Feedback loops

The Art of Stage Hypnosis

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After you have done these exercises quite a lot you will be able to see the sense of what I am going to say next.

Every time you have got a positive response you have reduced the activity of the resistance system of the mind. But the less active it is the easier it is to get the next statement past the resistance. And the very fact that then there has been another 'yes' response lulls the subject still further into acceptance. And so you are actually involved in a feedback loop, in which you are aiming gradually to decrease any resistance. Ultimately you should be able to see that by working in this way you can reach a stage at which nearly anything will be accepted. And this, of course, is one aspect of hypnosis as popularly understood.

That is one reason why you have "passed" once you can get 10 or so statements in a row accepted: once you have got that far it can be expected to get easier and easier.

(You will read more about such feedback loops in Chapter 13 of The Principles of Hypnotherapy.)

As a final exercise, which takes you a step further towards the hypnotherapy side of things I would like you to see how far you can go down the following path with your friend. The idea here is to see how many positive statements about the friend you can get a positive response to. The basic approach is pretty much as above. The friend can be sat comfortably, with eyes closed, and can signal acceptance or rejection of any of your statements with a finger or nod of the head or any other simple, prearranged, means. The game here is to see how far you can get in making positive statements about them. This can be quite hard at times because most of us have learned a resistance to accepting good statements about ourselves! Why? Because we have learned that flattery is often used simply as a means to get something out of us. Here are a couple of examples of the thing I mean.

"You are a good boy." (Pause) "So you won't mind letting your brother play with your new toy." "Your new dress looks beautiful." (Pause) "How about coming back to my place tonight."

Because adults have learned to suspect and resist flattery you will find some resistance to even positive statements. For example, if you simply say, "You are the most beautiful girl in the world" or "you are the cleverest man I know" the response will commonly be "no".

Here is an invented, but realistic, example of what might happen. Notice that this exercise is most interesting when you already know a fair amount about the person.

"You have taken care with your hair this morning." (Yes) "It is beautiful hair." (Definite no) "You have made the best of your hair." (Slow yes) "It certainly looks good to me." (Slow yes)

"Another good thing about you is your sense of humour." (Yes) "Everyone looks more attractive when they are smiling or laughing." (Yes) "And that is one reason why you look so attractive." (Slow yes) "Your attractive personality shows in your eyes and face." (Slow yes) "And will give a lasting attractiveness." (Slow yes)

"Which is much better than a quick bloom that is soon spoiled by sullen looks." (Yes)

You should see that the kind of skill that is involved here is similar to those you have been learning above. If you come on to do hypnotherapy then you will see that many problems involve something similar. You may be asked to improve someone's self-confidence, in which case you are aiming at getting them to accept a far more positive ideas about themselves than they come with; or you may be asked to remove a fear of some thing, in which case you are aiming at getting them to accept, against all the evidence, that they are NOT afraid of that thing; or you may be asked to stop them smoking in which case you usually have somehow to get acceptance of the proposition "you will never smoke again". In these and many other cases it is not going to be enough simply to state the new proposition. You have to work systematically to reduce or overcome defences, and increase the feelings of confidence in you.

If you want further exercises on these lines I would suggest the following. Having run though some such exercise as the last to give you an idea of how easy it is to get a certain class of suggestions accepted, do something similar after having first run through an hypnotic induction. Hypnotists suppose that the induction makes a difference; that it automatically makes the resistance lower; that it automatically makes the subject more "suggestible", or ready to accept statements. Why not get an idea of how true this is? Perhaps it is more true in some people than others? Perhaps it makes little difference as long as you have the skill to make suggestions that build up on a stairway of "yes" responses? Perhaps it does not matter whether you get the early "yes" steps on things like eye closure and relaxation or on statements about the person's feelings, attitude or nature?

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Hynotism and Self Hypnosis

Hynotism and Self Hypnosis

HYPNOTISM is by no means a new art. True, it has been developed into a science in comparatively recent years. But the principles of thought control have been used for thousands of years in India, ancient Egypt, among the Persians, Chinese and in many other ancient lands. Miracles of healing by the spoken word and laying on of hands are recorded in many early writings.

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