Hypnosis for beginners #2.2
"Now just close your eyes and tell me how you feel - and by this I mean things like stressed or contented,
anxious or calm and so on. This time we will not be bothering about physical sensations. Just focus on
any feeling that would stop you from being relaxed. So how would you describe your present feelings in
"OK. Now we are just going to emphasise the opposites to those. What would you say the opposite to
'nervous' is? Calm? Contented? Anything else?"
"Calm would be fine."
"Right. We will just keep your mind on the simple idea of being calm then." (Pause.) "Calmer and
calmer." (Pause.) "Calmer and calmer" (Pause.) "Don't hurry or worry. Just keep the idea of calmness
pure and simple grow." (Pause.) "Calmer and calmer." (And continue on these lines for a few minutes or
more.) "Now how do you feel?"
"But you could be calmer still?"
"Yes, a bit, I think."
"We can come back to that then. But first are there any other feelings?"
"I am still worried."
"What would be the opposite to that?"
"Right. Then we will emphasise a feeling of confidence for a while. There is no need to force it, or even
to believe it. As you will have seen with some of the earlier exercises, there need be no effort involved.
Just focus on the thought of confidence." (Pause.) "Just feeling more and more confident." (Pause.) "A
pure feeling of confidence just washing away the feeling of worry." (Pause.) "Confidence." (And again
this can be continued for a few minutes, slowly, with no hurry.)
This type of process, which will be different for each person, can obviously be continued until we find
that in response to questions about feelings the answer is in all ways conducive to relaxation.
Again you will then be able to form an idea of the extent, with a give person, this simple procedure leads
first of all to feelings which could go with relaxation and secondly how well they act to trigger off
As a result of the three different approaches you will then have an idea of the relative value and
consequences of the three basic approaches: direct on the muscular system, via the imaginative system or
via the emotional system.
If you are doing this work on yourself then you will thereby have developed some potentially very useful
If you are a student of hypnotherapy you will have already have learned something of great importance:
some of the reasons WHY certain things appear in inductions, and therefore a far greater ability to create
inductions for yourself which will be far more tailor-made to a given client.
The other valuable habit that should arise out of this groundwork is that of ASKING THE CLIENT
WHAT THEY ARE THINKING/FEELING. This is something that we will return to many times. For
reasons which probably stem from the old authoritarian - "you will do what I say" - ideas of hypnosis,
older books tend to assume that the hypnotist is doing all the talking and the client should NOT be
encouraged to say anything. There are times when, for particular reasons, this might be true, but for a far
greater part of the time the value of knowing what is happening is enormously more important. In the
above exercises, in which we are making no pretence that anyone is "hypnotised" and so can comment
freely on what is happening, the habit of listening should be encouraged.
Once your mind starts to move in the Morganic way, of looking at the systems that you are deliberately
activating to get the required response, you should feel motivated to explore other avenues. Here are
We have used the verbal system, but what about the musical subsystem of the auditory system of the
brain? For many people the activation of this system by a particular kind of music leads to a relaxing
effect. Note that the music might well not be a gentle flute. There are people who find a heavy drum-beat
And what about the olfactory system - smell? For some people the activation of this system by certain
smells can lead to relaxation: a fact used in aromatherapy.
And what about the sensory system? The touch of a human hand can in some people lead to relaxation.
Aromatherapy again seems to make use of this connection, as do some other physical therapies. But why
not generalise this? Just holding a hand might produce this effect. Are there some particular alternative
touches - such as pet fur, or the touch of a furry toy - which would, in a particular person, lead to a
relaxation of the muscular system?
And what about that somewhat higher system of mirth? I have sometimes had the most wonderful
relaxing effect on people by activating a very strong sense of amusement leading to laughter.
And what about the sensation of rocking? Or of being in water? And ... see if anything else comes to
"BUT" you might be saying, "I cannot provide all those things!" Do you expect me to provide a hundred
kinds of music; to train in aromatherapy and fill my room with its scents, to have a rocking chair, furry
toys and so on all to hand?"
And the answer is, "You can always conjure them up! IF they are significant triggers of relaxation in a
person then there is a very good chance indeed that you can activate the appropriate system by the
techniques we learned in Chapter 1. If someone responds to the touch of a pet, for example, then there is
every chance that you can evoke the response via words or pictures, and you should have seen that
rocking can be evoked with no expense other than a few minutes of time."
That is the wonderful economy of hypnotic techniques. Students of healing in cash-poor economies
note especially can note that they need no High Tech and expensive technology, and yet are
wonderfully precise: we can pinpoint very particular parts of a person's mind and body and affect are powerful, precise, and capable of being developed far further than they have to date once their
true nature is understood.
Here are some more sample scripts which focus on activating one particular subsystem of the brain with
a view to using it as a means of relaxing everything else.
"I would like you to think about a piece of music that you have have found very peaceful and relaxing."
"Perhaps The Magic Flute?" (If the answer is anything like "I can't" or "I don't have much time for
music" then it is probably not worth bothering with this exercise. As I keep on emphasising, people's
minds are very different. Some are well-stocked with music and some are nearly empty. You work with
what is there, and do NOT suppose that everyone is identical.)
"Fine. Now just spend a few minutes starting to call that music to mind. I do not want my voice to
interfere with it, and so perhaps you could very gently move a finger in time with the music when you
can hear it. Just tell me when you are starting to hear it."
"It is starting now."
"Fine. Just listen." Pause. "Just listen." Pause .... and repeat this phrase softly every ten seconds or so, but
always keeping time with the music so as not to jar - you can tell the time from the finger movement, of
course. After a few minutes you can interrupt and say,
"Very good. How clear was the music? And how do you feel? Has the music helped you to relax?"
"It was a bit faint to start with but got clearer. Yes, I DO feel more relaxed."
On the other hand you might find in a particular person that one or other or both of the music and
relaxation was weak.
Here is another script, working on the sense of humour.
"I would like you, with closed eyes, to start to remember amusing things. For example, do you have a
favourite comedian? "
"Yes. Charlie Chaplain."
"You must have seen one of his old silent movies. I wonder if you can remember one or two scenes from
his best films?"
In cases where this works you then simply wait until one or two scenes are recalled, usually with smiles
or laughter. You need only give a little verbal encouragement. Then after a few minutes you can ask
"There is nothing like laughter to relieve tensions, is there? How relaxed do you feel now?"
For an example of how humour can be used more extensively in therapy see the article. Mr Bean -
You might try the two approaches above on a few people to gain some experience of how they work, and
should find the usual Standard Finding. If you have the time and inclination you might then work out for yourself how you might try out other approaches outlined above: scents, sensations of rocking in a
swing? or boat?, touch - of fur? water? hand? and so on.
At this stage you may be thinking that this is all far too complicated. Why is there not some one simple
way of doing hypnosis? There are two ways of answering this. The first is to say that you CAN use one
simple approach on everyone to relax them. Some hypnotists and hypnotherapists do just that. They have
their fixed scripts and they fit people to their scripts. At times this works beautifully. But at other times it
The second way of replying is that when you are faced with a particular person, you will not be using
everything that you have learned, only a part, which simplifies things. Some quite simple questions will
serve to give you a very good idea what approaches are likely to be most effective and you can then
improvise a script based on what you have heard.
For example suppose someone loves boats and music, hates animals and has no sense of smell or humour
then you can at once eliminate any references to scents or smells from your relaxation script but might go
a long way with activating a sense of the rocking of a boat and some favourite music. Likewise if
someone is mad about cats, but has no visual imagination or interest in much else then you would
naturally start a script on the lines of thinking simply of sitting with a cat or two on the lap and feeling
them purring and going to sleep. This will tend to produce the desired response in the subject.
So in short the approach that you are learning here gives you FLEXIBILITY, it enables you to
PERSONALISE your approach and it helps you to UNDERSTAND what you are doing when you
use a given script.
The scripts that we have used above can be called simple scripts because they focus tightly on using one
specific system to produce a required change. By contrast most scripts that you will find in other books
are compound or complex scripts, which is to say that they aim to produce a specific change by using a
variety of different systems.
As a final exercise I would like you to read the following compound script which is designed to relax.
Each paragraph is based primarily on one particular system, though to make it more like those you will
find elsewhere I will in each case introduce three words or phrases that could activate other systems. You
should not find it too hard to identify, for each paragraph, the dominant system being worked on, and
also the three exceptions. The answers, as I see them, can be found at the end of the chapter, after the
1. (Primary mode: simple verbal suggestion of relaxation.) Now you are going to discover that you can
relax. (Pause.) All you need to do is to listen to me and you will relax. (Pause.) Listen to my voice, it is
relaxing. (Pause.) My voice will gradually make you more and more relaxed and peaceful. (Pause.) Your
muscles will respond without you having to do anything. (Pause.) Just listen to my relaxing voice.
(Pause.) You will feel quite happy. (Pause.) More and more relaxed and calm. (Pause.) It will be better
than being on holiday in the most luxurious resort. (Pause.) Because you will be totally relaxed and at
peace. (Pause.) All tension will go. (Pause.) Your muscles will relax and be at rest. (Pause.) And your
skin will relax until it is as smooth as silk. (Pause.) Relaxed, restful and at peace.
2. (Primary mode: activation of visual system with imagery of relaxing scene.) Next I would like you to
imagine yourself lying in a boat which is drifting peacefully on a river. (Pause.) You are lying on soft
cushions. (Pause.) The sky is blue with perhaps a few small white clouds. (Pause.) Someone else is it to work normally again.
It seems to me to be good practice NOT to mess about with vital automatic processes in systems that are
working well already and so I would strongly advise that you do NOT attempt to change them.
You may have noticed that most of the things I have suggested you try to change also involve some form
of abnormal activity of some system or other. However the systems I have chosen are ones that are quite
accessible to consciousness, which will soon correct any changes you have made if it needs to.
NOTE ALSO that I have also not included some of the more amusing hypnotic effects produced by stage
hypnotists. The reason is that I am uneasy about the use of hypnosis under those conditions. It is one
thing to attempt some of the comparatively straightforward simple examples above in order to increase
your understanding of what happens in hypnosis preferably under supervision. It is quite another for you
to attempt something that may require a substantial alteration to quite fundamental systems in someone's
mind such as the total elimination of a sense of humour or normal inhibitions or of self-consciousness.
I would also suggest that you read my short article in which I point out that in some fundamental ways in
which hypnotherapy, although based on an understanding of hypnotic processes is very often acting
more like dehypnosis than hypnosis!
Thus no client will ever come to you asking for his elbow to be made incapable of bending. But you
might get someone with snooker elbow (US read as pool), in which he is unable to release a bent elbow
to take a shot. If you have learned how to make an arm unbendable then you have insight into how to do
the reverse that he wants. You will never get anyone wanting you to make him grind his teeth
involuntarily, though you have now learned how to do so. But there are some people who suffer from this
condition (often in their sleep) - it is called bruxism) - and need the abnormality removed. The work you
have done will at least give you some insight into the nature of the problem and of methods for affecting
In this short practical course you should have gained quite a lot of practical understanding of how to
change the activity of a wide range of internal systems of the human being. This should be more than just
having learned a cookery-book list of recipes, but be an understanding which means knowing why you
are doing something, what should happen and how to adapt your approach if it does not happen.
When you have got that far you are in a good position to move on to use this understanding to help
people in whom some system or other is NOT acting as it should.
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