A difference in perception
This blog post will be of interest to my hypnotist friends and anyone who would wonder as to the way that hypnosis works.
Hypnosis is all about changing people’s perceptions. By perceptions I am talking about how they experience the world – the way they receive and process information through their senses. As a hypnotist I guide their perceptions in such a way that they think differently. In a stage or street hypnosis context the perceptions may be guided so that I am invisible or someone has a set of horns growing out of their head. Or that their hand is stuck to a lamppost. Or that they can’t remember their name. Or that the next puff of the cigarette they are smoking will be the most disgusting thing that they have ever tasted.
In hypnotherapy perceptions are changed so that someone thinks differently – to let go of some trauma, to react differently, to have different habits. It is just another change to the way they perceive things. Perceive things differently, get a different thought process.
So hypnosis is all about changing perceptions.
The way that you perceive the world is not actually reality. Well, it is your reality, yet it is coloured by your life’s experience and may not be accurate to the original source of the information. Confused? Let’s take the eyes as an example.
The millions of rods and cones in your eyes receive reflected light. This information is coded into an electro-chemical pulse which fires through your neurology. It gets passed through the visual cortex in your brain where it is processed for depth, colour, movement, and distance and so on, and it is then crossed referenced against your life’s learning. Then on something known as the visual special sketch pad the image is formed in your mind.
What you see is not reality. It is your perception, or impression, of that reality, coloured by your life’s experience. The human mind looks to familiarise its experiences. In doing so it adjusts the information to suit. A hypnotist will change this perception to what they want it to be.
You can do this with a little demonstration to yourself. Here is the methodology I use to help people see an imaginary dog. I often do this process right at the very start of a session. The reason for this is that I get to know how I need to work with a client – how visual they can be, how to work with their imagination, the way they handle instructions, the language I must use – it is a good calibration tool. I can also then use it to springboard into pure hypnosis, using it as an induction.
If you can see then this methodology will work for you. If it doesn’t you just may need more explanation, or to have it put in a different way, or need a little bit of training. Yet it is possible for all of us to have a ‘positive hallucination’ – we do it all the time.
My ‘standard’ methodology goes like this.
“Look at the settee over there. Take in everything that you can see. As much detail as possible. Take in the information so that you can remember exactly what it looks like now.
Not now, but in a moment, I will ask you to close your eyes. As you close your eyes I want you to hold onto the image that you can see right now, so that when your eyes are closed you can still see the settee. OK, go ahead and close your eyes and hold onto the image of the settee. Make it real in your mind.
You can see the settee? Good. Your eyes are closed yet you can still see the settee. That’s because your mind creates the image. Every time our eyes are open information is received by the eyes, and then processed by your mind and the image is created. What you see is not reality – it is your perception of reality. You create the images whether your eyes are open or closed.
Now here’s the thing. Not now but in a moment I am going to say 1, 2 and then click my fingers. When I click my fingers a dog will appear in your mind on the settee. 1, 2,
and what type of dog is this dog? Good. Did you tell it to be that type of dog,
or did it just appear? It just appeared. That’s good. And what is it doing? OK,
did you tell it to do that? That’s right, it is just doing that.
Now here’s the thing. Not now but in a moment I am going to say 1, 2, eyes open. Your eyes will open and you will look at the settee. And when you open your eyes you will hold onto the image of the dog, the same way in reverse you held onto the image of the settee. So I will say 1, 2, eyes open and you will look at the settee and see that dog there. 1, 2, eyes open and what is that dog doing now?
For those of you who are familiar with Anthony Jacquin and Kev Sheldrake’s Automatic Imagination Model (AIM) you can see there are numerous opportunities within the above framework to utilise AIM. If my client cannot hold onto the image when they open their eyes I often utilise AIM as a method to ensure that they can. There are obviously many ways of working with a ‘live’ subject as every subject is different. Yet every subject can do this process – they do it every time they form an image, eyes open or shut.
From here I often have a play, the dog gets a unicorn’s horn, grows twice as big, shrinks to the size of a mouse, is wearing silly clothes, that kind of thing. Often I give the suggestion that every time they look towards the settee they will see the dog – and it can give them comfort during a hypnotherapy.
And from here the hypnotists amongst you will spot many opportunities to springboard directly into hypnosis. The moment you have ‘automatic perception changes at your suggestion’ you have hypnosis.
As all of our senses work the same way – we ‘perceive’ reality, all of our senses can be subject to perception changes. Perhaps the hypnotists amongst you can have a play with other senses too – I do!
This blog is a technical post designed to get the hypnotists thinking. Let me know how you get on, and please give me feedback! Hopefully, especially when you play with this, you hypnotists will realise (if you haven’t already) that the rituals you use aren’t necessary to create hypnotic phenomena – you can just go straight to phenomena. Use your skills to springboard from a phenomena creation and welcome to the quick world of amazing hypnosis...