Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Knowing your Subject

Just the other day, I got a chance for a 4 hour trial session with one of my friends. I like to experiment with new methods when there’s no other objectives to the trance, so that I don’t feel hampered or pressured, and neither does the subject.

This particular friend has had some rather interesting experiences with self hypnosis in the past, so she might not be the best person on which to judge the effectiveness of new hypnotic techniques, but she’s definitely capable of giving good feedback.

I’ve hypnotized her once before, but it had been awhile, so I talked to her again about her self-hypnosis experiences and what she already knew worked for her. If I had been in a hurry to put her into a trance, it would have been easy enough to lead her while she was practically reliving her trance states, but I figured it best to pay more attention to what she was saying.

When she described the self hypnosis she uses for sleep, she told me that she liked to imagine herself on a beach, alone, and how she could almost see herself sinking into the sand. What she used, though she didn’t know it then, was a progressive relaxation induction, and she would normally be asleep before she finished.

With this information, I ran an informal experiment, inducing her in several ways. One was to have her recall a recent hypnosis session and use the natural tendency to shift into a past state to remember it’s sensations to help shift her fully into that state in the present. This induction was rather kinesthetic with a lot of proofs of trance. Another method I used was to have her use a visual focus, and to eventually picture it in her mind’s eye as I used pacing and leading to bring her under.

Now, the second one worked much better, even though I used similar techniques in both, and she was skeptical of how effective the second method would be. The important part was that I matched the reference frame she is accustomed to when undergoing hypnosis.

All it took was a little listening beforehand. If your subject doesn’t have much hypnosis experience, maybe ask them to describe a dream they’ve had, or their favorite place.

If you can work flexibly with your subject, you’ll turn out to be a much more effective and respected hypnotist.

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