Deepening techniques allow you to deepen the trance experience you are eliciting or have elicited in someone. Although it is true to say that you can obtain the effect of most deep-trance phenomena in a light trance or even the "waking" state (e.g., negatively hallucinating away your car keys when they were on the kitchen table all along), research has shown that you can affect people's primary experience only after training them to reach deep levels of trance and giving them the time they need to allow their bodies to adjust.
Deepening techniques are merely extensions of your induction. The emphasis is to use some form of suggestion for the person to "go deeper" into trance. You can do this by direct suggestion ("Go deeper now'."), visual imagery (going down stairways), metaphor and so on.
A useful idea when deepening trance is to begin speaking only on the subject's out breath. This has a more intense effect on the rate at which he goes into trance. You may like to experiment with using this technique during your inductions also.
Remember: To induce trance you need to be in trance. So to deepen trance you need to allow yourself to go deeper into an outside (or uptime) trance.
Counting is the classic method for deepening trance. The method is very straightforward. Just say something like:
In a moment I'm going to count from one to ten [or any other number!] ... and, with each number that I count, between one and ten, I want you to relax twice as deeply as you are now ... doubling the peace and comfort with each number... so that by the count of ten you'll be so deeply, pleasantly relaxed ... you don't need to think of anything at all ... [NB this is the hypnotic triple].
Then start to count from one to ten. After every few counts layer in suggestions for "going deeper" and "letting your mind go" or any other deepening suggestions. From time to time skip a number or reverse your count to confuse the subject. At the final count (ten in this case) confirm he is "all the way, deep-down relaxed".
Counting is just one form of direct suggestion. You may prefer to dispense with the numbers and directly suggest that the subject deepen the trance. It is advisable that you give him some kind of process to follow to deepen the trance, e.g., describe to him what it feels (or sounds or looks) like to be going even deeper, revivify a deepening experience, get him to remember a pleasant memory that will deepen the trance ... Use your imagination!
Fractionation rests on the principle that trance is a learned response. Every time someone goes into a trance, it is easier and he goes deeper than before. In fractionation you are creating a series of mini trances al) in the same sitting. Each trance will take the subject a little bit deeper than the last. The cumulative effect is a much deeper trance than would otherwise be obtained in one sitting.
Proceed as follows:
2. When the subject is in trance suggest, "In a moment I'm going to count from one to three and awaken you. At the count of three you will open your eyes and be wide awake ... but 1 don't want you to awaken any more quickly than you can go into a trance as deep as this or even deeper whenever I [use a reinduction anchor, e.g., 'touch you on the shoulder'] ... so when I touch you on the shoulder you will close your eyes, and drop into a trance as deep as this or even deeper.
3. Repeat the suggestions in Step 2 a few times for clarity.
4. Count slowly from one to three, wait for the subject to open his eyes and to reorient a little but not fully!
5. When he has reoriented a little, but not fully, touch his shoulder (i.e. use your reinduction anchor) and suggest that he's "going all the way, deep down inside ..."
6. Repeat Steps 2-5 until the desired level of trance is reached.
Note the use of hypnotic triples in Step 3. Also, the subject must not awaken fully after the count. On each "awakening" he will find it harder to reorient and open his eyes and will sink even deeper into trance when you use the reinduction anchor!
You can use anchors in any modality to help deepen a trance. All you need to suggest is that a given stimulus (a word or a physical sensation is most common) will deepen the experience of trance or relaxation that the subject is having. Use the cues repeatedly and combine them to deepen the trance. Please remember to ask permission if you intend to touch someone who is in trance. The most common deepening anchors are:
In a moment I am going to say the word "NOWwww ..." and every time you hear me say the word "NOWwww ..." I want you to relax twice as deeply as you are now, so each time you hear me say "NOWwww ..." you will relax doubly ... [etc.]
In a moment I am going to touch you on your shoulder like this ]gently squeeze one of the subject's shoulders] ... and every time you feel this [squeeze gently] you will go deeper [squeeze gently] and deeper [squeeze gently] and deeper [squeeze] ...
In a moment I am going to touch your head so that you can relax and go deeper \gently start rotating their head], deeper and deeper...
In a moment I am going to pick up your left hand a drop It into your lap. Every time you feel it drop you will go deeper ¡pick up the wnst and drop from a low level] and deeper [drop] [etc.]
Figure 3.15: Hand drop
Figure 3.15: Hand drop
Figure 3.16: Head rotation
Figure 3.16: Head rotation
In a moment I am going to touch your head like so \gently tap and lift forehead slightly] and you can relax deeper [tap] [etc.]
Figure 3.17: Touching forehead
Figure 3.17: Touching forehead
Utilising hypnotic phenomena
Whenever a subject experiences hypnotic phenomena, whether spontaneously or through elicitation, you can leverage that into deeper levels of trance. You can use any deep trance phenomenon following this process:
1. Induce trance.
2. Elicit hypnotic phenomenon, e.g., hand catalepsy (see 'Hand lévitation (standard)' induction above).
3. Make suggestions appropriate for the phenomenon, "That's right ... and that hand can continue to float there ... as you experience the delightful sensations of ... trance ... now ... I don't want that hand to lower ... any more quickly ... than you go deeper ... and deeper into trance ... so that when that hand reaches your lap ... you are in a trance ... deeper and more comfortable ... than you've yet to experience ..."
4. Continue with similar hypnotic patter as the subject responds to your suggestion (in this case lowers his hand into his lap).
The more phenomena you interweave, the more profound the deepening experience tends to be. So, for instance, "That hand can float down only as quickly as your unconscious reminds you of a pleasant memory or a fond dream from another time, something with a lesson of importance for you to be aware of now so that as you go deeper you can enjoy that memory and when that hand touches your lap that dream will end with your trance experience being ten times deeper NOWmuw ..."
This uses a form of visualisation/imagery to deepen the trance. This deep-ener can be used in conjunction with others (e.g., after staircase/lift technique or fractionation). The "favourite place" is one you can elicit from the subject before you start the trancework, or you can use universal experiences such as being on a beach, in a forest or by a pool. If you adopt the latter approach, be sure to calibrate to your subject's responses. 1 le may be phobic of water and find the seaside distressing, or he may have other negative associations to forests, mountains or any other scene you may arbitrarily choose! If so, change the scene at once!
1. When the subject is in trance use a construct such as going on a journey, to "imagine being in a place", to lead the subject's imagination to the chosen idyllic scene, "Imagine going through a doorway, now, to a beautiful mountain pool like the ones you have seen in Canada ..."
2. Now describe the scene. As in the "3,2,1 VAK technique" above, mingle representational systems so your subject has a full experience of what he can see, hear, feel, smell and even taste in that place.
3. As you point out things for him to see, hear and feel, continue to inter-laiv suj'gcstion lor "relaxing deeper" and "going deeper into trance". I Ins will link his current experience to the process of going deeper.
Imagine the scene yourself and describe what would have to be there. See, hear and feel it yourself to bring it more to life!
This is a classic, and very simple, alternative to the counting method of deepening:
1. Tell the subject to imagine standing at the top of a staircase or in a lift. There can be as many steps or floors as you like. Most people use ten or twenty.
2. Tell the subject, "Each step you take down [or floor you descend] will take you one level deeper into trance."
3. Now tell the subject to start going down, or to press the elevator button and watch the numbers go down slowly. As in the counting induction, count the numbers out loud for him and interweave suggestions for going deeper.
Remember: On the way out of trance reverse the process, i.e. walk up the stairs or take the lift up!
This is similar to the revivification induction you practised earlier. The main difference is that you will use this once the subject is already in trance.
The process is simple. Instruct the subject to remember everything about the last time he was deeply in trance. What did he look like, what did he hear, who was present, what was he thinking, what did it feel like? Continue until he shows signs of deepening trance. In addition you can get him to "step into your body as it was then" to associate further into the experience. If you know about a previous deep trance he has experienced, describe the crucial elements to him.
This was one of Erickson's preferred methods of deepening trance. It is in essence a form of age regression and deepener combined. Et works on the same principle as revivification:
], Begin talking about universal childhood experiences. Erickson usually used the experience of first going to school, "When you first went to school, you may have started in prep school or in primary school or later still ..."
2. Talk about learning activities that the person must have gone through. The easiest of these is to use the alphabet. Almost everyone in the Western world has had the experience of learning to read and write. "And at some point you had to learn the alphabet... you had to learn that those furiny lines and sqniggles had meaning ... you had to learn how to recognise a big 'A' from a little 'a'... the differences between an 'A' and a 'B' ... a 'W' and an 'M' ..."
3. Co into as much detail of a child's ordinary learning process at that age (alphabet, numbers, reading, writing, painting) as you want to in order to deepen the trance.
4. Make the transition between the early-learning set and the trancework. You can do this by following a theme that they have in common, such as learning, "And you learned to read and write by doing so many different things ... and those learnings have stayed with you all of your life ... and you can learn in so many different ways ... for instance ..."
This is a very versatile and powerful hypnotic process. You can use it as an induction, deepener or for age regression equally well. It is well worth mastering a standard version for yourself that you can adapt to the subject in front of you.
Was this article helpful?