Autonomous systems

The Art of Stage Hypnosis

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However there are many essential systems of the brain, nervous system and body that I have NOT suggested that you attempt to affect. The digestive system is an example of this. The reason is simple. Since, we presume, any such system is working normally in your friend, the only thing that you would be able to achieve is to get it to work abnormally. Hypnotherapy, which you have not learned anything about on this course, is concerned with precisely the opposite state of affairs. A client comes for treatment precisely because some system is working abnormally and hypnotic techniques are used to get it to work normally again.

It seems to me to be good practice NOT to mess about with vital automatic processes in systems that are working well already and so I would strongly advise that you do NOT attempt to change them.

You may have noticed that most of the things I have suggested you try to change also involve some form of abnormal activity of some system or other. However the systems I have chosen are ones that are quite accessible to consciousness, which will soon correct any changes you have made if it needs to.

NOTE ALSO that I have also not included some of the more amusing hypnotic effects produced by stage hypnotists. The reason is that I am uneasy about the use of hypnosis under those conditions. It is one thing to attempt some of the comparatively straightforward simple examples above in order to increase your understanding of what happens in hypnosis preferably under supervision. It is quite another for you to attempt something that may require a substantial alteration to quite fundamental systems in someone's mind such as the total elimination of a sense of humour or normal inhibitions or of self-consciousness.

I would also suggest that you read my short article in which I point out that in some fundamental ways in which hypnotherapy, although based on an understanding of hypnotic processes is very often acting more like dehypnosis than hypnosis!

Thus no client will ever come to you asking for his elbow to be made incapable of bending. But you might get someone with snooker elbow (US read as pool), in which he is unable to release a bent elbow to take a shot. If you have learned how to make an arm unbendable then you have insight into how to do the reverse that he wants. You will never get anyone wanting you to make him grind his teeth involuntarily, though you have now learned how to do so. But there are some people who suffer from this condition (often in their sleep) - it is called bruxism) - and need the abnormality removed. The work you have done will at least give you some insight into the nature of the problem and of methods for affecting it.

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