The material that follows is presented largely as it was taken from seminar tape recordings, since the purpose is to show how individual hypnotic techniques vary. The important thing for the student of hypnosis to bear in mind is that each individual approach should be studied and evaluated carefully, in an effort to determine which aspects of the techniques presented may best be utilized or adapted to lit the student’s own personality requirements.
Demonstration 4: ENTIRE GROUP
If you would like to relax and have the sensations of what complete relaxation can be, make yourselves as comfortable as you can. Usually it is nice to sit loosely, limply in a chair, with your feet flat on the floor or in any other position that may be comfortable, with your hands on your laps or hanging down. Find a fixation point on the ceiling. Pick any point, but stick to it.
Pay attention only to that point on the ceiling and to my words. Just pay attention effortlessly. Now, your eyelids should be getting quite tired from looking up at that point. Let your arms hang loosely and your legs hang loosely. Take a slow, deep breath and let it out very slowly, becoming aware of the comfortable feeling as you begin to breathe deeply. Then take another slow, deep breath and hold it while I count to five and then let it out slowly. Hold it now. One—two—three—four—five. Really enjoy that nice, pleasant, comfortable sensation in your abdomen. Now, with relaxation comes a feeling of heaviness. That’s one of the signs of relaxation.
And while your eyes are occupied with that point you’ve selected, pay attention to your feet, to the soles of your feet and, as you become more relaxed, let your feet become heavier and heavier. Think to yourself, “My feet are becoming heavier,” and, as you think that they are becoming heavier, they do become heavier, moment by moment, heavier and heavier. Then this heaviness creeps up into the ankles, the feet and ankles, heavier and heavier—up the legs, into the thighs, the whole body from the waist down now, heavy with relaxation. Moment by moment your body feels heavier and heavier and it’s so pleasant, so comfortable. And that heaviness creeps up into the chest, up the hands and arms into the neck. Now, the whole body from the neck down feels heavy, the feet, the ankles, the legs, the thighs, the abdomen, the chest, heavy, heavy, heavier. Pay attention to your jaws as your lower jaw relaxes and notice that your mouth opens slightly. That’s the proper position of the jaw at rest, with the teeth and lips apart. If it helps you to keep them apart by wetting your lips, it is perfectly all right to do so. The jaws are limp and loose, lips apart, teeth apart. Many of you have been blinking your eyelids to protect your eyes against fatigue. Blinking is the way the body prevents eye fatigue. Let them blink. It takes tension to keep your eyes open and we’re fighting tension. Let’s not fight to keep the eyes open. Let them do what they want to do, let them c-l-o-s-e. Once they’re closed, keep them closed. Don’t fight to keep your eyes open, relax completely, close them now. Just close them and keep them closed.
With your eyes closed, visualize a darkness, the color gray or black. Empty your mind of thoughts, think of nothing, do nothing. That’s the secret of relaxation. Relax all over now, in mind and body. Just relax and enjoy the nice comfortable feeling. Now breathe slowly and deeply, exactly as if you were asleep, and with each breath that you take, go deeper, deeper and deeper relaxed, deeper and deeper relaxed. Soon you’ll be as close to sleep as it’s possible for you to get and yet remain conscious and cooperative. So comfortable, breathing slowly and deeply and enjoying every moment.
Now I would like you to use your imagination, your ability to visualize. You can visualize yourself standing in front of your easy chair and, as you think about it, the image of it becomes more clear and you can see yourself more clearly in front of that easy chair. Just think about it. As the picture gets more and more clear, let your right hand extend straight in front of you, just as a signal to me that you are visualizing the picture. That’s fine, let your arm stand right out in front of you. Keep it out there; that’s fine. It will be easy for you to maintain it there pleasantly and comfortably. As you visualize the chair, just think about that chair. Now visualize yourself with your back to the chair and think about yourself with your back to the chair s-l-o-w-ly descending into that chair. And, as you descend into that chair, you go deeper and deeper and deeper relaxed. Your arms are dropping, heavy with relaxation, as you sit down deeply, deeply into the chair. You can feel yourself in the chair, becoming warm, with your seat becoming firmly attached to the seat of the chair, your back and the back of the chair becoming as one, so that you cannot move yourself from the chair without changing the way you feel. And you feel so comfortable, so pleasant, that you wouldn’t do anything at all to change the way you feel.
In just a moment I am going to ask you to do something, and you’re going to try to please me by doing it. I’m going to ask you to lift yourself up from that chair and you’re going to try to do it because you want to please me. Yet on the other hand, you’re not going to want to change the way you feel. To lift yourself up from the chair will require tensions and you’re really not going to want to exercise tensions, because you really want to be completely relaxed. When I count to three, you will deliberately try to move from your chair, but you won’t be able to move because you really don’t want to. You want to please me, but you won’t be able to and it’s going to be difficult. So, at the count of three, try to move yourself from the chair, but you can’t. One—two—three—try. Stop trying now. It’s too much like work. Just relax a-l-l o-v-e-r now.
Continuing in this manner could result in hypnosis. It’s a pleasant sensation but, even in the deepest stages of hypnosis, you are no more unconscious than you are now. There is always an awareness. It’s a kind of detached feeling. You can ignore what you wish to ignore and pay attention only to what you need and want to pay attention to. You can pay attention to me, or you could pay attention to any of the panel members. During this period you will hear our voices, sometimes separately, sometimes together, but you will find it worthwhile to learn how to relax and how to be able to teach others to relax.
You can keep right on relaxing, going deeper and deeper into the trance, and all the time you do, you are learning to understand with your unconscious mind and you’re learning to understand also with your conscious mind. You can all learn from this experience and carry it into the practice sessions. You can also do this in your own offices, where you can learn by yourselves through your own efforts. Now I want time to seem infinitely long, infinitely l-o-n-g, and then slowly and gradually I want you to arouse, slowly and gradually arouse. Arousing, arousing, knowing that you can go back again some other time, arousing, arousing—and all of you can now waken, wide awake. You might all like to twist around in your chairs and reorient yourselves.
Now I’m going to call on Doctor A to demonstrate a technique. Pay attention to exactly what Doctor A says, what he does, and what the subject does. After Doctor A has finished, I will offer my critique.
For the best demonstration of trance induction techniques we require a different subject than we would if we were demonstrating deep hypnosis and the phenomena that occur in deep hypnosis. When deep hypnosis is presented, obviously we need to have a subject who is capable of going into the deepest stages of hypnosis and this usually is best accomplished with a well-conditioned subject. On the other hand, were I to work with a well-conditioned subject now, he would go into hypnosis so quickly that little would be learned about trance induction. For this reason I am going to ask for a volunteer to work with me in this demonstration who has never used hypnosis, who has never been hypnotized, upon whom no attempt has ever been made to induce hypnosis. Now with that limitation or qualification, may I have a volunteer, please?
DOCTOR A (to subject)
Now, first of all, Doctor R, you have some idea of what a patient does in regard to the way he adjusts his body, so that he is comfortable. We got that from Doctor S’s demonstration, so suppose you do just as his subjects did. Make yourself as comfortable as you can. Also, I’m going to ask that you select a spot somewhere on the ceiling. It doesn’t make any difference, just select a spot that will be convenient for you to focus on. I’m going to ask that you keep your eyes focused on that spot until I ask you later to do otherwise. As you keep your eyes focused on that spot, Doctor R, you will notice that your legs begin to get very heavy, very pleasantly heavy. Now, as you keep your eyes on the spot, your arms begin to get very pleasantly heavy. And, as you keep your eyes on the spot, your body itself begins to get very pleasantly heavy. And now, Doctor R, your legs are heavy, your arms are heavy, your whole body is pleasantly heavy, and soon your eyelids, too, will begin to get heavy. When they do, you will let them close. Your eyelids are heavier and heavier and heavier.
If I may, I’m going to touch your forehead with your eyes closed and you will go deeper and deeper asleep as your eyes stay closed. Sleep deeply. And it seems, Dr. R, that with each breath that you take, you are feeling yourself slipping more deeply into this lovely, delightful, heavy, sleepy state, and you sleep deeply, sleep deeply. You sleep deeply, yet you are completely aware of everything that happens. You will listen only for the sound of my voice; everything else you want to shut out from your awareness, as you slip more deeply into hypnosis.
As you sleep deeply, Doctor, I should like to have you think about your hands and, with your eyes closed, I should like you to get a picture in your mind’s eye of what those hands of yours look like. As you think of your hands, you will notice that something begins to happen to the fingers of one of them or to one finger of one hand, or possibly the thumb. It doesn’t make any difference really, just so that you feel that something is happening. It seems that a great deal is happening to the little finger of your left hand. As the finger begins to twitch a little more, you will probably notice that it begins to feel a little lighter than the other fingers, with a very pleasant sensation of lightness of that finger which soon will spread to the other fingers of that hand. Soon all your fingers will be so pleasantly light that they will start to lift in the air and get lighter and lighter. That feeling of lightness seems to spread through your hand, just as a tiny grass fire will spread through a dry field. Spreading, spreading, your hand is getting lighter and lighter. Soon your hand will be so light that your wrist will bend and your hand will begin to come up floating into the air.
Your arm gets light, your forearm, your hand, and your fingertips. Your forearm gets lighter and lighter and it feels as if something were actually tugging on that arm, lifting, lifting, lifting so that soon your arm will be floating, lifting and floating. You’re going to be tremendously interested in this feeling of lightness in that one hand and arm. You’re looking forward now to that arm really coming up. Soon, you’ll feel a decrease in the pressure of your arm on the arm rest of the chair. You will be aware of the arm starting to lift more and more, lighter and lighter. That’s fine.
Now, Doctor, as I touch your arm and your hand, they both become completely normal. That’s right, that’s right—completely normal, while your whole body remains completely relaxed. It’s been very nice working with you, Doctor, and I want to thank you for your great willingness to cooperate for the benefit of the entire group as well as yourself.
In a moment I’m going to ask you to arouse yourself. Just take your time and, when I reach the count of three, you’ll be wide awake, alert, tremendously interested in learning still more and, when you are awakened at the count of three, your body will be completely normal in every respect. One—two—three—almost awake—wide awake. That’s right. Well, thank you very much, Doctor. Now while Doctor Erickson comments, suppose you just rest. Doctor Erickson suggests that maybe you would like to comment. Maybe you would like to tell the gentlemen here just what you experienced.
Well, it wasn’t hard to relax after driving in from New Orleans! You feel very easy and a certain numbness gets to the soles of your feet and you get very drowsy. I could listen to every word. I heard him give a command to raise my hand, but the best I could do was just to raise my wrist. I couldn’t, I didn’t feel the lightness that he suggested in my arm, but I did feel it up to about the level of the wrist. And I definitely had some influence from the suggestive direction which he gave.
DOCTOR A (demonstrating)
Doctor, have you used hypnosis yourself?
Well, I think that more or less in your practice and mine, we all use it to some degree. But I haven’t used it directly.
DOCTOR A (demonstrating)
Have you seen stage hypnosis?
Yes, I’ve seen stage hypnosis.
DOCTOR A (demonstrating)
I think that some of you will understand why I asked that question. The subject used the word “command.” He said that I had commanded his arm to rise. That’s one thing that we, in this work, should not think of: commands. Certainly, there was no command. But the subject revealed some connection with stage hypnosis when he used the word “command.”
Now for a comment on what Doctor A did. The first thing that he did was to talk casually to the subject, giving general explanations. Then, the next thing he did was to suggest that the patient choose a spot to look at—not one that Doctor A commanded or chose for him. By suggesting that the patient select the spot, he gave him the freedom to participate. One always wants to give a patient the freedom of participation.
Then Doctor A went on, “I’m going to suggest that you keep your eyes on that spot.” After a pause he said, “As you keep your eyes on that spot, you will notice that your legs are getting heavier and heavier.” In other words, Doctor A introduced himself in the first person pronoun, emphasizing his role, then he shifted to the second person pronoun, placing the responsibility on the patient’s own activity.
Then he showed repetition. From the legs he went on to the arms: “As you continue to keep your eyes on that spot, you will notice that your arms are very, very pleasantly heavy.” He paused between these words. There is no sense, unless you want to be a stage hypnotist, in rushing your suggestions to the patient. You want the patient to cooperate slowly and comfortably and actually; at the same time, you expedite matters very much. Also, Doctor A paused between his suggestions to give the subject time to digest their meaning, their significance, and to initiate within himself some activity: “Now, as you keep your eyes on the spot, your body will get heavy, your legs, your arms, and your body. Now your eyelids will get heavy.” You are emphasizing the positiveness of the legs, the arms, and the body as a whole.
At this point Doctor A speeded up by touching the patient on the head and closing his eyes. He did that as a courtesy—not as a means of forcing him, but as a means of demonstrating one way of expediting things. Then he quickly shifted into, “With each breath that you take, you will relax deeper and deeper,” making it contingent upon the patient to respond to his own behavior. Certainly every patient does breathe and he does so repetitiously. Why not utilize the patient’s own repetitious behavior to induce more and more the deep trance phenomena? I think all of you noticed that the patient began breathing a little bit more slowly, a little bit more deeply, and he was responding to something that was happening within himself.
Finally, Doctor A started with the subject of finger movement, hand movement, and arm levitation. There was a little twitching of the finger. Then Doctor A introduced the hand, the wrist, and of course, time passed too quickly to permit the further levitation, but there was a slow progressive spread of movement. Also, while the patient was still in the light trance state, Doctor A expressed thanks to him. One really ought to respect the unconscious and give thanks to it, just as you give thanks to the ordinary conscious mind. Then, when the patient was aroused, I think all of you saw him trying to open his eyes and not succeeding, and I think all of you saw him reorienting himself in relationship to his hands and his hand movements. It was necessary for him to get back in touch with himself, because early dissociation had begun.
DOCTOR H (demonstrating)
I wonder if there is somebody who would like to volunteer to assist me in demonstrating hand levitation to the group as an original induction technique? We can try this first with the eyes open, perhaps.
Come forward, Doctor. Thank you for coming forward to help.
If you’ll sit very, very comfortably in the chair and allow the palms of your hands to rest comfortably on your thighs you might find it very interesting to watch those hands and perceive exactly what’s going to happen, or you might like to experience now the feeling of all the sensations in your hands, really feel them. You can feel, for example, the texture of the cloth as your hands rest on your thighs. You can feel the warmth of your thighs coming through the cloth and touching those fingers and those hands. You can feel that ring on the left fourth finger which perhaps you didn’t even notice until I just mentioned it. All these sensations I’d like you really to feel intensely to enjoy the feelings of those sensations and to wonder what other sensations you might feel in your hands as you watch them and feel them. You may find that possibly one of those fingers has a very, very strong desire to move.
Now, just sit there and wonder what will happen to those hands next. Keep feeling every sensation in those fingers, wondering which finger will first have the desire to move. Will it be on the right hand; will it be on the left hand? Will it be the right middle finger; will it be the left middle finger? Or perhaps the left index finger—one of those fingers can very, very easily get the sensations of wanting to move. There, the left index moved ever so slightly. You can watch it move. You can watch it more, ever more, as the sensation gets stronger and stronger. Then perhaps you can see the finger next to it begin to move now. There, the index finger moved again, just a little fraction. The left index finger slid down and you can feel every little bit of texture of the cloth of the suit that you’re wearing. You can feel those fingers beginning to feel an even stronger desire to spread apart more, or perhaps to move closer together, or perhaps press down or even lift up.
You can feel those things and enjoy them and I’d like you to feel them more strongly and ever more strongly, to feel them getting stronger with every sensation. The left index finger, perhaps, begins to feel lighter, and the one next to it, and the fourth finger, and the middle finger. You can allow the sensations of lightness to get stronger and stronger until those fingers actually begin to lift off your thigh. You can watch them and really see it occur. You enjoy the feeling of the fingers on your left hand wanting to move, or possibly the fingers on your right hand. Perhaps, as one hand is moving upward, the other may have an intense desire to press down, or perhaps they will both want to press, or both of them may want to lift. Just keep watching them, keep wondering what is going to happen to that finger that has moved ever so slightly before. Wonder if it is really getting lighter, if you can feel that next finger getting lighter and still lighter. If you think about it and wonder about it, perhaps you can feel the fact that the thumb just moved a little bit. You can feel your breathing getting more and more relaxed, and you can feel your whole body getting more relaxed. You can feel more comfortable as you sit and allow these sensations to get stronger and you can enjoy all the feelings. Just wait and see how long it will be before those fingers lift up, because the lightness that is getting stronger and stronger in those fingers can spread, can radiate throughout all the fingers, the entire hand, the elbow, the arm and shoulder. You can feel yourself relaxing more and more.
Perhaps you might even begin to feel a heaviness in your eyes. The index finger keeps lifting and looks as if it is about ready to lift off the trousers. There’s no hurry. There’s plenty of time. Or perhaps you might really like to experience the comfort of going into hypnosis more rapidly. The experience is yours. You may utilize it as you please. You can feel your eyes getting more and more tired, you can feel those fingers increasing in their sensitivity. If you keep on wondering when that finger will lift, which one will be the first to leave your trousers, your hands will continue to get lighter and lighter, and you will feel the sensations getting stronger. Perhaps you will feel that ring you are wearing.
Possibly your ring finger feels as though it were attached to a string with a gas-filled balloon at the end of it and you can feel the gas balloon pulling away at the ring, tugging it upward. You might even get the idea of six or eight or ten balloons having been attached to that string. Then, perhaps that string now has twenty or thirty or forty gas balloons attached to it. The hand gets light as the sensation of lightness increases. The hand gets lighter and still lighter and still lighter. You can feel it getting stronger now. You can watch it. Feel your eyes getting more and more relaxed. They are beginning to close; you are breathing more deeply. With every breath you take, that hand continues to get lighter and lighter.
Now, notice how the right hand is pressing down harder, while the left hand continues its lightness and feel yourself getting drowsy and sleepy. Perhaps you might enjoy closing your eyes and you can feel those sensations even more strongly. You can keep your eyes closed and you can continue to sleep deeply and soundly and begin to visualize the lifting of that left hand as it continues to get lighter and lighter. Really begin to feel it lifting, lifting higher, as it gets lighter and still lighter. Enjoy the sensation there. Notice that the middle finger moved a little bit; really see that hand move, even though your eyes are closed, beginning to lift higher as you go deeper and sounder into a very comfortable state of relaxation, into a type of sensation that we describe as sleep, despite the fact that it is really not physiologic sleep. It differs from sleep in that you are not unconscious, as you are in sleep. You are conscious of every sensation that you feel as the hand gets lighter and lighter. You can hear everything I say and you can make yourself aware of anything that you think is important to the situation, or you can make yourself unaware of anything that you feel is unimportant. The important thing is for you to be comfortable, to be relaxed, and to feel that hand getting lighter, still lighter, still lighter. In your mind’s eye, really begin to see that hand lifting, lifting, lifting higher and higher. As you continue to think about that and wonder about when that hand will want to lift, wonder whether it might occur as you go back to your seat, or whether you need to wait until tonight or tomorrow. Notice that as I count to three, that you begin to feel more alert, more awake and at the count of three, find that your eyes are open. I want to have you feel very free and comfortable. One—two—three.
It was nice. I was just beginning to relax when you brought me out.
DOCTOR H (demonstrating)
We’re sorry we can’t spend all the time we’d like to Doctor. You’ll have to forgive us. Thank you very much.
Doctor H thanked the subject for coming forward to assist in the demonstration. Your patient, when he sits down in your dental chair or medical office, is there voluntarily. Appreciation is tremendously important to him—and to you. “You might like to feel all the sensations in your hand.” … “You might like to …” Thus you give the patient adequate opportunity to participate and to participate in his own way. “You might enjoy all those feelings.” Certainly you do want the patient to enjoy his own feelings. In fact, that is why he is coming to you. Then, as Doctor H talked, he gave his suggestions, urgently some of the time, then more slowly at other times.
That matter of rhythm is important. At times you want to rush a patient along, then you want to give him time. Doctor A likes to make long pauses—he pauses between words. Doctor H has shown you another way of making pauses, i.e., by urgency and then slowing down, and then again urgency—by a certain rhythm. Doctor H gave the subject a wealth of opportunities. His hand could lift, the fingers could spread, they could move forward or backward. He could press down or could lift up. In other words, he gave the subject an opportunity to respond in any way, and any response would be the one that had been suggested to him. “The feeling will get stronger in your hand, until you can feel it actually lifting.” This creates urgency, but postponing the actual lifting as the feeling gets stronger makes it a waiting situation, a very impressive waiting situation.
Then Doctor H introduced the matter of breathing and of going into a trance. Having made that general introduction, he went back to the movement of the hands again, but he had laid the foundation for a general trance state. After suggesting further hand levitation, he went on to the matter of the eyes, introducing another type of behavior. Then he introduced still another type of behavior by the alternation of the hands—one pressing down and one lifting up. You never know whether your patient wants to resist you or cooperate with you. They often have both feelings, so you can have them resist by pressing down with one hand and lifting up with the other. You are meeting their needs in a very comprehensive fashion. Doctor H also said, “You can keep your eyes closed.” It was not a command; it was an observation, something that could be accepted by the subject. He then showed how to utilize the slow progress into the trance by explaining the entire trance situation here in terms that the doctor could understand, but in the dental office or the medical office, you would explain in terms that the patient could understand.
Dr. K. I think I’ll let you go ahead now.
DOCTOR K (demonstrating)
Since we’ve had several subjects among the males here, how about one of the ladies coming up and offering to be a subject?
Now for teaching purposes I’d like to run briefly over some of the usual questions that the patient is likely to ask about hypnosis. It’s always a good idea, before you attempt an induction, to correct some of the popular misconceptions and ideas, so that the patient knows what he is supposed to do, what he is supposed to feel, and how he’s supposed to react.
Thank you for coming up, Sandra. Now you’ve been here all morning. Did you know very much about hypnosis, Sandra, before you came here?
DOCTOR K (demonstrating)
Well, try to put yourself in the place of one of your patients and see what questions you would ask if you were coming in to see me for the first time.
You mean I’m to …?
DOCTOR K (demonstrating)
You’re a patient. What questions would you be apt to ask?
Am I going to sleep?
Well, you will hear everything that I say and you will also hear extraneous noises, or extraneous sounds, unless I tell you that you won’t, or unless you yourself don’t want to hear them.
If I don’t want to be hypnotized, can you hypnotize me?
DOCTOR K (demonstrating)
No, it’s difficult to hypnotize an individual against his will.
I can’t think of anything else.
DOCTOR K (demonstrating)
Well, for a few more, first of all, it’s always a good idea to tell the patient that hypnosis is a learning process, that we will start with simple, elementary suggestions. Some of these suggestions are: Close your eyes; start counting to yourself; your legs are getting heavy. I have no way of knowing that you are going to count to yourself, but if you’re willing to cooperate on these simple, elementary suggestions, then of course you will be willing to accept the more complicated suggestions that you so ardently desire, assuming that you are a patient coming in for, say, pain relief or for the relief of illness. The sequence is important, doing exactly what you are told to do, or what I suggest that you feel. If you do these, then you are going to be in a complete state of relaxation, which we will call hypnosis. Would you like to ask any questions?
DOCTOR K (demonstrating)
All right. Would you mind getting yourself into a nice comfortable position? It’s always a good idea to have the patient’s neck in a relaxed position. Thus, while we are talking and she is trying to follow suggestions, she need not be bothered by the tension in the neck muscles as a result of sitting upright, because this may be a very distracting influence.
What I’m going to demonstrate is a direct, authoritative technique, which we have found to be especially efficacious with obstetrical patients and in group therapy. The latter is a treatment not ordinarily associated with hypnosis, in which you train your patients as a group. For psychotherapy, it is more advantageous to use the direct, permissive approach which has been demonstrated previously.
Now, Sandra, would you mind looking up at any spot that you’d like to on the ceiling and just concentrate on that spot? Think and feel, if you would like to, that your eyes are going to get very, very heavy; that your lids are going to get very tired as you gaze intently at that one spot on the ceiling. If you’d really like to experience what it’s like to go into a nice, deep state of relaxation, you are going to say to yourself, “I really think that my eyes are going to get very, very heavy, very, very tired, getting heavier and heavier all the time.” As you look at that spot, you notice that your lids are getting heavier and heavier. They are beginning to droop. Keep your lids open. They are beginning to water. Your eyes are beginning to water, which is a good sign. At the count of three, if you would really like to experience relaxation, it’s very easy to go into this deep state of relaxation. All you have to do is just let your eyes close. After you close your eyes, then you will notice that your state of relaxation—that’s good, take a deep breath—is going to get more profound. One—they are closing still more, then opening slightly; two—so heavy, but it feels good; three—shut your eyes tight and with each breath now, you are going to go deeper relaxed, and deeper relaxed and (whispering) deeper relaxed. That’s right.
If you would like to go still deeper, Sandra, all you have to do is think that your legs are getting heavy, beginning with your toes. You will feel a sense of numbness or heaviness in your toes, which is going to go up, up your legs. Your legs are going to be so heavy that you can’t uncross them. As your legs get heavier and heavier, you’ll feel yourself going deeper and deeper (whispered) relaxed, so pleasant, deeper and deeper relaxed with each breath that you take. And, if you want to go deeper, then start counting backward from 100 to 0, and with each count backward, you will find yourself slipping deeper and deeper into relaxation. It’s so soothing, so pleasant. If you want to go very, very deep, if you would really like the experience of what it’s like to go into a deep and profound state of relaxation, all you have to do is raise your arm straight toward the ceiling. If you want to go into a deep state of relaxation, spread your fingers apart.
Now, if you want to go still deeper and even deeper, you can just raise your hand slowly toward the ceiling. But if you don’t want to go deeper, you don’t have to. But if you want to go deeper, just raise your right arm straight up toward the ceiling at the count of three. Your head is getting so heavy and you feel so drowsy, deeper and deeper relaxed. At the count of three, you will raise your right arm straight toward the ceiling. One—two—breathing deeply, soundly, deeply relaxed—three—that’s right, straighten out the fingers now. Now your right arm is getting stiff and rigid. Just straighten your fingers out if you want to. If you want to let your arm drop, it will drop like a lump of lead right into your lap, completely relaxed. (Sandra drops her arm.) I lift the arm. It falls limply, right into your lap, completely relaxed. That’s fine. You’re a very good subject. Let this arm, every muscle, every fiber of your body, be completely relaxed, in sound, deep, relaxed sleep. Very good.
When I count to three, you will open your eyes and you will have no headache. You’re going to feel wonderful. You’ll feel as if you’ve had a few minutes of actual sleep, but of course you know you weren’t asleep, because you’ve heard every word that I said. At the count of three, you will open your eyes and you will feel fine. I’d like to tell you one more thing, that no one will be able to put you into this deep state of relaxation unless you wish to be put into it and this includes myself or anyone else. You will open your eyes slowly at the count of three. You’ll feel wonderful, completely relaxed, full of energy. You never felt better in your entire life. One—two—three.
Comment on Doctor K’s technique is rather difficult. First of all, he tried to answer the patient’s questions and I think all of us should bear in mind the real importance of answering a patient’s questions, trying to answer them so that the patient really feels that you’ve tried hard to give him an adequate understanding. Then Doctor K stated that he was going to use an authoritative technique. Everybody objects to crass authority asserting itself, so he followed that by the simple statement that the direct authoritative technique works best on obstetrical cases and in group situations. That is correct. In the obstetrical situation, patients can’t dispute reality; there is something that’s going to happen and they’re really faced by an authoritative situation. You are merely utilizing a part of their reality situation. In the group situation, everybody knows that the leader spoke to the other fellow, not to him! Thank goodness, he spoke to the other fellow authoritatively. Thus, we can accept authoritative instructions in the group, because we do not need to take them personally and we can make more adequate response. Then, as Doctor K gave his instructions to Sandra, he also talked to the audience. It is hard to distinguish what he was saying to the audience and what he was saying to the subject, but he talked in a casual tone of voice, as if he were really interested in what he said to her. For example, “Your lids’ll get very tired,” not, “Your lids’ll get very tired.” And you could really feel that suggestion of “v-e-r-y t-i-r-e-d,” which would make the subject look within herself to find out how tired that “v-e-r-y t-i-r-e-d” was.
While very authoritative, Doctor K always introduced his authority by a reasonable question: “If you really would like to go into a deeper state of relaxation—if you would really like to—just take a deep breath and relax still more.” Doctor K gave his suggestion, but he prefaced it with a question and the question in itself was actually a suggestion. “And if you’d really like to go still deeper, it’s so easy. Just shut your eyes at the count of three.… And if you’d like to go still deeper.…” All through Doctor K’s remarks there was that constant repetition. “If you feel you’d like to go a bit deeper; if you’d like to go still deeper; if you’d really like to go still more deeply; if you would really like to go into a very, very, very deep trance.…”
Of course, Doctor K offered his suggestions in his own individual way, as we have already discussed. There are many different ways of verbal communication. One can certainly communicate by intonation and Doctor K demonstrated that technique very nicely. “You’re going deeper, and deeper, and deeper (whispered) and deeper,” giving his suggestions by that type of communication, just as Doctor H showed urgency by a slowing down and a sort of rhythm. Doctor K did it by inflection and intonation. Then there was his method of raising the hand. I don’t know whether Doctor K did it intentionally, but if you paid attention to what he was saying, “You could raise your hand,” was what he said, instead of “raise your arm,” and each time, very correctly, there was that lifting of the hand, but an apparent inability to lift the arm. As you looked at the arm, you could also appreciate another fact and that was that the subject’s arm was tremendously heavy. It therefore became necessary for Doctor K to say, “And now your arm will lift straight up.” There was a definite emphasis upon that word, “straight,” even though it was said in a perfectly casual way.
It is important to note the posthypnotic suggestions that he gave in awakening the subject. One gives posthypnotic suggestions simply, unaffectedly, and without any elaborate way of stating them. Doctor K told his subject that she would feel better, wouldn’t have any headache, and would have enjoyed her experience. These are simple, straightforward comments. Yet they carry a tremendous amount of weight with the subject.
DOCTOR S (demonstrating)
I am not going to talk about hypnotizing people, because I realize how people prefer to hypnotize themselves and it works out a lot better that way. If there is someone who would like to go into the hypnotic state, especially someone who has never experienced it before, I’d like to have such a person first. Later, perhaps, we can get someone who has tried and failed. But for the first subject, we would like one on whom we can demonstrate an ordinary psychophysical technique and show the patient what it is that he needs to do to go into the hypnotic state.
I’m very glad to meet you. Have you experienced hypnosis before, Doctor?
DOCTOR S (demonstrating)
Is there any question that you would like to ask me about going into the hypnotic state?
There are no psychological after-effects, are there?
DOCTOR S (demonstrating)
No, except in this respect, that you may feel much more comfortable than you do now. That is one psychologic aftereffect that you might probably enjoy.
Could it relieve this slight pain in the back of my neck?
Very likely. As a matter of fact, we could even look forward to accomplishing that and it would probably give you an excellent reason for following my instructions exactly as I give them to you, would it not?
DOCTOR S (demonstrating)
All right. Now, all you really have to do is follow instructions and it’s quite simple. I’m not going to ask you to do anything that you wouldn’t want to do. The only instructions that I am going to give you are ones designed to show you what it is necessary for you to do to enter the hypnotic state. This business about people hypnotizing others is a fallacy. Even here this afternoon, where people were helped into the hypnotic state, I think you were able to see that it was the individual himself who accomplished the fact. Right?
Yes, but I doubt my ability to do it.
DOCTOR S (demonstrating)
Well, let me tell you this. It merely consists of the need to follow a definite program. Are you a dentist or a physician?
DOCTOR S (demonstrating)
You’re a dentist. O.K. Now there are many laboratory procedures, which, if followed exactly as the manufacturer specifies, will bring results just as advertised. Right?
When you vary this procedure, according to your own ideas, you may get a variation in the result. Right?
DOCTOR S (demonstrating)