Hypnosis and NLP

Eyes Open Somnambulistic Trance

Since my last post on somnambulism and whether it is necessary, I decided to write on one of the more interesting uses of hypnosis, which is to have them open their eyes!

“Can you hypnotize someone with their eyes open?”

Yes, absolutely! Just look at a stage hypnosis show. The people are up on stage, with their eyes open, deeply hypnotized.

We can also similar things with clinical work. We have the person open their eyes, deeply hypnotized.

The Benefits of Eyes-Open Hypnosis

Having them open their eyes within somnambulism has primarily the benefit of fractionating the state. When we do fractionation within the Elman induction, we are have the person open and close their eye lids three times.

They are not actually “emerging” out of hypnosis during those three times, rather they are bringing themselves deeper into the state.

If you are a hypnotist who has a skill with fractionation, you may also apply this skill in other ways, such as anchoring that state with your vocal tone and then purposefully doing a break state. Remember, everything you do is hypnosis.

A second benefit to having them open the eyes is that it can act as a powerful setup for having the person ratify/test that they are indeed hypnotized. Or, indeed, to ratify just about anything at all.

How To Do It: Step by Step

The steps of getting into this state are first to bring them into a natural state of hypnosis with their eyelids closed. Verify and test for somnambulism, making sure that you have them in the state. Then you say something similar to this:

“In a moment, Clarice, I’m going to count slowly from 1 to 3… When I count the number 3, you’ll open your eyelids slowly, remaining in this hypnotic state, and we’re going to have a hypnotic conversation. 1, feeling warm and comfortable, 2, now the eyelids start to blink open, and 3, feeling great…”

It’s really as simple as that. At that point I might condition the state further like this:

Taylor: “Hey how are you doing? Feels great doesn’t it.” (descending tonal inflection)
Clarice: “Yeah it feels good”
Taylor: “Did you notice how every breath you were exhaling just kept taking you right on down?”
Clarice: “Mmmhmm”
Taylor: “And I wondered, if you were aware, of how deeply you were relaxing, as I continued to talk to you, and you continued to breathe…”

Now for those of you who are trained in such techniques, you’ll recognize that I am using Ericksonian language patterns, and tons of presuppositions. That’s what you want to do. Use strong pacing statements with presupposed suggestions.

Hypnotic Reinductions

From this point, once you have compounded the suggestions, it’s time to re-hypnotize the person. Here is how I set it up:

“Now, the interesting thing about hypnosis is that every time you go into hypnosis you’re going to go deeper, you feel more comfortable, and your body gets much more relaxed. So in a second you’re going to go back into hypnosis, and this time you’ll go much deeper than before… Ready? Alright, just look here at me, and…”

And at this point I would do an instant induction. Proceed immediately to deepening (as explained in my video here) and then compound and reinforce the suggestions even more.

This works, really well. Go out and use it — and if you have any suggestions or ideas that you pick up through your own practice, tell us in the comments below.

Hypnosis and NLP

Somnambulism: Is It Needed?

If you have been around old-school hypnotists for any length of time, you have certainly heard about the different levels of hypnosis.

The logic starts out that first you are “awake” and then you go through processively deeper levels until you are in “deep hypnosis” and while you are there, you are in a state called somnambulism.

Well, for all of the talk about somnambulism, I have found this term to be thrown around loosely and not very well defined. Many people know how I am a fan of the Dave Elman Induction, and how if someone completes the induction, the last step is a test for amnesia, which would show they have achieved somnambulism.

If we are going to use the term I figure we ought to define it.

Here Is How I Define Somnambulism

First of all, somnambulism is an outside-directed state. You don’t go into self-hypnosis somnambulism. It just doesn’t exist.

What I found is that the “following instructions” part of hypnosis is actually the most useful.

The second criteria, then, for somnambulism, is that it is a state where we uncritically accept suggestions, and where we are not checking them against previously held ideas or belief systems.

Now before we move on, lets acknowledge that this is useful!

Yes, Somnambulism Is Useful. But Is It Needed?

Many hypnotists claim that they have been able to do significant work in a “light” trance. In case you couldn’t tell by my quote marks, I don’t believe any trance is lighter than another one. Someone can go very deep while their arm is getting lighter and lighter.

However, some trance states are certainly more “profound,” and that is to say that the degree of critical factor bypass is more significant.

Old-school models believe that if someone is in a “deep trance” that the critical factor bypass is pretty much 100%. However we know that this isn’t true because there are things the person would not do even in a state where it looks like they’re about to fall off the chair.

Hypnosis is a Trance State

What I’ve been teaching for many years now is that the act of going into hypnosis is in itself a trance state. There is a process, a procedure, a ritual … which results in a certain outcome.

Now given that the ritual is a large part of this, why are so many hypnotists shooting for distinct “relaxation states”? Yes, there are many people who still believe that hypnosis is a “state of relaxation.”

The real question we should be asking ourselves is, do we absolutely NEED a critical factor bypass in order to make the changes we need to make?

And the answer is clearly … No. Not in every circumstance, anyway.

Are some people going to be satisfied with a simple visualization that they themselves create, and the conscious mind is agreeing on? Yes, of course.

Is that “hypnosis”? Is that “somnambulism”?

Absolutely not.

And many working professionals are basically doing conscious mind work, and spreading the word that visualizing itself constitutes somnambulistic trance.

I don’t agree — but do you know what the crazy thing is? They still get OK results! In fact some of these people have pretty good businesses going.

Also, I’d like to include here that you can do some very strong emotional releasement work, without having to have a “willing, obedient subject” who is participating fully.

Discussion Questions

Now this is a very deep topic that could be talked about for pages more, but for right now I’d like to open this up to discussion.

So think about this:

  • What does a hypnotized subject expect to happen, and what can we do to meet those expectations?  Moreover, how does this factor into rapport in general? (Think: Match/Mismatch)
  • How much critical factor bypass is needed to solve various issues?
  • Can we ever really get 100% critical factor bypass? And if so, how?

The ball is in your court! Comment below.