Talk To Me

Talk To Me

In the hypnotism part of sessions with clients, I do most of the talking.  Sometimes we have a simple conversation, but that’s rare.  Usually clients answer some questions with very short answers.  Depending on the depth of the trance, they may not say anything.

Feedback is essential.  During the trance I always test my clients’ depth by observing their responses to certain suggestions.  At the lightest level of trance they will lose control of simple motor functions.  At the deepest levels they will experience hallucinations and negative hallucinations (not seeing something that is there).  I always test.

The feedback I need is immediately after the trance.  I want to know what their experience was like for them, if they were comfortable, if there was any idea or impulse or memory they want to talk about.  I want to know whatever impressions they had that they might want to talk about.  I want to know what hypnosis was like for them.

I don’t ask these things out of curiosity; I ask because the information is essential to their success, and to the way I will conduct the next trance session.  For example, if I know what their individual idea of hypnosis is, I can suggest it to them and they will be able to slip into that state more easily and quickly.  Their answers to my questions also reveal whether I went too quickly or too slowly of if they need concrete or more accurate instructions and descriptions.  Sometimes they pick up on subtleties that I miss, because they are extremely attentive to certain details while in the trance state.

I won’t know most of this information if I don’t ask, because during hypnosis they are sitting passively in a chair, physically relaxed.  Of course, there are many signs that I can see: rapid eye movement, changes in breathing, especially in response to suggestions of physical relaxation, abreactions, fidgeting, etc.

Abreactions are physical movements in response to suggestions.  They can vary in intensity, and they are always significant and must be explored if the client is to be successful.  I always ask about physical reactions, because I need to know what was going on at that time.  It may have been their subconscious reacting in some way–or they might have been physically cold or uncomfortable.  It’s essential that I find out more, so I can help them succeed in the best possible way.

Sometimes certain words or phrases are distracting to them because they remind them of specific situations.  I like to snap my fingers as a cue, but some clients are startled by that, so I’ll do something else such as a gentle knock on my wooden desk.

Feedback closes the loop of communication with my client.  A few simple explanations and descriptions from them help me to understand what to do differently in order that they achieve what they set out to do!

Suggestibility and Affirmations

“Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” You might recognize this affirmation, originated by Émile Coué almost a century ago.

Affirmations are ideas packaged into neat phrases that are used for the purpose of self-improvement. They are typically used as meditations just before sleeping or immediately upon awakening. The theory is that the idea will act upon the subconscious, causing desired changes. This effect has been produced and replicated hundreds of times in clinical studies.

But what if your affirmation isn’t working? It might be because the exact wording doesn’t match your suggestibility. Suggestibility varies greatly among all of us, so when it comes to affirmations, one size does not fit all. Not even close.

Are you the type of person who bristles when being told what to do? If so, it’s possible that your subconscious will reject a direct suggestion. However, even if your subconscious resists authority, there’s a way that you can present it with new ideas that it will accept readily.

Think of your subconscious as a child of about 10 years old. Even a stubborn child can be motivated—it’s all in your presentation. If you let a child think they came up with an idea on their own, they’ll probably jump all over it. Keep in mind that approximately half the population is very OK with authoritarian affirmations (direct suggestions), and can accept them at face value and get results, no problem.

How can you determine your own suggestibility? That part isn’t so simple for the uninitiated, but it’s possible. If you are highly empathetic or sympathetic, if you can easily imagine physical sensations in your body, and if you are usually outgoing and eager to converse, it’s likely that you will respond to direct suggestions. Conversely, if your emotions don’t translate quickly into physical sensations, or if you tend to have difficulty connecting immediately with someone else’s emotional state, it’s likely that you’ll have more success with indirect suggestions.

Coué’s affirmation above is a direct suggestion. If you don’t have success with it, change it to an indirect suggestion and try it again for a week or so. Here are some examples: “Every day, I can get better…” or “It’s possible that every day, I am getting better…” Does your subconscious require a super indirect suggestion? Here you go: “Every day, in every way, I can give myself permission to allow myself to consider that I am getting better and better.”

Remember, your subconscious mind doesn’t analyze or evaluate, it just does what you tell it to do when you’re speaking its language. So try your affirmations as both direct and indirect suggestions, and see which one works better!

We Are Trance Partners

We’re in this together, and I always go first. I’ve never failed to put anyone in a trance, as long as they were willing to experience the process.

I’ve heard the relationship called “trance partners,” and that makes sense to me. Whenever I conduct a session, I always go into a light trance. I can’t go deep because I’m the guide. That means I always go first. I lead you in, and at the end I lead you out again.

Hypnotic trance isn’t the same as relaxation or meditation. [Read more →]

Upcoming Event @ HWPN On 11/10/09

I’m going to be the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Health & Wellness Professional Network (HWPN), in Red Bank, NJ, on November 10.

Can you guess what I’ll be talking about? [Read more →]