Hypnosis – Part 2: Hypnotic Induction
There is more than a mere possibility of gathering direct information about the process of hypnosis and the depth of trance by using what is called as fractionation type of induction. With the fractionation method of inducing hypnosis, the process of hypnosis itself is broken into stages, and the subject is questioned at each point for a verbal description of his/her particular experience.
There is also another significant initiative behind hypnosis. This is called as the distillation method–or, Vogt’s fractionation–of inducing hypnosis for the discovery of the personal experience of the subject as s/he begins to enter trance. The feedback of this information, thereafter, takes them deeper. Subjects are often led into the early stages of trance, and then aroused and questioned for their particular experience of hypnosis. This information is, subsequently, used to help the subject to go into still deeper trance. In the very real sense of the term, the subject often describes the best way that s/he should be hypnotized, by himself/herself!
This type of induction, however, may not be as swift as some methods of hypnosis in use are, but its interactive nature does seem to lead to far deeper states of trance.
There are also physical tests that give the Hypnotherapist valuable information about the ongoing state of hypnosis. The most common test, for example, is for catalepsy (a condition characterized by waxy rigidity)–usually of the eyelids. Here, the subject is asked to relax the muscles of the eyelids deeply–so deeply that the eyelids will not open. This is an excellent test for relaxation, susceptibility, and/or willingness to co-operate with the hypnotic process.
Additionally, it is also possible to ask the patient to look upwards with his/her eyes, the head remaining still, as if at a point at the top of the head. Once the subject has gone through this “game plan,” the therapist can inform him/her that s/he cannot open the eyelids. It is typically difficult for one to open one’s eyelids, especially with the eyes looking upwards. This might even help one to convince the subject of the efficacy of a given technique.
Another test to gauge the level of relaxation–with the added benefit of allowing better results–is measuring the increase in body temperature, which indicates a medium-to-deep trance state. This is also called as the hand-lift technique. After first informing the subject, whose eyes will no doubt be closed, that s/he is going to lift his/her hand, the therapist asks him/her to gently raise it up and let it go. The hand of a relaxed person will quiver flaccidly back. It will also literally feel limp, warm, and pliant. Suggestions are often added to this testing technique: “As your hand falls limply down, you can go deeper and deeper into hypnosis,” or “As your hand falls on your lap, you will go twice as deeply into relaxation.”
There is also another technique to test trance depth, which does not rely on observation or physical testing. In the method, the hypnotist tests for amnesia by asking the subject to begin counting backwards from a number, say 200 or 400, and suggesting that a point will soon be reached when the numbers will be forgotten.
If a suitable trance state exists, the suggestion will be accepted, and the subject will forget the numeric sequence of thought, only because the “pattern” was big enough! This method has an additional benefit: even if the subject does not have the right depth of trance at that moment, the counting process would “lead” him/her–sort of–to enter it (oddly speaking!).
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