Saturday, 20 August 2011

How to do Self Hypnosis... Part One

Provided here is the first part of a series of posts discussing what self hypnosis is, how to do self hypnosis and what self hypnosis can be used for.

Despite common misconceptions, a Hypnotist CANNOT make someone enter into a hypnotic trance, it can ONLY be produced at one’s own choosing.  The Hypnotherapist is present only to facilitate the process instead of actually producing it, guiding the client into their own state of mind that they are very much in control of. Hypnosis is something very easy to resist as it takes quite some degree of concentration first to attain and then to remain in, and without this ongoing acceptance hypnosis is simply not possible. For practically everyone allowing the mind to go into the deepest states of relaxation takes a considerable length of practice, and for beginners these levels are rarely reached at all. If you hear someone say ‘I bet no one could hypnotise me’ the likelihood is they would be right. No hypnotist can hypnotise someone against their will and that is something that must be kept firmly in mind.

It is true that almost everyone can go into a hypnotic trance, however people with mental impairment cannot if their condition does not allow them the concentration span to remain focused on any one thing for a length of time. It is the same reason that young children (usually under the age of ten) are not ordinarily hypnotised. People with a creative, strong imagination on the other hand typically find it the easiest to reach trance states, while practice appears to both speed and deepen the process.

Since hypnotism is a skill largely due to the individual allowing themselves to enter into a particular mind state, it is therefore perfectly possible for a person to hypnotise themselves without the need of a Hypnotherapist to guide them through the process. This is what’s known as Self Hypnosis or Auto-hypnosis. There are many ways to do this, the following is just one simple method to get you started with the basics. The method includes a technique known as FRACTIONAL RELAXATION.

Get yourself comfortable, either seated or laying down whichever you prefer, and remove any tight fitting clothes or shoes if they will cause a distraction. Close your eyes and take 3 slow deep breaths; holding the air in your lungs with an elongated pause each time before slowly exhaling.

With your eyes gently closed and your breathing steady, gradually count yourself down from 10 to 1 while you prepare your whole body for relaxation. Count slowly in your mind and with each number that passes notice how your body seems to sink into the chair or the material beneath it. When you reach the number 10 you will feel comfortable and relaxed.

Begin a new relaxation process from the top of your head, allowing the sensation of looseness to creep first over your scalp. Focus on your scalp for a few moments to fully allow the feeling to take effect, then allow it to drop gently across your face and then down your neck, giving every area of your body an equal amount of time and focus before moving on to the next area. Let the relaxation spread like a slow wave over your shoulders, then to continue down and around through your whole body until it reaches your toes; your whole body now glowing with the sensation throughout.

Once you have relaxed your entire body using this method it is then time to use your imagination. Visualise a door appear in front of you and mentally visualise yourself walk through it, as if you were actually doing so in real life. The door leads to a relaxing, calming place of your choosing, such as a secluded beach or a tropical forest; the choice is completely yours. Use as many senses as you can to submerge yourself in your new surroundings; smell the air there, listen to any background sounds, feel the ground beneath your feet or even taste something satisfying within your visualisation. The more you immerse yourself into your imagination the deeper you will go into hypnotic state.

Next you will see a perfect place to lay or sit down, and you walk toward it to find a place of great comfort with a beautiful view of your surroundings. Here you will notice that you fall even deeper into relaxed hypnosis.

While in this state of hypnosis your conscious analysing mind is placed into the background while the subconscious element comes to the fore where it is open to personal affirmations. Ideas or suggestions can be transferred directly to the powerful subconscious mind during this state; very important if you wish to make changes to your habitual behaviour or thinking. Personal affirmations need not be verbal messages or instruction, but can be in the form of further visualisations, imagining yourself achieving your goals or leading the lifestyle you wish to lead. These visualisations will be translated as commands by the subconscious mind, which will then strive to realise those commands from that moment onwards, so therefore it is essential to be 100% positive in this state. For example…if you want to be more confident, simply visualise yourself in different scenarios being the confident person you wish to be. If you want to excel at a particular sport, then visualise yourself doing just that – perhaps even winning an award for your sporting excellence. The subconscious will work around the clock both in waking state and in sleep to turn those visions into your living reality, as if by ‘magic’ you will feel more confident and perform better in your chosen sport!

Enjoy the hypnosis for as long as you wish to, although 15 minutes is thought to be the minimal amount of time required for any noticeable positive effects to take shape. When you feel ready to come out of hypnotic state visualise yourself once again in your location of choice, but this time get up from your comfortable spot and wander freely back towards the door you came in through. Once inside prepare to count yourself back to 10, and tell yourself that you will feel more and more awake with each number that passes, and when you reach 10 your eyes will open and you will feel wide awake and alert.

When you count to 10 and open your eyes, you will notice how calm and relaxed you now feel, refreshed as oppose to drowsy. The experience varies slightly from person to person, but 99% of people would say that it is an enjoyable and importantly a relaxing experience. With regular practice you should find yourself making strong improvements, not only in attaining the hypnotic state faster and deeper, but if you continue with the regular (daily is best prescribed) affirmations you will notice them taking their effect quite rapidly, be it in confidence or whatever you chose to work with. The relaxing effect of hypnosis in itself has been shown in research to improve ones life in several different ways; be it a decrease in stress, better quality of sleep, greater sense of contentment or increased concentration (to name just a few).

If for whatever reason you have tried the above method, or perhaps other self hypnosis methods, and not had the success you predicted my advice would be not to give up. There are plenty of different options for you to try. The above method is just one of numerous different types, and I will be posting more of them for you to try in the near future on

Another option would be to use audio files, found on the Internet or purchased in CD format. Here a Hypnotherapist has recorded their voice in guiding the listener through a hypnotic induction, with different recording made for different purposes. For instance you will find different recordings for ‘increased confidence’ or ‘a better night sleep’ and all sorts of different categories. This method is very useful if you have struggled with self hypnosis but do not want to take the step to see a Hypnotherapist in person, or perhaps even as in inexpensive ‘taster’ of what it would be like to actually see one.

Seeing a Hypnotherapist in person cannot be beaten for effectiveness, that I cannot be more clear about. A Hypnotherapist is trained to expertly guide their client into hypnosis and from their responses divert the session into different areas to learn more about the psyche; something that no audio recording can do. The human to human contact is also a known contributor to the success of in-person hypnosis. Regardless of this self hypnosis is still a very valuable practice, similar to that of meditation except that in meditation the goal is to simply clear the mind, whereas hypnosis has a structure of suggestions to make improvements or changes to oneself. It is possible to reach deep levels of trance in self hypnosis or meditation with practice, while a Hypnotherapist can reach these deeper levels with their client in a much shorter duration.

An effective option that suits many is for the Hypnotherapist to first work with their client for a couple of sessions to prepare them for ongoing self hypnosis. The successful experience of hypnosis with a therapist can greatly help them achieve the state when attempting hypnosis by themselves. The therapist will also work with the client to decide upon a suitable suggestion, and after that is agreed trigger words will be set up along with anchors and key words that will help the client reach trance state faster and achieve their goals of therapy. Often a Hypnotherapist will make a recording of suggestions that the client will play back to themselves at regular intervals after the sessions, but all of this will be explained in greater detail in another post.

The bottom line is that hypnotherapy is more effective with a fully certified Hypnotherapist conducting the process, but self hypnosis can certainly still be a useful tool in familiarising oneself with hypnotherapy and experimenting with the benefits of finding trance state, even in the lightest levels. A great deal can be learned about the inner mind using self hypnosis so long as the person has the will and determination to persevere with regular practise, and if this is the case a great many things can be achieved.

 I will be posting more self hypnosis methodology in due course as well as some audio files later for you to try out for yourself so you can see for yourself the advantages of self hypnosis.

For another perspective on self hypnosis why not try

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