Warping the Mind – The Power of Hypnotic Phenomena
Hypnosis trainers have a saying:
“When the conscious will and the imagination conflict, the imagination will always win.”
This is the key to understand hypnotic phenomena, the most dramatic and visually stunning element of hypnosis demonstrations and hypnotherapy.
Hypnotic phenomena occurs when the imagination takes over the conscious mind, allowing somebody to do things they can’t normally do, or preventing them from doing something they normally can.
Nearly all ‘real’ stage hypnosis demonstrations (those not based purely on social compliance) and all hypnotic ‘suggestibility tests’ and convincers are in fact examples of hypnotic or “trance” phenomena.
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Hypnotic phenomena looks amazing and often quite ‘magical’ but here’s the secret many hypnotists won’t tell you:
Hypnosis is a safe and natural process, therefore all hypnotic phenomena occurs naturally in everyday life.
Sound hard to believe? Here are some of the most exciting examples of hypnotic phenomena, and where they naturally occur.
Amnesia and Memory Magic.
You’ll have seen hypnotists cause someone to (temporarily!) forget their own name or a particular number. This can be very entertaining, a classic is for the hypnotist to cause someone to ‘lose’ the number 2 (or any number), count their fingers, and discover to their dismay that they have eleven!
Where does this occur in everyday life? Have you ever had a name or phone number or address on the tip of your tongue, and even though you know it’s there and you know what it is, you just cannot access it? That is the exact same process.
Catalepsy and Ideo-dynamic Movement.
Catalepsy is when you temporarily lose the ability to move a particular part of the body, a common example of this is the arm lock or hand-stick, where the hypnotist causes someone’s hand to become ‘glued’ to a particular surface or to lock rigid in the air. In real life this happens when we lose awareness of a particular part of the body, such as when we sit in an uncomfortable position only to later notice that our leg has ‘gone to sleep’ or become so enthralled in a conversation that we forget all about what we’re holding in our hand.
Ideo-dynamic movement is automatic, unconscious movement, for example hypnotic arm levitiation. In everyday life this occurs when, for example, you scratch your nose without thinking about it, blink or breath automatically, or instinctively react to a shock or stimulus.
Often considered the ‘holy grail’ of hypnosis, positive hallucinations occur when you can see something which is not in fact there, and negative hallucinations occur when you cannot see something which in fact is there. Believe it or not these both occur in our everyday life on a regular basis.
Have you ever been looking for your wallet, only to find that it was in your hand or right in front of you the whole time? How about when you see a stranger in a crowd and are convinced it’s someone you know, and until you get closer and realize they look totally different? The flash of recognition you got was your subconscious mind filling in or ‘hallucinating’ the other details for you!
How to DO this and create hypnotic phenomena at will
Believe it or not, but you’ve just learned the most important element!
That is revivification. In order to show the mind what you want it to accomplish, tell your subject or volunteer about the real world scenarios in which they would have experience this phenomena. If you’re going for name amnesia, talk about the tip of the tongue phenomenon, if you’re going for a hallucination, talk about the ‘lost wallet’ trance from above. You get the idea.
The basic process is:
1: Create a responsive state of mind. Do this through building compliance, and in most settings by creating the context with a typical hypnotic induction.
2: Further build response potential by issuing a lot of small, easy instructions (such as how to position their body, their breathing and such like) which they can easily comply with.
3: Using the revivification method, pyramid your way up from the simple, physical phenomena to the more complex mental ones. Begin with something simple like an arm levitation, lead that into a hand stick, from there into a name amnesia and, if appropriate, hallucinations and beyond.
Hypnotic phenomena is powerful, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t simple.
Keep it straight forward, and be willing to try and fail, and soon enough you’ll be amazed by the success you get.
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