypnosis you are apt to zone
them out just by saying Howzit goin The Voice comes with practice
and you can pick it out after a while.
There are definite reasons behind word choices. Sense words
make things more vivid; describe the colors textures and sounds
associated with that soothing walk on the beach. Repeating words
and phrases helps things sink in and adds rhythm to your patter.
You may opt to say things in a permissive way [in a moment you
may picture yourself walking upon a soothing beach; perhaps
there is a glorious sunset coloring the sky crimson and purple]
or in an authoritative way [ You are walking on a beach. The
beach is soothing; it makes you more and more relaxed. Notice
the glorious sunset]. The choice of words is based on the situation
the hypnotist's style and most of all upon the personality and
rules of the subject. Make them fit.
Synonyms for this word include credibility and rapport. Leverage
makes suggestions more effective. Things that generate leverage
are accurate descriptions of present experience and accurate
descriptions of future events. An accurate description of your
present experience may be that your eyes are moving across these
words and you feel the keyboard beneath your waiting fingers
and you feel the chair beneath you and you hear noises in the
background that you have not been paying much attention to until
now. An accurate description of future events can be that as
you read these words you will become aware of your left earlobe.
Another is that when you take your next really deep breath your
hand may feel somewhat lighter. I base my estimation of your
awareness of your earlobe on the fact that mentioning it almost
inevitably makes you think about it. The second assertion is
much shakier in this context but stronger if you were being
hypnotised. Relax your hands on your lap for a moment and inhale
deeply. Notice how your shoulders rise a little and tug your
arm up a little bit
Things that are bad for credibility are ability tests and
blatant contradictions of present experience. When you use an
ability test you run the risk of it not working. They do work
for many people and sometimes providing useful information but
it is very difficult to recover gracefully from an unsuccessful
ability test. The participant may reach the conclusion that
they can not be hypnotized or that you are incapable of hypnotizing
them. Blatant contradiction of present experience as you carefully
scrutinize the upper left corner of your monitor you can become
aware of the little picture of a pink-and-purple hippopotamus.
Now to tie these together. If you have been correct in the
past few descriptions you increase the probability you will
be in the next one. As an example presume I am being hypnotized
right now. I am told about how I feel the keyboard under my
hands as my fingers dance from key to key (correct) I glance
at my scribbling to help me clarify this thought (correct) and
I hear muffled music in the background (also correct) and as
I notice these things I can feel myself becoming more and more
relaxed. The last assertion is pure speculation; there is no
reason that those things should make me feel more relaxed and
no real indication that I'm mellowing out noticing these things.
However the hypnotist has been right on three counts so far.
He has acquired a little credibility. My response is going to
be Sure he's been right so far why not now This point is somewhat
esoteric; if it makes sense fine. Ifit doesn't or even if it
does read Trance-Formations listed at the end of this post.
The authors go over this in detail and in a very skillful and
clear fashion. Let this stand the more accurate you are, so
much the better; a really incorrect statement or blatant failure
is apt to be disruptive.
The purpose of an induction is to focus awareness on something
and gradually move through to evoking the intended results.
The methods are many and varied. Very often the focal point
is relaxation. Progressive relaxation consists of deliberately
tensing and relaxing (sometimes just relaxing) each part of
the body paying attention to releasing every bit of tension.
Descriptions of soothing surroundings or experiences are also
used to produce relaxation. Trance-Formations describes an induction
utilizing points mentioned above. It consists of sets of six
statements. The first set contains five accurate descriptions
of present experience and one abstract or unverifiable statement
(... and these things make you feel more and more relaxed ...and
while you notice them you feel a sense of security ... and strangely
enough these remind you of wrecking Aunt Milllie's car). The
next set contains four present-experiences and two abstracts;
then three present-experiences and three abstracts and so on
until you're dealing with just the abstracts. Confusion inductions
consist of confusing the hell out of someone and then providing
them with an understandable option. This confusion often consists
of ambiguous statements or plays on words. Take the words right
write rite and Wright. As you right about the right brothers
you realize you have violated the rights of those whose right
this is by righting with your right instead of your left. The
intended response is a huge HUH at which point you offer an
understandable option ... and that makes you feel really silly!
The option is an escape route from all that unpleasantness and
ambiguity and therefore desirable. 670
Inductions take time. It is common for an induction to take
ten or twenty minutes with a participant who has not been hypnotized
much before or is unused to your style. Signs of effectiveness
the participant's responses match your description. ... and
that makes you feel really silly may be met with a smile; depictions
of relaxation are matched with visible decreases in tension.
Requests to picture scenes usually evoke rapid eye movement.
If you ask your partner to do a lot of talking you will notice
changes in their manner of speaking; it becomes quieter slower
perhaps a little less well enunciated. Depending on what you
ask them to say and how familiar you are with their normal speech
patterns you may notice differences in word choices. Subjectively
you or the participant may feel more lethargic and may experience
dissociation. For me that means that I could do a lot of things
like move my hand up a few inches but it would require so much
energy and I do not think it important enough at the time to
expend that energy. Also I tend to start loosing track of where
I left my limbs (tee hee); I know they're there somewhere but
don't think it important enough to bother to relocate them.
It is desirable to make series of suggestions flow as smoothly
as possible. Choppy sentences are more apt to create tension
than soothe them. Flowing sentences encourage relaxation have
better rhythm to them and can possess more leverage. Take these
three phrases You feel the chair beneath you. You see the text
on the screen. You are becoming more relaxed than ever before.
The simplest way to connect them is with plain old conjunctions.
You feel the chair beneath you AND you see the text on the screen
AND you are becoming more relaxed than ever before. Next step
up simultaneous words. AS you feel the chair beneath youyou
see the text on the screen AND AT THE SAME TIME you are becoming
more relaxed than ever before. The most powerful way to hook
up phrases is with causal words. SINCE you feel the chair beneath
you AND BECAUSE you see the text on the screen you are becoming
more relaxed than ever before.
This is the portion of the process where you accomplish the
stated purpose; the part of the game that is binding. Suggestion
styles include the following:
- Direct suggestion. This is where you flat-out say such
and such is going to happen. When you are going to bed tonight
you will feel compelled to think of purple hippos. As soon as
your head touches the pillow purple hippos will occupy your
every thought. 671
- Indirect suggestion. Comprised of visualization and storytelling.
Visualization is just mentally creating the event. It is not
restricted to just pictures; whichever senses make it more real
are the ones you should appeal to. If you know the person is
oriented to one sense more than another, describe with them.
( See the purple hippos dancing on your quilt. Hear them thundering
up the hallway. Feel the floor shake with their every step.
) If in doubt it can't hurt to use all of them. [ Most people
favor either vision hearing or kinesthics so you needn't necessarily
go into how it tastes to chow down on purple hippo. If you were
visualizing walking in a flower garden however it makes sense
to include smell. Use what is appropriate.] Picture yourself
preparing for bed. Your teeth are brushed; the sounds of traffic
are hushed; and the pillow feels delightfully cool against your
cheek. As you snuggle down under the pillows your mind turns
to thoughts of purple hippos.
Storytelling is more subtle than both direct suggestion and
visualization. You relate an event or anecdote which provides
a sort of framework for conduct. When I was a child every night
as I went to sleep I would conjure up a rainbow zoo dancing
on my bed covers. First there would be the lions as yellow as
lemons. Following them were orange alligators... [blah blah
blah through blue ostriches..] And last and best of all were
the purple hippos. They were my favorite part of the procession;
I looked forward to them as soon as my head touched the pillow.
And the last thoughts on my mind were of those purple hippos
cavorting on my quilt. If it's something really strange like
the above you probably wish to attribute it to a weird cousin
or obscure newspaper clipping. Lead into these gracefully; this
example might start off with bedtime rituals in general and
in the present then remembering back to bedtime rituals as a
child then into your story. ( How many people will think of
purple hippos the night after they read this) These should be
related in an appropriately serious manner. If it's silly sound
a little silly but present it as if it's important as if you
were sharing it with a friend. If you make it sound important
it will be received as such. Go gently with them too; don't
holler PURPLE HIPPOS CAVORTING ON THE QUILT. Just weave it into
its surroundings. Storytelling is best for going sideways at
something for attending to integral corollaries of the purpose.
Their power is in subtlety.
- Subliminals. It is possible to mark out certain words as
you say them. You may make a certain unobtrusive gesture change
pitch or loudness slightly glance off in a certain direction
-- something small enough not to require the participant's full-blown
attention but designed so they will be able to perceive it.
This is the hardest thing for me to give an example of because
it's something I have not begun to master. If you could
For Further Reading