Traditional methods of hypnosis, commonly known as "direct" or "authoritarian" hypnosis involve a hypnotist attempting to induce a "trance" in a subject. Such methods put the onus of trance induction on the hypnotist and, quite often, both the hypnotist and the subject believe the hypnotist is the one controlling the experience. This, of course, is rarely true. Most people are unwilling, or very fearful of, anyone else trying to "control" them, or even allow another to induce an altered state in them.
Some people may say they are willing subjects, but usually part of them is quite unwilling to relinquish control. It is this issue of control—or giving up control—which creates so much resistance in the traditional approaches to hypnotizing others.
You may or may not be familiar with how traditional hypnotic inductions are structured. If you are, here's a brief review. If you're not, here's a crash course in how most hypnotists approach hypnotic induction. There are innumerable variations to this somewhat generic outline, but in general, this is the essence of the traditional methodology.
The hypnotist usually has the subject sit in a chair and asks them to sit comfortably with their feet planted squarely on the floor, and their hands resting on their lap. The subject is then told to relax, and asked to stare at an imaginary spot on the floor or wall.
The hypnotist tells the subject to continue looking at the spot, to continue staring at that spot, and as they do, they will begin to feel their eyes get heavier and heavier, heavier and heavier. And, the hypnotist continues, as the subject's eyes get heavier and heavier, they begin to get sleepier and sleepier.. .eyes heavier.. .feeling sleepier and sleepier.. .deeper and deeper and deeper...
All the while the hypnotist speaks in a monotone, low voice. The suggestions for sleepiness and eye closure continue for at least ten minutes, often more like twenty to twenty-five minutes. Frequently, suggestions are given for relaxation, starting at the top of the subject's head and working down through all major muscle groups of their body, with suggestions for sleepiness and eye closure interspersed.
For example, the hypnotist will say, "The muscles around your head and neck are beginning to feel so relaxed.so loose and limp.so very much at ease.going deeper and deeper. Now your left shoulder is beginning to feel so relaxed.. .so loose and limp.. .and your eyes are continuing to become even heavier and heavier. This continues all the way down
throughout the subject's body until all major muscle groups have been relaxed. In most cases, the hypnotist subjectively determines whether the subject is hypnotized. How do you know if a person is actually hypnotized? Well, that depends on how you define hypnosis. We will take a look at this interesting subject in the next chapter.
Some hypnotists use tests to determine if the hypnotic state has been induced. Other hypnotists use tests to determine "how deep" their subject is. These tests include suggestions for arm levitation, eye catalepsy, arm catalepsy, regression, amnesia, and others. If the subject responds to a specific suggestion, they get a certain score on one of several hypnotic depth scales, such as the Davis-Husband Scale, or the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale.
According to traditional methods, if the subject does not respond adequately to the tests, that is, they don't get the minimum score required to be considered "officially hypnotized" the hypnotist may continue the induction, possible trying different techniques. Sometimes the hypnotist will "dismiss" the subject telling them they are "not responding" or that they are not capable of being hypnotized.
The concept that a person is not responding is, in my opinion, a reflection on the hypnotist, not the subject. If a hypnotist is unable to induce a trance in a subject it's more likely a signal that the hypnotist lacks flexibility in his approach and is not sensitive to altering his methods to fit what works for that unique subject.
The idea that a person is not capable of being hypnotized is, in my opinion, absurd. Everyone can be hypnotized. If the hypnotist is skilled enough and has an adequately diverse set of approaches, they can hypnotize anyone. If all a hypnotist knows is one or two techniques, they will only be able to hypnotize the subjects that happen to respond to those techniques.
It is fair to say that everyone responds differently to hypnosis, and it is impossible to determine who will respond quickly and who will take some time to hypnotize. Some individuals are highly susceptible to hypnotic influence; others are highly resistant. Those who are readily hypnotizable can drop into trance literally in a few short minutes—even on the very first induction attempt. After several sessions of progressively deep hypnosis, these "somnambulists" can often be hypnotized in seconds using rapid induction techniques. If you are interested in studying the fascinating techniques of rapid induction hypnosis, additional resources are listed in Chapter 19 of this book.
Those subjects that are not amenable to trance induction in a relatively short period or time, and those that seem completely unhypnotizeable, require more effort, greater variety of approach, and persistence on the part of the hypnotist.
Milton Erickson, the famed Medical hypnotherapist and creator of the indirect approach to hypnosis, is reported to have said that he once spent over 300 hours trying to hypnotize one highly resistant subject. Always remember that whether you're using traditional methods or advanced covert techniques, persistence defies resistance.
Susceptibility and Depth Testing In Traditional Hypnosis
The idea of susceptibility tests and depth scales is, in my opinion, highly limiting. These tests use rigid criteria based on limited techniques. Who says a person must demonstrate eye catalepsy in order to be considered "lightly" hypnotized? Is there any "rule" that says a person must exhibit eye catalepsy? None that I'm aware of. And even if there was, who made up the rule? And who says it makes sense, or is accurate, or is right?
As you will learn throughout your study of hypnosis, many of the standards for defining hypnosis and measuring the depth of hypnosis are totally and completely "made up" by people who arbitrarily developed definitions and scales that they deemed appropriate. They might think that their definitions and scales are "accurate", "right" and "true", but in reality, they are simply estimations and opinions at best.
A Silly Comparison That Illustrates The Subjective Nature of Hypnotic Scales and Tests
Such arbitrary assignment is comparable to someone creating a "Pot Roast Acceptability Scale" that would list, in a very official looking format, the qualities necessary for a pot roast to be considered acceptable. We could call this the P.R.A.S., and it would delineate the proper temperature, color, consistency, and taste needed for a pot roast to be acceptable, i.e., delicious and suitable for serving to family and guests.
We could publish the P.R.A.S. in cookbooks, cooking journals, cuisine magazines, and stand behind this "standard" with resolute conviction that pot roast absolutely positively MUST meet the criteria of the P.R.A.S. in order to be designated as valid and bonafide. What if enough credible people in the world of cooking, e.g. long established cooks and chefs, editors of magazines, etc., buy in to the concept of the P.R.A.S. and consider it to be "right" and "true"? Over time, the P.R.A.S. becomes the accepted standard.
But there is a problem. What if you don't like pot roast made according to the requirements of the P.R.A.S.? What if you simply don't like the way pot roast tastes when it's made according to the P.R.A.S.? What if you don't "positively respond" to a dinner made in accordance with this scale? What if you object to it? Does that make your opinion wrong? Or is the scale wrong?
The point I'm trying to make with this ridiculous example is that all of the hypnotic scales that are out there in the literature on hypnosis—and there is a massive amount of it—those scales ARE MADE UP by some individual who decided "this is the way it should be". THEY MADE IT UP!!!
Is there any scientific evidence that a person must exhibit eye catalepsy in order to legitimately be in a light trance? No. If you read of such evidence I suggest that you challenge it.
Question all of the models that offer "proof' and "evidence". Challenge, question, debate, investigate and explore. But don't accept "facts" just because they are given to you in a neatly organized table with footnotes, by someone with the letters "Ph.D." after their name. Because if you do, you will likely buy in to a limited model of how things are supposed to be. Accept no limitations. Accept only the results you can produce by exploring, trying new things, and constantly asking yourself, "What would happen if I tried it this way..." You'll be surprised at what delightful discoveries you'll make.
Where traditional approaches to hypnosis often use fixed techniques, rigid models and susceptibility scales to induce trance states, Covert Hypnosis teaches you to customize your hypnotic induction to the unique human being you are hypnotizing. Any every human being is unique. That's why, when you use Covert Hypnosis methods, every single induction will be different—specific to the person you are hypnotizing. Don't be concerned that you will need to learn thousands of different inductions, because you won't. You will learn a handful of very powerful tools that you will pick and choose from with each person you hypnotize. Each tool can be used in different ways. You will learn how to use each tool and when.
Covert Hypnosis grows from the roots of Ericksonian-style approaches. I say Ericksonian "style" because there are numerous different models of Milton Erickson's work. Earnest Rossi, William Hudson O'Hanlon, John Grinder and Richard Bandler, and Jay Haley are just a few of the many who have written on Erickson's unique approach to hypnosis. If you were to read one book by each of these authors you would begin to see the difference in their understanding of Erickson's philosophy and methods. You would also see a difference in the style of each author's teaching.
My development of the model of Covert Hypnosis was inspired by the work of Milton Erickson and has been influenced by many authors and teachers in the field of hypnosis. Erickson was the first practitioner of hypnosis, that I am aware of, to use indirect hypnotic approaches. Many others have further developed and expanded indirect techniques and the indirect approach is now becoming a recognized style of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, especially within the clinical world.
Covert Hypnosis is different from indirect hypnosis in the crucial aspect that Covert Hypnosis is intentionally surreptitious. Most practitioners of indirect hypnosis do not keep it a secret that they are attempting to hypnotize their subject. Therefore, the use of indirect hypnosis has usually been in a clinical setting with a subject who wants to be hypnotized and who is aware they are going to be hypnotized. The purpose of using indirect approaches is usually to decrease or bypass resistance to the traditional methods of trance induction.
With Covert Hypnosis, your subject is not aware of your hypnotic techniques. Covert Hypnosis is a clandestine art. It is for this reason that Covert Hypnosis can be used—and in fact is already being used—in negotiations, sales transactions, religious proselytism, advertisements,
court rooms, debates, and all other kinds of persuasive endeavors. It is the application of hypnotic techniques in a "secret" manner that very often affords the user of these methods a certain unobserved, but extremely powerful advantage.
Listen to All Opinions. Then,
Was this article helpful?