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Sunday, July 14, 2013

History of Ericksonian Hypnosis


By Douglas O'Brien

When you hear "hypnosis" you might think of the traditional form of Hypnosis where the powerful, authoritative hypnosis implants suggestions in his subject, such as, "you are getting sleeeepy. Your eyelids are growing heavier and heavier. You will quit smoking," and so on.

But really, hypnotic trance exists in many different forms every day. Sometimes it is recognized and utilized (hypnotherapy, rituals, or dance, for example), but most of the time it goes unnoticed (daydreaming, people's behavior on elevators, or irrational fears, to name a few). In fact, as a practicing hypnotherapist, I believe that people live most of their lives in one trance or another and my job is generally not to hypnotize them, but to de-hypnotize them. The true hypnotists in life are teachers, religious leaders, and even advertisers. The most powerful hypnosis, in anyone's life, are that individual's parents.

I'll elaborate on that point in a moment. But allow me to say a few words about hypnosis, since there are many forms of hypnosis, and even more misconceptions about hypnosis.

Hypnotheraphy is simply the usage of trance for therapeutic purposes. Traditional hypnotherapy uses commanding language, as in the above example, called direct suggestion. This method sometimes works, but not for everybody. Some people resist these suggestions, perhaps because they resent authority figures, and they are sometimes labeled as "resistant", or worse, "unhypnotizable," by traditional hypnotherapists.

But not all hypnotherapists believe in direct suggestions. In fact, Ericksonian hypnotherapy uses more of what it is called indirect suggestions. Indirect suggestions are much harder to resist because they are often not even recognized as suggestions by the conscious mind, since they usually disguise themselves as stories or metaphors. An example of an indirect suggestion is "Š and perhaps your eyes will grow tried as you listen to this story, and you will want to close them, because people can, you know, experience a pleasant, deepening sense of comfort as they allow their eyes to close, and they relax deeply." This would all be said in such a way as to mark out key words and phrases (indicate here in italics) by subtle shifts in the tone of voice. The person's unconscious awareness thus responds to these "imbedded commands."

Think about the following scenario: A child of say four or five years of age is carefully carrying a full glass of milk to the dinner table. The amateur parent of the child warns in a stern voice, "don't drop that!" The child looks up at the parent, stumbles a bit, drop the glass, and spills milk everywhere. The now angry parent yells, "I told you not to drop that! You're so clumsy. You'll never learn!"

As unintentional as it may be, this scenario is an example of hypnosis, complete with induction, suggestion, and post hypnotic suggestion. The powerful authoritative voice (the parent), having created and utilized through indirect suggestion ("don't drop that!), an altered state (trance), has issued a direct post-hypnotic suggestion ("You're so clumsy. You'll never learn"). "Post-hypnotic" because, if the child accepts the suggestion (and children often do), he or she will always see him/herself as clumsy. This post-hypnotic suggestion by the parent may well adhere to the directive in the future, sabotaging the child's success.

We would do well to realize that in a sense we are all hypnotists, and that if we are parents we have very suggestible subjects in our care on whom our language may have great effects. We must learn to give our children positive suggestions.

Let's explore how the parent could have handled the situation more scrupulously: First of all there is the confusing directive, "don't drop that." Why is that confusing? Because the human brain does not know how to compute negations. Let me illustrate by having you try a little experiment: For the next fifteen seconds do not think about your breathing. Don't think about whether you are breathing up high in your chest or down low in your abdomen, or whether you are taking deep or shallow breaths. Just don't think about it at all.

Okay. Be honest. How many of you started thinking about your breathing if only for a moment. What?! But I specifically told you not to! You see, in order to not think about something, your brain first has to represent it in your mind, and then try to somehow erase the image. If you were successful at all in this experiment, it was probably due to the fact that you were able to direct your mind to think about something else instead.

Back to the parent-child scenario. One way the parent could have set the child up for success would have been to say something like, "that's good honey, stay balanced," or "that's right, be careful," and any combination of words that are stated in the positive. Chances are the child would complete the journey to the table with the glass of milk intact. Let's say for some reason the child does in fact spill the milk. The savvy parent could say, "hmm, I guess we shouldn't fill the glass to the full next time, huh? We learned something, didn't we? You are good at learning."

Milton Erickson, the innovative psychiatrist after whom Ericksonian hypnotherapy was named, might have even made a game out of trying to get a whole glass of milk to the table, or talk a story about carrying milk buckets in from the barn as a child.

Milton H. Erickson, M.D.

Milton Erickson is considered the father of modern hypnotherapy. The therapy he engendered, Ericksonian hypnotherapy, is one of the fastest growing and influential branches of hypnotherapy today. His methods have inspired short term strategic therapy, the rebirth of guided imagery, and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) to name a few. Even John Bradshaw, in both of his acclaimed series on PBS, frequently quotes Erickson and calls him "the greatest therapist who ever lived."

What sets Ericksonian Hypnosis apart from other, more traditional forms of hypnosis? Perhaps the best way to gain insight into this question is to follow Erickson's lead and use stories, starting with Erickson's own dramatic life story. A story of courage and determination and one that, to me, is a confirmation of the belief that there are no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason, and has benefit.

Erickson was born in a pioneering and rural farming country in 1902. The schooling he and many of his brothers and sisters received was basic, and thus it is not surprising that nobody noticed that young Milton was experiencing the world in a rather unique manner: he was color blind, tone deaf, and slightly dyslexic. These perceptual abnormalities may have led Erickson to a roadless traveled", but it wasn't until his teenage years that his life would take a truly pivotal turn - a turn that would effect his destiny and the evolution of hypnotherapy as we know it.

In the summer of 1919, at the age of seventeen, he was stricken with his first attack of Polio (his second would come at the age of fifty-one). It was an extremely severe infection. He was not expected to survive, and his parents were told that he would be dead by the following morning. He lapsed into a coma. When he awoke three days later he found himself completely paralyzed, unable to move except for his eyes, and barely able to speak. Since there were no rehabilitation facilities in their community, there was no reason to expect that he'd ever recover.

Milton kept his still active and keen mind occupied as he played mental games with himself. He learned to notice the difference between his family's verbal and non-verbal communications. He noticed that sometimes people would say "no" with their mouth while their body was clearly saying "yes." His parents, who took care of him as best they could, fashioned a crude potty for him and left him strapped into his chair for hours. He was sitting somewhere in the middle of the room, looking longingly at the window, wishing he could be near it so that he could see what was happening outside. As he sat there, seemingly immobile, intensely wishing and imagining being outside playing, the chair began to rock slightly. This excited him greatly and he endeavored to make it happen again. He gave himself direct commands: "Move legs! Rock the chair!" Nothing happened. Finally he gave up, sank back into his daydreams, and once more imagined playing outside. Again the chair began to rock! It was the indirect suggestion, that vivid imaging, that produced a response. Using this discovery, over the following two years, Milton taught himself to walk again (aided in the task by closely watching his baby sister who was only then learning to walk), and closely observed how human beings communicate and how the unconscious mind works. Thus one of the hallmarks of hypnotherapy was born: indirect suggestion.

Erickson said, "everyone is as individual as their own thumb print." In his practice, he tailored every induction to the client's individual needs and perceptual bias. He believed in the wisdom of the unconscious mind, and in the theory that people have all the resources necessary to make changes inside themselves. He believed that the job of the therapist is to help the client re-establish his/her connection with his/her inner resources and to develop a rapport between the conscious and the unconscious mind.

To illustrate this idea of client-centered therapy, Erickson once told his story to an assembled group of psychiatrists:

I was returning from high school one day and a runaway horse with a bridle sped past a group of us into a farmer's yard, looking for a drink of water. The farmer didn't recognize it so I jumped up to the horse's back, took hold of the reins and said "Giddy-up" and headed for the highway. I knew the horse would take me to the right directionŠ I didn't know what the right direction was. And the horse trotted and galloped along. Now and then he would forget he was on an highway and would start off into a field. So I would pull on him a bit and call his attention to the fact that the highway was where he was supposed to be. And finally about four miles from where I had boarder him he turned into a farmyard and the farmer said, "So that's how the critter came back. Where did you find him?" I said, "about four miles from here." "How did you know he should come here?" I said, "I didn't knowŠ the horse knew. All I did was keep his attention on the road."Š I think that is how you do psychotherapy.

Often, Erickson didn't use a formal trace induction. Instead he talk stories that has a deeper meaning. Sometimes that meaning was clear, most times it was not. At least not to the person's conscious mind. For example, a twelve-year-old boy was brought in to see Erickson about bedwetting. Erickson dismissed his parents and began talking to the boy about other topics, avoiding a direct discussion about bedwetting altogether. Upon learning that the boy played baseball and his brother football, Erickson elaborated on the fine muscle coordination it takes to play baseball, compared to the uncoordinated muscle skills used in football. The boy listened raptly as Erickson described in fine detail all the muscle adjustments his body automatically makes in order to position him underneath the ball and catch it: the glove has to be opened at just the right moment and clamped down again at just the right moment. When transferring the ball to another hand, the same kind of fine muscle control is needed. Then, when throwing the ball to the infield, if one lets go too soon, it doesn't go where on wants it to go. Likewise letting go too late leads to an undesired outcome and consequently to frustration. Erickson explained that letting go just at the right time gets it to go where one wants it to go, and that constitutes successŠ in baseball. Therapy with this young man consisted of four sessions that included talks about other sports, boy scouts, and muscles. But bedwetting was not discussed, and "formal hypnosis" was not conducted. The boy's bedwetting disappeared soon thereafter.

And what could you expect if you decided to go to an Ericksonian hypnotherapist today? Hard to specify. In much the same way that Erickson treated every patient on a very individual basis, there are as many approaches to the continuation of his work as there are followers of it. There is a joke that kind of sums it up: "How many Ericksonian hypnotherapists does it take to change a light bulb?" Answer: "Seventeen. One to change the bulb and sixteen to argue how Milton would have done it." 

The Art of Hypnotism, Self Hypnosis and Hypnotizing others

Many years ago I went to a Hypnotist learn the Art. He taught me how to hypnotize myself and others. It is actually an easy process involving very little study and practice. You must remember.... not everyone can be hypnotized. Some people are so wrapped up in their thoughts of every day worries that they can not simply concentrate. In order to be hypnotized... you must be able to relax and and clear your mind just the same as you would during meditation..

I would suggest trying it on your self before trying it on others. Here are the steps to hypnotizing yourself....

1. Sit on a couch in the upright position and close your eyes and your arms at your side or in your lap. Do not move around. Just sit there and relax for a minute.

2. Clear your mind of all thoughts. How do you do this?.... simply imagine a big Dumpster or a very large metal box on your mental screen. Then see it open and put all your thoughts and worries in it one by one.... bills... your lovelife.... problems.... your children.... your job... everything you can think of. Then close the lid and lock it! Then push it off your mental screen.

3. Now sit there quietly with no thoughts for a minute. When you are ready to start... do not forget to tell yourself as you go through each part of the body that you are becoming more and more relaxed as you go. YOU MUST TELL YOURSELF THIS!

4. Now... start with your head.... imagine every part of your head relaxing... start with your eyes.... then go to your ears.... the mouth... all your facial muscles. spend time with each part to make sure it is fully relaxed.

5. Now go to your neck and do the same.

6. Now go to you whole chest and stomach region and start with your heart... slow it down and make make it at peace. Relax all you chest muscles and then your stomach area.

7. Now relax you arms feeling them going limp. Relax every muscle in  your arms one by one including your fingers.

8. Next go to the groin area and relax all the muscle there.

9. Now it is time to do your legs.... start with the thighs and work you way down to the feet relaxing even every toe.

By this time you should be a be like a big lump of silly putty... totally relaxed and and at peace. Now here comes the fun part. This is where you will get to hypnotize yourself and see if it really works.....

1. Site there with you arms in you lap and or at your side and tell yourself that your right arm is getting very light. It is getting very, very light. Keep telling yourself this and feel how it is getting lighter. Tell yourself that it is getting so light that is is staring to raise up off your lap. Feel it it getting light as you keep telling yourself this and feel it raising up off you lap. It is getting lighter by the second and it is raising up higher and higher until it is up in the air.

2. Once you have achieved this and your arm is up in the air you may tell yourself it is getting heavy again and lower it to your lap. You will now tell yourself that you will awaken fully refreshed with energy and a clear mind.

3. Open your eyes and evaluate what you have done. Write down your experience in your magical journal. If you did not have success... try again later that day and keep trying until you are satisfied. If it never works for you.... you may be one of those who cannot be hypnotized.

Now.... this method can be used on someone else. Try it on your best friend... except you are the one who will be telling them to relax each part of their body. Then do the arm raising stunt with them and see if it works. Remember.... as you go through each part of the body with them... tell them they are getting more and more relaxed and sleepy. If this works then you can try more difficult things like making them do funny things...


 You can also use this method to remember things and program yourself to lose weight or study better or what ever you so choose!

Stage Hypnosis - Lesson Three - Practice With Your First Hypnotic Induction

Table of Contents

3.0 Elements of A Stage Hypnosis Induction
3.1 Your First Hypnotic Induction
3.2 Follow-up With Your Hypnotic Subject 
3.3 Exercise for Success!
3.4 Exercises for Further Learning
3.5 Summary

3.0 Elements of A Stage Hypnosis Induction
There are seven elements to a great stage hypnosis induction.

They are:
1. Expectation
2. Focus
3. Control
4. Relaxation
5. Deepening
6. Post-hypnotic suggestions
7. Awakening

You must become expert of each of the steps in order to be assured successful inductions on stage.

Memorize each step. You must memorize because you will be busy watching your hypnotic volunteers on stage. You will be watching the reaction of your audience.
You will be doing 3 things at the same time.

Each step then, must be memorized. After a few dozen shows, you may find other things that work well for you.   By memorizing each step now and knowing where you are in the hypnotic process at all times, you will have a very high rate of success.

1. Expectation
Your subjects must expect success during the hypnotic induction. You must expect success and your audience must expect success. The best way to guarantee success with your hypnotic induction is to set up your expectations.

As a hypnotist you will find yourself setting up predictions on what is going to happen at the count of three or when you snap your fingers, or when you say a particular word.  By setting up predictable outcomes, your volunteers have time to create and amplify your suggestions in their heads. They have time to create the situations that you are asking them to create.

For example, one of the first predictable outcomes you convey to your volunteers is: "You will find this experience to be an enjoyable one." "You will have fun as the result of your being here on stage."

Once the show is over, if someone asks on of your subjects how he/she felt being hypnotized, he/she will say something like, "I found this experience to be an enjoyable one." "I had fun as a result of being on stage."

2. Focus
Hypnosis is concentration. In order for your subjects to become hypnotized they must be able to concentrate.

The problem is that people around them in the audience and even on stage will try to distract them.  This is why you must teach each volunteer how to concentrate and get into the hypnotic state of mind quickly.

You will tell your subjects to concentrate. You will tell them often in the hypnotic induction.  Some statements you may use to get your subjects to concentrate better are the following:

"Focus your attention on each and every word that I say."

"Listen to each and every word that I say."

"You are concentrating on each and every word that I say."

Hypnosis is concentration. Many people believe it is sleep. It is not. Hypnosis is a heightened state of concentration. If you keep reminding your subjects to "concentrate" while being on stage, the laughter and noise of the audience will not distract them.   Each volunteer on stage will feel as if you are just talking to him.

 3. Control
In order to have a great presentation you must maintain control.

Sometimes it isn't easy. In fact if it is easy, everyone would be a stage hypnotist and no one would be able to make a living at it.

The fact that you will conduct yourself as if everything is happening exactly as planned will separate you from the beginners.

A stage hypnotism show is the most exciting show in entertainment, because you will never know exactly how things will turn out.

I was performing a stage show at a high school in Illinois many years ago and I knew I was in trouble when the principal greeted me in the office and told me that he wanted to surprise all of the students.  He did not tell his students that a hypnotist would be the entertainment during an assembly program.  None of these students had ever seen a stage hypnotist and none had any idea of what would go on.

I gave my usual opening presentation where I explain what hypnosis is and what to expect.  When I asked for volunteers, no one came forth.

I couldn't believe it! If no one volunteers, there will be no show.

Finally I told them they would have nothing to fear. I told them this was going to be fun. I told them by participating in this show they would get better test scores as a result.

Then I motioned for people to come up on stage.

The entire bleachers unloaded and every student and teacher ran to the 16 chairs that were set up on stage!

It took about 10 minutes before I could get control and finally get just 16 people to stay and send everyone else back to the bleachers.

The show finally started and it went well. Always remember, you need to do everything you can to maintain control.

You control the principal by getting him to announce a head of time that a hypnotist is coming to the school to demonstrate some funny but amazing things using student volunteers.

You control the students by explaining that you are going to ask for "16 volunteers to fill the seats, here on stage."

You control by telling each of your volunteers that you will make this hypnosis experience an enjoyable one for him.

One more thing, if you find someone resisting you or being a wise guy as he comes up to volunteer, you need to send that person back quickly.  One person can ruin your show by pretending to be hypnotized and then as soon as your back is turned he winks at the audience and lets them know he is making a fool of you.

In every case when I have sent someone back that has been exhibiting that behavior, your audiences will applause. The audience wants you and the volunteers to succeed. You will only be successful to the degree you maintain control.

Remember this line: "When in doubt, toss him out."

Maintain control!

 4. Relaxation
Relaxation is great but it is not necessary for hypnosis! I bet you didn't know that before.

The major reason you ask for hypnosis during an induction, is that it settles the volunteer down, it helps you establish control, and it allows the audience to see contrast with the active parts of the show.

During the stage hypnotism demonstration, you need to keep the audience interested. You create more interest by using the contrast of relaxation and movement.

Think of major action movies you have seen. Did you ever notice that the movies that seem to have the most action also have very slow moving sections?

The reason you need relaxation in a stage hypnotism show is to create a more active show!

5. Deepening
Deepening the hypnotic condition or the hypnotic trance is something you do often during your hypnotic induction.

You may also use deepening techniques during the show after you have completed the hypnotic induction.

Hypnosis involves concentration and many times a volunteer can wake from the hypnotic condition and wonder what is going on.  You need to re-hypnotize that individual and quickly deepen his trance condition.

When you begin your hypnotic induction you want to make sure you use deepening techniques.

Some methods of deepening the hypnotic induction include:
A. Counting Backwards
B. Touching the subject
C. Using specific words and phrases
D. Compounding suggestion

I will demonstrate with examples for each technique of deepening. Once you read the actual induction you will be able to quickly identify deepening techniques.  Use a variety of techniques because you can never tell how subjects will respond to any one technique.

A. Counting Backwards
This is easy. During the hypnotic induction you will say something like this:

"In a moment I am going to count down from 5 down to 1. With every count you will find yourself going deeper and deeper into hypnosis"

Or you may say:

"As I count from 50 down to 1, you will find yourself going deeper and deeper to sleep. 50, 49, 48, etc."

B. Touching the Subject
Touching the subject is an extremely effective way of deepening the hypnotic condition. If you were volunteering to go up on stage and have a stranger have you do goofy things, wouldn't you want to get to know that person better?

It can be scary on stage and my touching the subject you can erase any of his fears as well as establish a close bond with your subject.

I usually touch the subject on the back of the neck, (if I can reach it) or I may touch subjects on their shoulders.

I will set up the deepening effect by saying the following:

"As I touch you on the back of the neck, you will relax the muscles of your neck allowing your head to fall forward on your chest." "When your head falls on your chest you will go deeper and deeper asleep."

I will be using examples the rest of the lessons on additional deepening techniques.

C. Using Specific Words or Phrases
You may use specific words or phrases to deepen hypnosis.

For example, you might say, "each and every time you hear me say the word "relaxation," you will relax instantly, going deeper and deeper into hypnosis."

You might use a phrase like, "each time you hear me say, "Ladies and Gentlemen, we are gathered here tonight," you will go deeper and deeper into hypnosis.

D. Compounding Suggestion
You develop a natural deepening in your volunteers as you compound suggestion.

Just as compounding interest on your savings plan is a good thing, compounding suggestion in your hypnosis inductions is a good thing.
One way to compound suggestion is to create expectation for the compounding by saying this:

"Each and every activity that you perform will send you into a deeper state of relaxation."

"Your success in achieving the hypnotic phenomena will allow you to go deeper and deeper asleep."

You will see many more examples of compounding as we progress through the lessons.

6. Post-hypnotic suggestions
Post hypnotic suggestions are used in every stage hypnosis induction.

A post hypnotic suggestion is a suggestion or group of suggestions you give your subjects or volunteers just before you awaken them from hypnosis.

You give your volunteers post-hypnotic suggestions that they will carry out when they are fully awake.  The suggestions are given in a way that tells the volunteer that he will do something every time he hears or sees a specific cue.

For example, you might say, "after you awaken from hypnosis, each and every time I point my finger directly at your forehead, you will go deeply to sleep."

Or you might say, "at the count of 5 you will awaken from hypnosis. Each and every time you hear me say the word "sleep" you will instantly go deep into hypnosis."

In the above examples you are setting the up the volunteer to become instantly hypnotized without a formal induction.

Hypnotherapists use post-hypnotic suggestions to re-hypnotize their clients quickly for their client's additional scheduled visits.   This allows the therapist more time to work on their client's problems. They don't have to spend as much time with the mechanics of the hypnotic induction.

7. Awakening
As you can imagine, the awakening part of the hypnosis induction is very important.  If you can't awaken your subject, there won't be much of a show.

Awakening the subject is easy. Hypnosis is concentration. If you walked away for 15 minutes from your volunteers, most of them would awaken on their own. Their concentration would be broken by the fact that they are getting no more verbal input from you.

If you had a heart attack and died in front of your audience, they would awaken on their own rather quickly.

However, you want to create a pleasant experience around awakening. It is great showmanship as well as it gives your subjects time to rid themselves of any hypnotic influences they don't want to carry back to their job or school.

You will awaken your subjects at least two times during a typical stage show.

You awaken your subjects when you want them to perform a post-hypnotic suggestion, and you awaken your subjects at the end of your show to send them back to the audience.

Here is an example of how you awaken your subjects.

You will say, "at the count of five you will be wide awake." "You will full of energy and you will feel like you are back to normal." "All hypnosis effects will be removed." All right, one, two, three, you are beginning to return to normal, four, FIVE." "Wide awake and alert. You are feeling good in every way."

Note: This is the awakening at the end of the show. If you are giving your induction during the show and want them to perform, you would not remove the hypnosis effects.

3.1 Your First Hypnotic Induction
You are about to give your first hypnotic induction. I am going to use all of the elements we discussed in your first induction.

You will memorize your first induction. By committing your hypnosis induction to memory, you will be confident that you are giving the correct information to your subjects.

Before giving the hypnotic induction use the three waking hypnosis exercises you practiced in lesson two.  It will be much easier to hypnotize if you begin with the waking hypnosis exercises and then move into the hypnotic induction.

What you are accomplishing here is the first five activities of your show.

1. You will use your pre-hypnosis speech in addressing your audience and volunteers.
2-4. You will give your volunteers three waking hypnosis exercises that will entertain your audience.
5. You will complete a hypnotic induction.

As you practice your induction on your first hypnotic subjects, keep in mind the big picture. You will be using the same words and activities in you professional stage hypnotism show!

Begin With Your Previous Subjects
To begin, let us use the same 3 hypnosis volunteers you used during the Waking Hypnosis Experiments.

For this induction you will only work with one person. Working with only one individual will allow you to notice many of the physical changes that take place while someone is under hypnosis.

Also, this induction may seem rather short to you. The reason that it is short is because the earlier experiments you perform on your hypnotic subjects as well as your pre-hypnosis talk have conditioned your subjects in a way that will make them enter the hypnotic condition rather quickly.

Remember that you need to begin with the pre-hypnosis talk followed by the three experiments using waking hypnosis.

Now you are ready to begin our first induction.

This induction will be an eyes open induction. What that means is that your subjects begin the exercise with their eyes open.

The induction begins immediately after the third experiment from lesson 2.

Tell your subject to begin by sitting up in his chair with his feet flat on the floor, hands resting in his lap or on his thighs with his fingers separated so they do not touch.

Next, use a glass marble, a crystal ball, or you can raise the palm of your hand and ask your subject to focus his attention on it.

For this example, lets pretend you have your subject focusing on a crystal ball.

Make sure that as your subject is watching the crystal ball that he/she has to look up at around a 45-degree angle.  By looking up your subject's eyes will tire more quickly.

Now here is an induction I want you to memorize that will contain all of the elements we discussed earlier in this lesson.

Induction 1. Eyes Open
"Focus your attention on the crystal ball as I move it from side to side" "As you focus on the crystal ball you will find that your body is relaxing, deeply relaxing" "All of your tension is just drifting away." "Listen to each and every word that I say."

"Soon you will be slipping into a very relaxing state of hypnosis."

"Now we are going to take three, slow, deep breaths."

"Ready, inhale slowly, hold it, now exhale." "Push all of the tension out of your lungs."

"Let's take a second deep breath." "Hold it." "Let it go." "Let all of the tension leave your body, now."

"Now take your third deep breath and as you do, close your eyelids down, shutting out the light." "This will help you relax even more." "Let all of the tension leave your lungs, now."

"From head to toe, all of your muscles are relaxing." "Each and every breath that you take is sending you deeper and sounder into hypnosis."

"Concentrate on each and every word that I say."

"You are relaxing more with each and every breath that you take and each and every sound that you hear."

"Now as you sit comfortably in your chair, I am going to count backward from ten down to one."  "With every count you will find yourself going deeper and deeper into hypnosis."

"Your mind will always be keen and alert as your body is relaxing, perfectly."

"All right, 10, you are going deeper asleep, 9, deeper and sounder asleep, 8, 7, 6, relaxing more with every breath that you take, 5 going deeper and sounder asleep, 4, relaxing deeply, 3, going deeper and sounder asleep, 2, 1, you are deep asleep."

"Nothing will disturb you, just listen to the sound of my voice."

"In a moment, I am going to touch you on your back."  "When I touch you on your back, let your head fall forward on your chest." "As your head falls forward, your neck muscles will relax, sending you deeper and sounder asleep." (Then touch his/her back)

"Now you are relaxing deeply in hypnosis." "Even though we have been resting for just a few minutes, when you emerge from hypnosis you will feel as if you were sleeping deeply for a long time." "You will emerge from hypnosis feeling wonderfully alive and alert and better than you have ever felt before."

In a moment I am going to count to five." At the count of five you will be wide awake, alert, feeling good in every way."
"Each and every time today when I ask you to sit back down in this chair you will go deeply into hypnosis."  "In the future, each and every time I ask you to sit in this special chair you will go deeply into hypnosis."

"All right, one you are beginning to emerge from this wonderful state of mind, two, three, prepare yourself now, four, FIVE." "Wide awake and alert." "You are feeling good in every way."

"How do you feel?"

3.3 Exercise for Success!
Congratulations! You have successfully induced hypnosis in your first volunteer.

If you have successfully drive home the pre-hypnosis briefing and handled the 6 basic questions you will eliminate most of the objections centered on the hypnosis experience.

Now you need to follow up with your volunteer to find out what he/she though of the experience.

Here is a handy form to use.

Induction Evaluation Form
Record your reactions and thoughts to this induction by answering the following questions.

1. What was the first thing you thought about as you finished the exercise?

2. How did you feel during the exercise?

3. How do you feel now?

4. Did you have any unusual sensations as you were listening to your voice?

5. List anything that you felt was "memorable" during the exercise.


3.4 Exercises for Further Learning

A. Record your inductions:
Using a recording device, record your induction. Then play it back and listen to how you sound.

What would you like to improve in your speech and delivery? Are you talking loud enough? Are you emphasizing words, like "sleep" "relax," and other words associated with hypnosis?

If you were a subject listening to this induction what would you change in the way you deliver each word and phrase? Do you feel you are talking too fast or too slow?

Record each hypnosis session and then listen to your efforts once you are away from your volunteers. Use your recordings as learning tools to get better.

B. Evaluate each volunteer.
After each session while you are working one on one, use the evaluation form questions to learn more about your volunteers' perception of hypnosis.

You will learn more from studying these evaluations than reading all of the hypnosis books you can find.

Every volunteer teaches you something new. I have been hypnotizing over 26 years and I still learn new things about the hypnosis experience.

3.5 Summary
Congratulations! You have learned a great deal about the practice of stage hypnotism in the last two lessons.

This lesson taught you the major components of a successful stage induction and then you learned a stage induction.

Commit this information to memory because as you work with groups of people on stage, you will be doing a variety of things that you have to think about while the basic hypnosis script is just flowing, as it is a part of you.

As you develop your show in the upcoming lessons, you will be able to get very creative and not rely on memory.

Stage Hypnosis - Lesson Two - How to Select Your First Hypnotic Subject?

2.0 How to Select Your First Subject
2.1 Exercise 1: Making a List and checking it twice
2.2 How to guarantee success with your first subject
2.3 Pre-hypnosis Your Guarantee for Success!
2.4 Hypnosis Experiments in the Waking State
2.5 Exercises for Further Learning
2.6 Summary

2.0 How to Select Your First Hypnotic Subject
Questions: How do I select my very first subject? Why are you asking me before I have learned how to hypnotize?
Answers: You need to begin thinking of who you would like to hypnotize. In the next lesson you will learn how to hypnotize and that lesson is coming quick.
Who makes a good first subject?

Everyone wants to be hypnotized!

Yes, even your biggest skeptics want to be hypnotized. However, it's best to find a willing subject first. Even though the temptation is to ask a close friend or relative if they want to be hypnotized, I would wait until you have had many successes under your belt.

Hypnosis is a very subjective state of mind. Belief in your abilities as a hypnotist is the key.  Your close friends may know that you are just starting out and may fail only because they are trying too hard to please you. Or they may fail because deep down inside, they don't believe in your abilities to hypnotize.

On the other hand, complete strangers make the best hypnotic subjects when starting out. If they have never been hypnotized before, even if you have a little knowledge, you are way ahead of them.

You begin by finding strangers in social clubs you may belong to, or people that overhear you talking about hypnosis. Maybe you join a night class at a community college and when someone asks you what you do, you tell them, I am a hypnotist.

Usually the inquiring person will say, "I have never been hypnotized before, will you hypnotize me?"

Then they will ask, "How much do you charge?"

Since you are new and don't really know how to hypnotize much less fix something that is wrong with them, you respond with.  "I will work with you for free.  I have a new technique I am trying out and I need volunteers to work with until I feel more comfortable with it.  When would you like to be hypnotized?"
Then off you go. You have your first willing subject. Since you are not going to charge the person for your service, you will have someone who will work with you.

If you ever decide to become a professional hypnotist and charge money for your services, you have someone that will praise your services, because of the successful experience he had with you.

Keys to Success
Hypnosis involves credibility. Subjects have to believe you have the skill to hypnotize.

Hypnosis involves belief. The person has to believe that something will go on as a result of your personal intervention.

Hypnosis requires rapport with your subjects. They have to trust you and like you. Even if they respond as a great hypnotic subject for someone else, they may not respond to you because they don't like you.   Because all of this is happening at a subconscious level, they may not demonstrate the fact that they like or don't like you.

2.1 Exercise 1: Making a List and checking it Twice
Make a list of places you go to on a regular basis where you may engage in conversation with a stranger.  Remember that strangers will make some of the best hypnotic subjects because they have no reason to doubt your abilities.  Hypnotizing personal friends will work much better once you establish a reputation as a hypnotist.

Along side the list of places you may find your first hypnotic subject, include names of people you meet that will be interested in becoming your first hypnotic subjects.  Make a list of places you will find your first hypnotic subject and add to the list as you proceed through the stage hypnotism course.

1. Work
2. Social organizations
3. Church
4.  Other

2.2 How to Guarantee Success with Your First Subject
Once you have completed the exercises in this lesson on hypnotizing you will be coming back to this page to remind yourself how to guarantee success for your first subject.

After completing the exercise in part 2.1 of this lesson, I want you to ask one of the above individuals to engage in a hypnosis experiment with you. Remember to say that you are trying out a new technique and you would appreciate the help in conducting the experiment.  The subject will usually be excited about helping out and may share some previous hypnosis experiences with you.

Make sure you listen to the person very carefully for he/she will give you some very good feedback on what worked and what didn't work during the previous session.

If the person has had no previous experience being hypnotized, then your chances of success improve, as you will not be compared with somebody else.

2.3 Pre-hypnosis: Your Guarantee for Success!
What is pre-hypnosis?
Pre-hypnosis involves everything you say to a subject prior to the actual hypnotism ceremony.  What you are trying to accomplish with pre-hypnosis is setting up favorable conditions for you and your subject to operate.

People that are getting ready to become hypnotized for the first time have several issues you want to address before the session. This will help guarantee your success as a hypnotist.

Here are the issues or questions the subject will be thinking about.
1. Will I remember everything that happened during the hypnotic session?
2. Can I get stuck in hypnosis?
3. Will I tell you something I don't want to tell you about my past?
4. How long will I be under?
5. Can I hear other things going on in the room while I am hypnotized?
6. Can you make me do something I don't want to do?

Your Pre-hypnosis Briefing
For your first subject as well as when you will be presenting stage hypnosis shows, you will want to use a pre-hypnosis briefing for all of your subjects and clients.

I will give you a briefing that will include all six elements. Feel free to use this briefing word for word or re-design it any way you seem necessary.

Make sure you include all six elements. This will be good practice for all of you future sessions with hypnotizing individuals and well as hypnotizing groups.

This is going to be fun!

Many people have concerns about hypnosis. At any time feel free to ask any questions but let me go over a few things most people are curious about.

Many people wonder, if they will remember everything that happens during the hypnosis session.  You will remember anything you wish to remember and forget anything you wish to forget.   When subjects volunteer to do stage shows, many times they will forget most of the things going on because the things they do may be embarrassing to discuss with their friends attending the show.  However, if they wish to remember everything that happens, they will remember everything that happens while under hypnosis.

Another concern many people have is if they can get stuck in hypnosis.

Hypnosis is a state of awareness and a state of total concentration. It takes a great deal of effort to concentrate intently. It is physically impossible to keep that concentration up for a very long time.

Another concern many people have is if they will tell me something that they would never tell another person. For example, this may be a secret you don't want to reveal to anyone.

Make sure you tell your subject the following. "I can assure you that you will not reveal anything to me that you don't wish to reveal." "In hypnosis you always retain the freedom of choice."

"You may also wonder, how long will you be under hypnosis?"

"You will be under hypnosis for just a couple of minutes."

Another question everyone has is, "will I hear everything that is going on in the room?"

"Many hypnotic subjects will hear every sound that is going on since hypnosis is a heightened state of consciousness." "Other people will only hear my voice." "They will tune out the normal sounds going on around them."
"The last concern people have is if I will make them do something they don't want to do."

"The answer is no." "You always do what you wish to do." "I may ask you to do 10 things and you only do 8." "You may do all 10 things." "You determine how deeply and to what degree you will be hypnotized."

"Do you have any other questions?"

"If not, let us proceed."

2.4 Hypnosis Experiments In the Waking State
Now that you have answered all of the questions your subject may ask you are ready to proceed in experiments in the waking state.

The waking state of hypnosis is actually a very light state of hypnosis.
Many times this state is good enough for a stage show; however it is your goal to learn stage hypnosis in a very short period of time. Success at waking hypnosis helps you achieve success very quickly.

It is also fun for the subject!

We will work with three experiments in the state of waking hypnosis.

We will not work with a specific hypnosis induction during this lesson.  However, as you learn how to effectively deliver suggestions in the waking state, you can use this state to develop very rapid inductions where the subject will be deeply hypnotized in just a few seconds.

So let's get started.

Waking Hypnosis Experiment 1. Hands Raising and Lowering

The purpose of this exercise is to get your subject cooperating with you and the hypnotizing process. You are going to create subconscious activity and have a visual guide as to how effective you are giving suggestions.

Hands Raising and Lowering
For this exercise have the subject stand facing you. Tell the subject that you are going to test his/her imagination.

Have the subject stand in front of you with arms outstretched, palms facing toward the ground.  His legs will be spread apart about to shoulder width. Ask the subject to look at his arms as they push out towards you to make sure they are perfectly level and perfectly straight.  The subject's arms should be stretched out toward you and be parallel with the floor.  This will make the subject appear as if he/she is sleepwalking.

As the subject is standing, facing you with his/her arms outstretched toward you, say the following:

"Look at your arms and make sure they are perfectly level, perfectly straight."

"Now that you are assured that they are perfectly level, perfectly straight close your eyes down tight, shutting out the light."

"Keep your hands and arms level outstretched and listen to the following suggestions."

"Imagine that a heavy weight is tied to your right hand pulling it down toward the floor."

"It is a very heavy weight and is pulling your hand down toward the floor."

"At the same time, pretend that a helium filled balloon is tied to your left hand pulling it high up into the air."

"Left hand going high up in the air, right hand going down, down down toward the floor."

"Left hand going up, up, up in the air, right hand moving down, down, down toward the floor.

“Your left hand is moving up, up, up in the air, right hand is moving down, down, toward the floor."

"Now at the count of three open your eyes keeping your hands and arms exactly as they are right now."

"All right, one, two, three eyes open."

"Look at your arms."

End of exercise
Hypnosis involves imagination. If your subject is very imaginative and is listening and following your directions you will find his/her arms separated by your suggestions of heavy weight and light balloon.

If the arms are separated by about a foot or more in distance of travel either up or down, (Or Both) you can be assured that your subject is following your directions correctly and is using concentration that will lead into a deeper hypnotic state later on.
Congratulate your subject for his/her concentration and ask if volunteering for another exercise would be acceptable.

Let us proceed now to the second exercise in waking hypnosis title, eyes locking.

Waking Hypnosis Experiment 2. Eyes Locking

The purpose of this experiment is to activate the subject's imagination that will take him/her into the realm of doing something that is a little frightening.

Many hypnotists do this experiment first, but I find I get a better response in stage shows if I can have the subject achieve something that is a little less frightening first.  I don't want to send many stage volunteers back to their seats during a performance.  Many subjects are afraid to give you this kind of control over them. You need to gain their confidence before challenging them in a situation that may have a high probability of failure.

You be the judge as you experiment with your subjects.

Eyes Locking
Have your subject sitting up in a chair with his feet flat on the floor, hands resting on his lap. Fingers separated so they don't touch each other.

Tell the subject that you are going to give some powerful suggestions that will lock his eyes shut temporarily. Tell him after he has tested his eyelids to make sure they are stuck you will give suggestions that will release his eyes and he will be able to open them easily.

Here is what you will say.

"Sit up in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands resting in your lap. Separate your fingers so they do not touch."

"Inhale deeply and as you exhale, push any tension out of your lungs."

"Now in a moment I am going to count to three."

"When I count three you will find that your eyelids will be stuck together so tightly that you will not be able to open them no matter how hard you try."

"You will try as hard as you can to open your eyes at that time and as hard as you try, you will discover that your eyes will be locked tightly in place."
"I will then snap my finger directly by your ear.  When you hear me snap my finger by your ear your eyes will open immediately."

"To begin close your eyes down tight and fasten your eyelids down tightly."

"One, your eye lids are locking down tight, tight, tight.

"Two, your eyelids are locking down and sticking, tighter, tighter, tighter."

"Three, your eyelids are closed and stuck that way, try as hard as you can to open them, try as hard as you can. It is impossible to open your eyelids, they are firmly stuck together."

"I am now snapping my finger by your ear."  (Snap your fingers loudly behind the subject's left or right ear. When you were challenging your subject to open his eyes let your voice rise in pitch and excitement. You want to allow the subject to experience of failing to open his eyes because of your suggestions)

Once you have achieved the eye fastening technique that can be a very scary thing for your subject to go through, you can assume that your subject is ready to go deeper into hypnosis.

Your subject will be a very willing subject.

Now ask the subject how he/she feels and explain that you have one more experiment that will be fun.

End of Exercise

Waking Hypnosis Experiment 3. Altering the Sense of Balance

The purpose of this experiment is to alter the sense of balance in such a way as to prove that there is a kind of invisible force that you are able to create in the mind of the subject.

Once you are comfortable with performing this exercise, you will find it very interesting for audiences of your stage shows. Demonstrating movement is always a hit with audience.

This is a convincer to the subject that something strange and different is happening and it is a convincer to the audience that the individual is under your "control."

 Altering the Sense of Balance
For this experiment you are going to affect your subject's sense of balance to literally knock your subject off of his feet.

By now you have achieved a level of trust and rapport on the part of the subject.

Before you begin take note that even though you will be asking the subject to fall back in your arms, every once in a while the subject will fall forward in exactly the opposite direction you are asking him/her to fall. Be on the alert. It may happen one out of a hundred times, but if it happens with your very first subject you may think that you are doing something wrong.

You are not doing anything wrong. When the subject does exactly the opposite of what you are asking, he/she is concentrating in hypnosis but is resisting you personally for some reason.

In a stage show you would just send the performer back to the audience, but since you are only working with one person in a personal experiment, you don't want to mention to your subject that he/she is resisting you.   You will just congratulate your subject on the accomplishment of altering the sense of balance through the magic of suggestion and the magic of hypnosis.

For this experiment you are going to have the subject stand about 4 feet from a wall and facing the wall.  You are going to be standing directly behind the subject and you will be giving suggestions that imply that the subject's sense of balance will change and he/she will fall directly back into your arms.

Direct the subject to stare at a spot on the wall or ceiling that is about 2 or 3 feet above his head so he has to raise his chin and look up to see the spot on the wall or ceiling. Then direct the subject to place his feet together and stand up as straight as he/she can and continue staring at the spot on the wall or ceiling.

You are behind the subject at the time and position yourself to brace against the weight of your subject's body as your subject loses balance and falls back.

Direct your subject like this:

"With your feet together stand up straight and put your head back so you can view an imaginary spot on the wall or ceiling."

"I am going to be directly behind you and will catch you as you lose your balance and fall directly back into my arms." "You will be perfectly safe as you fall back directly into my arms."

"As you stare at the imaginary spot, you will feel an invisible force drawing you back into my arms." "You are falling back, back back into my arms."
(By this time you will see a rocking back and forth motion by your subject as he/she is losing balance. If there is no movement yet, continue to repeat the above statement until the rocking motion starts. If there is a visible rocking and swaying movement by your subject then continue with the following)

"This invisible force is pulling you back, back, back into my arms." "You are falling back, back, back into my arms." "Safely falling back into my arms." "Over, over, over, back into my arms."

Continue with the above statement until your subject has fallen into your arms.

Never doubt in your mind that the subject will fall. He/she will fall as long as you give the suggestions positively and you see in your mind that the subject is falling back into your arms.

Once the subject has fallen back into your arms, ask how he/she feels?

You may notice a glazed look on the face of your subject. If you achieve that glazed look, you know you are on the right track.  This subject will work very well for you in a stage hypnotism environment.  If the subject does not have a glazed over look, that is okay as well.

As long as you achieve the falling back into your arms effect you have accomplished what some people call Waking Hypnosis and Waking Suggestion.  Even though you have not learned a single "hypnotic induction" yet, many hypnotic effects can be achieved with only the Waking Hypnosis condition present.  This is very exciting. You have accomplished a great deal today on your road to success as a professional stage hypnotist.

2.5 Exercises for Further Learning
In this lesson you learned how to find your first hypnotic subject.  You also learned how to induce Waking Hypnosis using 3 exercises.

During this week focus on getting at least 3 individuals to agree to your hypnosis experiments.

Remember to "feel" you are the expert.

Remember to practice your pre-hypnosis routine to cover the 6 questions that every subject wants answered.

Then proceed with each of your subjects, one at a time and write down your notes about what happened during each session, either in the space below or on a separate page and include it in Lesson 2, in your three ring binder.

------------==>Notes from Your 3 Subjects<==------------------
Subject #1. Name:
What happened during the session?

Subject #2. Name:
What happened during the session?

Subject #3. Name:
What happened during the session?

2.6 Summary "The Power of 3"
You have taken the big step. You have told people that you are a hypnotist and you have completed your first hypnotic experiment.

Don't go any further until you have successfully completed the 3 Waking Hypnosis Exercises on 3 individuals, during 3 separate appointments.  The confidence you will pick up during these experiments will go a long way in helping you achieve success as a professional stage hypnotist in just a few weeks.