Frequently Asked Questionsabout how hypnosis works
Can you really hypnotize people?
(I don't know why, but people often ask me three time, as if I was going to change my mind!)
And can you hypnotize with text chat, or just by phone ?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
As long as there's some form of communication, hypnosis is possible. It's just a matter of telling them how to go into trance, or leading them to think or act in a particular way. Classical hypnosis does it by telling people what to do, think and feel ("Your eyelids are getting heavier and heavier..."). Ericksonian hypnosis does it more subtly, and resembles a conversation ("And tell me, can you remember a time when you were really relaxed?")
Once I'm hypnotized, can you make me do anything you want?
No matter how deep in trance you are, you are always aware and conscious, and can choose to accept or reject any suggestion you're given. When you accept a suggestion, rapport deepens and you go a bit deeper into trance. When a suggestion is rejected, rapport decreases, and the person comes a bit up out of trance. So really, as a hypnotist, I only want to give you suggestions I'm pretty sure you'll want to accept. Willingness to accept suggestions is based on trust, rapport, and how appealing what I suggest sounds to you.
Consent is the key. Everything depends on consent. A hypnotist can only affect you up to the point that you allow it. However, you won't have your usual conscious inhibitions. It's a bit like when a person is drunk... they can be more easily talked into doing things they wouldn't normally do. And that's exactly what happens during hypnosis shows. First, the person knows full well that if they volunteer, they will be made to do silly things. They know this, and they volunteer anyway. That is consent. But since she was hypnotized, she thinks it's not her fault. The hypnotist "controlled her totally"! Therefore, she wasn't responsible for her actions, and let herself be silly without feeling shy or guilty. Giving up responsability for your own actions... is actually one of the attractive points of hypnosis for some people. It's why a lot of people drink, to reduce inhibitions so they can do the things they want to do, but think they shouldn't. In the case of stage shows, the best subjects are often shy people who don't allow themselves the chance to be silly in public. But once on stage, they feel absolved of social norms, and they get to be the stars of the show and get the attention they crave. It's a socially acceptable way for them to get what they need. Whether they remember what they did after the show or not, it is something they chose to consent to while it was happening.
So basically, if you give the hypnotist permission to do anything they want to you... then they can! But that permission can be withdrawn at any time. You really are in control during trance, as much as you need to be.
Can anyone be hypnotized?
Yes. Some people find it easier to go into trance than others, but everyone can do it. Otherwise, they wouldn't be able to go from wakefulness to sleep and back again! The transition between waking and sleeping always goes through trance, though only briefly. Like anything else, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Also, studies show that more intelligent people can generally go more easily into trance. Also, if you're good at daydreaming, you'll probably be skilled at going into trance.
However, very analytically oriented people may have a harder time going into trance, *IF* they don't know how to turn off their analyzing and just enjoy themselves.
You can watch a movie to enjoy it and really get into it, feeling sad or happy for the characters depending on what happens, OR you can analyze plot devices, camera angles and acting ability. To the extent that you do one, you will be doing less of the other. You can either live the adventure and emotionally participate in the story, or you can be a dispassionate observer.
The same thing applies to sex. Would you rather participate and feel what's happening, or be just a disembodied observer? Unless you're studying mating rituals, you'd probably prefer to be a participant.
Analysis and trance are two extremes of a mental spectrum. They are both useful, but for different things at different times. It's perfectly all right to analyze your performance in a sport, such as tennis. But it's far more useful to do the analyzing *after* the game, or to make plans *before* a game, otherwise you won't be able to focus on playing properly. Similarly, feel free to analyze what happened to you during trance. Just make sure you save all that mental dialogue for when it's all done, and you'll get a much more intense experience of trance.
The kind of mindset you want for the trance is the one kids use when playing pretend, playing mommy, playing dressup, or playing cowboys and indians. This is not an exercise in logic, it's one of imagination. And you have a great imagination, don't you? :)
What if I don't wake up?
Staying in trance requires constant focus from you, and deepening techniques from your hypnotist. If for some reason you didn't hear the voice of your hypnotist for 5 consecutive minutes, you would simply wake up. Or perhaps fall asleep if you were very tired. It takes constant effort to keep a person in trance.
Think of it this way: if you were attending a conference, how many minutes or hours could you manage to pay attention to the lecturer before starting to mentally wander and daydream?
In this case, it's the reverse... how long can you daydream before coming back to waking consciousness... ?
What is hypnosis?
It's a method for bringing people into trance.
What is trance?
It's a state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep. You can think of it as being close to dreaming. It's totally natural and quite common. When you're watching TV, and you're totally involved in the story... or it might be a really good book... you're in a light trance. It allows you to believe in the story, to forget it isn't real, and to have feelings for imaginary characters. I mean, who cares if a roll of film has images of an actor pretending to die? Yet we care about characters as if they were real. That's a hallucination, and we do it for fun.
Sometimes, you won't even notice what's going on around you during a show, unless something loud gets your attention and "wakes you". TV is a powerful hypnotic! If you watch children in front of their favorite shows... eyes staring wide open, glazed over, the face flat and expressionless, and sometimes the mouth partly open... you'll know what a hypnotized person looks like. They don't hear you, they don't see you, because you're not part of their imaginary reality. And even though they move a lot more, many women comment how men are "hypnotized" by sports on TV. They're right.
Similarly, some start thinking about something while driving... and end up at home remembering nothing of how they drove there! That's because they were on "automatic pilot" they say. And who is that automatic pilot? It's their subconscious mind, also known as unconscious mind. And it was doing the driving while the conscious mind was thinking of something else. Very convenient, isn't it?
Trance is an altered state of consciousness, meaning it's different from how you're normally aware of things. It's generally a state where you're very focused.
How do I know I'm in a trance ?
It's very hard to say exactly what it's going to be like for you, because people reacts differently. Think of how people act to when they're drunk. Some get happy, some get violent, some take off their clothes and dance on tables. Some get sad and moody, some just get very sleepy, while others seem to be completely sober! But we all agree that all of these things are "being drunk", because the person feels and acts differently than they normally do.
Things that are common to trance and being drunk: They're both altered states of consciousness, and none of these statements are always true.
-Less inhibitions, feeling less self-conscious. People can do and say things that would be too embarassing when sober.
-Relaxed. People are generally more relaxed, sometimes to the point of losing coordination and being unable to stand.
-Euphoric. People are generally pleasantly buzzed.
-Suggestible. People can more easily be talked into doing things or believing things.
-Aware. You're aware and conscious of everything that's happening. You're just not thinking in the way you usually do. You might feel ligh-headed, or find your thinking foggy.
-Forgetful. It helps get away from worries and responsibilities for while. Which can be a good or a bad thing. It's exactly like when you wake up from a dream, and can't quite remember it.
Things that are specific to trance: Feeling light, heavy, numb, tingly, and usually focused. Any of these or all of these. You could become super-aware of noises around you... or not notice the neighbor practicing bagpipes...
What is the unconscious mind ?
(only read this if you want to understand the mechanics of the mind... otherwise, you can skip down to the "cool part" below... the rest is mostly theory)
It's the part of your mind that you're not aware of. It's the part that makes your heart beat and makes you secrete digestive juices. It also makes you breathe when you're not thinking about it. Breathing is an interesting example, because it's something you can either decide to control consciously, or forget about, and let your unconscious do the breathing on "auto-pilot".
Your unconscious mind also takes care of remembering things when you're not thinking about them. Quick ! What's your name? Do you remember what your name is? Yes? Good... I wouldn't want you to be so deeply hypnotized that you don't remember your name... at least not yet! *smile*
Obviously, you don't spend your time repeating to yourself what your name is so you don't forget it. The knowledge has to be kept somewhere. And it is. In your unconscious mind. Never mind the all the brain hardware with the neurons and all... we're talking software here. It's like your conscious mind is the program, and your unconscious mind is the operating system, like Windows. A program that needs to read the hard disk can't do it. It has to ask the operating system to fetch the information for it. Ideally, you want to forget the operating system, and just focus on the program you're using, be it a game or whatever. The operating system should be transparent to you. And it is. Just like your unconscious mind.
Your conscious mind is like the captain. It's in charge, but it depends on the rest of the crew to do the real work. and if the crew gives the captain some information, the captain has to believe it. He can't leave his post to check it out himself. So if the guy at radar says there's another ship ahead, the captain believes it. He gives the orders based on the information he gets.
Your unconscious takes all the data from millions of nerves, and packages it up in nice little bundles that your conscious mind can handle. There is no way your conscious mind could understand that much information by itself. We believe that what we see hear and feel are the real world. They're not. They're only the part that your unconscious thinks you want to know about. A whole lot gets deleted. Like the sounds happening around you now, that you probably weren't aware of until I reminded you.
THE COOL PART: so what this means is, if the unconscious tells you that your name is Bob when you try to remember, or that your name is Mary, then you kinda have to believe it. If it shows you that you're in a bedroom in a castle, then that's where you are. If it tells you you're feeling like a 15 year old with a major crush... then that's how you feel. Reality isn't something you can perceive directly. It's all coming from your unconscious. So if you get a hypnotist who talks to the unconscious... and you agree to letting your perceptions be changed... you can end up with a very interesting experience.
And since the unconscious is also the auto-pilot, you can allow it to be re-programmed to get rid of certain habits, or to start new ones. And this is without having to strain your conscious willpower.
Are there dangers?
Hypnosis is as natural as sleeping and dreaming. In fact, if you leave someone alone in trance, they wake up by themselves after a while. Nevertheless, it's best to have a competent hypnotist, as amateurs can mess things up unintentionally. It should also be someone you trust. The unconscious sometimes isn't very discriminating, and can accept suggestions that aren't completely good for you, as long as they answer to certain needs or desires.
How are hypnotic transformations done?
Transformations by hypnosis are created by hallucinations. First you have to hallucinate that your normal body isn't there. It's called a negative hallucination and means you can't see it or feel it -- not perceiving something that's there. Then you have to hallucinate the feelings and the looks of a new body. This is called a positive hallucination -- perceiving something that isn't there. You also need amnesia -- being unable to remember who you were. And to do it really well, you need new memories installed, of you going through life as this new person. Very often only a few such memories are necessary for short term transformations. A chilhood birthday party, a day in high school, etc. to make your new self believable. If you were going to be this new person for a long time, you'd need to have a whole new history created from birth till now.
So to turn Joe Shmoe into Candy the stripper, first he'll stop perceiving his body, and forget who he was. Then he'll start perceiving Candy's body as his own, hearing a feminine voice when talking, seeing breasts when he looks down, feeling their weight on his chest, as well as very nice sensations when he touches them. And finally we'll give him a new mind with a set of memories that confirms to "her" that "she" has been a stripper for years. As far as "she" can tell by looking in a mirror and feeling "her" body, "she" is completely a girl, including while masturbating with the new set of genitals!
Unfortunately, everyone else still sees Joe Shmoe when they look at Candy. And what "she" thinks is a skimpy bikini might actually be jeans and a t-shirt. So short of hypnotizing everyong who's going to meet Candy into seeing "her" that way, we use full dreaming and half dreaming to live out fantasies.
What is full and half dreaming?
In full dreaming, YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE DREAMING, and your eyes are closed.
Your body does not move, or at least not much. If you are doing an online session, you're reading and typing, but you are barely aware of it, if at all. On the phone, you'd simply be talking to your hypnotist. You are in a dream state. What you perceive is what's happening in the dream reality. So you might be at a beach, with a fashion model's body, wearing a bikini and splashing water. As far as you can see, hear and feel, you're at the beach, just like you would in a regular dream. You can go anywhere, do anything and be anyone in full dreaming.
In half dreaming, YOU FEEL AWAKE, and your eyes are open.
Some things are real and some things aren't. You could feel and see your body as being that fashion model's body. But you could also get up and move around in your house, look in the mirror, and see your new amazing body. Feel it with your hands, and follow the curves as if it was real. You can be anyone you want in half dreaming, but you stay where you are. It's useful for interacting with other people, such as your lover!
These are just my terms mind you. In literature, transformations are referred to as Deep Trance Identification, which is achieved in a very deep trance known as the somnambulistic state. You normally need to spend the first session just for the initial induction and deep trance training so you can do a transformation on the second session. We also set deep trance triggers during the first session.
Full dreaming is easy, we can generally do that during the second session. Half dreaming is harder. Everyone knows how to be awake, and how to dream. But most people don't know how to sleepwalk, which is the natural form of half dreaming. So, I have to teach the person to have one foot in dreaming and the other in waking. That can take anywhere from 3 to 10 sessions to learn. You feel perfectly awake in half dreaming. But, you may see and feel yourself as a catgirl with claws and a tail, if that was your wish.
What are trance triggers and post-hypnotic triggers?
A trance trigger is usually a word or sentence that will bring you back into trance very quickly by itself. It could be a song, a specific touch, or almost anything else that's distinctive. Normally, it's set so that it only works when the hypnotist says the trigger word or does the special action. Post-Hypnotic Triggers can also be set to do other interesting things, like re-living an orgasm or feeling like the most confident time of your life. Or, conversely, timid and obedient, if you're into that kind of game. They can also be made so that specified people can use these triggers. Setting them so *anyone* can use them is a little risky...
"Post Hypnotic" means "something that happens after trance".
Do post-hypnotic triggers work forever ?
They tend to fade with time. How much varies from person to person, depends on how long it's been since they've been used, and how strongly they were put in in the first place. Some triggers can last forever, but that generally requires them being reinforced a few times. Your mileage may vary :)
There are two kinds of post-hypnotic triggers.
The first I call "Training Triggers", because they are only used during trance, or shortly after trance.
I set them once, and expect them to continue to work as long as the subject continues to regularly go into trance, whether with sessions or CDs. If they haven't been in trance or used CDs for over a year, I assume I have to reset them. This includes the trance trigger (to bring the person into trance) and various feeling triggers, such as to feel a boost of confidence, calm, arousal, etc.
The second I call "Waking Triggers". These are generally used while the person is awake and the hypnotist is not there. They may be used by the subject themselves, or someone they trust with their trigger.
Let's take a silly example. Let's say that I hypnotize someone to bark every time they hear the word "dog", because that's what the client wants, and they want this to be permanent. My rule of thumb is this: The first time I set it, it'll probably work for the rest of the day, until they go to sleep. The second time, it'll work for a few days to a week. And the third time, it will last for months, if not years.
Of course, you could also set a more useful triggers like
- "I'll feel a boost of super confidence every time I press my right thumb and index together". Or,
- "I'll feel super horny for my husband every time he calls me his Wild Kitten".
- "I'll feel calm, sympathetic and interested in whatever my wife has to say whenever she starts with 'Listen Honey...'"
- If you've used substances to get high... well, you don't need the substance more than once. You can reproduce the high at will. Cheap and legal! Hypnotists make lousy clients, as fas as dealers are concerned...
If you've ever felt something, you can feel it again with a trigger, and we can ramp it up to make it even stronger than the original experience.
Someone tried to hypnotize me, but I remember everything. I wasn't hypnotized, was I?
You were probably hypnotized. It's one of the pet peeves of hypnotists that people come out of trance, and often don't believe they were hypnotized. That's because they have an unrealistic idea of what hypnosis is. They often expect to be mindless zombies who remember nothing of the trance. And while that sometimes happens, it's usually not the case, at least in the first few sessions. Going into trance is a skill that a subject learns, and a hypnotist teaches. The more you go into trance, the easier it is to go deeper and faster into a more and more altered state. Those who learn to go very deeply into trance the first time may automatically forget the trance, unless the hypnotist tells them to remember.
To say you felt "hypnotized" is like saying you felt an "emotion". There are many different trance states, just like there are many different emotions. Some people will experience a given emotion as tightness in their chest, while others will feel the supposedly same emotion as warmth in their body. Some people experience hypnosis by feeling very heavy, while others experience a light-headedness and floating sensation. Most people don't "feel" like they're dreaming during a dream. Is there a "right" way to feel you're in love? Is there a "right" way to feel hypnotized? I don't think so...
So how do I know I was hypnotized?
Classical hypnotists use a scale of hypnotic phenomena (reactions) to measure how deeply hypnotized a person is. They use various hypnotic "tests", and depending on which ones a subject succeeds at, they determine how deep the subject is.
Ericksonian hypnotists don't care how "deep" the subject is, as long as they get the change they want. They use the hypnotic phenomena as "convincers", simply to let the person believe they were hypnotized. Without these "convincers" (ie. having an an arm move without conscious control) a person can get the change they want, be totally cured, and then talk themselves into having the symptoms again, simply because they don't believe they were hypnotized! It's a very annoying form of self-hypnosis which we try to avoid.
So I'm going to give you the classical hypnotist's "scale", so you can tell for yourself how deeply hypnotized you are. Depending on what you experience, you'll be able to judge approximately how "deeply hypnotized" you are. Those with very analytical inclinations tend to love checklists like that... and if you're really anal, you can find scales with up to seven levels of trance depth on the net. In practice, three is plenty.
Trance depth Hypnotic phenomena Light trance
Tactile hallucinations (touch/feeling):
- Tingling, numbness, heaviness, lightness, feelings of floating and drifting, light-headeness
Visual hallucinations (seeing):
-Double vision, where you can see the inside of your eyelids, and at the same time be imagining colors inside your body.
- Muscles can get loose and limp, or tense and stiff.
- Feeling passive is very common at this stage
-Numbness to the point of not feeling certain body parts
-Having specific sensations produced such as: pleasure, arousal, joy, need, etc.
-"Unable to move", in the sense that you feel so comfortable you really don't want to move, and so you "can't" move.
-Feeling detached from your body: You can be feeling both your body on the chair, and feel yourself floating in an blank empty place at the same time, or feel your body on the bed while also seeing the bar you are hallucinating being in. Your focus is divided between physical reality and dream reality.
-Twitches, blinking and little spasms may happen without conscious control.
-An arm, hand or finger may start rising without conscious control in response to suggestions.
Catalepsy: Unable to move, no matter how hard you try, when this is suggested.
-Extreme passivity and openness to suggestions, awaiting the hypnotist's words.
-Focus narrows so that you can be aware of only the hypnotist's voice, or have acute hearing that lets you hear noises you normally wouldn't hear, or acute awareness of your own thinking process and internal dialog.
-Thinking may become difficult or seems slower when focussing on something like the hypnotist's voice.
Post hypnotic suggestions can be given:
- To return to trance when a trigger word is said
- To feel something specific when a word is said (desire, pleasure, etc.)
Visual / Tactile (feelings/touch)/ Auditory (hearing) / Olfactory (smelling) / Gustatory (taste). The deeper the trance, the more real they seem. Like a dream seems completely real when you're in it. You can get these hallucinations in medium depth trances, but for most people they don't seem quite as real .
Also known as the "Somnanbulistic state" which means "sleepwalking". You can physically move, but you're in a dream state, which means what you perceive is only partly reality. In this state, you can look in the mirror and hallucinate you look like Cindy Crawford. You could also have tactile hallucinations and feel Cindy's shape when you touch yourself.
Amnesia: unable to remember something the hypnotist asks you to forget.
Memory creation: Can be made to remember things that didn't happen. Can be done in medium trance, but they're not as convincing.
Personality changes: Can believe you are a different person. This can also be done in light and medium trances, but a small part of you is then aware of playing a role.
Okay, I get how this works. I've written a list of affirmations, here are some of them: "Every day, I am getting happier and more beautiful, I make more and more money and everyone loves me." Can you record those on a CD for me to listen to so they'll come true?
I like where you're going with this, these are good affirmations. But you're making the assumption all beginners make with hypnosis, which is that wishing for something will make it so. It doesn't. Using commands under hypnosis, or affirmations under self hypnosis, has minimal effects. Hypnosis is not a magic wand. Hypnosis is an amplifier. That's all it is. It amplifies existing abilities.
So if you can visualize something, in trance you can visualize more vividly. If you can calm yourself while awake, you can calm yourself faster and more fully in trance. If you can remember your childhood, you can remember it better in trance. Hypnosis can't change what you are. It can only change how you *behave*.
So if I tell you while you're awake, "Be happy", what are you going to do? In what way will you behave to "feel happy" ? Feeling happy is actually a behavior, so it's doable, but you have to have a way to do it. If I want someone to feel happy, it's easy. I have them remember a time when they were happy, and relive that experience. It's a real experience with real feelings, and by reliving it, you feel them. So hey, you're happy!
Being a great hypnotist takes a lot more skill than just getting people into trance and making simplistic suggestions. It's knowing what to do once a person is in trance to get them the change they want. Helping someone "make more money" often involves changing their beliefs and their life priorities, by figuring out what is it that's stopping them from accomplishing their goals. Someone who starts with the belief that "money is evil" or "I don't deserve to be rich" is going to need those changed if they want to be rich. Otherwise, they'll keep shooting themselves in the foot.
Hypnosis is a great tool for change, but Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques are often faster, and don't require trance. Learning trance takes time, so if your budget is tight, you may want to do NLP instead.
NLP methods can also easily be combined with hypnosis, since Ericksonian Hypnosis is actually part of NLP. But people don't know NLP as well, so I speak of them as if they were separate. I have separate certifications as a Master NLP Practitioner and Certified Hypnotherapist (NGH).
So can you make my breasts grow bigger? That's a behavior, right? It's me growing breasts.
Every hypnotic method I've heard of helps breast grow by remembering and reliving the experience of growing breasts, and basically telling the unconscious mind to do it again.
At the very least, the person needs to imagine vividly and in detail what it would feel like to grow breasts, and then maybe their unconscious will get the clue and figure out the nitty gritty details to make it happen. But if I just command someone to "grow breasts", nothing will happen. That's because they don't know how to do that behavior. Same thing for "feeling confident". Either you have to remember a time when you felt that, or imagine being someone else who is confident, and being in their body so you feel it too.
In the case of males wanting to grow breasts, I've combined these two principles with past life regression, by having them regress to their last three female lives (to remember feeling themselves growing breasts). I asked myself, "When has a man had the experience of growing breasts?" And that's what I came up with. Three incarnations, just in case the last one wasn't greatly gifted in that department. That's the method I use in my CD7-Youth (available on the site).
But wait, you say, I don't believe in past lives! How will this work??
Okay, maybe you don't believe it. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that it's a good story, a good metaphor. Just pretend that you believe it, and that's probably good enough to get your unconscious mind to go along with it and get you the result you want. In dreams, it makes sense to jump off a cliff and turn into a bird. It's something like that.
Stories are very powerful, people live their lives and die by them. Take the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and Buddhist holy books, to name just a few. They're good stories, people believe in them, and they have a major impact on the world because of that belief. They can't all be true to the letter, because they contradict each other, except the holy book of your religion, which is of course Absolutely True, down to the last letter. But those other guys, those who follow all these false religions, they believe in their fictions, and it utterly shapes their lives. Right?
And if you're Christian, just remember it was okay to believe in reincarnation right up until the Second Council of Constantinople (553 A.D.), where it was removed from approved beliefs.
How hard is it to change the body with hypnosis?
Feelings of the moment are pretty easy to change. Changing beliefs, habits, fears, and other automatic responses is harder. And changing the body is hardest of all. There needs to be some way to get from the current state to the desired state. You can't just jump from one to the other.
You also have to keep in mind that a method works best on its own level. Trance operates on the spiritual, mental, and emotional levels. Habitual behavior is actually one step removed from that, so it takes more work to change how someone regularly acts and reacts than to just change how someone's thinking and feeling at the moment. Physical reality is yet one more step removed. If you want physical results, the easiest fastest way is with physical methods.
Yes, you might be able to learn to levitate, but taking a plane is much easier. You can shape your body, but surgery is much faster. So if you want your affirmations to come true, one of us has to figure out a behavior, mental or otherwise, that will make each result happen. Or I can make you hallucinate that everything in your life is exactly the way you want... but you'll be the only one who sees it that way.
Is there any way to measure how deep in trance someone is?
Yes. You can measure brainwave frequencies by attaching electrodes to the head. This method is used in various biofeedback devices, designed to teach the person to go into a deeper trance by giving them feedback on how deep in trance they are. This allows them to do more of whatever makes them go deeper.
Brainwave frequencies are measured in Hertz, which means how many waves per second. If you tap your finger once per second, that's 1Hz. If you tap it twice per second, it's 2Hz, or two beats per second, and so on. Slower brainwaves mean you're either getting closer to sleep and dreaming, or going deeper into trance, through meditation, hypnosis or other means.
Brainwave frequencies State of Consciousness Beta 14 to 30 Hz
This is your ordinary waking state.
If you thoughts are going a mile a minute, you're closer to 30. If you're calmly pondering something, you're closer to 20. And if you're just relaxing, and taking in the sights, you're closer to 14.
Alpha 7 to 14 Hz
Daydreaming / Meditating / Light to medium trance
People often reach this state when they are very absorbed in a novel or movie, and suspend disbelief enough to feel good or bad about what's happening to the characters, even though they still *know* that it's just make believe.
Relaxation exercises, deep breathing, meditation techniques, and ordinary daydreaming also lead to this state.
Theta 4 to 7 Hz
Dreaming / Deep Trance / Deep meditation
Deep trance has the same brainwave frequencies as dreaming. Just as people often forget dreams, people often forget what they did in deep trance, unless suggestions are made that they will remember. This is what creates the myth of people being "unconscious" in trance. In fact, they're always conscious, no matter how deep in trance they go, but they may not remember it after waking. Similarly, you're conscious during your dreams, whether you remember them or not.
The only way to be unconscious is to drift into deep sleep, which sometimes happens, but isn't useful... unless the intent is to rest. To avoid this, it's best to do trance when the person isn't tired enough that relaxing could lead to sleep.
Delta 2.5 to 4Hz
At this stage, there is *no* consciousness whatsoever. It's just deep dreamless sleep. Frequencies lower than this can only be found in comas.
Sounds can be used to help reach these lower brainwave states, but even the best speakers can only make sounds as low as 30Hz, which is well below the hearing range. In North America, electrical current alternates at 60Hz, and some people can hear that hum. Most people can hear easily down to about 100Hz. Very low frequencies, such as are used in some rock concerts, are felt rather than heard, as a kind of a vibration in the chest. Frequencies below 30Hz can be played on regular speakers by riding on top of an audible sound in "brainwave synchronizer" systems. True "Extra Low Frequencies" (ELFs), below 30Hz, take special equipment to produce, though they can be side effects of machinery. For instance, ELFs are responsible for motion sickness in cars. Different frequencies have different effects. Some specific ones are reputed to create spiritual states, while others are reputed to affect the body (like creating an instant emptying of the bowels). I haven't tested this, so I don't know.
(This type of "brainwave synchronizing", which uses low frequencies on top of a sound that speakers can play, is used in CD5 Gemini.)
How can I prepare for a hypnotic transformation?
Really, you don't have to do anything but be there at your appointment.
However, if you really do want to prepare, the best thing you can do is to learn to visualize more clearly. We'll do this during the session, but doing the following exercise will give you a head start.
Pick an image, full body if at all possible, and preferably naked or close to it, of what you'd like to look like. Full body is better, so you have a full body image (who wants to be a torso?). Naked, or nearly naked, will allow you to visualize the actual body, irrespective of what you'll be wearing. Skintight clothing is the second best choice, as it will still give you the body shape.
Once you have the image, from a magazine or from the net, start by studying the image. Look at it. Then look somewhere else, and remember what you saw. Look at the image again. Look away and imagine. Keep doing this until you can imagine this body vividly. This is how you prepare for an online or phone session.
Now you may find that keeping your eyes open distracts you from the imagined visual. That's ok, keep practicing ignoring what you're seeing physically. Defocussing your eyes will help with that.
If you find that closing your eyes is the only way you can get a clear imagined visual, then you probably need to take phone sessions rather than online. With online sessions, you have to visualize eyes open. With phone session, you can close your eyes.
Obviously, what you see when you imagine like this isn't convincingly real. It's not a hallucination... yet. But if you can clearly visualize in your waking state, you will clearly see in trance, and then it *will* seem real.
If you can't visualize, no matter how much you practice, there's still hope for you. Everyone sees totally realistic scenery and people in dreams. Everyone can do it. It's just that you're not used to doing it in your waking state, so it will just take more time to learn to do it in trance.
What else can I do to prepare for a hypnosis session?
You can practice going into trance.
Going into trance is a skill, like any other skill. First you learn it. Then you get better at it by practicing. The first thing I do in a session is teach you how to go very deeply into trance with my guidance. Basically, I'm guiding you in doing certain things that will lead you into a trance state. Every time you do it, it gets easier. It's like learning to ride a bicycle.
You can practice going into trance with meditation techniques, by using self-hypnosis CDs from me, or someone else, by having someone guide you into trance, etc.
CDs don't work for everyone, because you have to adapt to whatever method the CD is using to go into trance, while I can adapt my methods to do exactly what you need. However, once you've gone into trance with me once, you can use CDs to practice between sessions. This will allow you to go back into trance faster and deeper the next time. It's probablhy better to use my CDs to prepare for sessions with me, because they'll be in a similar style to what I do in sessions, but if you have another trance CD you find effective, by all means use it between sessions to keep your "trance muscles" in shape. :)
What should I do to make the effects of our sessions permanent?
The best way to keep hypnotic effects strong is to keep going into trance.
If you can't afford occasional reinforcement sessions, CDs are the best choice. Any trance will help, but if the CD is on the topic you want reinforced, that's obviously better. Even if you have an unlimited budget, it's a lot easier to listen every day to a CD than to have daily sessions. Regular use of CDs along with weekly sessions will give you the best and most lasting results in the shortest time.
Here are some factors that affect permanence:
1) Taking enough sessions to make the change last, and taking sessions no more than a week or two apart, at least initially.
2) Your individual reaction to hypnosis.
3) How much your environment and the people around you support and reinforce the new you.
4) How much the change is desired, versus how much it is feared.
5) How often reinforcement is applied, with booster sessions, or with CDs.
6) Mental changes generally last longer than hallucinations.
Given an unlimited budget, permanence isn't a problem Given a limited budget, permanence is achievable by almost everyone with about 5 sessions, a few CDs listened to regularly, and being single or with a supportive partner. If you're trying to become more confident, and you live with someone who keeps criticizing you, it's a lot more difficult. But if you have people supportive of your change in your everyday environment, changes are easier to achieve, and quickly become permanent.
Are hypnosis sessions better than CDs?
Yes and no. Sessions produce more profound results, but you can't expect major changes to be permanent in one session. CDs are slower acting, because you have to adapt to them, unlike sessions where I adapt to you. However, you can use them every day, and through this daily conditionning, you can get permanent results.
The best is weekly sessions, with daily CD training. Think of it like weekly piano lessons, and daily personal practice with a tutor tape. If you have a teacher, but you don't practice, or if you just have tutor tapes, the results are not optimal. However, on a small budget, CDs are your best choice, perhaps with one session to teach you deeper trance, and relying on CDs for specific conditionnings. Ideally, you should get the CDs first, so you can use them right away on the days that follow your session.
I listen to my trance CD at 1am every night, and I only remember the beginning part of it. Am I going into trance or to sleep?
You are probably falling asleep.
If you don't wake up with the countdown at the end of the CD to hear me say "Hello, welcome back", then you were definitely asleep. If you were aware and in trance, you would still be hearing me, and following the suggestion to awaken. That means you were dead to the world. If you aren't getting any effect from the suggestion to wake up, you aren't getting any effect from the suggestions that came before that. You just fell asleep during the induction.
Think about it: If you do something very relaxing when you're very tired, you will fall asleep. So if your goal is to go into trance, listen to the CD while you are still awake enough to focus and not fall asleep. If you're too tired to do anything productive, you're too tired to benefit from a trance CD.
If your goal is to simply go to sleep, without any other effects from the CD, then listening to it before bed is ok.
During trance, when you ask me questions, should I answer like I'm totally under your spell, or tell you what I'm really feeling ?
You should always answer honestly when I ask you questions, so I know where you are at in the trance.
Some questions are meant to induce a deeper trance, and some tell me which direction I should take for the next step in the induction. Some are just to check how far a hypnotic effect has spread, and whether I need to give you more time, or to just go right to the next phase. In every case, I need an honest answer to be effective.
If I ask you how vividly you can see your dreaming body in the mirror, and you answer 10 out of 10, I will assume your hallucination is totally realistic and believable, and that I don't need to do anything more to enhance it. If you tell me it's not totally vivid, I'll spend more time on making it so.
On the other hand, if you tell me what you think I want to hear, I'll assume you're farther along than you really are, and I'll ask you to demonstrate hypnotic skills you're not prepared for. You'll then fail, feel crappy, and think this hypnosis thing isn't working for you, when in fact your trance was progressing beautifully up till that point when you lied. So just say what you're actually experiencing, and you'll learn to do all the things you want to do in trance.
During trance, I started to feel cold. I didn't want to interrupt the trance, so I just tried to ignore it, but it made it really hard to concentrate. Can I tell you things during trance, even if you havn't asked a question?
Yes! If you're cold, let me know, and I'll let you pull a blanket over yourself. If you're having distracting thoughts, tell me what they are, and I'll incorporate them into the trance. It's OK to talk during trance. I'm not doing a monologue or a lecture. I'm guiding you into trance, and guidance requires feedback. That doesn't mean you should start chattering away, but if it's something that seems important or distracting to you, then it's important to mention it.
You say I was hypnotized, but I was aware of everything that happened in the trance. How come I wasn't unconscious?
*Sigh*. Of course you were aware. You are aware at all times during trance. You're just aware in a different way.
Waking awareness is the standard. But dreaming awareness is a different awareness we're all familiar with. Logic works differently in dreams. In a dream, you can get to an intersection, look both ways, wait for the herd of elephants to go by, and then cross the street. In a dream, this seems normal !!!
In trance, awareness is sometimes close to waking awareness, sometimes close to dreaming awareness, and sometimes something completely different. But it's definitely not unconsciousness. Some trances will dull the senses until there's practically nothing to perceive, except my voice. But in other trances, every little sound is amplified, and you are hyper-aware. Fortunately, one type of trance can easily be changed to another type of trance. It's a very fluid state.
For the record, here are states that are true unconsciousness: Coma. General anesthesia. Death. Head trauma caused by a blow to the head. You'll notice a common thread here, which is that the person is completely unresponsive. They can't hear, and they can't talk. In trance, however, the person is responsive. They react, and are aware. Just like a dream, they may or may not remember what happened afterwards, but they're always aware while it's happening.
So if I'm not unconscious during trance, what's the unconscious mind?
The confusion arises because we talk about the "unconscious mind", which is also called the "sub-conscious mind". What we're referring to is the part of the mind that takes care of autonomic functions (making the heart beat, making the stomach secrete digestive juices, etc.), and various other mental functions we don't usually consciously control (such as memory storage, fine motor control of muscles for skills like walking, etc.).
To take a computer analogy, the unconscious mind is the operating system (Windows, Linux, MacOS) that takes care of memory, hard disks, displaying things on the screen, getting input from the keyboard and mouse, etc. The conscious mind is the programs you run to do specific tasks, like word processing. It's your desktop with all the icons and menus, offering you choices about what you want to do.
Programs like word processors and web browsers can't actually write anything to the hard disk, nor can they use the computer's memory directly. They have to ask the operating system to do it for them. There are a few reasons for this. One of them is that it prevents stupid programs from messing up the whole computer, which is a good thing. Another is that these tasks are very repetitive, and it would be a waste of disk space to have every single program include instructions on how to physically read from the keyboard, write to the disk, etc.
Translated into human terms, it's safer to not be able to stop your heart on a whim, and it's easier not to have to consciously control the few dozen muscles involved in walking whenever you want to go somewhere. Your unconscious mind keeps your heart beating, and takes care of the details of operating all the muscles that produce walking. You just tell it where you want to go, and it does.
This also explains hallucinations very nicely. Since a program can't get information directly (from memory or hard disks), it has to trust the operating system to do so. In the same way, if your unconscious mind tells you your name is Bob when you try to remember your name, then that's what you believe your name is, whether it's true or not.
I keep staring at hypno-spirals and hypnotic flash animations, but nothing happens. Why aren't I going into trance?
The misconception lies in thinking that an animation can hypnotize you. It can't. Animations cannot hypnotize you. In fact, even a hypnotist can't hypnotize you. Like sleep, trance is something natural that happens when you allow it. Both animations and hypnotists are just there to help guide you into trance, keep you focussed, and then give appropriate suggestions that you can choose to accept. It only works if you focus and allow it.
So, to use animations effectively to go into trance, here's a few tips:
1) Be still and stare at it. Some sexually themed animations are fun to watch while playing with yourself, which is fine, but don't expect a trance while you do so. Trance usually involves losing awareness of the physical world to some degree, so if you're paying intimate attention to your body, and performing vigorous "exercise", you'll stay in waking consciousness.
2) Let yourself relax. The animation is useful in keeping your conscious mind busy. While you're paying attention to it, become aware of your body. Feel the weight of your body. Feel the muscle tension in your body. Feel your breathing. Pay attention to these while you keep staring. After a few minutes, you may notice yourself starting to relax. You may feel a warmth, a tingling, or even a numbness. These are signs that you're going into trance. Keep paying attention to these feelings while you stare. The animation will help keep you focussed, and deepen your trance more and more as you stare.
3) Give it time. It can take a half hour to get to a nice level of trance with an animation. Once you've felt trance signs once with a given animation, it will be easier to return to trance the next time. That's because the animation becomes a trigger for you to go into trance, so it will get easier every time. Once you have the knack for it, it will be easy to return to trance even with new animations. Trance is a skill. The more you do it, the better you get at it. You may get to the point where your body feels almost too heavy to move, or very light and floaty. This is great. Eventually, you may even forget the body altogether, which is even better. That means you've developped excellent skill at trance.
You can introduce some variety in your staring by looking at different parts of the animation. You can also try blinking rapidly, which produces and interesting effect because of "persistance of vision". This means that the image stays in your mind even while your eyes are closed. It's especially fun with quickly flashing images, because you can see the images "stick" in your mind longer. Try it out.
And remember. Animations are just hypno-toys. They can be fun, but they are limited, and can't compare to a live hypnotist, just like a vibrator can't compare to a live partner. Many people do get excellent results from them anyway... and hey, they're free!
So how easy is it going to be to get hypnotized for me?
Do the test and find out for yourself Click here for the test.
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