Before offering a discussion of deep-trance induction, an effort will be made to describe deep hypnosis itself. It must be recognized that a description, no matter how accurate and complete, will not substitute for actual experience, nor can it be made applicable for all subjects. Any description of a deep trance must necessarily vary in minor details from one subject to another. There can be no absolute listing of hypnotic phenomena as belonging to any one level of hypnosis. Some subjects will develop phenomena in the light trance usually associated with the deep trance, and others in a deep trance will show some of the behavior commonly regarded as characteristic of the light trance. Some subjects who in light trances show behavior usually typical of the deep trance may show a loss of that same behavior when deep hypnosis actually develops. For example, subjects who easily develop amnesias in the light trance may just as easily fail to develop amnesia in the deep trance. The reason for such apparent anomalies lies in the entirely different psychological orientation of the deeply hypnotized person as contrasted to his orientation in lighter stages of hypnosis. At the lighter levels, there is an admixture of conscious understandings and expectations and a certain amount of conscious participation. In the deeper stages, functioning is more properly at an unconscious level of awareness.
In the deep trance, the subject behaves in accordance with unconscious patterns of awareness and response which frequently differ from his conscious patterns. Especially is this so in naive subjects whose lack of experience with hypnosis and whose actual ignorance of hypnotic phenomena unwittingly interfere with the development of deep-trance phenomena until experience permits a diffusion of understandings from the conscious to the unconscious mind.
An example frequently encountered is the difficulty of teaching good naive subjects to talk in the profound trance. In the light trance, they can speak more or less readily; but in the deep trance, where their unconscious mind is functioning directly, they find themselves unable to talk without awakening. They have had a lifetime of experience in which talking is done at a conscious level, arid have no realization that talking is possible at a purely unconscious level of awareness. Subjects often need to be taught to realize their capabilities to fuhbtibii adequately whether at a conscious or an unconscious level of awareness. It is tot this reason that the author has so often emphasized the need of spending 4-8 dt hiore hours in inducing trances and training subjects to function adequately, fclëidit attempting hypnotic experimentation or therapy.
Contradictory or unsatisfactory results in experimental wolrk j-fetjtilring deep hypnosis in which verbalization by the subject is necessary have H&tiilted from the subject's need to return to a lighter stage of hypnosis in order td Vtifcdiize, without the experimenter's realizing this. Yet teaching the subject how td ttsiiiàiti ixl a deep trance and to talk and function as adequately as at a conscious letel of awareness is relatively easy. The subject who seems unable to learn to talk tfhlle in the deep trance can be taught automatic writing, to read silently that writing, and to mouth silently as he reads; it is a Relatively simple step to convert the motor activity of writing and mouthing into actual speaking. A little practice and, contrary to the subject's past experiential understandings, speech becomes possible at the unconscious level of functioning. The situation is similar in relation to other types of hypnotic phenomena: Pain is a conscious experience, hence analgesia or anesthesia often need to be taught in a like fashion. The same may be true for hallucinations, regression, amnesia, or other hypnotic phenomena. Some subjects require extensive instruction in a number of regards; others can themselves transfer learnings in one field to a problem of another sort.
The above is an introduction to a description of the nature of a deep trance: Deep hypnosis is that level of hypnosis that permits the subject to function adequately and directly at an unconscious level of awareness without interference by the conscious mind.
The subject in a deep trance functions in accord with unconscious understandings, independently of the forces to which his conscious mind ordinarily responds; he behaves in accordance with the reality which exists in the given hypnotic situation for his unconscious mind. Conceptions, memories, and ideas constitute his reality world while he is in the deep trance. The actual external environmental reality with which he is surrounded is relevant only insofar as it is utilized in the hypnotic situation. Hence, external reality does not necessarily constitute concrete objective matter possessed of intrinsic values. A subject can write automatically on paper and read what he has written. He can hallucinate equally well the paper, pencil and motor behavior of writing and then read that "writing." The intrinsic significance of the concrete pencil and paper derives solely from the subjective experiential processes within the subject; once used, they cease to be a part of his total hypnotic situation. In light trances or in the waking state, pencil and paper are objects possessed of significances in addition to those significances peculiar to the individual mind.
The reality of the deep trance must necessarily be in accord with the fundamental needs and structure of the total personality. Thus it is that the profoundly neurotic person in the deep trance can, in that situation, be freed from his otherwise overwhelming neurotic behavior, and thereby a foundation laid for his therapeutic reeducation in accord with the fundamental personality. The overlay of neurotic-ism, however extensive, does not distort the central core of the personality, though it may disguise and cripple the manifestations of it. Similarly, any attempt to force upon the hypnotic subject, however deep the trance, suggestions unacceptable to his total personality leads either to a rejection of the suggestions or to a transformation of them so that they can then be satisfied by pretense behavior (so often accepted as valid in attempted studies of hypnotically induced antisbdal behavior). The need to appreciate the subject as a person possessing individuality which must be respected cannot be overemphasized. Such appreciation and iespect constitute a foundation for recognizing and differentiating conscious and uncbiiscious behavior. Only an awareness of what constitutes behavior deriving frotii the unconscious mind of the subject enables the hypnotist to induce and to maiiitain deep trances.
For convenience of conceptualization only, deep trances may be classified as (a) somnambulistic, and (b) stuporous. In the well-trained subject, the former is that type of trance in which the subject is seemingly awake and functioning adequately, freely, and well in the total hypnotic situation, in a manner similar to that of a nonhypnotized person operating at the waking level. A well-trained subject is not meant one laboriously taught to behave in a certain way, but rather a subject trained to rely completely upon his own unconscious patterns of response and behavior.
An illustrative example is the instance in which the author, as a teaching device for the audience, had a subject in a profound somnambulistic trance conduct a lecture and demonstration of hypnosis, (unaided by the author) before a group of psychiatrists and psychologists. Although many in the audience had had experience with hypnosis, none detected that she was in a trance. A similar instance concerns a psychiatrist, a student and subject of the author's, who, without the author's previous knowledge and as a personal experiment in autohypnosis, conducted a staif meeting and presented a case history successfully without her trance state being detected. However, once apprised of the situation, the audience' could readily recognize the tremendous differences between ordinary conscious behavior and trance behavior, and repetitions of this procedure were detected.
The stuporous trance is characterized primarily by passive responsive behavior, marked by both psychological and physiological retardation. Spontaneous behavior and initiative, so characteristic of the somnambulistic state if allowed to develop, are lacking. There is likely to be a marked perseveration of incomplete responsive behavior, and there is a definite loss of ability to appreciate the self. Medical colleagues asked by the author to examine subjects in a stuporous trance without knowledge of the hypnotic situation have repeatedly offered the tentative opinion of a narcotized state. In the author's experience, the stuporous trance is difficult to obtain in many subjects, apparently because of their objection to losing their awareness of themselves as persons. Its use by the author has been limited primarily to the study of physiological behavior and to its therapeutic application in certain types of profoundly neurotic patients.
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