Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tying Things Together

One of the first things most people learn about hypnosis, whether they realize it or not, is the concept of tying two effects or stimuli together, and how it makes the hypnotist job much easier.

Even hokey depictions of hypnosis on TV usually get this one right: by tying a stimulus to a response or vice versa, the hypnotist has an easier time wording suggestions and creating an agreement snowball.

Agreement, as a noun, is how I like to describe the condition where an expectation, created by either the hypnotist or the subject, matches up to what the subject actually experiences. This convergence of expectation and reality seems to almost acquire a life of it’s own over time, leading to a situation where the subject’s mind will work to create agreement without effort from the hypnotist.

One of the key tools to generate this agreement is to tie something the subject is experiencing or doing to some effect, establishing a cause and effect relationship. Even better, is when this relationship can be looped back on itself.

The classic example, is in the Eye Lock, or Eye Catalepsy – it goes by many names, but it’s often used as a test and convincer. One of the commonly used suggestions: “The harder you try to open your eyes, the harder it becomes to open them.” By tying increased effort to increased difficulty, a subject accepting and following the suggestion will keep their eyes closed, never reaching the requisite effort level.

The big overlooked use of these relationships, however, is in the induction itself. Some hypnotists might throw ‘and’ or ‘as’ into their inductions to simply make them flow better, but they generate cause and effect relationships that help the trance.

For example, you can take something that you and the subject both know the subject is experiencing - perhaps her eyes are blinking or his body is sinking into the chair – and tie it to some effect you’d like to see, such as a warm relaxation washing over her or a feeling of calm contentment sinking in.

This secondary effect can and should be more internal, or harder to define and prove than the one it’s linked to, because in most cases you’re trying to shift the subject’s focus towards the internal, and because these are effects that you’ll never be 100% sure about just by saying they are there. Tying them to the first effect helps generate that agreement and rapport that the hypnotist needs, as any hint of that secondary effect can be noticed and enhanced by the subject, building credibility.

There are even additional benefits, as linking together sensory information helps with pacing and leading, and is one of the most direct methods for shifting state of consciousness.

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