Many clients come to me and say, “I tried self-hypnosis and it didn’t work.” I ask how they learned self-hypnosis. They reply that they read how online or they read a book or they bought or downloaded a CD or audio file and it just did not work. So, my next question is, “How do you know that you were not in a trance or even a light trance?” The answers vary but usually it comes down to they were wide awake, they didn’t feel any different and/or the habit they wanted to change was still there.
This last weekend, I took an instant induction course taught by Sean Michael Andrews. In this class, I met a gentleman who was very interested in self-hypnosis but felt he was never successful at it. Over the last ten years, he attended a couple of group hypnosis sessions for various things but felt he was “never really hypnotized.”
At the first practice session, I was partnered up him and we were supposed to do the Elman induction. He went first and hypnotized me but, when I started to hypnotize him, he gives me his “long history of failure.” (I thought, “Great, there is nothing harder to hypnotize than an experienced hypnotist who has never been hypnotized.) So, I asked, “Do you want to experience hypnosis?” “Oh, Yes!” he replied. He stated he had no loss of control issues or fears. I said to him, “Then, allow yourself, give yourself permission to experience hypnosis. Don’t try to analyze anything until after I emerge you. When a scientist is performing an experiment, he doesn’t try to analyze his data in the middle of it because he might miss collecting other important data. They analyze the data after the experiment is complete. If you try to analyze in the middle of the trance, there won’t be anything to analyze.”
So we started with the Elman induction. He did the first part very well and had eye catalepsy (unable to open his eyes). Fractionation went well but when I went to lift his arm, it was so stiff. So we tried various suggestions for relaxation and none really worked. As many readers know, you cannot continue with the Elman if the client cannot attain the proper levels of trance. The instructor was getting ready to resume the class and I did not want my partner to feel even more discouraged. Remember, he did attain eye catalepsy which is a level one trance. Light but still usable. I complimented him on being able to get to level one trance and I said, “Each time you want to be hypnotized whether by me or someone else, you will find it easier and easier to become more completely relaxed and you will surprise yourself, how much deeper you will be able to go.” I counted him up and emerged him.
After he emerged he started to say that he didn’t feel hypnotized. I told him on the contrary, he was able to get eye catalepsy which is a light trance but it was still a trance. “Wait until the next break, you will surprise yourself.”
The next break was just before lunch and we were to do the Elman again. Well, I “cheated.” As he and I were positioning ourselves, because he was expecting another Elman, I did a “changing hands” instant induction and dropped him into medium trance. I counted him down and then went back to the Elman. After I emerged him, I dropped him back into trance again and he went even deeper. When I finally did emerge him, he was ecstatic!
The point is all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. We all go in and out of trance several times every day. We get “lost” in a good book or movie or a daydream. We drive without really thinking about it. This poor guy thought he could not be hypnotized. His real problem was he did not recognize being in trance.
The hypnotist is a guide that the client uses to get into trance. Because someone else is doing the entrancing, the client doesn’t have to engage his conscious mind and finds it easier to go into a deeper trance. Also, the experienced hypnotist can “read” the client and adjust the suggestions to accommodate any issues that may arise. The client does not have to actively think and can continue to concentrate on the spoken suggestions. Once a suitable level of trance is obtained, the hypnotist can give the client a trigger so that the client can induce him/herself instantly. He also has the client practice a few times to prove to their self that they can do it just as well. Also, further instructions are given on how to practice and properly use the new skill.
If you tried to do self-hypnosis without any prior experience, you probably did experience at least a light trance. If you really want to experience a very deep trance and be able to do it yourself reliably, find a competent hypnotist. You will be glad you did. Keep a positive attitude about it because what the mind expects, it tends to realize.
All of my clients receive self-hypnosis training no matter what brought them to me