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”?
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.
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.