Last updated: 30 September 2015
Here is how we use the suggestion process to empathize with your subject so deeply you double the impact on his mind.
So far we have learned how to become sensitive to the inner processes of the hypnotic subject’s mind when it comes to your suggestions.
The next step is to work out which suggestions will suit the individual hypnotic subject and his unique psychological makeup.
Before we can do this, we need to take a moment and look at what me mean by certain concepts: Hypnosis and Hypnotic Suggestion.
How you go about training a hypnotic subject to be highly responsive in hypnosis will depend on how you choose to define hypnosis and the activity of offering hypnotic suggestions.
After all, the destination will determine what path you must follow.
The way I would like to use these terms is as follows: Hypnosis is a state of heightened suggestibility.
In hypnosis, the hypnotic subject responds more easily to the hypnotic suggestions being offered.
By a hypnotic suggestion, I actually mean a complete process that begins inside your mind (as the hypnotist) and ends in the effect that it has on the hypnotic subject.
The process begins as an idea in the mind of the hypnotist.
Before you can offer any suggestions you have to intend some kind of outcome.
Without a goal there can be no suggestion.
The goal can be as simple as the experience of comfort or as complex as the relief from pain.
The next thing that must happen in an effective hypnotic suggestion is that the idea must somehow be expressed by the hypnotist.
Now if the idea is complex, she will probably have to break down the idea into simpler goals – stepping stones that build up to the bigger outcome.
We will look at how to formulate those suggestions; the formulation will depend in part on the idea the hypnotist has, and in part on how the hypnotic subject understands the hypnotist.
The next stage is perception.
A hypnotic suggestion can have no effect if it cannot be perceived by the hypnotic subject.
I have yet to be convinced of the possibility of inducing hypnosis remotely through some telepathic process.
I am happy to eat my words (or in this case my thoughts) if anyone cares to show me otherwise.
Until such a day we have to make use of the bodies five ordinary senses in order to communicate the idea into the neurology of the hypnotic subject.
Once the hypnotic subject perceives the communication, he has to process it in order to make sense out of what is going on.
Of course if the hypnotist is speaking in French and the hypnotic subject only understands spanish then the hypnotic suggestion will fail at this hurdle.
More to the point, if the hypnotist intended A when he expressed his idea as a suggestion, but the hypnotic subject understands the communication to mean B, then suggestion will fail again.
This is the stage at which many novice hypnotists (and some with enough experience to know better!) typically falter.
The Suggestion Process
1. it all begins with an intention
2. the intention is expressed as an idea
3. the subject perceives the idea
4. the subject processes idea to get meaning
5. the subject responds to his own understanding of the meaning!
But if they throw them at the client like spaghetti onto a wall – just hoping that something will stick – then they’re in for a world of disappointment.
In my opinion, the only responsible way to proceed is to methodically test how the hypnotic subject responds to the different ways in which a hypnotic suggestion can be offered.
Once you know what his mind can respond to most easily, you have your starting point for training that person to respond more and more in hypnosis.
This does not mean that you cannot use other suggestion styles – on the contrary I would encourage growing the hypnotic subject’s range by helping her respond to various styles of suggestion.
You do however know which styles will get the best effect and which styles are likely to lead you into trouble, unless you handle them with care.
The final stage in the hypnotic suggestion cycle is for the hypnotic subject to respond – automatically – to the idea communicated to him.
This is the so called “hypnotic effect” of a hypnotic suggestion.
When I say “automatically” I mean unconsciously.
As we will see in the next chapter, there are different ways that the unconscious mind can respond to a suggestion.
There are also different ways in which a hypnotic subject can experience himself responding to a suggestion.
This is equally important to know if you are to make sense of the reports that a hypnotic subject will give you of his experience in hypnosis.