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61 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2009 :  09:52:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've been working the past few days with two audios; one is from my most recent session with a good hypnotherapist, for theraputic reasons. The other is purely for deep trance conditioning, which is more for recreation, because a growing part of me desires to experience stage hypnosis the way a somnambulist would.

Here is my problem: I believe in being honest to the best of my (conscious) knowledge. I have no problem with role-playing or pretending, because it's understood they are not supposed to be real. I do, however, have a problem with "faking it" and passing it off as reality (probably why I loath so-called reality shows).

So, there I am listening to the theraputic tape from my session, and I am asked to recall a time when I felt good about myself, and then concentrate on that feeling. My mind settled on a memory from high school, where I was up in front of the class doing a speech or book report. The problem was, every time my gaze shifted, parts of the classroom changed. I also could not remember what the speech was about, who the teacher was, and could not make out any of the faces of the students.

None of this should have mattered, since I knew I had done such speeches in high school (and was very good at it). However, my mind suddenly rejected this particular visualization (and the emotions attached to it) as manufacturered, and pulled me completely out of trance.

Later on, I tried my hand at the deep-trance audio. As I've been working with theraputic hypnosis CDs for the last 3 weeks already, I figured it would be easy to see results from this CD. The induction and deepening was prety standard.

I get to the part where I am supposed to feel my hands getting warmer, then take that warmth and spread it throughout my body. I concentrated on my hands, mentally testing them for the warm feeling. When I didn't feel anything happening, I started to will the warm feeling into my hands. Just like with the theraputic CD, a part of my mind suddenly rejected it as faking, and woke me from trance.

Despite my past successes, I am starting to feel frustrated. Everything I've read on the subject suggests I should already be able to reach and maintain deep levels of trance after having 21+ consecutive days of practice. If the claims are to be believed, I should have achieved it already by the 2nd session with a trained hypnotherapist.

Yes, here I am, stuck at a medium level of trance, with only fleeting glimpses of deep trance. Even then, the deeper levels only seem to happen when entering or waking up from sleep, making it nearly impossible for me to have the presence of mind to "lock in" the state.

I am also finding myself starting to doubt my past experiences. If these two most recent experiences were "faked", I find myself wondering how many of the other experiences I've had with hypnosis were equally faked, even if it was for my own benefit.

I want desperately to get past this. Some may not approve of my reasons for wanting to go deeper. I crave the experiences, including that of actively participating in a stage hypnosis show.

I don't want to consciously "fake it". I want my mind to respond fully and automatically to suggestion while under. If the hypnotist says I am in a fishing contest, I want to BE in the fishing contest; not just playing a very imaginative game of charades.

Am I just wasting my time?

Edited by - nispelsm on 09/03/2009 10:06:29 AM


21 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2009 :  10:44:50 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sounds like you are experiencing interference from your conscious mind's "critical factor" while in hypnosis. Maybe with your hypnotherapist you can set up an "anchor" such as making a fist, putting 2 fingers together, etc. to go deeper into hypnosis - bypassing your conscious mind's "critical factor" while in hypnosis and you sense "critical factor" interference (unless it is something really against your moral integrity). According to Elman, hypnosis includes "bypassing the critical factor".
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61 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2009 :  11:11:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is the rub. My moral compass is opposed to faking something and presenting it was real. I am opposed to lying, even if it's for my benefit.

This does not affect role-playing or fantasy, simply because these are not presented as reality.

But, it does seem to be interfering with my hypnosis sessions. Any response in trance that my mind believes was initiated consciously is starting to be rejected as a fake hypnotic response. My mind is starting to say, "That was a conscious command! You aren't really hypnotized!"

There is also the thing that when it comes to suggestions like "feel your hand getting warmer", the idea is that you ARE NOT supposed to use your will to make it happen. However, I also don't want to "fail" at the suggestion.

My therapist has installed an anchor designed to return me to the same state I was in when it was installed, then go deeper. However, even that trigger is now at risk, because it is not 100% automatic. I have to consciously tell myself to allow it to activate, if I am not already in trance.


I've been mulling things over, such as *why* it's so important to me that it not feel like I am just playing charades when participating in stage hypnosis. I realized that quite simply, if it was just a matter of playing a game of charades, I wouldn't *need* the context of hypnosis to get up there and do it. I may be normally shy, but in the context of a game, I have no issue following the spirit of the game.

However, to me, there would be no point to going into hypnosis if I wasn't going to do or experience something different to what I experience in everyday life.

Edited by - nispelsm on 09/03/2009 12:59:06 PM
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21 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2009 :  1:30:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
"Pretend!" "Role-Play!" "Fake it until you make it!" "Tell that critical voice to 'shut-up'!" You're not doing anything wrong. Get the positive intention behind the critical voice and work together with it to find a way to express the positive intention without interfering with your hypnosis work and "re-frame" the so-called "faking it" to "practicing, learning, role-playing and pretending".
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61 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2009 :  3:18:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think that is part of my problem. I've been at this for almost a month solid now, and that part of my mind has suddenly become VERY insistent that it's time to stop role-playing.

The things I've read up to this point claim that everyone should be able to reach deep trance by the end of a 21-day training program. You can guess what that implies about my ability. Even worse, its the exact opposite of what I expected would happen when I first started. I went into this believing I would go under quickly and deeply. I have the quickly part, but the "deeply" part remains elusive.

I've already scheduled another session with my therapist. I *need* an objective opinion, and a different way to go into trance. Relaxation just doesn't seem to be enough. I'm already so physically relaxed by the end of a regular session that I have trouble moving or supporting my own weight for the first minute after coming out.

I really wish I hadn't read so much on the subject. I did it initially to debunk my own fears about it, and then to learn as much as I could with the intent of getting better. Now it seems like all I did was sabotaged myself.

Edited by - nispelsm on 09/03/2009 3:25:58 PM
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61 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2009 :  6:05:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ok, I need to apologize for my manner. I believe I got the mental slap in the face I needed. I happened across an article, involving another overly-analytical person, with a situation similar to my own. The summary of the conversation the person had:

Therapist: "So, since you are aware some part of your mind was lifting your arm, that your response was fake?"

Patient: "Yes."

Therapist: "OK, but at the moment while you were imagining the balloons tied to your arm, how did it *feel*? At that moment, did it feel like there really were balloons tied to your arm, and that they were pulling it up?"

Patient: (short pause) "Well, yes."

Therapist: "Isn't that what you wanted to feel?"

Patient: "Yes."

Therapist: "Then what does the rest matter?"

I just sat there staring blankly at the screen for a few minutes. It's going to take a bit for it to fully sink in, I think, but there it is.
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61 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2009 :  4:32:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I had an emergency session with my hynpotherapist yesterday, after having an intense (nearly 3 hours long) negative emotional reaction related to my reasons for trying hypnosis. I had never before felt such an intense mix of fear, sorrow, regret, and self-directed anger. Just as I thought I had them under control, they would surge up again.

The confidence and stress issues, and fascination, that brought me to try hypnosis were not the real issues that needed addressing. During my emotional outburst above, I was forced to take a long, hard look at several aspects of myself, and found that I really didn't like what I saw.

My therapist was gracious enough to see me on very short notice. I had a hard time relating to her what had happened, as talking about it brought those emotions back to the surface. But, she helped keep me calm enough to get through it, and identify the things that I really need to address.

We had a long talk about my motiviations, and why it was so important to me to experience the phenomena seen in stage hypnosis. Well, they say you fanstasize the most about the things you are not. In my case, I am analytical, always need to feel in control of myself and my surroudings, and afraid of looking or doing something foolish. Stage hypnosis is nearly the exact opposite of that. My subconscious latched onto the images of people up there having fun, and said "I want to be more like THAT!"

The implication is that I effectively hypnotized myself into going up on stage, but once I was up there, deeper-rooted behaviors took over. She believes that my subconscious is using that desire to prompt me to change those aspects of my personailty that are holding me back. My emotional outburst was my mind showing me in no uncertain terms that I have unresolved issues which need to be addressed.

So, I start my real hypnosis therapy on Tuesday. I'm a bit scared, actually. She has warned me I will be digging through some very unpleasant stuff, and it's not going to be easy to get through. But, I know I need to do this, or it's going rear its head at a later time when I don't have the support I need.

I consider myself pretty lucky to have found her. She has exceeded my expectations, both during the sessions and between. Right from the first session, she knew exactly how to put me at ease. She answered my questions graciously and candidly during the pre-talk, offering examples to demonstrate what she was saying. She interacted with me the entire time, offering encouragement at every step of the process. I've thanked her about ten times by now in the last 2-3 weeks, and I have a strong feeling the trend is going to continue.
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724 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2009 :  4:55:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A fear of not having control stops you from "letting go" and having fun? Yep. It can be tough stuff to work through, but well worth the effort.

Keeping the negative stuff under control can be a full time emotional/mental job.

This is what hypnosis is really about. The stage stuff is meaningless fluff.

It sounds like she knows what she is doing and you will benefit from the work for the rest of your life.

Patrick Glancy, CI, BCH
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87 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2009 :  4:28:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I may be dating myself, but I use a technique that involves the Cone of Silence, from the Get Smart TV series. I have found that when I imagine the Cone of Silence coming down over me, all interference stops, regardless of it's origin. Even if they are thoughts in my own mind. I have been able to use this to bypass the critical factor.

Many times I tell my regression clients if you think you are making it up, that's fine, just keep making it up. Allow it to happen and it will!

Mark V Johnson
Clinical Hypnotherapist
Certified Master Trainer
Award Winning Instructor

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61 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2009 :  10:31:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, to sum up the past few months:

I got to the root of the depression problem: years of mental and physical abuse, starting at 5 years old when I bore witness to my mom's boyfriend beating her so bad she ended up in the hospital. That particular memory was too intense for the Timeline therapy she used (I simply could not detach emotionally from it), so we had to switch to something with less rumination.

As for my critical factor not letting go, I've discovered it has almost nothing to do with my "analytical" nature. A chance face-to-face encounter with a hypnotist on another forum gave me new insight.

When we met, he did the usual pre-talk, and started off with some parts therapy to talk with the part of me blocking suggestions. I pictured that part as a stubborn, overprotective old man. Not surprisingly, it took a bit of compromise to get that part to relent a little for the remainder of the session.

What the hypnotist did during our session astounded me. He too me down, had me open my eyes, and asked to work with my arm. As I sat there eyes open, he pinched, pulled, and twisted the skin up and down my arm, and I felt nothing! Strange thing was, he never actually suggested my arm to go numb.

Afterward, he told me I was actually a somnambulist, but over the years, my mind had put up a barrier to protect itself from the constant negative conditioning I received during my youth. If I recall correctly, the term "hyper-vigilance" was brought up during the conversation. The proof he offered, was that full anesthesia is usually only attainable in those that go deep into trance. He said if I could negotiate with "Mr No", I could convince that part to lower the barrier in specific situations (like hypnosis).

Well, he seems to be right, except for one tiny detail. More recently, I had a new insight. "Mr No" isn't a stubborn old man. Something another hypnotist mentioned sank in at some point, I began seeing that part for what it really was...a terrified child, hiding behind the mask of an overbearing adult.

My whole method of self-hypnosis has changed since then. I now talk to that part with the intent to comfort and reassure, rather than trying to negotiate like I would with an adult. Slowly, but surely, it seems to be working.

I am relaxing mentally a bit more now, and my mind doesn't seem to "snap to attention" as much as it used to, while doing meditation or listening to my self-hypnosis audios. Responsiveness to direct suggestion and PHS is still hit-or-miss, but I've been having more spontaneous phenomena happening, like having a mental image suddenly snap into focus, and I see it (as in, with my eyes open) for a split second.

And, despite several people trying to steer me away from it, I've started working with a new hypnotherapist, who likes to do the experiential side of hypnosis in addition to therapy. As she puts it, each form of hypnosis has its own unique benefit for the client wishing to experience it.
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724 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2009 :  10:42:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yeah man, that's what I said in September :)

"A fear of not having control stops you from "letting go" and having fun? Yep. It can be tough stuff to work through, but well worth the effort."

That is the young scared child you are referring to.j

I'm glad things are working well for you!

As a side note.. to toot my own horn.. and use an example of the protective child part -

I just had a client contact me about a session we did over two years ago. She wrote the story and it was published in a magazine... I've posted the story here - http://hypnosisonline.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1527

Patrick Glancy, CI, BCH
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61 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2009 :  10:34:57 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow, that is a powerful story.

As for my own terified inner child, he won't tell/show me what is making him so scared. I suspect it's the same reason I couldn't go through with the Timeline therapy; bringing up the memories also drag up a ton of buried emotion that is too much to handle all at once.

What insight I have gleaned is that part feels very vulnerable, and sees hypnosis as exposing that vulnerable state to a stranger. With that in mind, my self-hypnosis work has turned to comforting him:
- letting him know that he is stronger than he realizes
- That I (the conscious part) will always be there by his side, anytime he needs me.
- To talk with and take cues from his sibling (the part that *wants* to experience hypnotic phenomena) when in doubt.
- Most importantly, that the hypnotist is there to help him get rid of the bad things, and experience good things in their place; that's the hypnotist's job.

And, I've held true to my word. Anytime I am meditating or listening to a recording, and I feel that anxiety, I immediately picture myself standing next him, ready with a hug or extended hand. It sounds rather corny writing about it, but the feeling I get from doing it feels pretty good.
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724 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2009 :  11:07:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's great : )

The good end goal for the situation you describe would be parts "integration" - so the young you no longer feels alone.. not back in that time anymore... etc.. there are several elements to that.

Essentially, the stronger the emotions with a memory, the more vivid the memory stays. The more vivid the memory is, the more it is like that young you is still back living in that time...

So the work is about reframing/updating the associated emotions and integrating that part of you back with the 'current' you.

Patrick Glancy, CI, BCH
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