- Remember that your partner is responding to his or her own thoughts, as well as to your suggestions. Even after an appropriate pre-hypnotic talk has been given which is designed to allay any misconceptions about the nature of a hypnotic experience, there could be many individualized reasons for your partner not being able to "get into it;" and if this should occur, the best way to find out if there is some specific obstacle is simply to ask.
- Remember that the ability to respond to suggestion is strongly influenced by the culture in which we live. Mesmerized subjects used to go into convulsions and faint in response to what they believed to be the power of "animal magnetism;" but today we know that they were responding to the power of suggestion. Nowadays, some people who are experiencing hypnosis may behave like glassy-eyed zombies -- unless, of course, it is suggested that they will behave in a completely normal manner and act as if they were wide awake! It was differences such as these which led T. R. Sarbin to define hypnosis as a social role which we accept and live out as part of our own personal reality, but which we would experience quite differently if the role were defined in a different manner. He wasn’t talking about some sort of pretense or play acting, of course, but the kind of socially agreed-upon reality which we experience every day, and which is at least in part defined by people’s beliefs and expectations -- such as the role of bride an groom at a wedding ceremony, or the role of mourner at a funeral, or the role of a person being cited for breaking a traffic ordinance.
- Remember that the ability to respond to suggesstion is also strongly influenced by the partner's own imagination. T. X. Barber has defined hypnotizability as "the ability to think along with and vividly imagine the instructions and suggestions one is given." If you are able to lose yourself in watching a sunset, or the dying embers of a campfire, or listening to a song or the words of a poem, you already know what a hypnotic experience often feels like. Similarly, most of us are able to recall the experience of becoming so absorbed in our play when we were children that we did not hear our mother’s voice calling us in for dinner. (In adults, this is referred to as a negative auditory hallucination, and is regarded as an indication of deep hypnosis!) +Kelley Woods has pointed out that little children usually have no trouble turning themselves into a monster or a fire engine. We don't learn to become good hypnotic responders, then, we un-learn it! All that your partner has to do in order to experience hypnosis is to be able tp let go and respond in a spontaneous, childlike manner which is different from the everyday, logical, practical state of mind in which we conduct most of our everyday lives.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Hypnotizability: Three Things to Remember, and One to Forget
If, after formal training in hypnosis, you should happen to have any lingering doubts about your own abilities as a hypnotist, I would like to suggest three things to remember, and one to forget.