Hypnosis, ...there is quite some fuzz about it. Did you know that Belgium has a 1892 law that forbids hypnosis in shows or street acts and limits its use in therapeutic contexts?
Without knowing it consciously, every single day, we all commit several infractions against that 1892 law. In this blog, You will learn why. Reading the article will definitely change your view of hypnosis and make you very curious to learn even more about it and what it can mean to you once you try it...
"Hypnosis" is defined in a variety of ways. One definition I like is the following one: "inducing a change of trance". Yes, you read it correctly : a change of trance. Does that mean that before you are hypnotized you are already in a trance?! Well, yes indeed it does.
You may not be aware of it, but while you are reading this blog, you are in a trance. The more you will concentrate on my often complex sentences that will force you in searching and finding meaning, the less you will be aware of what is happening around you nor of the time flying by. It actually almost never occurs that you are not in a trance. Your automatic imagination guides you and your automatic nervous system drives you, or not. What do you think happens when you watch TV, or drive your car, or talk to someone you care for, or work in a very concentrated way, ....? You are in a trance, a form of narrowed consciousness.
Hypnosis: it happens to you every day, every hour, every minute
If hypnosis means triggering a change of state, then many things are excellent hypnotists. Think about you being happy and bumping into someone you really cannot stand... Or go back to the last time you heard a piece of music and you became all nostalgic... Or that smell of pancakes that threw you back to your childhood... These are all events that change your trance in just seconds. You do not have to do anything. It just happens. If you think that you cannot be hypnotized, well that is a belief that is about to die... :)
Whatever the trance you are in, you will be highly sensitive to suggestions. In everyday and even more in every-night life, these suggestions come from a voice within your head. It tells you stories that often strengthen feelings or thoughts that you have, both limiting and empowering thoughts and beliefs. I am pretty convinced that some of you do not believe this and hear a little voice inside their heads right now, telling them that this is nonsense... That's right.
Suggestions also come from outside. The best example to illustrate this is the one of TV advertising. Imagine you are watching a show after a hard days work. As the show progresses, you become totally relaxed eating whatever you eat while you watch TV in a seemingly uncontrolled way. The show is interrupted (= a pattern break) and wicked mad men project messages on the screen that use all sorts of interesting techniques to bypass your critical faculty and drop suggestions and anchors right into you unconscious minds.
You can bet your thumbs that you are in a hypnotic trance. Your Reticular Activation System (aka the iris of your attention) is tampered with and the next day or week you will spot the product and buy it, without even remembering why or what triggered you.
Spin doctors of successful politicians also master the art of covert hypnosis.
Meanwhile most of us still wonder what it would be like to be hypnotized...
Back to the matter of hypnosis.
We have discussed some examples of involuntary hypnosis induced with or without a specific purpose by the trigger.
What is it that the hypnotherapist does? Well more or less the same. We chose from a range of methods to change the mental state (aka trance) of the subject because the subject tells us they want to change something in their lives, but do not succeed in doing this. In this blog I exclude inductions I sometimes do at parties just for fun and demonstration purposes.
The method can be conversational (aka Ericksonian induction) or rapid induction. In both cases the purpose is to change the subject's trance to a relaxed and receptive trance open for indirect and direct suggestions. For me it is important to remain a "fair witness", meaning that I do not impose my model of the world or my solutions. That is why I so much like to work content-free. I do not need to know what the problem is, I just guide the subject towards finding a solution that is good for them. I choose from a wide collection of proven NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) methods to do this successfully.
Let me give an example
Two weeks ago, someone tells me she is facing a dilemma, preventing her from taking an important decision. I sense she does not want to share details, and I am happy for that. When I hear 'dilemma' I like to use an NLP method called VK-Squash to facilitate the process of resolving the dilemma.
So to be clear, I have no idea what the subject is facing as issue. I start the process by changing the trance into a relaxed one. I do so with a short presence routine (Mindfullness) and the use of Milton Language. I calibrate minor and major changes in my subject and when she's all the way deep down in a trance, I invite her to stick out both hands and keep them about half a meter from one another. I tell her to put one of the options of the dilemma in the left hand and the other in the right one. Next I invite her to bring her hands closer and every time there is an obstacle let her unconscious mind find a solution. At the end the hands touch one another and I suggest to install the learnings and wake up back to reality. It takes about 20 minutes.
Even I keep on being surprised
Two weeks after the session, I incidentally bump into the subject who tells me enthusiastically she finally quit smoking. I congratulate her and ask her what finally triggered her in taking the decision and just doing it? She refers back to our session of two weeks before. Amazing, is it not? I was not even aware her dilemma was about smoking!
I tend to be fairly pragmatic and yet every time again, I am so positively surprised by the results and the effect of what is referred to as "hypnosis".
I think it is fascinating to facilitate processes, without imposing your model of the world, free of content as such guiding people towards the outcome they want.
And while I enjoy doing this, I become increasingly alert for the mad men in advertising and some politicians who often do the same, but with content, imposing their models of the world and trying to lead you the the outcome they want!! Beware!
Maybe I lost you in a previous paragraph, and since you read this, I did not. Thank you :)
Feel free to get in touch with me or one of my fellow Brain Pirates if you want to taste more of this. Remember that many of these techniques turn out to be very useful to guide teams and organisations through change as well.
Talk to you soon!
Supplier of Optimism and Trance-formation
about the author
Hans Demeyer a passionate coach, mentor and facilitator of processes. He guides individuals, teams and organisations through a desired change towards the desired outcome. He uses methods and models from NLP, CBT and (conversational) hypnosis combined with over 30 year of experience as entrepreneur, keynote speaker, author and coach www.hansdemeyer.be