Belief systems which orient an individual to person, place, time, and events may be suggested as being different, allowing the participant to mentally transcend present realities.Emotions may be enriched, intensified, weakened, or combined with others.Sensations and physical perceptions may be suggested and experienced with an intensity approaching those of real events.Thoughts and images may be created and guided in response to explicit or indirect suggestions.Motives may either be suggested directly or implied as a consequence of other events.Expectations may be structured concerning the manner in which the participant will look forward to and remember suggested events which will occur in the future, and the manner in which suggested experiences will subsequently be recalled and interpreted in memory.
Mystical and Transcendental Experience
People of many different religious traditions have attested to the life‑changing potential of mystical and transcendental experiences involving contact with a consciousness beyond one's own. In one study of the Fundamentalist Christian experience of salvation, for example, subjects readily attested to both the personal reality of the experience and its subsequent influence upon their lives, although such experiences did not seem to be universally attainable and did appear to be related to the ability to respond to suggestion (Gibbons & DeJarnette, 1972; Gibbons, 1988).
In the first example, visualizations are provided which make use of imagery drawn from nature. The second example involves visualizations of a visit to a cathedral. Of course,the subject matter need not be specifically related to a cathedral: it can also be a mosque, a temple, an ashram, or any other situation which the subject finds spiritually meaningful. The two visualization exercises may either be presented singly or in sequence, one blending into the other as the client walks down the path until it leads to a Medieval town and the client comes to the doors of the place he or she is to visit next.
For ease of illustration, the suggestions presented below have been provided in the B-E-S-T-M-E order. In actual use, BEST ME suggestions may be administered in any order and repeated as often as necessary; and each step in the procedure may incorporate elements of the others with modifications which contribute to the total effect, much as one might repeat the verses and choruses of a song. (If it sounds complicated to use, it isn't! I usually count back and forth on six fingers to remind myself that I'm touching all six portions of the BEST ME Technique as I am improvising an induction with a client.)
A Visit to a Cathedral
Lawrence (M. A. Lawrence, personal communication, June 27, 2003) reports the successful application of the Best Me Technique with nursing home residents who are dealing with end-of-life issues.
Gibbons, D. (1975, August). Hypnotic vs. hyperempiric induction: An experimental comparison. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Chicago.
Gibbons, D. (2001). Experience as an art form: Hypnosis, hyperempiria, and the best me technique. San Jose, CA: Authors Choice Press.
Gibbons, D. E. (2003, July). The best me technique for constructing hypnotic suggestions Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the British Societies of Medical, Clinical, Dental, and Experimental Hypnosis, London.
Sarbin, T. R. (1998). Believed-in Imaginings. New York: Barnes & Noble.
Shor, R. E. & Orne, E. C. (1962) Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, Form A. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.