Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Hypnosis Suggestions Please?

Hypnosis is a method of systematically shutting down the conscious mind leaving the subconscious open and susceptible to new ideas. First the body is made still, the eyes are fixated and then closed. Breathing is slowed and controlled as the body slips into relaxation, the mind urged into the subconscious realm. The senses have been nullified one by one leaving the client relaxed but at the same time focused only on the sounds reaching their ear, connecting directly into their subconscious mind. Once into the state of hypnosis the mind is perfectly poised to have changes made to its long held belief system, using something known as hypnotic suggestion.

So what exactly is hypnotic suggestion?

A suggestion can be simply defined as an act of offering a thought or an action to another person, but while a suggestion is given when that other is in a state of hypnosis this becomes a hypnotic suggestion. In regular waking state someone might tell you ‘your eyelids are feeling heavier and heavier with each moment that passes as though they are longing to close’ but your critical conscious mind would consider the idea and most likely reject it out of hand. However under hypnosis this critical aspect of mind is subdued leaving the whole mind more responsive to suggestions, and given the exact same command as above the eyes will typically shut most rapidly.

Hypnotic suggestions are designed to have positive effects on the mind and body in numerous different ways, and are basically a series of instructions aimed at making the mind realise it’s own potential. As humans we fail the majority of the time because we fundamentally believe we will fail, and is the very reason why highly confident people tend to be far higher achievers than persons with low confidence and self esteem. A saying goes that if anyone could bottle confidence they would become a millionaire. Hypnosis does not come ‘bottled’ but with due time and thought hypnotic suggestions are a great tool for bringing personal success through boosting confidence and maximising the potential of the mind, and can very well be worth an absolute fortune to anyone. In trance state suggestions can be used to alter perceptions, attitudes and behaviour in numerous ways, from increased self esteem to eradication of addictions or phobias.

Hypnotic suggestions come in a variety of different forms that fall into some easily defined categories:
  • Direct Suggestion (aka Primary/Authoritative): A simple straight suggestion that tells you exactly what to do. ‘You will notice your eyelids feeling heavier and heavier until eventually they will close and you will feel relaxed’ This is the traditional style of suggestion pioneered by James Braid, deemed authoritarian as it is worded and spoken like a command.
  • Indirect Suggestion (aka Secondary/Permissive): was made famous by Milton Erikson and is the opposite of direct suggestion. Indirect suggestions are insinuations or the rhetorical, anything that has a concealed meaning in the same way a metaphor would work. Indirect suggestions are used a lot in TV adverts, music and images combining to produce a scene that will translate to the viewer’s subconscious in a way perhaps not so obvious straight away. For example it is not just a video of a Land Rover moving through the countryside to opera music, subliminally it is representing the power and prestige owning such a vehicle would represent.
  • Verbal Suggestions: are spoken instructions as in the examples above.
  • Non Verbal Suggestions: are any suggestions that are unspoken. These can include physical manipulations of the body (physically swaying the body gently), mental imagery (as shown via pictures or video) or tone of voice (sounds rather than words) used to promote relaxation and trance.  These suggestions can be very helpful in hypnotising those with a language barrier or those that have strange associations with certain words that are best avoided. Non Verbal suggestions are the most ancient of suggestions and can still be seen in ‘shaman’ rituals of indigenous tribes based on dance, movement and rhythm to induce trance. 
  • Post Hypnotic Suggestion: these suggestions are designed to trigger an effect AFTER the client has come out of Hypnosis, E.g. the client may have had the suggestion that for the 30 minutes following awakening every time they hear the word ‘relax’ they will close their eyes and enter into hypnosis. The time frame can range anywhere from minutes, days, weeks or even years after the suggestion was planted, depending entirely on how the suggestion is worded. In the example the word ‘relax’ would be the ‘post-hypnotic cue’…the trigger for the suggestion to kick in.
  • Relaxation Suggestions: ‘Feel your whole body relax, and as it does so you will notice your mind relax in the same way’. These suggestions ease the mind and body in preparation for deeper levels of hypnosis and further suggestions. They are frequently used most at the onset of hypnosis.
  • Deepening Suggestions: make the trance state more enhanced often by focusing on a single task. E.g. ‘Your hands are locked together so tight the harder you try to pull them apart the tighter they will lock together and the deeper into hypnosis you will go’
  • Imagery Suggestions: create mental scenes or pictures to work directly or indirectly in producing a mental environment where alterations can be made to attitudes or connections made to one’s experiences. A common use of imagery is to find a person’s ‘paradise’ where every aspect of their surroundings is as they want it to be and where they are totally comfortable and relaxed.
Many suggestions will combine aspects from the different categories to form one single set of instructions, the content of which is dependant largely on the goal of the suggestion as well as the personal choice of the individual constructing it.

In the next post I will be publishing information on how to structure your own suggestion.

For a different perspective on self hypnosis why not try: http://www.wikihow.com/Perform-Self-Hypnosis

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