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Analytic self-hypnosis

Trance for analytic self-hypnosis?

Analytic self-hypnosis

What would you propose as a good way for an analytic to do self-hypnosis? I’ve tried lots of ways and hypnotists but have not had success.

I replied:

Keep in mind everyone can be hypnotized. Start from there. The trick is let your mind analyse the thing until it gets fed up with analysing the same thing and your mind switches off and you drift into trance without realizing you are doing it.

What I recommend is that people get a well made hypno recording and play it over and over until it becomes so familiar your mind gets bored. At some point in the umpteenth listening your mind will forget about analysing what is being said and while the mind is distracted the instructions in the recording will be heard by the unconscious mind without filtering and you will fall into trance. After that, once your mind accepts that you can let go of control and you don't die, then you will be able to go into trance easily anytime.

Or use Benson's Relaxation Response for analytic self-hypnosis

Alternatively, if you want to do self hypnosis, do Benson's Relaxation Response. Sit somewhere without distractions and repeat a word or phrase over and over, either aloud or in your mind. You might have to have several goes at it. But at some point you will lose contact with the meaning of the word and you will realize that you are actually in trance. This is the basis of all mantra based meditation routines - it will work, eventually.

I have spent months on end listening to good hypnosis tapes and I am likely going into hypnosis but I am not getting any of the benefits. It could be that I am just falling asleep but I come back on que so I think not.

I will try repeating a phrase as you suggest. I have not heard of this before. Will see if I will do better with it.

My response was

I wonder if you are expecting too much from hypnosis? It is likely that you are actually going into trance. But because you are expecting something more, you are feeling disappointed. 

You might be better to read up on some metaphor therapy techniques, or visualization techniques and let them guide you. It is quite possible to direct your thoughts while in trance. It takes a bit of practice, but it can be done.

Alternately, get an experienced hypnotist to take you into trance. Then you will know that your entrance. You can arrange for the hypnotist to bring you in and out of trance so that you can feel the difference. A good hypnotist will also be able to teach you, or show you, various things that you can do while in trance. Once you're aware of the feeling you will be able to go into it anytime you want, and be free to explore your own unconscious. It is definitely worth continuing with this. Exploring in trance is almost magical.

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A therapist wrote to me,

Hi Dave,
I've just got your scripts book and I'm exceptionally pleased with how the flow and language and just everything works.

Although I've only used the nail biting script with a single client I'm confident it was a slam dunk.

I am planning on focusing my effort on clients with ADHD and ADD and was hoping to find some scripts on that. Tonight I attended a meeting of ADDers and realized that everyone's perception of their problem was 'uniquely their own' perception. So nothing appears to be straight forward.

I was wondering if you could offer any insight into how to pursue this issue.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

My reply was:

ADD is a strange disorder. There are so many reasons for it that it is hard be sure what to do in every individual case.

Some children are genetically disposed to it and have physical brain problems.

Some children are reacting to chemicals in the stuff they eat and drink, or the medication they have been given.

Some children are just boisterous kids and are acting the way kids do.

Some children are normal kids who are being affected by over-zealous parents.

Some children have been trained into it through bad parenting skills, and let do whatever they want, and now they out of control.

My approach is to take it very carefully.

I always pay more attention to the parents.

If the kids are in category one and two there is not a lot I can do to help.

If the kids are in category three and four then two things need to be addressed. The kids themselves are under great stress because everything they want to do naturally is being scrutinized and forbidden and punished. I treat those children for anxiety and stress and do a lot of self esteem work, allowing the kids to realise they are normal and it will all work out for them.

The other thing I try to do is to treat the parents. If they can't get their kids to act the way they would like, then change what it is they like! You can work on the parents to realize that their child's behaviour falls on some part of a very large spectrum so they feel comfortable with that level of behavior, to accept what they see and to be relaxed around it.

So my advice to look at the total environment of the child, and always consider a multiple approach.

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inappropriate behavior patterns

Stopping inappropriate behavior patterns

High expectations is often what drives inappropriate behaviour patterns. I had a client yesterday who is a successful businesswoman. She came to see me because she has become aware that she is getting trapped into a pattern of behaviour that she doesn't like, doesn't want, and that is threatening her marriage.
What she has is a pattern of sudden aggression towards others. She runs a successful hairdressing salon and manages 10 staff. Over the years she has learned to control her aggression with respect to customers and staff. But her problem now is that she's being aggressive towards her husband over real or imagined incidents.

The origin of the problem

Her mother had married a very argumentative man. They separated when my client was four years old. My client remembers even at four years old asking mommy "when is that bad man leaving?" Her mother then remarried, this time to a man who was physically abusive, as well as being verbally abusive. My client grew up in this dysfunctional household and remembers many occasions when she had to intervene between her stepfather and her mother. Her mother was passive and always tried to calm the situation down, but usually was not successful.

My client described an incident that was typical of her behaviour. One day she came home to find that her husband had thrown out some spring onions. She had been expecting to use these for some diet that she was on, and now could not.
This triggered an immediate rage. She accused him of trying to sabotage her, of having no concern for her feelings or her needs, of being totally selfish. But strangely enough, even while she was going through her rant, part of her mind was saying "why are you doing this?"

Indication of inappropriate behavior patterns

This "split attention" indicates an inappropriate behaviour pattern in action. All behaviour is designed to keep you safe. The sudden aggression is designed to back off danger and keep the person safe. My client learned in childhood that the only way to be safe, to keep the threat away, was to go full at it.

My client's stepfather was manipulative, abusive and constantly trying to put others down. Over several years she had learned to recognize the signs of a dangerous situation before it even happened. She discovered that what worked to stop it was to unleash her own aggression. Over time, this became her default behavior.

What is happening now is that she is identifying or imagining situations in her current life which matched the threat that came from her stepfather. And that then causes her to fire off her own defence mechanism. Unfortunately, it is now being directed at people who are completely innocent. And of course these people resent it deeply because they don't understand where it's coming from. In particular it is affecting her marriage. Her husband is quite baffled as to why she suddenly flies into a rage and then five minutes later acts as if nothing had happened.

Therapy to get rid of inappropriate behavior patterns

NLP pattern interrupts depend on being able to recognize and stop the behavior. The problem is that very often the damage is done by the time the pattern is recognized. What I try to do is isolate and destroy the trigger first. And then substitute a different behavior.

In this case I got the client to put itself back into the feelings that she had with the spring onions incident. What we were looking for was the initial feeling, and not the reaction to that feeling. I then used metaphor replacement to allow her to deal with that feeling.

After considerable prompting, she said that the feeling was like a red square with grey smoke coming out of it. I then explored all the different aspects of that red square. For example where the sides straight with the corner shop are thick was it? And so on. She quite rapidly transformed the square into an outline. Then she successfully made the outline disappear.

The next stage then was to remove the inappropriate behaviour pattern. I took into a fairly deep trance and told her that she was in charge of her inner mind. I got her inner mind to search for the thing that was causing that aggressive behaviour. Eventually her mind found it, and with my prompting, she was able to take it out of that place. It appeared to her as a wooden ball. This ball shattered and released all of its contents as a liquid. I got this liquid to drain down her body and then run out through the soles of her feet.

The final stage was to go back to the place where that wooden bowl had been, and fill it with something else. I asked her to think of something good that she could put in that place was represented a different feeling. This meant that if the feeling was ever triggered again the inappropriate behaviour pattern would be replaced by a different feeling.

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Induction Styles

Fixing the ‘Perfect Life’

I had an interesting case today. The client was a young woman who was successful at business and had a good marriage. But she was so wound up all the time that she couldn't enjoy them.

She said she used to be carefree and relaxed, but now was stressed about everything. She had high expectations of herself, was driven all the time, was always looking for things that could go wrong.
She said she had been brought up in a family where her step father was a drunk. She felt that had to be a provider from an early age. She felt that it was always up to her to save the day.

Metaphor therapy

When describing how she felt when things were stressful at the business she owned she said 'I feel the walls are falling in'.
I used this as a starter for metaphor therapy. I put her into a light trance and got her to associate into that feeling. She reported that she felt two walls around her: hard and cold, smooth, grey concrete, like a tunnel, ground smooth. I got her to imagine changing the walls little by little and finally,  getting the walls to crumble.  Now that the walls were gone she could enjoy the ride.

Then I did another metaphor release on her feelings of panic. She said she felt it everywhere. I asked her where she felt it most. 'In my arms'. I worked on that and she reported that she felt it as black rectangles in her arms. They were giving a tingly anxious feeling. The edges were soft, light warm. I asked her to imagine a a potter, and how the potter moulds and stretches the material. That metaphor allowed her to think of change and she was able to get rid of the rectangles.


We ran out of time, but I was left wondering about her high standards and if it was actually perfectionism and black and white thinking. 

I usually make the client sit up properly in the chair and do an induction that at some point usually includes a progressive relaxation from head to toes. This client was a young woman, and she clearly felt comfortable curled up in my big leather chair. So I decided to go ahead with her as she was. I did a breathing induction and she went into trance normally.

Maybe in my training I picked up that an induction should be a formal thing, and I need to loosen up a bit?

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hypnotize stoned

Can you hypnotize someone who is stoned?

A client asked: Can you hypnotize someone who is stoned?

Cannabis as pain relief

In this case, my  friend is a stoner [cannabis]. He suffers something akin to restless leg syndrome. The grass is not the problem. Lol. He has a condition where his muscles, especially his thighs/quads, are drum tight, permanently pumped full of anxiety and tense to the point that they are literally sore to touch 24/7.  It certainly detracts from his enjoyment of life.

He's been to doctors, osteopaths and acupuncturists, et al. However, not one of them can find anything outwardly wrong with him. I'm figuring it is psychosomatic, though that makes his 'condition' no less serious. It's a major problem. Anyway, I'm going to work with him using relaxation scripts. Getting back to the cannabis use. Is it silly to attempt to hypnotise him while he's a bit stoned? I'm figuring it's what he uses to relax and obviously I need him to relax. I mainly use progressive relaxation induction, but if you stop to think about it, he's unable to relax his muscles. I know there are other inductions, but he's still unable to relax, by and large. I figure the grass might take the edge off, so to speak.

Can he take cannabis before hypnosis?

Can you think of any reason he can't have a puff or two before our session? If a person has restless leg syndrome (which is the closest malady to the one he seems to have), then it might actually be useful to tell them to imagine they are a little stoned whenever they consciously think that they want to stop the painful sensation. Grass is obviously what he uses to remedy his pain. But he wants to cut down or even stop using. I think that my approach is a stab in the dark, but I just wanted your expert opinion. Can you think of a better script than one simply for relaxation, please? Of course, I will use metaphors and the likes, but in the end it's just about relaxing and masking pain, right?

How to hypnotize someone who is stoned

I replied: There is no problem at all in inducing trance when the client is stoned. Give it a try. I regularly induce people who are on Prozac and other prescription drugs.
However, I don't think a relaxation induction is the right way to go about it.
I would try a breathing induction. Get him to dissociate by focusing on his breathing. Just be aware of the breathing. When you have him breathing gently and rhythmically then suggest he thinks of a word. Any word will do. Or suggest a word, like 'eagle' or 'dolphin' or something he might associate with free-ness and might prompt his imagination to go into a visualization. Then tell him to silently repeat the word on every out breath. As he breathes and repeats the word he will start to go into a light trance. He should start visualizing something without you telling him to. Then tell him he is in the first stage of trance. Tell him the next stage is to welcome his own inner mind. Tell him as he breathes his mind is opening, letting go of something, and he can get in touch with that mind. Suggest he might be feeling different.

Self convincing in hypnosis

Then tell him that this inner mind is powerful, looks after him, controls his mind and body. Tell him to ask that mind to demonstrate its power by focussing on his eyes. Tell him that mind can take over his eye muscles, can show the power by making it impossible for him to open his eyes. That his eyes feel as if they belong to someone else and he just cannot open those eyes. Then invite him to test that his inner mind has achieved this.  When he can't open his eyes, he is in trance. Job done. No mention of relaxing; and using his own tendency to clamp down.
So once he is in trance what are you going to do? Just relaxing isn't enough. Presumably he does that on his own when he goes to sleep.
I think you should get him, in trance, to visualize his tense muscles, or the whole business of tension, how he feels it, does it. Then get him to verbalize what image comes to mind. Get him to expand and detail that image. Then get him to experience the thing changing, gradually, in subtle ways to become something else. Gently lead him by oblique suggestions to get the thing to shrink, or corrode or gradually decay and disappear via some other process.
Should work.
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Body parts therapy

Body Parts Therapy for smoking

Body Parts Therapy for smoking is an unusual but effective form of hypnosis treatment. While in trance you invite each part of the body to speak and say what it wants.

The theory is that you can separate the unconscious mind and its connections to the body, from the conscious mind. Therapists who employ this technique believe that each part of the body, each organ, has its own awareness. Each part works with every other part in order for the whole organism to function correctly. If one part is functioning badly then this affects all the other parts. This will cause dissatisfaction in all the parts that depend on it. Those parts will want to voice their disapproval.

Listen to your body

Therefore, the way to get all your parts working in harmony is to listen to them. To listen to them you have to get them to talk. And that is exactly what the therapist does. The therapist puts the person into trance and then asks the subconscious mind to allow each part to speak. This

So in the case of a smoker, for example, the lungs are being affected by the smoker's behaviour. Allowing the lungs to talk will allow them to complain about how they're being treated. And if the lungs aren't working properly then the heart isn't working properly, and other parts of the body aren't working properly either. Each of these parts has its own agenda, its own opinion, and they need to let the unconscious mind know how they feel.

How to use body parts therapy

You get the client to listen to his lungs. Then to listen to his heart. You tell the client to repeat what these organs are saying. Ask the client to listen and see if there are any other organs, or any other parts, that want to have a say about smoking. It is also quite common to have a dialogue between the various organs. Once the organs have voiced their complaints, get the client to apologize for abusing them. Tell the client to ask forgiveness of the organs. Wait until the organs have replied. Then get the client to promise that he will never abuse them again by smoking.

Once that has been negotiated tell the client to listen again to the organs. The organs will be cheering and applauding and encouraging. Use this to make the client feel good about stopping smoking. The client knows that every part of him is rejecting smoking. All of his organs are telling him that smoking is killing him.  (This is a variation on Spiegel's stop smoking method). The client now knows that every part of him is supporting his efforts to stop.

Through suggestion build up the client's belief in his own ability to succeed. And then suggest that every part of him will revolt against him if he ever starts smoking again. Tell him that his organs will make him feel sick if he even thinks about smoking.

This is usually enough to turn off even the most determined smoker.



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spontaneous hypnotic regression

Spontaneous hypnotic regression

I had an interesting client at the weekend. This man had a very powerful job in a major company. He gave presentations as part of his job. He is confident about how to do them, he has never had a problem with one, he is good at them. Yet he gets anxiety about them. He has had this anxiety for years.

Logically he knows that there is nothing that he fears about giving presentations. Logically he knows that even if it all turned out wrong he could still recover and do a good job. And yet he is struck with chronic anxiety.

Looking for the initial sensitizing event

I put him in trance and got him to focus on the anxiety. I asked him to imagine he was about to give a presentation and to allow the feeling he gets to come into his body.

He had difficulty getting a strong feeling. The feeling was there but very diffuse.

I decided to deepen him to get down to a really profound level of trance. I used a new deepener I have developed. You imagine that as you relax yourself a cloud in the sky gets thinner, and keep relaxing more deeply until the cloud has gone.
A few iterations of that process got him very deep. I told him to look for the feeling and turn it into an object. He struggled to sense anything but then became aware of a cloud. I tried to get him to develop the cloud, but it was just a cloud. And then he said, 'I sense there is something else'. I followed that idea and then said he was getting a feeling of something detaching. I encouraged him to let that happen, to just let go and allow it to progress any way it wanted. At this point, I was very careful not to pressure him or suggest anything that he might do or see or feel. I used careful clean language all the way.

Finding the initial sensitizing event

Then he got various images. He couldn't quite make then out, like a gallery of photographs. I suggested he just let them go and see what happens next.
Then he got a feeling of a picture of himself as a boy in school uniform and a cap. We allowed this to develop for a while. He couldn't determine whether it was a feeling or a picture. Then he got a memory a teacher, of being hit with a ruler by the teacher for using his left hand. He is left-handed and he remembered being hit on his left hand to encourage him to use his right hand. He then went into this memory and felt the fear of that child, the unfairness of it, the feeling of not being able to get away, or to able to do anything about it. And the anxiety. He hated going to school after that. He had a memory, or maybe it wasn't, of his parents talking to the teacher, but he could not see the teacher's face, or anything else about it, so he wasn't sure if it was a real memory or not.

Spontaneous Hypnotic Regression

He had developed spontaneous hypnotic regression. It was never suggested to him that he go back in time to find the source; this arose completely from his own mind. He had found the source of his anxiety.

He was clearly in a regressed state, so I used the standard method of dealing with it. I asked him to find some way to make it right for that child, to make the child triumph in the situation. "Find some way that the child can get out of that situation and be a winner". Again spontaneously, he put himself into the situation as an adult, helped his own child-self deal with the problem, effectively did the INNER CHILD work himself by going back and making it right.

I then added a part of leading the child out of there and growing him up the current age with that success in place and that was it. Problem fixed.

I had heard of spontaneous regression to the initial sensitizing event but I have never seen one before. This was probably how the technique was discovered originally.

Accidental links to spontaneous hypnotic regression.

This case shows that many of the problems that arise in later life are actually caused by accidental linkages back to unresolved problems earlier in life. Fear of Flying clients usually know that there is no real danger in a flight, but at some point they felt afraid in an aircraft and that linked back to an earlier unresolved fear. From then on every flight triggers, not the fear of flying itself, but the original childhood fear.

I think this client was the same with his presentations phobia. At some point in some presentation he had felt a tremor of fear, and that had triggered the school room fear, and from then every presentation linked back to the childhood fear. I believe that clearing the childhood fear will have cleared his adult fear.


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Recall a face

How to recall a face with Hypnosis

How to recall a face 

I have purchased your inductions and scripts but I have a client that is looking for help in remembering her fathers face. She was a child when he left the family home and she is desperate to be able to see his face.

I am not sure how to do this. Is it something you can help me with?


This is fairly straightforward.
Use a form of regression.
Put the client into trance using a countdown induction.
Then suggest that after the last number there is a corridor in front of her.
Along the corridor are doors.
As she drifts down the corridor she realises that behind the doors are scenes from her life.
As she goes deeper she is going back in time.
She can open each door and learn what is behind the door.
Take her back as far as she wants to go. At some point she will either find a scene with her father or not.
If so, good. Job done.

If not, then use a visualization metaphor.

Suggest she is in a warm bath, talk about relaxing, floating etc.
Then suggest she is now floating down a stream... continue with the floating and dissociation. Then suggest that she is a huge cave and away at the edges, miles away she can notice that there are aspects of her life but right here, right now, there is emptiness. But from far above something is trying to communicate. Get her to accept the communication, and suggest subtly that is is her father. He was been thinking of her always, and is now allowing her to become aware of his presence. Suggest peace, release, serenity etc. Encourage her to be open to the experience.

If she doesn't get anything then there is nothing there to find.

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Astral Travel

Astral Travel Astral Projection

I was asked about Astral Projection and how to do it. This is also known as Astral Travel, Lucid Dreaming, or Out-of-Body Experience. 

You might think it is a difficult thing to do, but anyone who can go into self hypnosis can do Astral Travel.

What is Astral Projection?

 The concept of out of body experiences is very ancient, and practiced world-wide by shamans and mystics. Astral Projection is the name given to a feeling of being able to move out of your body while in a deeply relaxed state. Some people believe that between life and death there exists an in-between state called the Astral Plane. This plane can be reached and explored by creating a special state of mind.

Astral Projection occurs when your spirit essence leaves your body and travels in that Astral Plane. You are aware of things in the astral plane because your mind is connected to your body by a kind of ethereal umbilical cord. The astral plane is said to be at place were time is an illusion. The astral traveller is simultaneously connected to the past and the future and the present. Astral travel also includes journeying deep into your own subconscious mind. Every person's experience is different.

How to do Astral Travel

To get to the right state requires you need to relax your body completely. Experts usually use a combination of Progressive Relaxation and Breathing Induction. Your body will then gradually descend into Sleep Paralysis. This is very similar to  deep meditation. Your body will be totally inert, your muscles utterly relaxed, but your mind will be crystal clear.  People report a sensation of resonating with their environment. They are totally in touch with what is going on all around them, in the room, in the street outside, high above and deep below.

Once that state is achieved, you focus your mind on one object or idea. This can be a mantra or an abstract concept such as "love" or "connect". Exclude all other thoughts that might come into your mind. At some point "things" will start to appear and disappear. These are flickers of astral contact touching your unconscious mind. You are then on the edge of the astral experience.

Then, allow your mind to dismiss your body totally, and you will enter into a state of 'no sensations'. Astral journeying should then start automatically. As you expand into the Astral Plane the powers in the astral plane will guide you. It needs no input from you, you are under the control of your Astral Guide. The guide will take you to wherever you're supposed to go.

There is a script for Astral Travel available on this site.

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smoking when drinking

Smoking when drinking with friends

Every client is different. I had a really interesting and different client for smoking today, and I thought that the approach to smoking that I came up with worth blogging. Her problem was smoking when drinking with friends

She said she had been able to give up in the past once for a year as a teenager. Then on another occasion for four years. But she started again when her ex-husband left. She said she smokes as a way to deal with stress. But her real problem is smoking when she goes out to socialize with friends.

I got her to close her eyes. Then I ask her the question: "What comes to mind when I say the phrase 'You will never smoke another cigarette again?' ".

Smoking when drinking with friends

She said she would feel a bit disappointed at not being able to socialize the way she used to. She said "when I start drinking with friends, it is like something comes over me. I start reaching for a cigarette."

I try to utilize whatever metaphors the client  uses. I asked "What is this something like? Some people feel it like a blanket, others like a teddy bear, some like a cloud. How does it seem to you?"

She said "It is more like a cloud. A dark cloud, like a foggy dark night."

I got her to develop this and she became aware that it came from the right, over her right shoulder. She said "I would like it to go away, because it makes me want to smoke." She had a clear conception of her own metaphor. I developed that.

I asked her to imagine something inside that cloud that would change it, like a lantern or fireworks or something like a pin point of light. She came up with a bright light shining through it from the bottom. A blue light that was turning it white. She said that it was just sitting there, not threatening, doing nothing. Then I got her to examine it further and she said that it was full of voices of her friends urging her to stop, encouraging her to give up.

Not Smoking when drinking with friends

I asked if she would like to move into that cloud, to try moving into that friendly cloud. She said it was like something wrapped around her supporting her.

To test whether it was working, I then got her to imagine being in a bar with friends and she said she felt protected, that she didn't need to smoke to enjoy their company. She was sitting there with her eyes closed, smiling, fully immersed in the metaphor feeling, having led herself into trance without any formal induction.

I finished with some direct suggestions. As a final test for successful change I did a finger lift. I asked her unconscious mind to signal to her by lifting a finger if she was a non smoker. One of her fingers moved. I told her that was her mind guaranteeing that she would never smoke again.

Every smoker is different: this is just another example of using what the client brings to you.

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