Real Live Hypnosis (Part 3)

1 August 2019/ Demonstrations and Explanations


These are the first hypnotic demonstrations I did with Kylie. So, of course I started with a "responsiveness test."

The great thing about this test is it does several things at once.  It doesn't just allow the hypnotist to easily see the responsiveness of the subject.  It also gives the subject a pressure-free situation in which to experience some of the phenomenology of hypnosis.  Things like catalepsy, ideomotor responses and the power of imagination are great sources of new experience. Trance work is really all about new experience.

And then the subject can more readily get the idea that unconscious processes and trance is not so distant from experience as we usually think.

Rapid Induction

The second demonstration is of a rapid induction called the "arm pull induction." This induction is designed to get eye-closure and trance entry quickly.   The novelty of a brief disequilibrium caused by pulsing the arm while stabilising the upper body was enough in this case to obtain eye-closure. These things can be done gently very effectively.  Then, bridging into relaxation and trance states is easier.

With some people, stronger kinds of novelty are required to alter their state and this leads to the version of this induction where people shout "SLEEP!" at the tops of their voices at their poor unsuspecting hypnotic subject and half wrench the arm out of its socket.

Alternative Approaches

I don't know what others think, but to me this seems a risky approach unless you really know how the subject is likely to react. This volunteer subject was very responsive to the arm-pull induction and required no more extreme version anyway.  But of course, not everyone is.  Yet the same people who are less responsive to these types of inductions are usually very responsive to something else. I'm not convinced the more shock-and-awe approach is ever required, although it might be fun for some people.

Often Anecdotes and Stories can also induce an altered state.  And the people who are unresponsive to the direct induction approach are often very responsive to those. Unfortunately, these don't make for good, short, big-bang-for-your-buck videos. However, when I get a chance, I'll make something like that if anyone is interested in seeing a real therapeutic induction.


I went ahead and used the altered state to bring about a hypermnesia of small but good part of her history.  It wasn't a very "deep" altered state but it was enough. She was able to amplify her good feelings and provide some resources for herself into the future.

My style of therapy does use regression.  This is one of the main ways. Like many other modern hypnotherapists, I am not a believer in the necessity or even efficacy of revivification of trauma or of "regression-to-cause." 

Discovering a cause can be useful, sometimes.  But not always. Just because you know the cause of a problem doesn't mean you know how to fix it.  Human beings are not simple machines.  Sometimes insights of that sort can be useful, but more often than not they change nothing at all.

Instead, a person's history can be a panoply of resources if accessed in the right way.  No one grows up without gaining skills and strategies.  Often people overlook these things.  Yet they use them, automatically, every day.  People overlook them precisely because they execute their strategies so skilfully and employ their skills so strategically. 

Yet you can break down every one of these automatic processes. Or you can amplify them. Or you can rebuild them into new processes. So this kind of resourcing has countless applications to the quality of someone's life. 

In this case, there was limited space and time to do anything really interesting.  Perhaps I'll get a chance to demonstrate some of the uses of kinaesthetic and affect amplification in the future. 

Hypnosis for life... Your mind design - for better living.

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