A New Approach To Self-hypnosis When All Else Fails
Deepening The Self-hypnotic State
How Does Self-hypnosis Work?
How To Arouse Yourself From The Self-hypnotic State
How To Attain Self-hypnosis
Is Hypnosis The Answer?
Practical Applications Of Self-hypnosis
Psychological Aids And Their Function
Techniques For Reaching The Somnambulistic State
The Nature Of Hypnosis
What About The Dangers Of Hypnosis?
What You Should Know About Becoming An Excellent Subject
What You Should Know About Self-hypnosis
What You Should Know About Self-hypnosis
Hypnosis has been defined as a state of heightened suggestibility in
which the subject is able to uncritically accept ideas for
self-improvement and act on them appropriately. When a hypnotist
hypnotizes his subject, it is known as hetero-hypnosis. When an
individual puts himself into a state of hypnosis, it is known as
self-hypnosis. In both cases, the subject has achieved a heightened
state of suggestibility. Even in hetero-hypnosis, the subject really
controls the response to suggestions. Actually, all hypnosis is really a
matter of self-hypnosis. The subject enters into the hypnotic state when
he is completely ready to do so. This may require from one to many
attempts before it is achieved. Even if the subject insists that he
wants to be hypnotized immediately, he may be resisting hypnosis
In self-hypnosis the same thing usually takes place. The subject is
anxious to achieve self-hypnosis, but somehow the state eludes him.
What's wrong? It may be that he is unconsciously resisting it, hasn't
conditioned himself sufficiently, or has achieved the hypnotic state and
doesn't know he is in the state. This last statement may be surprising,
but we will examine it in detail a little later on.
Most experts agree that about 90 percent of the population can be
hypnotized. My own feeling is that probably 99 percent can be
hypnotized. Who among us is not influenced by suggestion? Aren't we all,
as we have seen, influenced by the suggestions of advertising? Don't we
all have a tendency to believe what we read in the paper, hear on the
radio or see on television? Aren't we all convinced that a name-brand
article is better than one that is not so well-known?
Suggestion plays a tremendously important role in our daily lives. It
begins from naming the baby with an appropriate name to securing a
suitable place for interment. I would like to call the reader's
attention to a fascinating book dealing with the unconscious reasons why
we do many of the things that we do. You will be intrigued with every
page of the book. It is called The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard.
My contention is that we are all suggestible and, therefore, being
hypnotized or hypnotizing ourselves is just a matter of increasing the
suggestibility that we already possess. Doesn't the hypnotist begin by
suggesting relaxation? Doesn't he usually begin by requesting the
subject to fix his attention on a particular object? Next, he suggests
to the subject that his eyes are becoming heavy and tired. As soon as
the subject closes his eyes, he suggests that he will be in a deep
hypnotic state. I am sure that you are familiar with this procedure.
With each step, the hypnotist is guiding the subject along directed
lines to get him to accept further suggestions without question or
doubt. When the subject achieves the ultimate state in this procedure,
he has been hypnotized. He then accepts suggestions without
Let us continue with this same thought. Suppose I say to you, "I'm going
to stick you with this pin. It won't hurt." Would you let me stick you
with the pin? Obviously not. Let us suppose that you have been
hypnotized and I repeat the same suggestion. What happens then? You
readily accept the suggestion as being factual. Should I proceed to
stick you with the pin, you do not even flinch. In fact, you do not even
feel the pain. Does this sound incredible? Isn't this exactly the same
procedure that the dentist uses with his patient when he has hypnotized
him for the purpose of painless dentistry?
Achieving hypnosis, therefore, is a matter of directing this
suggestibility that we all possess into the channels that will finally
produce the hypnotic state. It can be much more complicated than this
explanation in many cases, but let us use this as a working premise.
Everyone can be hypnotized. The time required for achieving hypnosis
will vary from subject to subject. We will discuss some of the reasons
for this in a subsequent chapter, but for our discussion at this time we
need to understand this point. I have encountered numerous individuals
who were extremely disappointed because they did not respond to hypnosis
immediately or after several attempts. They wanted to know "what was
wrong." An explanation that nothing was wrong somehow did not satisfy
these individuals. "After all," they argued, "didn't I go to a hypnotist
especially to be hypnotized?" Some insinuated that perhaps the hypnotist
wasn't too good.
Let me explain that most subjects need to be conditioned for hypnosis,
and this conditioning is helped when the subject practices certain
conditioning exercises that I shall discuss in detail in chapter six,
titled "How To Attain Self-Hypnosis." In my teaching, I have found that
about one out of ten subjects responds to the first attempt at hypnosis.
One cannot make a definite statement as to the length of time necessary
to learn self-hypnosis, but it is my experience that this usually takes
about one month. I have had subjects learn self-hypnosis in about 30
minutes, but I must also relate that I have worked with subjects for one
year before they achieved it.
For the most part, the laws of learning apply to self-hypnosis as with
anything else that one would want to learn. It can be a relatively
simple procedure, or it can be very perplexing. The answer lies not so
much with the hypnotist as with the subject.
One question that arises is: "If I'm under hypnosis, how can I give
myself suggestions?" During the hypnotic state, it must be remembered,
the subject is always aware of what is going on. He hears what is said,
follows directions and terminates the state when told to do so. In the
self-hypnotic state, the subject is in full control. Therefore, he can
think, reason, act, criticize, suggest or do whatever he desires. He can
audibly give himself suggestions, or he can mentally give himself
suggestions. In either case, he does not rouse from the hypnotic state
until he gives himself specific suggestions to do so. Many feel if they
audibly give themselves suggestions, they will "awaken." In
hypno-analysis, the subject answers questions during the hypnotic state.
Having the subject talk does not terminate the state. You can keep the
talkative subject under hypnosis as long as you want. Furthermore, the
subject can be sitting erect with his eyes open and still be under
hypnosis. Carrying this further, the subject may not even be aware that
he is under hypnosis. He can be given a cue not to remember when the
therapist makes a certain motion or says a certain word that he will go
back into the hypnotic state but still keep his eyes open. Only an
experienced hypnotist could detect the change.
Another frequent question is: "How do I arouse myself from the
self-hypnotic state?" You merely say to yourself that upon counting to
five you will open your eyes and wake up feeling fine. Many times the
subject falls asleep while giving himself posthypnotic suggestions. This
is not undesirable since the suggestions will spill over into the
subconscious mind as he goes from consciousness to unconsciousness.
A popular opinion about hypnosis is that the subject surrenders his will
to the hypnotist in the process of being hypnotized. Furthermore, many
believe that once the subject is hypnotized, the hypnotist has complete
control of the subject and the subject is powerless to resist
suggestion. Both beliefs are erroneous. I believe the first
misconception comes from seeing techniques where the hypnotist requests
the subject to look into his eyes. The hypnotist suggests to the subject
that as he continues to look into his eyes he will fall into a deep
hypnotic state. This, then, becomes a matter of who can outstare whom.
The subject usually begins to blink his eyes and the hypnotist follows
this up with rapid suggestions that the subject's eyes are becoming
watery and heavy and that the subject will fall into a deep hypnotic
sleep just as soon as he (the subject) closes his eyes. This procedure
gives the impression to the observer that the subject is "willed" to go
under hypnosis. It appears that once the hypnotist concentrates or wills
sufficiently, the subject succumbs. Actually, the hypnotist in this
technique is not looking into the eyes of the subject. He fixes his
attention on the bridge of the nose of the subject.
The concept that the subject is a helpless automaton stems from the
weird movies where the "mad scientist" has hypnotized subjects into
behaving like zombies. Naturally, there is usually a beautiful girl in
the movie and she, too, has been hypnotized. Even though the audience is
sophisticated enough to realize that this science-fiction drama is
purely entertainment, the theme is repeated sufficiently in novels,
comics, and television to make an indelible impression on the
subconscious mind. It's the technique of telling the "big lie" so many
times that it becomes believable. We are all influenced by this
procedure. There is an excellent book explaining this very premise. It
is called Battle For The Mind by William Sargent. It describes in
detail the technique by which evangelists, psychiatrists, politicians
and advertising men can change your beliefs and behavior.
Following the reasoning that the subconscious mind can be affected, you
can see that a problem could present itself even though the subject
consciously wishes to be hypnotized. Unconsciously, there may be a poor
interrelationship with the hypnotist which can create an unfavorable
climate for hypnosis. When this is the case, the subject doesn't respond
until such time that he relates well to the hypnotist. Even the most
calculated procedures will fail until a positive transference
relationship is established. I am sure that you sometimes have said,
"For some reason I don't like that person." If pressed for an answer,
you'll usually reply, "I can't explain it, but I just have a feeling
about him." Actually, your subconscious reactions are influencing your
thinking and you "feel" a certain way. The same thing takes place in
business transactions. You either like or dislike the proposition
presented to you. You may say, "I have a certain feeling about this
deal." You may not be conscious of the reasons, but your subconscious
has reacted automatically because of previous experience along similar
In giving you some insight into the hypnotic procedure, I am trying to
point out certain problems in regard to acquiring self-hypnosis. For the
most part, it is not a simple procedure that is accomplished
immediately. You can't just will it. It requires working toward a
specific goal and following definite procedures which eventually lead to
The hypnotist is usually endowed by the subject with an omniscience and
infallibility which logically is unjustified. The subject is naturally
extremely disappointed if he doesn't respond immediately. If he loses
confidence in the hypnotist, he may never achieve hypnosis with this
particular hypnotist. I have hypnotized subjects who have been to
several other hypnotists without success, and I have had some of my
unsuccessful subjects hypnotized by other hypnotists. How and why does
it happen? I believe that some of the reasons are so intangible that it
would be impossible to explain all of them with any degree of
I once saw an individual about 12 times who wanted to learn
self-hypnosis and had been unsuccessful in every approach. I asked him
if he would volunteer as a subject for a class in techniques of hypnosis
that I was teaching for nurses. He readily volunteered and showed up at
the designated time. Much to my amazement as well as his own, he
responded within a relatively short time as one of the nurses hypnotized
him before the group. She had used a standard eye closure technique,
requesting him to look at a spinning hypnodisc that I had previously
used with him every time he was in the office. Her manner was extremely
affable, she had used the identical technique I had used unsuccessfully,
and the subject responded excellently to cap the climax. He was the
first subject the nurse had ever hypnotized, since this was only her
How would you account for it? Here was one of my students with two
weeks' experience hypnotizing a subject where I had failed while using
every procedure that I felt would work. Was it because she was a better
hypnotist? Perhaps! However, I'd like to recall at this time our
discussion about subconscious responses. I'm inclined to feel that being
hypnotized by a middle-aged female nurse created certain favorable
unconscious responses which accounted for his going under hypnosis at
that time. It created the initial break-through which was needed. I was
able to hypnotize him easily at his next appointment, and he acquired
self-hypnosis readily from that time on.
I have tried the same approach with other subjects who did not respond
favorably and have failed to attain the success that I did in the above
case. Why the impasse? It is one of the difficulties that we encounter
in hypnosis, and as yet it has not been resolved.
We know that the easiest way to achieve self-hypnosis is to be
hypnotized and given a posthypnotic suggestion that you will respond to
hypnosis by a key word, phrase or gesture. I have tried to point out
some problems that can arise. Needless to say, these problems do not
always arise, and the attainment of self-hypnosis can be a relatively
simple procedure. There is usually some way of reaching a subject who
does not respond in a reasonable length of time.
Now we come to the point where the subject wishes to hypnotize himself.
What happens in this situation? It would appear that the subject would
go under hypnosis immediately. After all, isn't he controlling the
hypnotic session? Of course, this does happen time and time again, and
the results seem miraculous. I receive mail constantly from readers of
several of my other books on hypnosis telling me how they were able to
achieve certain goals that they never dreamed possible. They write that
they have achieved self-confidence and complete self-mastery and have
been able to overcome problems that have plagued them for many years.
These problems not only include strictly psychological troubles but many
psychosomatic symptoms as well. Many have remarked at the ease in which
they were able to achieve self-hypnosis and the results they wanted. For
them it was as simple as following a do-it-yourself book.
Others write about the difficulty they encounter and ask what to do
about it. It is my hope that this book will shed some light for those
who have experienced difficulty in learning self-hypnosis. We shall
discuss many phases of hypnosis with the emphasis on self-hypnosis.
We'll discuss its many ramifications and try not to leave out anything
helpful in our discussion.
If you follow the instructions and exercises that I give you
assiduously, you should be able to achieve a depth of self-hypnosis
suitable for solving many of your personal problems.
Next: What About The Dangers Of Hypnosis?