You may know more about self hypnosis than you realize. You may already be under the influence of this technique.
Hypnosis is a term from the Greek word “hypos”. It means to sleep. It results in a hypnotic state. The hypnotic state is one which makes you susceptible to suggestion. It’s a way of circumventing our natural ability to think and reason. You are awake, but it disables your critical thinking centers of the prefrontal cortex.
Read This Before You Try Self Hypnosis
This is how stage hypnotists get people to do outrageous things on cue. It’s easy to hypnotize someone, especially if they are a willing subject. A good hypnotist can make the process look easy. The more you practice it, the better at it you become. Same for the person being hypnotized. The subconscious mind becomes more susceptible the more often you allow control.
It’s important to understand that a hypnotic state can take on varying degrees. One need not be completely catatonic to be in a semi-hypnotic state. You can still be functionally conscious but still react to response stimulus and not realize it. Self-hypnosis is a component of group hypnosis or groupthink manipulation. These are the techniques they use to override common sense.
Even if you have never been on stage as a volunteer, you may have been subject to these techniques. Review the following steps or stages to see if this “feels” familiar.
Steps or Stages of Self Hypnosis
Step 1 — Get Permission
Get permission to speak directly to their subconscious. Ask them in so many words to agree with being hypnotized. Sometimes this permission is obtained directly, but it a can also be done covertly.
For example, one way it’s done covertly without you knowing is through phrases like, “You agree that we’re all here tonight to learn something important”. Or, a more familiar phrase like, “we are gathered here together”. These are passive but effective ways to get permission.
Step 2 — Focus Their Attention
Galvanize the attention of the person or group. Use a series of emotionally charged questions to hold their attention.
They can use positive statements. For example, the hypnotist will say, “you want to stop smoking, right?” Or they can use negative statements like, “we know XYZ is behind the loss of your jobs”.
You may not really want to quit smoking. You like it and enjoy it, but your spouse wants you to quit. So, you agree to the programming even though you are not fully in agreement. The same with the socially charged statement. There may be no evidence that someone or something is behind the loss of your job. But if you have someone or something to blame, this provides an outlet for your anger.
Step 3 — Access The Subconscious Mind
Bypass their critical thinking faculties using a focal point. As they concentrate on the focal point, get permission to program their subconscious. Use phrases like, “all you hear is the sound of my voice.”
This is the critical stage of self hypnosis. The mind is pliable and susceptible to suggestion. The hypnotist will often test to ensure the subject or subjects are ready to accept subliminal suggestion. They will ask for a response like, “tell me, do you feel rested?” Or, “can we agree that this or that is bad?”
Once the hypnotist confirms the rational mind is asleep, they can begin programming a response into the subconscious.
When the hypnotist is working with one person or a small group, they will ask for agreement. They will say, “you are now asleep, isn’t that right?” They will look for subtle responses like the nod of the head, etc.
In larger groups, the hypnotist will often use catch phases to illicit group response. The phrase may not be true or on the topic of discussion. It does not matter. The catch phrase does several things.
First, a focal point unites the group. This is the essence of group hypnosis or groupthink manipulation. Even those on the fringe who do not agree can get caught up in shouting a slogan or catch phrase.
Second, for those who are deeply invested, it makes them very vulnerable to suggestion. They will act out in ways they wouldn’t normally. If they are sufficiently emotionally charged and motivated, they will act violently. Third, those affected to believe that the suggested outcome is their idea. They do not realize they were programmed to act out.
Step 4 — Insert Post-Hypnotic Suggestion
Program the unconscious response. The programmed subliminal programming can take many forms. We can see the unconscious response acted out when someone does something on stage like bark like a dog. But we can’t see the subliminal response of someone who simply decides they don’t like the taste of smoking.
A typical post-hypnotic suggestion to stop smoking could be, “when the desire to smoke arises, it will make you feel ill. The taste of smoking that used to be pleasurable is now distasteful”. This kind of suggestion doesn’t have a failsafe to end the program. The intent is for it to run continually in order to break the chain of addiction.
Step 5 — Insert Failsafe Ending
Don’t forget a failsafe to remove the post-hypnotic response. Every temporary post-hypnotic suggestion should include a failsafe to remove the suggestion. This is an important responsibility for the hypnotist. If they don’t program a way for the post-hypnotic suggestion to stop someone could end up barking like a dog at inappropriate times the rest of their lives.
Step 6 — Test the Post-Hypnotic Response
Test the pre-conditioned response. This reinforces the programming. It makes it harder for the subject to resist the programmed stimuli. If the hypnotist sees resistance or doesn’t get proper response, they may go back to the beginning and make sure they are following the voice or visual ques. Then re-install the programming and test again.
For example, the programmed response is for the subject to hand over their wallet when you say a key word. You say the key word, and they reach in their pocket and pull out their wallet. But then their natural self-preservation instinct kicks in and signals that something isn’t right.
If the subject hesitates, they have their wallet in their hand but are unsure they “want” to give it away. If the hypnotist is experienced, they will be able to recover by going back to step 1. They will ask questions like, “aren’t you supposed to do something after you take out your wallet?”
Step 7 — Activate the Program
The hypnotist will active the program by bringing the subject back from the state of hypnosis. However, the process isn’t over. The hypnotist will ask several questions to make sure the subject is ready. They will ask how they feel and what they remember. The subject should not feel disoriented or sick. They should have no memory of the session or what post-hypnotic suggestion was installed.
A good sign that the programming was installed in the subconscious is when the subject tells the hypnotist they are ready to be hypnotized, not realizing it was already completed.
In fact, a good con-man is a good hypnotist. They use these same steps to condition their mark so they can gain their confidence.
What can go Wrong?
As we just mentioned a con-man uses these same techniques in subtle ways. It starts by giving them permission when you don’t realize it.
A good con-man will use basic emotional drivers like fear, anger or greed. They will ask questions to get you to say yes. Before you know it they have your confidence and trust.
The next thing you know, you are driving home in a used car that you didn’t set out to buy. Or you realize that you’ve joined a Church and given them your life savings. But in both cases, you think it’s a good thing and you don’t know why you feel good about it.
Removing a Post-Hypnotic Suggestion
Let’s say you realize you’ve bought a car you didn’t want or your broke because you gave the church all your money. You can’t take back the car but you can stop yourself from buying another. You can’t get your money back from the church, but you can stop yourself from also giving them your used car.
The process to remove an unwanted post-hypnotic suggestion is the same one above used to install the programming. If you have a friend, they can lead you through it. Or you can do it on your own.
Sorry to tell you, but you will need to do this several times to remove the original suggestion. This is due to the fact that the previous program has no failsafe to end it. You must break it forcefully. For the best results, do it daily. The average to achieve success with something like the urge to buy used cars is ten days.
If you’ve been exposed to additional programming to reinforce the post-hypnotic suggestion, like going to church it could take more than a few months. This is why we urge caution with the use of self hypnosis.
We don’t recommend experimenting with self or group hypnosis. These are powerful techniques that install scripts in the subconscious mind. Only use this technique with a trusted and qualified hypnotist. Beware of this technique being used in group gatherings.
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Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia