Life Focus Center

Effective Solutions for Life's Challenges

Hypnosis FAQ:

This Frequently Asked Questions by Dr. Javad Hashtroudian is a work in progress.

 

 

1. What is hypnosis?
2. Does the hypnotist control the subject?
3. Can I be hypnotized against my will?
4. I have very strong will power. Can I be hypnotized?
5. Can everyone be hypnotized?
6. What problems can be solved using hypnosis?
7. Can you make my husband/wife/child a nonsmoker using hypnosis?
8. Is it true that Freud started with hypnosis?
9. Who was Milton H. Erickson?
10. What is Paradoxical Therapy?
11. What is the relationship between hypnosis and meditation?
12. What is the secret of stage hypnosis?
13. What is self-hypnosis?
14. Who discovered hypnosis?
15. Who was David Elman?
16. What are the dangers of hypnosis?
17. Who was Franz Anton Mesmer?
18. What is a brief history of hypnosis?
19. What are the stages of hypnosis?
20. How deep do I need to go to change?
21. What is NLP?
22. What are the presuppositions of NLP?

23. What is Time-LineTM therapy?
24. How can hypnosis help me improve my grades?
25. How can hypnosis help me improve my test scores?
26. Can you help me with my phobia?
27. What is the relationship between guided meditation and hypnosis?
28. Past-Life Therapy.... Uggg! You really mean I have lived before?


What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a natural state of consciousness like the waking and sleeping states. It is a state of deep relaxation in which the conscious mind is distracted, producing heightened suggestibility and increased unconscious awareness, allowing access to the unconscious mind through power of imagination and pretense. It produces the ability to experience internal thoughts and images as real. It is important to note that under hypnosis suggestibility is increased only so long as the suggestion is congruent with the subject’s conscious mind. Thus if a suggestion is made that would go against the morality of the subject’s conscious mind the person would reject that suggestion and rapport between the operator (hypnotist) and subject would be broken. Thus the subject would immediately return to normal beta/waking state of consciousness.

A professor of psychology used to demonstrate this in his first lecture in hypnosis. He would hypnotize one of the female students and then ask her to strip. Of course she would immediately return to normal waking state of consciousness and open her eyes and smile and say no thank you or slap him if she was uptight. But this one year the student started actually take her clothes off. First came off the sweater and much to the chagrin of the male students the red faced professor woke the student up and stopped her from stripping. When they did further inquiry into the student they discovered that she was putting herself through school by being a stripper and hence it was not against her morality to take her clothes off in front of many spectators.

Hypnosis is used to allow greater conscious/unconscious communication. When I use the term conscious mind I mean whatever you are aware of at this moment. By unconscious mind I mean, whatever you are not. Thus please think of your right foot. Now think of the big toe on your right foot….

My guess is that a few seconds ago you were not aware of your right foot big toe and now you are conscious of it. We believe that at any moment we can be aware (conscious) of about seven bits (chunks) of information. This is called the magic number seven plus or minus two by . Thus try to remember this phone number (8256325890) as a series of ten digits. It is extremely difficult. But if you make it into three chunks (825-632-5890) it is easy to remember.

The point I’m making here is that most of the events going on in our lives we are not consciously aware of. To put it another way our minds are like icebergs and most of the mind is the unconscious mind. When we are born, the conscious ego (the I) does not yet exist. The ego develops from the sea of the unconscious and separates from it by approximately the age of two. It is at this time (the terrible twos) that the child learns those magic words such as I, me, my and most importantly the word no.

As the ego develops more and more autonomy from its unconscious source it imagines that it is in charge and by about the age of eight a wall develops between the conscious mind and the unconscious. In hypnosis we call this “The Critical Factor.” This wall stops suggestions from being easily accepted by the unconscious mind.

The fact is that whenever the conscious mind wants one thing (say reducing your weight) and the unconscious want another (say eating that yummy piece of chocolate) guess who wins. If your will power (the tool of the conscious mind) wins good luck to you. However, in most of us the imagination (the unconscious mind wins).

This is where hypnosis comes in. Hypnosis, makes the critical factor permeable and allows suggestions to be made to the unconscious mind. Thus in truth if you receive the right suggestions hypnosis puts you in more control than less but I’ll write about that later on in this series.

I’ use the two terms the hypnotic state and trance to mean the same thing.

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Does the hypnotist control the subject?

No. Hypnosis is a cooperative effort between the hypnotist and the subject. The subject willingly enters a state of suggestibility. However, if a suggestion contrary to the subject==s conscious morality is given, the subject promptly leaves the hypnotic state and returns to full wakefulness. This has been demonstrated numerous times under research conditions.

When hypnosis was first recognized (like the Americas which were there before Columbus "discovered them" hypnosis and trance are natural and have been around as long as human beings) the researchers imagined that the hypnotist actually had a power and energy or something emanated from her eyes or hands.

In fact Franz Anton Mesmer the rediscoverer of modern hypnosis imagined he had a power he called animal magnetism. He was tested by a Royal Commission appointed by King Louis XVI in 1784. The commission searched for rays, forces or something which went from Mesmer to his clients and since they found none. This set back the scientific investigation of hypnosis by many years.

Today, we recognize that all hypnosis is in fact self-hypnosis and the hypnotist is as I like to think about it a tour guide who has been there many times. Now even though the tour guide does not control those on the tour, he could lead the tour to places which are not fun.

Thus it is very important to go to a competent trustable hypnotherapist for change work. One problem is that as I mentioned above the hypnotized subject will not accept suggestions which go against the subject's morality, but that leaves most suggestions acceptable. Thus if you go to a hypnotherapist for weight management and the hypnotist talks to you about weight loss, your unconscious mind will accept that suggestion and feel grief at the loss.

Another problem is that many professionals take a weekend long class in use of hypnosis to "cure" alien abduction or ritual satanic abuse or other nonsense and suddenly all their clients have been abducted or ritually abused. It is very easy for an incompetent hypnotist or other mind therapist to in fact install false memories and many families were ruined in the eighties and nineties as children went to a therapist for some issue and were convinced that they had been abused. Later after untold damage and legal costs it was proved that the abuse could not have taken place.

While I'm writing this I'd like to note that there was a therapist who became the leader of the multiple personality movement. Suddenly all his clients had multiple personality. Same is true of other weird therapies such as "entity deposition" or "remote deposition." This one is really great (for the therapist's pocket book). You take a photo or other object belonging to someone else to the "deposesor" who tells you the person has a problem (is possessed by an earthbound entity - these are ghosts of dead people who remain in this material realm and get stuck on people's bodies) and now the therapist does something and the remote person is free of the evil influence and you fork over your dough.

Oh well...

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Can I be hypnotized against my will?

Since the hypnotic or trance state is a naturally occurring state of consciousness, we enter the trance state many times a day. Each morning just in between being fully asleep and fully awake and each night between being fully awake and going to sleep we pass through the hypnogogic state which is a type of trance. Also typically when we read an absorbing book, or watch an absorbing movie we enter the trance state. Basically whenever we are concentrating on a single topic we enter the trance state. Another name for this is being in the zone.

There are many other times when we automatically enter a trance state. When we drive a car and suddenly time passes without our knowledge we have passed the time in a hypnotic trance. This is called the driving trance.

The real issue is whether we can be controlled against our will and there the answer is clearly in the negative as explained in the previous section. However, we can be easily controlled. Advertisers, especially on TV use hypnotic techniques to influence us. As I mentioned above when you are watching the TV you are typically in a television trance. Now the ad comes. Notice the volume is boosted. This deepens the trance and now the suggestions are given. Remember no one can hypnotize you to do something you would not do. However, is buying this product rather than that against your morality? That's how advertising works.

Note: It is your unconscious mind which is influenced. Thus you watch the ad and think, "What a stupid ad. I'll never be fooled by it." And then when you go to the store your hand automatically (unconsciously) goes for the product you have been programmed to buy.

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I have very strong will power. Can I be hypnotized?

Yes. Absolutely. In fact, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis and is about learning to enter the trance state. The hypnotist is just a teacher to can guide you to learn to enter the trance state easily. Even the old fashioned authoritative hypnosis is teaching self-hypnosis it is just authoritative teaching technique which does work but not always. Thus this method failed at times and the idea of being resistant to hypnosis arose. I have successfully hypnotized hundreds and have not found a single case of someone not being able to enter into the trance state.

I remember a case when I was a guest lecturer at some one else's seminar. The participants did not know that they would experience hypnosis. Someone was concerned when she heard that there was the opportunity to be hypnotized. I told her that she was welcome to leave at that stage or she may wish to listen to what hypnosis was and the leave for the actual demonstration of hypnosis. I explained what hypnosis was and by the time I went through my hypnosis pre-talk with a few demonstrations of the power of suggestion and the fact that my way of hypnotizing people makes them more in control the lady in question decided that she wanted to stay and experience the trance state. In fact she entered the trance state and learned to hypnotize herself.

Back to the question of hypnosis and will power -- in fact having a strong will power and a high intelligence are a slight advantages in learning to be hypnotized and entering the trance state. However, the most important thing which help learning to enter the trance state is being creative and having a strong imagination and desire to be hypnotized.

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Can everyone be hypnotized?

Most people can learn to enter the trance state quickly.  Some people take longer time to learn the skill.  Milton Erickson claimed he had managed to hypnotize almost everyone and there were a few he was still working on.

In my own practice, I have not yet met anyone I have not managed to help enter the trance state. In my system of hypnotherapy we believe that there are no resistant clients but hypnotherapists who are not flexible enough. A flexible hypnotherapist knows many different ways of teaching people to hypnotize themselves. Another important thing to know about hypnotherapy is that even a light trance is sufficient to produce hypnotic change.

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What problems can be solved using hypnosis?

Hypnosis is excellent in helping people:
Become nonsmokers.
Control their weight.
Stress management.
Reduce shyness.
Improve public speaking.
Increase learning capacity -- leading to better grades.
Reduce exam anxiety.
Improve work efficiency.
Grief therapy.
Get rid of phobias.
Boost self-esteem.
Control habits such as nail biting, bed wetting.
Coaching (using Neuro-Linguistic Programming) -- making sales people increase sales, managers be better managers.
Reduce pain. *
Aid in preparation to surgery and other medical treatment. *
Remember forgotten events. This has to be done with help of an appropriately trained forensic hypnotist for the memories to be acceptable in a court of law. Altogether one should note that it is very east for an incompetent hypnotist to install memories rather than recover them. Thus there have been many cases of false recovered memories.

NOTE:  Medical hypnosis is performed as an adjunct to normal medical treatment.

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Can you make my husband/wife/child a nonsmoker using hypnosis?

Not if they are not motivated internally.  Hypnosis is no panacea.  It works with the cooperation of the hypnotherapist and the subject to bring about a result desired by the subject's conscious mind.  When the subject is highly motivated to become a nonsmoker, hypnosis helps rid of the noxious habit. However, hypnosis only increases the motivation. As I have emphasized one cannot control anyone's behavior by using hypnosis. Where there is no specific motivation, hypnotic persuasion will work in advertising.

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Is it true that Freud started with hypnosis?

Yes. He started his psychotherapy with hypnosis with the help of Breuer who was an excellent hypnotist and had no problem with use of hypnosis. However in 1895 Freud separated with Breuer. Freud had lost his teeth thanks to over-abuse of Cocaine and his false teeth did not fit too well. Thus he lisped and soon discovered that his lisping precluded him from being a great hypnotist.  Therefore he developed his talking therapy and developed the "couch" with the therapist sitting out of view of the client. Freud mentioned that his talking therapy was for the rich and would need 300 sessions to produce cure.

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Who was Milton H. Erickson?

Milton Erickson is the father of modern hypnotherapy. He had an attack of poliomyelitis in 1919 and was almost totally paralyzed for several months but with his hearing and thinking unimpaired. This fact of his lack of mobility allowed him to use his mind to examine human behavior and eventually become one of the greatest hypnotherapists ever. He had, the idea of using the personal experiences and perceptions of the individual in getting the person into a trance and healed. He thought, hypnosis was most likely to be successful if the suggestions were meshed with words, symbols, and images to which the individual could best relate.

Milton Erickson used a non-directive approach to hypnotherapy. He would just tell stories and his clients would just enter into a deep trance.... Once in this altered state they listened to metaphors.... They often did not feel any different and did not imagine that they had been in a trance.... The session would come to an end..... And the client would find the problem has disappeared.... Many a time they would not even realize they had been hypnotized and at times claimed they had never had the problem...

Erickson believed we all have the all the inner resources needed to produce our own healing. He believed that problems arise when a person is not in rapport with her unconscious. Thus a person may go to an appropriate therapist and get in rapport with her unconscious and change herself as needed under the guidance of the conscious mind. According to Erickson the job of the hypnotist is just to be a guide.

Erickson believed that trance is a state of heightened suggestibility "in which learning and openness to change are most likely to occur." He believed that the depth of the trance was not important and change was possible under any type of trance state.

Erickson stood on the line between healer and poet, scientist and bard. By use of the teaching tales Erickson communicated on many levels to different parts of the psyche. He believed that if the listener forgot a story - developed an amnesia for it - its effect could be even more potent. He would include humor (like the Zen and Sufi tales) and would include interesting facts (from medicine, psychology, anthropology). The stories are real stories (I.E. have beginning, middle, and end - plot and structure). They often build to a climax with a surprise ending which gives a feeling of relief or success.

Erickson believed that most of human life is unconsciously determined. However this does not lead an unconscious predeterminism as proposed by Freud and whereas the latter believed that the unconscious (whether the Id or Superego) was the problem, the former believed with C.G.Jung that the unconscious was the source of the solutions to our daily problems. He agreed with Rosen that one may change "most effectively and permanently when the therapist focuses on influencing his patient's unconscious patterns," including his frames of reference (reframing).

Erickson himself mentioned "Unconscious Learning" in one of his books: in a lecture he said this, "Your unconscious can learn without letting you know it is learning: but at the right time and in the right situation it will shove up into the conscious mind the essential knowledge"

Erickson often used paradoxical therapy where he might prescribe the symptom and use double binds to help show the patient that she had control of her behavior.

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What is Paradoxical Therapy?

Milton H. Erickson was the greatest clinical hypnotherapist. He often used paradoxical therapy which entailed prescribing the symptom to show the client that she was in control.

In dealing with weight problems, for example, Milton H. Erickson would frequently suggest that a patient who was over weight at 180 pounds should first learn to "over eat enough to weigh 185 pounds." Whether the patients followed this suggestion with dismay or glee, he was still, without quite realizing it, learning to gain control over what had seemed uncontrollable. Having experienced this control the patient was then enjoined to "over eat enough to maintain a weight of 182 pounds, 181, 180, 178, 175, [etc., down to the proper weight].

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What is the relationship between hypnosis and meditation?

By meditation here I mean mantra meditation where one repeats a word (mantram) over and over concentrating on the gaps in between the words. In hypnosis one has words and silence but one concentrates on the words. The end results are similar, in producing a relaxing, healing state of consciousness. Other forms of meditation all entail some form of concentration and mindfulness and thus are similar to hypnosis and produce the same relaxing stress reducing effects as hypnosis. Also all forms of meditation and hypnosis reduce the brain wave speed from the 14-30 Hz (cycles a second) of beta waves to the 8-13 Hz of Alpha waves) and at times lower to theta (4-7 Hz) and delta waves (1-3 Hz).

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What is the secret of stage hypnosis?

The people selected are extroverts who are the life of the party.  They would do wild and crazy things even when not hypnotized. The stage hypnotist then chooses the most suggestible of these self selected showoffs. During the stage show he further selects those who are most fun to do the most outrageous things.

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What is self-hypnosis?

All hypnosis is in fact self-hypnosis.  When we use the term self-hypnosis or auto-hypnosis we mean hypnosis without the intervention of a hypnotist or a guide.

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Who discovered hypnosis?

The beginnings of hypnosis is lost in the mists of prehistory. When we look at the cave paintings we can imagine they were used for visualization work to "magically" increase their success in hunts. We note that various native religion "medicine men" or Shamans use trance work and altered states of consciousness for their healing and spirituality. We guess this has been going on for millennia. The Egyptians 5000 years ago and later the Greeks had "dream temples" which used many modern hypnotic techniques. The various Greek oracles used the trance state to get in touch with "other worldly" realities.

Modern hypnosis began with Mesmer. For many years it was called Mesmerism or animal magnetism which is the term that Mesmer himself used. The term hypnosis was coined by James Braid. Braid first used the term monoideaism for the concentration of consciousness and then later he renamed it hypnosis wrongly after Hypnos the god of sleep. I write wrongly since because hypnosis is a totally different state of consciousness from sleep. In fact

monoideaism is a much better definition of the trance state. My favorite term for hypnosis is altered state of consciousness which expands the field to include NLP, and other hypnotic techniques.

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Who was David Elman?

Dave Elman was the creator of the Elman technique which uses the power of imagination and pretense to enter a trance rapidly. Here is a rapid Elman technique. Close your eyelids and relax your eyes and pretend you cannot open them. Once you have pretended fully that you cannot open them, try in vain to open your eyelids and find with great fun and amazement that you cannot open them. Now once you do the test allow that wonderful feeling of relaxation to permeate through all of your body and continue relaxing..

Typically I use a rapid induction technique from the second time I hypnotize someone. However, I have used the above technique to hypnotize many people even the very first time when there has not been enough time to use the more typical progressive relaxation induction.

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What are the dangers of hypnosis?

Hypnosis is counter indicated for schizophrenics and other extremely unstable personality but is safe for people with reasonably stable people. Like any other intervention it is important to choose a competent hypnotherapist who is compassionate and has empathy for you.

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Who was Franz Anton Mesmer?

Modern hypnosis begins with Franz Anton Mesmer. He was a Viennese physician who at first used magnets in the treatment of patients. Later when one day he could not find a magnet he used his hands in the mistaken idea that by use of so many magnets his body had become magnetized. He managed to produce many cures and had a huge prosperous practice in Paris. This made other physicians jealous and they plotted against Mesmer.. Mesmer played in their hands by agreeing to have a Royal Commission to investigate him. I n 1784 King Louis XVI appointed a commission of scientists and physicians to investigate Mesmer's methods; among the commission's members were the American inventor and statesman Benjamin Franklin and the French chemist Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and Dr. Guillotine. Unfortunately Mesmer believed that an occult force, which he termed "animal magnetism," flowed through him into the subject. The commission searched for rays, forces or something which went from Mesmer to his clients and since they found none, they reported that Mesmer was unable to support his scientific claims, and the mesmerist movement thereafter declined. Thanks to this episode Mesmerism was associated with superstition and black magic and yet Mesmer discovered some of the rudiments of the methods of hypnotic induction. But unfortunately Mesmer was carried away by his discovery and never gave up a belief in his personal power. After the report of the Royal Commission Mesmer lost all his popularity gone, and he withdrew from Paris and soon died in Switzerland. Even to this day one of my first jobs in explaining hypnosis is that I have no power but all hypnosis is in fact self-hypnosis and the hypnotherapist teaches the client to enter a hypnotic trance.

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What is a brief history of hypnosis?

The beginnings of hypnosis is lost in the mists of prehistory. Shamans and "witch doctors" and other religious leaders use trance and hypnotic phenomena. My guess is that the cave paintings were an aid to visualization and were used for religious rituals which induced trance. Diodorus of Sicily writes, "The ancient Egyptian priests threw each other into trances." The first recorded use of hypnosis is the sleep temples of Egypt about 3000 years ago. The high priests would enter these temples in their full regalia and chant sacred chants and put the patients to sleep and suggested they be cured. These types of temples were later introduced to the Greek and Roman worlds. It is thought that the magi of Babylonia and Persia practiced some rituals which gave them control over the mind and body of men. Hippocrates believed in somnambulistic powers.

Paracelsus the great physician of the middle ages believed in a theory of double magnetism wherein he believed that magnetic fluid of a healthy body attracts the weaker and deteriorated magnet of an unhealthy one. The idea of usage of magnets (real or animal) increased until the time Mesmer with whom modern hypnosis begins. At first he used magnets in the treatment of patients. Later he used his hands in the mistaken idea that his body had become magnetized. He managed to produce many cures and had a huge prosperous practice in Paris. However a royal commission discredited him and he returned to Vienna and continued a small practice.

The Marquis de Puysegur, initially a follower of Mesmer, discovered that the behaviors of individuals in trance were similar to those of sleep walkers. The Marquis named this induced trance condition artificial somnambulism.

The Abbe Faria argued that trance was a form of waking sleep that he named lucid sleep - not to be confused with lucid dreaming. The Abbe anticipated some of the modern concepts of hypnosis, including the idea that some persons are more susceptible to trance than others and that a good "magnetizer" actually succeeds by exerting his ability to concentrate the power of suggestion onto others.

Scientific hypnosis was introduced by James Braid, British surgeon who did much to divorce trance phenomenon from prevailing theories of animal magnetism. In 1841, when well established in a surgical practice at Manchester, Braid developed a keen interest in mesmerism, as hypnotism was then called. Proceeding with experiments, he rejected the popular notion that the ability to induce hypnosis is connected with the magical passage of a fluid or other influence from the operator to the patient. In stead, he adopted a physiological view that hypnosis is a kind of nervous sleep, induced by fatigue resulting from the intense concentration necessary for staring fixedly at a bright, inanimate object. Braid introduced the term "hypnosis" (from Hypnos the Greek God of sleep) in his book Neurypnology (1843). Interestingly he later realized that hypnosis is different from sleep and tried to change the term to mono-ideaism, but thankfully (for us) the term hypnosis had stuck. He was mainly interested in the therapeutic possibilities of hypnosis and reported successful treatment of diseased states such as paralysis, rheumatism, and aphasia. He hoped that hypnosis could be used to cure various seemingly incurable "nervous" diseases and also to alleviate the pain and anxiety of patients in surgery.

Following Braid's pioneering work, Dr. Esdaile performed many operations in Calcutta, India with help of hypnosis as the anaesthesia. He managed to cut the death rate from more than 40% to less than 5%. However, when he returned to Britain he was blackballed by the church and other surgeons. Soon afterward, chemical anaesthesia was discovered and hypnosis went from medical practice to circuses and shows.

However, in the meanwhile, Bernheim and Liebeault form the Nancy school in France. They wrote that hypnosis involved no physical forces but was acombination of psychologically mediated responses to suggestions. At about the same time, the Austrian physician Sigmund Freud visited France and was impressed by the therapeutic potential of hypnosis for neurotic disorders. On his return to Vienna he used hypnosis (with the collaboration of Joseph Breuer as the hypnotist) to help neurotics recall disturbing events that they had apparently forgotten. However, Freud had badly fitting false teeth and could not speak well. Thus he was not a good hypnotist and soon when he stopped his collaboration with Breuer, Freud dropped hypnosis in favor of free association.

There were so many important contributors to our field in this century. I will name a few and a quote or discovery: William W. Cook MD (1901): "Hypnotism is the most practical science of the age.... It does not require years of study to become a hypnotist for this great blessing to mankind is a natural endowment possessed by all...."

Emil Coué (1900s) : "Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better." "All hypnosis is self-hypnosis."

Clark Hull (1933 - wrote book: "Hypnosis and suggestibility"): "Anything that assumes trance causes trance."

George Estabrooks (1943): Very directive approach.

Leslie LeCron (1943): Ideomotor signals. Hypnotic depth.

Milton H. Erickson: Non-directive permissive approach - metaphors - telling stories. "Your patients will be your patients because their conscious minds are out of rapport with their unconscious minds." "I allow my patients to enter a trance in which ever way they desire." "When a client walks in I assume he brings in both his conscious and unconscious minds."

Dave Elman (1964): The Elman method.

Bandler and Grinder: NLP. "All communication is hypnosis.... I disagree, nothing is hypnosis; hypnosis doesn't exist." "When we first started you could only practice hypnotherapy if you were an MD so we just gave it a new name NLP and did hypnosis."

Finally a most important date: 1958 - at last AMA accepts hypnosis as a useful tool within the tools available to medicine.

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What are the stages of hypnosis?

Stages of hypnosis start with light and go as far deep as sonambulanism.

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How deep do I need to go to change?

It has been demonstrated that even very light trance is sufficient to produce major change.

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What is NLP?

Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a modern form of waking hypnosis created by Richard Bandler computer scientist and John Grinder a linguist.  They modeled such masters of change as Milton Erickson, Virginia Satier, Fredrick Perls and discovered ways of producing extremely rapid change.

The constituent words of NLP are:

Neuro - the nervous system (which traverses the whole body and is more than just the brain) through which one experiences the external and internal worlds. These include our senses:

  1. Visual -- our sense of seeing.
  2. Auditory -- our sense of hearing.
  3. Kinesthetic -- our sense of touch and feelings.
  4. Olfactory -- our sense of smell.
  5. Gustatory -- our sense of tastes.

Linguistic -- language both symbolic (verbal) and nonverbal communication with others and self. These include:

  1. Pictures -- V or Visual (in NLP parlance).
  2. Sounds -- A or Auditory Tonal. You may find some NLP books using At for this.
  3. Feelings -- K or Kinesthetic.
  4. Tastes -- G or gustatory.
  5. Smells -- O or olfactory.
  6. Self Talk or internal dialogue -- Ad or Auditory digital.

Programming -- is the ability to discover the mind's internal programs and changing them to produce appropriate behavior. As Richard Bandler once wrote, "Who is driving the bus?" We are always being programmed by our parents, loved ones, pets, friends, enemies, strangers, TV, papers, Internet.... In NLP we consciously decide to program ourselves and change our behavior and internal states.

In NLP we can produce very rapid change by altering the brain's internal maps. Basically the maps are in term of V,A,K,G,O,Ad components and their relationships to each other in time, quality and quantity. One of the basic techniques of NLP is to bring the client into a position of responsibility (response-ability) for his own behavior - that is to say answer the above question by saying, "You are driving the bus:" "It is you brain and your body and you can control your behavior.

Some self-esteem boosters using NLP techniques:

Boost your self-esteem by countering negative experiences using NLP

Boost your self-esteem by countering negative experiences using NLP -- Part II

Boost your self-esteem by being flexible

Boost your self-esteem by deflecting inner critics II: Use an NLP deflection technique....

Boost your self-esteem by understanding that there is no such thing as failure - only results....

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What are the presuppositions of NLP?


The following are the presuppositions of NLP:

  1. The map is not the territory. That is to say the symbols (like words) we use are not the things they represent.
  2. Behavior is geared for adaptation and present behavior is the best choice available given the current resources.
  3. People are not their behaviors. Accept the person and change the behavior.
  4. Behavior and change should be evaluated in terms of ecology. That is to say examine all possible consequences of behavior change such as possible secondary gain and unintended consequences.
  5. The most important information about a person is the person's behavior. In NLP the practitioner is warned against mind reading which means coming up with rational behind behavior. Thus it is good to observe that someone is laughing, but not to claim the person is happy. The person may be hiding anxiety or something else.
  6. There are no resistant clients, only inflexible communicators. Thus we can establish rapport with everyone if we are flexible enough.
  7. Respect the other person's model of the world. There is a story of Bandler and Grinder (the creators of NLP) were called in to help heal a man who thought he was Jesus Christ. They approached the man and asked if he was Jesus Christ. He eyed them suspiciously but eventually replied that he was. So they brought out huge beams of wood and twelve inch nails and a big hammer. The man asked what they were doing. Bandler replied we have come to crucify you. The man looked at the size of the nails and quickly said, "You don't understand. I'm not really the Christ. I'm crazy. I just imagine I'm the Christ." This was the first important step in this person's quest for healing.
  8. Each person is in charge of her mind and therefore her results. In NLP therapy sessions the operator often brings the client to the cause of the problem and asks, "Imagine you live in a world where you are responsible for everything that happens to you, when would you have decided to {XXXX}...." Or ".... why would you have decided to {XXXX}..." {XXXX} is the problem to be solved.
  9. People have all the resources they need to succeed and to achieve their desired outcomes. There are no unresourceful people but only unresourceful states.
  10. There is no failure B only feedback. In NLP we use this presupposition to acquire new behavior. Thus if the behavior goals are known. We take an action that we think will move us toward the goal. We test to see if we are getting closer to the goal. If so we continue the behavior. If not we attempt another behavior. Note when someone asked Thomas Edison, "Weren't you discouraged when you failed ten thousand times to invent the incandescent lamp?" Edison replied, "I never failed. I succeeded to discover ten thousand ways of not inventing the electric bulb. I knew that if I continued, sooner or later I would discover the combination which would work."
  11. All behavior modification should increase wholeness and congruity. Often parts of a person wants a certain thing and other parts wants something opposite. In NLP we use a technique called parts therapy to reconcile the opposing parts. In Jungian therapy parts are called "sub-personalities."
  12. The meaning of communication is the response one gets. That is to say one's intentions in communications are not important. What is important is what the other person receives from the communication. Also according to the precepts of NLP each person is 100 percent responsible for any communication (rather than 50 percent each in a two person communication).
  13. The law of requisite variety which comes from cybernetics. This states that the person/system with maximum flexibility of behavior will control the whole system. Thus children will often control the behavior of the parents. If a parent would be ready to have a (good humored) temper tantrum in a super market as a response to the child's temper tantrum, that would be the last time the child would try that behavior.
  14. Therefore all procedures should be designed to increase choice and flexibility.
  15. There is an inner magnificence within every person. The job of the therapist is to bring out this magnificence. To paraphrase my compatriot, Mevlana Jalaledin-E-Rumi "Whatever you imagine you are, you are much more than that." Now, this does not mean that you should be full of yourself but to be humble, get out of your own way and allow the Spirit to do the work. This is the spirit of the sermon on the mount in which Jesus says, "The first shall be the last and the last shall be the first." Of course implied in this wonderful presupposition is that you should allow and encourage everyone's inner magnificence to flourish including your own.

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What is Time-LineTM therapy?

Time-LineTM therapy is a very important NLP technique which produces rapid change by manipulating events and decisions of the past and visualization of future events.

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How can hypnosis help me improve my grades?

Hypnosis can increase one's self-confidence and improve one's learning capacity. Also we should note that all learning and memory happens at an unconscious level. Through entering a "training trance" one concentrates and can learn much better. I have never had a client diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) but I know some of my teachers have claimed to be able to improve grades of children with ADHD by use of hypnosis and NLP. By the way a simple way of improving your grades is to sit in the second raw near the teacher (typically the center). This allows you to concentrate more and understand better but most importantly you develop a good rapport with the teacher and thus improve your grades.

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How can hypnosis help me improve my test scores?

Hypnosis can reduce one's exam anxiety and increase one's memory retention. Remember that memory is state dependent. That is you remember better if you are in the same mental and physical state as you were when you learned something. So if you can relax both when learning and taking the test your memory retention and recall increases and your test scores will improve. Also if you can make the physical setting of the place where you learn similar to the room you will take the test your test scores will get better. Through hypnosis we can simulate the exam and examination room and make the state links between the learning state and the testing state and improve our test scores. We also teach an ideo-motor response technique to allow our unconscious mind to communicate with our conscious mind and bring out information that we know but have apparently forgotten.

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Can you help me with my phobia?

NLP is excellent in reduction and removal of phobias.

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What is the relationship between guided meditation and hypnosis?

Guided meditation and visualization are forms of hypnosis. In guided meditation the subject is taken to places in the imagination and led to healing spaces. It is important to understand that when we talk about visualization we do not just mean using one's inner eyes to see the "vision" but people do whatever is most natural to them. Some people are more sound oriented and use their auditory faculties to hear the visualization. While other feel the meditation in their bodies and yet others will concentrate on the meaning of the words in the guided meditation. The point is to use your powers of imagination however is best for you. Just go with the guided meditation, have fun and you may discover most fantastic transformative inner spaces. Recently we conducted a guided meditation with a group of thirty people. Next week one of the subjects told us that she had a major breakthrough after the meditation. As we have emphasized all hypnosis is self-hypnosis and the responsibility and kudos for the breakthrough is all through her. But when we can be of assistance in producing such breakthroughs it humbles us and make us feel so good and makes our studies all worth while. Our thanks to all who come on these transformative journeys with us.

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Past-Life Therapy.... Uggg! You really mean I have lived before?

Two third of the world population including one third of all Americans believe in reincarnation. However past-life therapy is a therapeutic technique which does not rely on any specific belief in reincarnation or actual past lives. In this therapeutic technique you imagine yourself in a past life situation which has a direct relationship with your current problems in your present life in the here and now. If you happen to believe in reincarnation you may wish to look at your moving and healing experience as actual memories of a past life. However, you may find the idea of reincarnation as abhorrent and absurd and then you can look upon your experience as a healing metaphor for your current issues. The point is that past-life therapy works no matter which way you believe and we do not wish to impose our belief system on anyone else. If you are imaginative, adventurous, and want to have lots of fun while being healed of past hurts, then past-life therapy may be the right modality for you.

I can give you an example of where past life therapy helped me. When I was studying to get my doctorate in clinical hypnotherapy I would get a tingling feeling in my left arm whenever I would deepen my trance. This would not allow me to experience very deep trances as the deeper I would go the more my arm would tingle and would stop me from going any deeper. Then I took my first past life therapy class and I experienced a past life in the second Punic war. I was a mercenary Centurion fighting for the Cartaginians During a battle my left arm was cut off with a sword. After experiencing this my arm never tingled again no matter how deep I would go. Now did I really live in the second Punic war as described in my past life therapy session? I do not know and I don't care. As a therapeutic modality all that matters is that the symptom disappeared.

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