This is another one of those blog entries that I write from time to time putting together a self-hypnosis induction methodology. I like having a number of different techniques because it adds some variety to my self-hypnosis sessions.
Many of the processes of course have shared underlying themes of attention fixation and ideo-motor responses, and so having developed hypnotic skills, techniques like this one should slot in nicely with your other methods. I’d recommend that you start with more basic and fundamental processes before moving on to a process like this one for inducing self-hypnosis. I have been using this for a while with clients and within my own self-hypnosis practice and thought I’d share it here.
Whilst researching for the first part of my new self-hypnosis audio tuition programme, I was directed to a chapter in a book by Golden, Dowd and Friedberg (1987) which fell open on a page about hypnosis inductions. I fell in love with this technique for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it includes what Barber (1974) would refer to as ‘coupling’ as it uses natural responses to gravity, along with naturally occurring physical reflexes alongside imagination and self-suggestion to reinforce the response you are after. This will become more apparent when we get on to the technique itself – this technique utilizes the fact that your fingers tend to spread apart when they are being held together tightly, and that when you breathe, your arms move in line with it, which this technique uses for aiding arm levitation.
As always, you must be responsible for engaging your own imagination, and being assured of yourself throughout, expecting the outcome without putting too much effort into it – convince yourself of the process occurring without getting anxious about it.
Simply follow these steps:
Step One: In a place where you will not be disturbed for the duration of this session, be sat upright, with an attentive posture; crown of the head facing the ceiling, shoulders relaxed, feet flat on the floor and hands not touching each other resting on your lap.
We are now ready to begin, so proceed to step two.
Step Two: Hold up your dominant hand, bring it closer to your face (i.e. do not lean your head towards the hand) until it is a distance of approximately 12 inches/30 centimetres away from your face, and pick a point on the back of that hand to look at and fix your attention upon. Notice how your vision can alter when you focus it and also notice the tiniest of details of that spot your are focused upon.
Squeeze the fingers of the hand tightly together (close them as tightly as you can) while you fix all your attention and focus upon the point on the back of the hand. Make sure there are not any spaces in between your fingers and they are being held tightly together (as much as is physically possible).
Once you are tightly holding all the fingers together with your gaze fixed upon that point, then move on to the next step.
Step Three: As you keep your attention fixed upon that point, imagine that your fingers are spreading apart. Convince yourself of it happening; as you concentrate on the back of your hand, imagine the fingers are spreading apart.
Stop holding them tightly in together, let the movement start to happen naturally, watch the spaces between the fingers begin to widen and the fingers spread more and more, almost as if it is happening all by itself.
Tell yourself it is happening using your cognitions, believe in it happening, let it become your reality as you imagine it happening and watch it happening right before your very eyes.
When the fingers are moving, then move on to the next step.
Step Four: You now start to imagine that each breath you inhale, your hand moves closer to your face. Every breath that you inhale, notice your hand coming a little bit closer. Getting closer, being pulled inwards with each breath that you breathe in. Again, you imagine it happening, you convince yourself it is happening, and just let it happen naturally. It is almost as if a force of some kind is pulling your hand towards your face.
Let the movements happen as you imagine it occurring with each breath you breathe, then as it gets closer, move on to the next step.
Step Five: As your hand draws closer, imagine your eyes getting more and more tired. Imagine how lovely it is going to be to simply relax your eyelids and let them close instead of focusing on the point on the back of your hand. Imagine your eyelids getting heavier as your hand moves closer and you are trying to keep focused on the spot that is drawing closer to you. It becomes more and more difficult to keep focused on that spot on the back of your hand, tell yourself that your eyelids are feeling as if they are heavier.
Then whenever you are ready to do so, let your eyes close. Notice the wonderful sensation of relaxation in the eyelids, and the relief it brings. Imagine the relaxation in those eyelid muscles now spreads through all the muscles of your face and through the muscles of your body. Softening the muscles and relaxing your entire body.
Once your body starts to relax more with your eyes comfortably closed, move on to the next step.
Step Six: With your body relaxing so comfortably, start to imagine how good it is going to feel when you allow your arm to return to your lap and relax too. Imagine it is getting heavier as the rest of your body is relaxing deeper.
Now let your arm start to drift back down to your lap. Let it happen slowly and gently. Tell yourself that as it moves towards your lap, so you go deeper into hypnosis. Every breath that you exhale makes the arm heavier, you imagine it getting heavier and heavier and convince yourself that it feels as if it is getting heavier.
As it drifts and moves to your lap, so you go deeper and deeper into hypnosis. Take all the time you need to complete your relaxation throughout the body, let the arm lower to your lap before you then move on to the final step.
Step Seven: If you follow my protocol for self-hypnosis, you now do the changework and then exit hypnosis. Otherwise, follow whatever system you prefer to use to conclude the session.
I hope you enjoyed that. If so, you may want to look out for the new self-hypnosis programme that I will be releasing for sale very soon. It is very different than anything we have offered before – it is a new model, a different system – it is very evidence based and I am so proud of it. Watch this space.
Additionally, for a full, evidence based approach to learning self-hypnosis and it’s many applications, grab a copy of my book The Science of Self-Hypnosis: The Evidence Based Way to Hypnotise Yourself.
Barber, T. X., Spanos, N. P., & Chaves, J. F. (1974) Hypnosis, imagination and human potentialities. Elsmford, NY: Pergamon Press.
Chiasson, S. W. (1973). A syllabus on hypnosis. American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, Education, and Research Foundation.
Golden, E., Dowd, T. & Friedberg, F. (1987) Hypnotherapy: A modern approach. Allyn & Bacon, MA.