The sort of things that you are likely to find include the following.
The people who quickly respond to the induction by eye closure etc, are also those that you will have previously established as producing rapid changes in other mental systems in response to verbal input. To put it in older language: the people who respond well to inductions are the most suggestible in any case. Consequently you might well consider whether, if you wanted a given response, you might do just as well by using the time taken for an induction and use it for simply suggesting the response itself for that much longer.
You might like also to see if the following conclusion matches your experince. When people do report that the effect of the induction was to make them feel totally focussed on your voice - there seems no competing mental activity, and in particular that there was no inner voice saying things like "I don't believe you. I don't like this." - then they also report and show a crisper and stronger response to your suggestions.
With those ideas in mind you might now like to compare the effect of a third classical induction, again drawn from Cannon, which runs as follows:
(i) The patient sits in an easy chair and relaxes.
(ii) Say: "Look at me!" (The hypnotist looks into the left eye ofthe patient for about a minute.)
(iii) Say: "Now close your eyes each time I count: when I have counted up to ten, you will not be able to open your eyes.""
(iv) Ifthis suggestion works, the hypnotist now commands: "You are fast asleep, fast asleep!"
(v) Suggestions are now made.
(vi) The patient is awakened by the hypnotist"snapping" his fingers.
(vii) Should (iii) not be effective and the patient can open his eyes, the hypnotist now commands: "You are glued to the seat and you cannot get up." This suggestion is usually effective and the patient is so surprised that the mind at once passes into the psychic state, however light a hypnosis it may be.
Of course you can vary this a bit. For example you might like not to be limited to the number ten, but instead just say. "Close your eyes. I am going to count. As I count then with each number I want you to open your eyes briefly. But as the numbers get bigger you will find your eyes getting heavier and heavier, until at some point you will not be able to open them." With an occasional person whose mind is very active I have adapted this further and said. "Now I want you to open your eyes when in my counting I reach a prime number, but keep them closed on the rest. You will find your eyes getting heavier and heavier and after a certain point be impossible to open." (My aim has been to ensure that there is little room for any other, potentially distracting thoughts, in the person's mind.)
As above it would be best to have previously thought of a response you want to test with; try it out from cold; run the above induction another time and then test for the response again. Finally see if the induction has made any difference.
If you want to try out some ideas from other classical inductions you will find some in Cannon's book. Comments on such classical inductions
My suspicion is that methods like these, which are direct and authoritative, were more acceptable and may have been more effective in earlier generations. Remember that in those days doctors, especially Harley Street physicians like Dr. Cannon, were perceived in any case as having great authority. You did not argue with them! You did what they said without question. Consequently even if you felt that it was ridiculous when he said that you were asleep you would not dream of telling him so. But by the same token you would accept any suggestions that he made without criticism so that it would be easy to achieve one of the goals of hypnosis: which is to change systems of thought such as "I am very ill and going to get worse" to "I have been ill and am going to get better".
We know today from the extensive literature on the placebo effect that if a patient and his doctor both believe that a certain treatment will provide a cure then an enormously diverse range of conditions DO in fact improve, even if the treatment has NO medical value. This is simply to say that it is a proven fact that procedures which strongly change the patient's idea of himself from "ill" to "recovering" can, in many cases, be effective.
Another factor that is relevant if you discover that you do not find that the above "inductions" are as universally successful as the accounts suggest is the following. Many of those earlier workers, such as Dr. Liebeault, worked very much in public. He, in fact, charged the local peasants nothing for his treatment - and therefore had a very full surgery. Among the crowds there would every time be some who were very responsive and would do what he expected of them perfectly. (Just as in shows of entertainment hypnosis there are perhaps a dozen in the audience who make outstanding subjects for those purposes.) Now the very fact of seeing someone respond in a certain way tends automatically to make others copy, naturally and instinctively. There will be others who may only be acting what they see around them because they also hope to gain from the treatment: but these also add to the general confidence in the Great Doctor's power. But all in all the crowd effect will enhance the chance of everyone responding to a greater extent than they would individually.
Incidentally this is one advantage of learning hypnosis at a good training school: you will usually be learning in groups.
Let us finally add the fact that medicine in the last century had so little in the way of effective remedies and so many outright poisons in the pharmacopoeia, that NO treatment would often have been safer than any that could be prescribed, and the combination of no treatment and a strong belief in recovery would have won hands down over most treatments of the time for most conditions!
Nowadays inductions tend to be more relaxed and less authoritative in a therapeutic context, though stage hypnosis continues to be relatively forceful and authoritative. We will explore more modern approaches in a later chapter. But in the mean time you might like to compare the effect of one of these classical inductions with the relaxation technique that was presented in Chapter 2, or one that you improvised yourself at the time.
If you are working with the same friend as subject you will find it interesting to ask them how they felt as a result of a relaxation approach and a more forceful approach; and in addition see which approach seemed to produce the greater intensification of response to whatever test you applied. (E.g. the use of words to induce limb movement or rigidity etc.) It will not be surprising if you find that results vary from person to person!
You should have now tried out some classical inductions; seen that they rely on mechanisms that you have explored in earlier chapters; and seen that their effect is on the whole to get the subject's eyes closed and mind attending to nothing but the hypnotist's voice. You should also have noticed that in general it is then easier to produce the kind of phenomena that you met in earlier chapters. You should also have compared the results with that of a relaxation technique.
Home | Contents | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Was this article helpful?