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Pointers for the Beginner Hypnotist

Nov 25, 2007
Once we know the art of inducing hypnosis, we can discuss some of the finer points, some of the things a beginner ought to know before he proceeds further. These things mean greater success or failure. First, gain the consent of your subject. Second, gain his confidence. Third, gain his sympathetic cooperation. Fourth, create in him a feeling or belief that he will go to sleep if he follows your instructions; that is, create expectancy.

The first requirement will be met when the subject agrees to being hypnotized by you. At least, by word of mouth he will agree. The hypnotist must be such a person as will cause the subject to have confidence in him, his integrity and his ability. The least doubt in the mind of the subject of the ability of the hypnotist to induce hypnosis, or to take care of the subject while asleep or to awaken him, may prevent hypnosis.

The hypnotist should keep himself in a neat and presentable condition. His voice and manners should be pleasing. His voice should be trained to be soothing and at the same time, carry conviction and self-confidence. Therefore, cultivate your voice. His manners should not be those of a conceited despot, but more like a kindly doctor, with the confidence and sincerity of an able lawyer, who knows what he wants and how to get it done. The gleaming eyes of the old-fashioned hypnotists, who thought they must stare their subjects into hypnosis, while they made weird gestures, are passe.

Wild gestures and bulged-out eyes are no longer deemed necessary. I am not in a position to say that intense concentration is not necessary or useful, because it may be possible that mental forces assist in bringing on hypnosis. Many scientists think so. From my experience, I am inclined to believe that the mental reactions of the hypnotist do have some effect on the subject and the results achieved. As to whether this is through projected mental forces or from its reaction on the subject by suggestion, I am not prepared to say, and neither is anyone else.

Some day this question may be answered. I am now working on this question and may have more to say about it later. But let us confine ourselves to the known facts and the practical aspects of the science. It is controversial enough without bringing in known controversial issues.

You may create expectancy in the subject by saying that much benefit may be derived from hypnosis; that he will enjoy a restful relaxation under hypnosis and that no possible harm can come to him; that he will awaken easily; that he will be able to hear everything you say and know everything that is done; that you will awaken him any time he requests you to do so; that hypnosis is just like sleep, except that he will be fully conscious of everything you do and say.

Be sure to say that if he follows your directions and listens to every word you, say, he will go sound asleep.

Emphasize: THAT HE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO STAY AWAKE. Say all this with conviction and do not grin when you say it. Make it sound as matter-of-fact as possible - like reading from a history book or stating the total of figures. In other words, just be plain matter-of-fact about the whole thing. This creates expectancy.

The statement, "If you listen to every word I say and do exactly as I say, you will not be able to stay awake," not only creates expectancy, but if the subject is one of those unimaginative persons who are difficult to hypnotize, these words give you an alibi and may save your subject for a later day when he will be more cooperative and go to sleep.

The mental attitudes of persons vary and on some other day the subject might be more receptive, and thereby you will mark up another success instead of failure. Do not let such a failure discourage you. Remember that the best operators have failures now and then.

With these pointers in mind, you will have greater success as a hypnotist.
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