Hypnosis for Beginners
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In this chapter some simple practical examples are given which allow the reader to explore in person and with others some of the obvious things about the way in which the mind and body work. In particular, attention is drawn to the way in which activity in one part of the brain can lead to activity in another part.
These results are related to "tests of hypnotisability" and to "hypnotic inductions".
We explore various ways in which muscular relaxation can be induced. The main systems used to do this include the verbal, visual, emotional, musical and humorous.
We end with a sample compound induction script.
We explore the visual imagination, which is enormously rich and varied. This is a tool much used in hypnosis and so it is valuable to explore its natural processes in many people, including yourself.
You may agree that one of the main functions you have when helping another to explore his or her imagination is in helping to maintain focus, primarily by asking questions.
The question of what kind of meaning such an exploration gives is left open. There are a wide variety of interpretation schemes which you will find: I simply urge you to keep at least TWO such possibilities in mind so that you are less likely to jump to unjustifiable conclusions. Sometimes the asking of questions will help to resolve a conflict between two interpretations.
The visual imagination can not only be used for exploration, it can be guided and directed.
The specifics used are to imagine a place, then a strange element in it, then a changed, floating viewpoint, then a floating journey. Next the ability to change images is used to change a small memory; then developed to see if a completely different life can be pictured.
In this chapter for the first time we will meet some processes which have been passed down the years as being ways of producing some dramatic changes in the functioning of people. These are what have been called "hypnotic inductions". We start with a close look at an induction used by James Braid, the father of hypnotism. Then some others, again from well-known names in the history of our subject, are given more briefly for you to try.
The question of whether as a result of such inductions a given person will respond more readily to suggestions is one that you can explore practically.
Posthypnotic suggestions are a large part of what people regard as typical of hypnosis. We start by comparing it with the common phenomenon of social compliance: the fact that people quite normally will do what another asks them to do.
Some exercises are suggested for you to find out how easy it is under ordinary conditions to establish such a causal connection between two subsystems of the brain, so that you can (as in the previous chapter) later compare the ease of doing the same after a preliminary induction.
We focus on high-order mental systems: those which determine whether to accept or reject statements made by another. The ability to reduce the resistance and increase rapport is an important part of hypnosis. This highly practical chapter gives exercises which take the form of two-person games which may be used to increase your skills in this way. We run through making impersonal statements; statements about yourself and then personal statements about another person: all in an everyday setting.
Then, in a more "hypnotic" setting, we practise making every statement of an induction totally acceptable and then a series of personal suggestions acceptable.
The question of the difference between the system of active resistance and active rapport is discussed. No specific exercises are given for building up the latter: though you can find out by asking a few extra questions after the previous exercises how well you are doing.
The main lessons are summarised. And then the rest of the chapter is directed at giving you a variety of goals in order to practice and expand on what you have learned.
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