The majority of Hypnotherapists are in agreement that all hypnosis is self hypnosis as it’s really not possible to force another person into a hypnotic state. We simply encourage this natural process to occur and become more profound to utilise as a therapeutic tool.
If you haven’t yet experienced hypnosis you may still be of the opinion that it’s a very mystical or rare state of mind. That was how I viewed it when I first ventured into this work. Let’s take another view on the hypnotic state from one of the greats of hypnotherapy, Milton Erickson. Erickson believed that the trance state was an everyday common occurrence that happens frequently throughout our waking hours.
Also, if we consider what is known as Ultradian Rhythms – a natural daily cycle of times when we are more alert and times when we enter into a less alert mode – we naturally enter into states of mild self absorption and inner focus, one of the elements of hypnosis, every 90 to 120 minutes. These natural mini trances throughout our day are the times when we might find our selves daydreaming and relatively unaware of the external world. We are halfway to hypnosis already!
For my own self hypnosis practice these are the steps I generally take to help me enter into trance to work on situations I’d like to improve and I invite you to try them too:
1. Sit down in a comfortable place (although I often do it on the train also).
2. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing, taking a few deep relaxing breaths as you do so.
3. To deepen this relaxed state imagine there is a coloured cloud above your head – a colour which to you symbolises peace and calm. Allow this cloud to descend over your body and feel the calming presence you can create as you feel waves of relaxation flowing down your body.
4. Now that you are feeling relaxed you can use suggestions and use your imagination for changing your behaviour, attitude or feelings about the issue that concerns you. You can imagine the positive behaviour, attitude or feeling that you would like to have in a given situation, thus reprogramming any unhelpful “programmes”. You can also give yourself positive suggestions of how you are feeling in this normally problematic time. It is recommended to use the present tense for these suggestions so that they will occur immediately and not at a later time. (More about this in a moment with my own current application).
5. To return to full alertness simply imagine that cloud lifting slowly up and vanishing. Say to yourself ” When I open my eyes I will be fully alert and all normal feelings will return to my body and mind.”
6. Open your eyes.
Really take some time for each stage and enjoy the learning process. The whole process need not take more than 10 minutes. Regular practice will improve your ability to enter trance. Remember that you can open your eyes and become alert at any time if you choose or need to.
The self hypnosis I have been focussing on recently has been improving my ability to wake up full of energy each morning. I have long held a belief that I’m not a morning person and I’m working on changing that belief. In stage 4 I give myself the suggestion ” Each morning as I splash cold water on my face I feel alert, alive and ready for the day.” As I say these things silently to myself I imagine that scene in front of me. How do I know it’s working? Not only have I started to feel like I have become “a morning person”, my wife has noticed I’m more “chirpy” in the morning too!
There are many good books about self hypnosis available, including “Self Hypnosis for Dummies” cowritten by one of my tutors at The London College of Clinical Hypnosis, Peter Mabutt, which I can highly recommend if you wish to go further into the subject. It’s a highly practical book covering many issues which can be approached with self hypnosis.
Alternatively if you would like to have lessons in self hypnosis, do get in touch. Also, feel free to comment here or ask me any questions you might have through the enquiry form on my website if you would like to.
Enjoy your self experimentation. Be creative with it.