I was recently asked to review a book which contained a really good explanation of the classic eye-lock process and I thought I’d write about it today… Whether used as an induction or as a process of priming for hypnosis, such as a suggestibility/susceptibility test, it is also used a great deal by hypnotists doing impromptu hypnosis.

I have read about it in Harling and Nyrups book Sleight of Mind, watched it done beautifully by Anthony Jacquin in his Trilby Connection videos and of course seen versions of it in Ormond McGill’s Encyclopedia of Stage Hypnosis and want to credit all these guys for influencing and educating me on this. Let me tell you about how to lock the eyes shut…

Done correctly, it applies some simple physical laws which are then enhanced with the use of suggestion. It is a good way to lead an individual into hypnosis as it does move their awareness inwards and has them very focused and attentive, and many of the processes involving the use of eyes do tend to lend themselves well to hypnosis.

I am taking it for granted, that anyone doing this has rapport, has developed expectancy, is being congruent and communicating effectively. This particular process can often benefit from the individual being physically relaxed throughout the body too, so you may want to punctuate what you do with suggestions of them being relaxed in their shoulders and other areas of their body.

Essentially, what happens is that the hypnotist asks the individual involved to close their eyes and then point to a position about an inch back from their hairline upon their head. Some suggest the centre of the forehead, but I think that the further backward and upward the eyesight goes, the better… Some hypnotists place their own finger on the head of the individual, but again, I have found it more effective to have the individual do it with their own finger and you can focus on what you are doing and keep connected with them.

Then the hypnotist simply suggests, that as they keep their eyes closed, they look up at that point, whilst keeping the rest of them relaxed, they look back and up to the point on their head where their finger is.

You then suggest that while they are looking at that spot, keeping their attention and eyes focused on that spot, their eyes are becoming locked and sealed into that position. You repeat it a couple of times, notice what happens with them, and increase the directness of your suggestions as you notice them doing all they are asked.

If they remain focused on looking upward at the spot on their head, then they will be physically unable to open their eyes. The fact you are suggestin as much, begins to give the impression it is due to something else… Suggestion, or hypnosis, or compliance… So as to remain ethical, you may not want to suggest any of these, just suggest the eyelids are locked as they continue to stare up at that point on their head.

I like to use a particular phrase, that binds things into place at this stage, rather than instruct them to “try and open your eyes” I like to offer up:

As soon as you sense that your eyes are locked and sealed into position, try to open them and realise you can’t

You can repeat that they continue to stare up at the spot on their head,  this is essential for ensuring they actually physically cannot open their eyes, and then use the presuppositions again:

While you sense that they are locked into position, you can try to open them, and find they are locked tightly shut

You spoonfeed the outcome to them, you suggest they cannot open them, you also build in some element of failure by suggesting they ‘try.’

After a few moments of them struggling with this, you can suggest they move their hand, relax their eyelids, look back downwards and find their eyes are comfortable and easy to open.

This can then be used to lead them into hypnosis should you choose or used to suggest that they are already wonderfully responsive and ready for something more impressive with your hypnosis agenda.

Ormond McGill would not be anywhere near as subtle with this, he tended to ask them to squeeze their eyelids tightly shut and then he suggested their eyelids were locking and “are stuck so tightly together that you cannot open your eyes, try as hard as you will.” He’d then notice them failing to open them and tell them to “forget about your eyes now. They are closed so you can go to sleep. Go right ahead and go to sleep.” Thus they were in hypnosis and ready for him to move on to the next process.

There you have it, a fun process with many uses. Best kept simple and fairly rapid.

Have a great day.