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My Understanding of Hypnotism

双击自动滚屏

发布者:心灵使者 发布时间:2010/4/15 阅读:7149

My Understanding of Hypnotism

我对催眠的理解

by 

Dr. Wai-to Cheung 张伟韬博士

5-4-2010

 

Back Ground

 

Before I joined the training course I did not have much understanding or experience about hypnosis.  My only close encounter with the subject matter was in about 1983 in Toronto, Canada. At that time I was doing my doctorate degree in civil engineering.  In one evening I went out with my friends to a night club in the Holiday Inn where there was stage performance by a hypnotist.  His performance was very entertaining with stunning effects. It has given me a deep impression of how powerful hypnosis can be in influencing the human mind and behavior. Like any other people, I also feel that it also has a mystic screen around it as many of the phenomena seem to be difficult to explain. I was clear at that time that hypnosis is scientific with a long successful history of clinical applications practiced worldwide in helping the needed at all fronts, should it be quitting smoking, overcoming psychological barriers or simply improving confidence of oneself.

 

My mind was in a continue state of stress for the past twenty years after taking up senior positions for managing businesses in Asia for UK engineering consulting firms. Due to time difference between UK and Asia (about seven hours’ difference) it meant long working hours involving many late evening telephone calls in order to communicate with head office in the UK when it was morning their time. At end of last year I eventually decided that it was about time for me to improve quality of my life style and end this prolonged period of over stressing.  I need to plan a life which is peaceful and meaningful which allows me the room and time to do things that I wanted to do.  Such things cannot be done at all or impractical to do in the past due my work commitment. 

 

I stated to work part time early this year as advisor to China corporations to improve their skills in project and business management adopting the western approach.   Working two days a week part time made available to me time that is not available before so that I can explore other options that I enjoy doing.  Learning hypnotism immediately flashed into my mind. As my home is in Singapore, by default, my first exploration is to look at Singapore websites for information for hypnosis training available in the country.  The most credible institution offering such courses (in association with local hospitals for clinical practices) was LCCH (London College of Clinical Hypnosis).  However their courses were more targeted to existing health care personnel and courses were conducted over weekends outside working hours.  For beginners’ course, the course will spread over a few months’ time.  Practically speaking, I have two concerns for enrolment in such courses.  Firstly it will be difficult for me to make physical presence in Singapore travelling there every month as this will not be in line with my current work plan in China.  Secondly, as I came from no health care working background, the chance of admittance may not be high as the number of applications was overwhelming but the number of vacancies was limited.  I then started to search China web sites and found hypnosis training available in Shenzhen with a four day program. As my current working place is also in Shenzhen it suited me seamlessly.  I also introduced the course to two of my friends, one from Hong Kong and one from Singapore.  Both of them also found the subject interesting and eventually signed up for the training.  Unfortunately my friend from Hong Kong was caught up in a last minute function and could not attend the course. It was eventually me and my friend from Singapore gone through and completed the course which extended from 28th of March to 1st of April inclusive

 

My objectives for attending the course were fourfold as presented below.

 

(1)  Personal Interest in Hypnosis

As explained early, the hypnotist’s performance in Toronto has given me a deep impression of the power of hypnotism.  Curiosity was the prime driver for me to gain more understanding about the subject in particular to uncover reality behind the mystic screen.  This will also be a challenge to m as hypnosis is not considered as “traditional” to most people.

(2)  Entertainment

Again for the hypnosis show I found it extremely entertaining and enjoy the whole night.  I imagined that just by mastering some of the basic techniques of hypnosis will allow me to demonstrate some form of hypnotism say in a social gathering or public function. This can in turn allows me easier to build rapport and gain acquaintance with old and more importantly new friends. In term of the quality of social life this means enrichment.

(3)  Benefits to myself through self hypnotism

It has always been my understanding that through self hypnotism one can improve one’s feelings and behavior in many beneficial ways. For my case in particular I need to improve quality of my sleep and also watch my weight through appetite control.

(4)  Hypnotism has good potential as a business after retirement

I consider that hypnotism has a high potential to be developed into a business after my retirement.  By doing this I can lend a helping hand to people who needs assistance and support. This will be a meaningful thing to do.  Of course at the same time such services can also generate some income, whether big or small will be of secondary concern.  The more grey hair I have, the more confidence people may have in me. If the ultimate decision is to offer clinical therapy then the cost of setting up a clinic will also be something manageable as compared to a medical clinic.  

 

My view about hypnosis after digestion and analysis of materials covered in the training course is presented below. With my academic and career background as presented earlier I consider myself being an intellectual with a strong rational mind set.  It is my intention to put together this paper based on presentation by the instructor and also content of the training material in an organized and structured manner.  In order to achieve this, I need to have a reasonable grasp of all topics and understand their inter relationship.  Where there are gaps then I will conduct Internet search as future actions so that such gaps can be filled in and this paper updated for completeness.

 

 

Definitive Description of Hypnosis Process

 

As the course progressed, the mystical nature of hypnosis started to disappear when more understanding of the subject has been gained. To help myself to have a clearer picture of hypnosis, I have put together definitive description based on my basic understanding of hypnosis.  The description will be by functional, process, state and finally its effect on subjects.  This will lay the cornerstones based on which the rest of the write-up will be developed.

     

To the subject, hypnosis forms a bridge between his conscious and unconscious mind letting the latter influencing the former to perform certain things, either physically or mentally.  The definition given on page 35 of the lecture notes seems to be a bit abstract and difficult to comprehend as there may be some involvement of religious elements. As a process hypnosis is interaction between the hypnotist and the subject and through continuous and repeated stimulations by the hypnotist, the subject will take suggestions leading to different degrees of changes in behaviors, feelings, sensations, images, perceptions, thoughts, beliefs, and / or physical functions or symptoms.  The hypnotist can also be the subject himself and for this case it is termed “self hypnotism”.  The subject is into a hypnotic state when his body enters into deep relaxation and concentration, becomes increasingly absorbed in using his imagination while still maintains awake and is fully aware of everything that is going on,

Purposes of hypnosis are typically intended for relaxation, calmness, confidence, increased self-control and more importantly for the well-being of the subject. For the case of hypnotherapy the patient is able to clear away mental "clutter" and focus on his problem and solutions to the problem.  Treatments can be targeted at drug additions; alcoholism; depressions; phobias; smoking cessation; weight control etc. basically unlimited where solution to problems can be sought through influencing the minds of the subject  

The Hypnosis Process – Procedure and Techniques

In the training material, the procedural sequence will be

l        Diagnosis’ – including sensitivity test

l        Induction – including instantaneous hypnosis

l        Deepening and deepness tests

l        Healing

l        Ending

Despite the fact that all of the above items should be treated of equal importance, at the current stage for beginners the mastering of induction (I treat sensitivity tests as a warm up form of induction) and deepening techniques will be of high priority as without these means of putting the subject into a sleep state, the ultimate objectives of conducting hypnosis cannot be achieved. This understanding was also echoed throughout the course as the instructor devoted much time in teaching these techniques and allowed ample time for attendees to practice especially in the evening on what they have learned during day time training. For this reason, content of this paper will be devoted more to the first three procedures.

As hypnosis (self hypnosis is covered at a later section) is an interaction between the hypnotist and the subject, it is necessary that a reasonable degree of trust be built between the subject and the hypnotist especially for the instance when the two meets the first time.  As a pre-induction requisite it is therefore important for the hypnotist to create rapport with the subject. This can be achieved through friendly gestures (say hand shaking, pulling a chair for the subject. etc) and verbal communications. The content of the dialogue is best to find things in common (say coming from the same home town, etc.). The ultimate goal of doing all these is to make the subject feels comfortable with the hypnotist. It is also helpful if the hypnotist can find small ways to make the subject to accept little suggestions from him. Examples of such suggestions can be, say advising the subject to adjust her sitting posture or move a leg forward etc. This will pave the way for the subject to accept larger suggestions at a later stage of the hypnosis process. The small suggestions need also to be specific so that the subject knows exactly what the hypnotist wants from him.  This should include any outcomes of such suggestions if appropriate. Furthermore using deep voices for verbal suggestions is recommended as it has better effect to communicate with the subject’s sub-conscious mind.  A physical demonstration of movements for any induction exercise beforehand can also increase clarity to the subject. In general, the hypnotist needs to tell the subject what is going to happen, in particular, that he is going to hypnotize the subject with reinforcement that it will happen in split seconds.  Such reinforcement can effectively amplify the hypnotic effect for better results.

 

Sensitivity Tests

The ten sensitivity test techniques covered in the course are summarized as follow:

l       The Chevreul’s Pendulum test

l       The arm raising and falling test

l       The hand clasp test

l       The magnetic hand test

l       The falling backward test

l       The body sway test

l       The locking elbow test

l       The apple test

l       The lemon test

l       The white light test

l       Human bridge

All tests listed above are conducted by verbal suggestions by the hypnotist and can involve various degrees of imagination by the subject. Above grouping of the tests is in such a way that the first seven will also involve corresponding body movements of the subject while the last three are almost purely imagination exercise. During the training, I responded reasonably well to those movement oriented tests but have had a headache when going through the last three. Similar observations were made based on feedback of other classmates.  They showed mixed reactions to the tests with some people being very sensitive while others had minor responses.  However there was no report that all tests had no effect on some one. Similar to me, my Singaporean friend is considered to be a very rational being.  As expected, his response to the tests was not good when it came to the imagination tests.  In view of this observation, it can be concluded that results can vary with individual subjects and it is through more practices in building up the necessary experience that a hypnotist can identify the effectiveness tests applicable to subjects of different characteristics.  The hypnotist will decide what test(s) are to be conducted during a session. Such tests not only provide the hypnotist information about the subject’s susceptibility to hypnosis , the subject in parallel can also benefit by building up more confidence in the hypnotist and also in the process thus increasing the chance of success of hypnotism.  

The ultimate goals of all sensitivity tests are twofold - to find out the hypnotizability and suggestibility of the subject. For hypnotizability there is further refinement with respect to classification of purpose of the tests so that the most effective induction method can be identified.  Such classifications together with other remarks are presented in table below.

 


Table 1    Sensitivity Test Summary

 

Test

Purpose

Remarks

Chevreul’s Pendulum test

Concentration

Good for raising people’s interest and confidence

Arm raising and falling test

Imagination

Most popular test

Hand clasp test

Acceptance to suggestion

Very popular test with the subject being taken into a high state of concentration

Magnetic hand test

Imagination

Very popular test

Falling backward test

Trust

It is the hypnotist responsibility to protect the subject from being hurt when falling.  The subject must be ensured with evidence that safety measures are already in place in order to make the test work

Body sway test

Acceptance to suggestion

Very effective as this it involves mainly  body movements and not much  imagination is needed

Locking elbow test

Acceptance to suggestion

Very popular test

Apple test

Graphic observation

May not be effective on people who is not imaginative

Lemon test

Imagination and acceptance to suggestions

May not be effective on people who is not imaginative

White light test

Imagination

Often used to replenish the subject’s mental energy. May not be effective on people who are not imaginative.

Human bridge

Acceptance to suggestion

The hypnotist must ensure that the subject is not hurt by giving clear instructions to helpers on how to carry the subject and to put him in a position with proper support  

 


Induction Methods

Induction normally follows immediately after completion of the sensitivity tests. Induction techniques covered in the training are:

l        Progressive relaxation method

l        Number counting method

l        Deep breathing method

l        Eye fixation method

l        Head circulation movement method

The grouping is presented in such a way that the first four are conducted through verbal induction by the hypnotist while the last one is conducted through physical contact and guidance.  There is not much verbal communication by the hypnotist for these cases.

Further comments on each method are presented in the following table.


 

Table 2    Induction Method Summary

Method

Remarks

Progressive relaxation method

Detailed script for this method has been presented in the training notes. The progress is rather slow but has general applicability and yields reasonable results.

Number counting method

Number counting is a very simple method and its usage can be seen in all phases of the hypnotism process including the waking up stage.

Deep breathing method

Simple method

Eye fixation method

Often appeared in movies, a pendant or crystal ball was used to put the subject into a hypnotized state.  This is a very traditional but very effective method as any one’s eyes will be very strained if asked to keep starring on an object.

Head circulating method

While practicing this method during the training, it was found that the subject’s neck was often rather stiff as he wanted to protect himself from being strained.  This is for the reason that synchronizing his head’s movement with that guided by the hands of the hypnotist can be difficult. Two proposals are presented here to improve the situation. . Firstly suggest to the subject that his neck muscle is so relaxed that strength is non-existent. In this way the circulating motion can only be determined by the hypnotist. Secondly, in addition to the loss of neck strength suggestion above, change the circulating motion to rocking motion from side to side.  Both proposals are subject to further experiments to determine their effectiveness.

The training notes have also included detailed scripts especially for the first two methods. The detailed example presented is sufficient to guide the trainees to design or create their scripts for other methods to be employed. It is also advisable to memorize the scripts by hard for beginners as it can help at lot in soothing out the session with the subject.  As more experience is gained, the hypnotist will then be able to deliver the induction with ease without recalling the scripts.

Similar to the sensitivity tests, the induction method to be deployed to individual subjects will be at the discretion of the hypnotist who will be guided by the outcomes of the sensitivity tests. 

Instantaneous Hypnosis

Towards the end of the training the instructor has introduced two instantaneous hypnotize methods, viz. hand pressing method and hand shaking method.  Both methods will make the subject a process involving 

l        To attain a state of high concentration (overloading) through suggestions by the hypnotist

l        A stunning shock will be introduced by the hypnotist

l        The subject will go into an Out of Balance state through physical action from the hypnotist

The methods seem to be very effective (both in terms of time and level of deepness) to bring the subject to a deep state of hypnotism and in a very short duration of time.  As highlighted earlier, the hypnotist must inform the subject that he will be quickly brought into a deep hypnotized state.  The hypnotist will not, however, tell the subject about the shock that is going to happen as early warning will void the stunning effect. Drawback of the two methods is that the subject will fall onto the floor and may get hurt.  It is the responsibility of the hypnotist to protect the subject from such injuries.  It is one of my follow up action to do further internet search to identify alternatives of instantaneous hypnosis that will keep the subject in a seated position. In this way, not only safety of the subject is guaranteed, it also allows ease of conducting the rest of the hypnosis process.

In the training material, a chapter is devoted to present instantaneous hypnosis techniques. The four steps to bring the subject into deep sleep can be summarized as follow:

l        Tell the subject of the intention of putting him quickly into a state of hypnotism.  It is not necessary to disclose all details of what is going to happen as this will make the subject too alert and thus reducing the degree of stunning effect.

l        Identify a signal for the subject to enter into the hypnosis state.  The most popular word used is “sleep”. It is also recommended that this should be presented it in a loud and clear manner in line with the principle of creating a “shock” effect.

l        Create a stunning physical shock leading the subject to feel out of balance and this should put the subject into hypnotic state

l        Maintain the subject in the just achieved deep sleep state by giving immediate verbal suggestions to reinforce such a state

A couple of other methods are presented in the training material (one only has a title but without details) but not covered in the class. The training material also highlighted that it is not recommended to beginners to practice these methods until one has mastered the fundamental techniques. It is still worthwhile to find opportunities to practice such techniques at a later stage.

In the case of performing hypnosis show for entertainment purposes, the instantaneous methods are often used by hypnotist as they will sure yield the stunning effects sufficient to excite the audience

Deepening Methods

Deepening is needed from time to time during a session as deemed fit by the hypnotist either to maintain the current state or taking the subject to the next level of deepness.  This is applicable irrespective whether induction or instantaneous hypnosis was used on the subject earlier. 

The deepening methods covered in the class are presented as follow:

l        Progressive relaxation method

l        Number counting method

l        Deep breathing method

l        Staircase method

l        Elevator method

l        Arm drop method

l        Finger clicking method

Similar to induction, the first five methods are conducted through verbal suggestions while the last two there are more physical movements are involved. The first three methods used for induction have been duplicated here. Again preparation of scripts for each method is recommended for beginners.

Comments on the seven methods are summarized in table below.


Table 3    Deeping Method Summary

Method

Remarks

Progressive relaxation method

Usually repeated as two consecutive sessions during the induction phase. The fist one is for induction and the second one for deepening.

Number counting method

Simple but the effect may not be very obvious

Deep breathing method

Simple but the effect may not be very obvious

Staircase Method

This is the most popular method adopted by hypnotists but it requires the subject to be imaginative to make the method effective. The hypnotist has to guide the subject to walk down the staircase.

Elevator Method

Similar to the Staircase method but with the subject going into a descending or ascending elevator. For past life regression purpose the elevator will goes up instead of going down. The latter is appropriate for deepening.

Arm drop method

This is also a popular method and the best effect can be achieved if the arms can be dropped in a heavy manner giving some sense of shock to the subject. A heavy drop can be achieved if the hypnotist suggests to the subject that his arms have no strength and thus the raising and dropping of arms will be totally controlled by the hypnotist.

Finger clicking method

A louder clicking sound is preferred so as create some minor stunning shock effect.  The finger clicking method is most often used as a signal to the subject to perform certain actions, say going back to deep sleep, in the case of hypnotism performance.

 

Tests for the Six levels of Deepness

To achieve the objective(s) of a hypnotism session it may require the hypnotist to bring the subject to different levels of deepness. A scale with six levels of deepness has been introduced with level 6 denoting the deepest degree of hypnotism.  Accordingly tests were designed in parallel as qualitative indicators of the level of deepness achieved rather than rely solely on the judgment of the hypnotist.

Tests covered in the course were depicted in the table below. In order to master the tests, it is again recommended that scripts be prepared for each test which can be useful tools for beginners.

Table 4     Deepness Level Test Summary

Level of deepness

Test

Remarks

1 (Shallowest)

Eyelid Catalepsy

Prepare script recommended

2

Arm Catalepsy

Prepare script recommended

3

Inability to articulate numbers

Prepare script recommended

4

Analgesia

See note 2 below

5

Positive Hallucination

Prepare script recommended

6 (Deepest)

Negative Hallucination

Prepare script recommended

Notes:

(1) Except for test 4, all other tests are conducted through verbal suggestions and thus pre-prepared scripts for each of the tests will be helpful for beginners.

(2) The test has a major drawback as it is needed to induce minor pain to the subject in order for the test to work. Two issues arise from this. Firstly, the subject may find it offensive or can feel worried of being hurt. This in turn may lead to unnecessary complications affecting outcome of the hypnotism session. Secondly even the subject shows no objection to the test, it is difficult for the hypnotist to determine the degree of pain needs to be introduced (of course on the assumption that the subject will not be hurt) to make the test effective as the susceptibility to pain of individuals are difficult to predict Again an internet search will be conducted as one of my follow up actions to seek replacement alternative to this test.

The deepness tests can be conducted any time during a session as the hypnotist sees fit.  If the tests show that the intended level of deepness has not been attained then the hypnotist can use any or a mixed of the deepening methods as mentioned earlier to take the subject to the next level bearing in mind that not all subjects can be taken to a high level of deepness and also high level of deepness normally is not required for most of hypnotherapy treatments.

Self Hypnosis

It is my understanding that as part of hypnotherapy, the hypnotist often teaches the subject self hypnosis techniques.  This allows the subject to work on himself thus speeding up the healing process as well as enhancing the healing effect.

Self hypnosis can be treated as a simplified version of the normal hypnosis due to the fact that the hypnotist and the subject are the same person.  Thus for example the step in getting acquainted between the hypnotist and the subject can be omitted.

The training manual has covered two methods in details.  One is a number counting method with full scripts and advices on techniques of suggestion. .  Despite simplicity of the method it may deemed sufficient as it in general works should work on most peoples. The other method makes relation to Buddhism. In general this approach may not be appropriate for two reasons. First, not all hypnotists or subjects come from a religious background, i.e. being a Buddhist. Furthermore for those who are free thinkers, it will be difficult for them to comprehend how the method works.  Secondly, for those people related to other religions say Christians, they may find it offensive as Buddha is treated different from their gods. It is proposed therefore to conduct further Internet research to identify at least two additional self hypnosis methods to compliment the first method. Besides for the religion reason mentioned above, this will also present to the hypnotist options should the number counting method is not effective on some subjects.

Suggestions

Suggestions need to be tailored made in line with the objective(s) of the hypnosis session.  Such objectives can be agreed with the subject during the “diagnostic” phase at the start. The rules of thumb for good suggestions were covered in the course and recaptured below.

l  To be positive

l  To be simple

l  To be consistent (non-contradicting)

l  Clear objectives defined

l  End results are verifiable

l  Both the subject and hypnotist believable that the objectives are achievable

As all of the above criteria are logical derivations they are thus both sensible and easy to understand.  To meet the first three criteria it will take continual practices to polish presentation of verbal suggestions by the hypnotist. The balance of criteria can be addressed through discussion with the subject during the diagnostic phase to ensure that there is no ambiguity for the entire hypnotism process.

Summary

Hypnosis is scientific and has a long history in clinical therapy applied worldwide. In fact its applications are unlimited subject only to the imagination of the hypnotist. However one fundamental principle applies, i.e. it should be used for the better life for human beings. Thus the ethical behavior of hypnotists is of paramount importance to avoid malpractices that can harm people.

Based on the understanding of the author and experience gained during the training, a structured summary for sensitivity tests, induction techniques, instantaneous hypnotism; deepening techniques, deepness tests and criteria for the design of suggestions are presented above. Te preparation of this essay not only is intended to meet AAH membership application requirement, but it also helps the author to have a better understanding the topic by conglomerating and analyzing material learned during the training. The paper will be updated and can serve as a good piece of material to refresh the subject matter from time to time.

For further progress to gain knowledge and experience on hypnosis, follow up actions are drawn up. 

Follow Up Actions

In order to improve my knowledge, experience and raise status in hypnosis with ultimate goal to develop it into a viable business, the following action plan for this year have been developed.  The plan includes description of actions and target dates of completion.


 

Table 5    2010 Action Plan

Action No.

Description

Target Date of Completion

1

Complete a 5,000 word essay for submission to AAH for membership application

7/4/2010

2

Prepare scripts for all afore-mentioned tests and methods in English and possibly in Chinese as well

End of July 2010

3

Internet search for two more self hypnosis techniques

End of June 2010

4

Internet search for three techniques for instantaneous hypnosis with subject remains sitting on the chair

End of June 2010

5

Attain and complete AAH instructor course

Before end of 2010

6

Find and / or create opportunities to practice hypnosis on other people so as to gain the necessary experience

On going

7

Update content of this paper from time to time as and when more understanding and experience has been gained on the subject

On going

8

Prepare business plan for implementation in 2011

Before end of 2010

 


 

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