This is part 2 in a series on Hypnosis. You can read Part 1 here.
How do I get there from here?
It’s easy to see how we have come to imagine hypnosis as being some dark, sinister tool used by evil villains who want to force us to do things against our will, but that is simply not based in reality. In fact, hypnosis isn’t magic at all, it’s science. If you take away all the mystery, hypnosis is the act of helping someone achieve a state of pure, unfettered focus.
As I mentioned in the Introduction, no one can be hypnotized against their will. The process of hypnosis cannot happen instantly, and it is almost impossible without some time and conversation – mental foreplay, if you will. That means in order to hypnotize someone, I would first need their consent. Of course, consent is paramount for anything, but when it comes to mind play in which I am intentionally and actively accessing someone’s deepest self, there is absolutely no room for doubt.
The R4 Equation
So how do I make hypnosis happen? Once I have consent, the process of hypnosis itself requires four building blocks that I call my R4 Equation: Reminder + Repetition + Rhythm = Relaxation. Each block builds on the next, and they work together to achieve the desired state.
A reminder is a cue or trigger. While reminders are commonly verbal (auditory), they can be anything that involves the senses. What the reminder is depends on the hypnotist and the subject. I have even successfully created reminders related to specific scents like my favorite fragrance, sandalwood.
Hypnosis tends to require repetition. This can be a repeated word or phrase, or it might be a soothing and repetitive sound. Repetition is a building block that makes it possible to get to the next step, because repetition triggers a reaction in the brain that picks up where the reminder leaves off, continuing the process of drawing absolute focus.
Rhythm often works in tandem with repetition. A repeated pattern might be something like the sound of a clock ticking, or the click-clack of a metronome. It might even hearken back to the earliest days of the traveling hypnotist shows and employ the use of a swinging pocket watch. I use a variety of rhythmic tools, tailored to the individual and to the desired outcome. Music, for example, is something I often use as a rhythm tool, because it is a good bridge to the next and final R in the equation.
I use a process known as Progressive Relaxation in which I have my subject focus on each muscle group or area of the body, in turn tensing and relaxing them from head to toe. The ultimate goal of hypnosis is to achieve a deep state of total relaxation for the subject, and PR is an easy and accessible way to focus attention on the body toward that goal. This is sometimes portrayed in movies and television by such things as the subject believing they can’t move their arms or legs. This is a real medical phenomenon known as catalepsy, in which the subject reports a loss of sensation or an inability to control their body.
You may find it interesting to know that I use my R4 Equation on this website. There are reminders, repetition, rhythm, and relaxation cues throughout the site. The idea is not to hypnotize you toward any nefarious personal goal, but to augment your comfort with the topics about which I write in order to help people feel less anxious about subjects that may not be well known or comfortable for them.
Hope you’re enjoying this glimpse into my playground of hypnosis and mind play. I’ll write more soon.