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A New Approach To Self-hypnosis When All Else Fails
Deepening The Self-hypnotic State
How Does Self-hypnosis Work?
How To Arouse Yourself From The Self-hypnotic State
How To Attain Self-hypnosis
Is Hypnosis The Answer?
Practical Applications Of Self-hypnosis
Psychological Aids And Their Function
Techniques For Reaching The Somnambulistic State
The Nature Of Hypnosis
What About The Dangers Of Hypnosis?
What You Should Know About Becoming An Excellent Subject
What You Should Know About Self-hypnosis

Deepening The Self-hypnotic State

For each progressive test, it is usually necessary to have accomplished
the preceding tests. However, this is not an absolute rule. Frequently,
a subject responds to tests at the beginning of the depth scale and then
to others at the end of the depth scale. Certain tests in between do not
work. I have had the following experience more than once while teaching
one of my classes in self-hypnosis. In testing the depth of hypnosis, I
run the gamut of all of the tests from light to deep. In this way, the
subject can ascertain how far he has progressed. One frequent test for
the deep state is to give the subject a posthypnotic suggestion to the
effect that the next cigarette he smokes will have a vile taste and it
will be absolutely impossible for him to take more than three puffs. It
is further suggested that after the third puff, the cigarette taste will
be so unbearable it will become necessary for him to extinguish the

We can expect an excellent hypnotic subject to comply with these
posthypnotic suggestions, but a subject who hasn't even passed the eye
closure test (test No. 1) or any other test may unexpectedly react
perfectly to the cigarette test which we know is a standard test for
determining if the subject has entered into a deep state of hypnosis.
How can you account for it? There is no simple or positive answer. If we
hadn't given him this particular test, he would have felt that he wasn't
making progress in his determination to become a good hypnotic subject.
Because of this, he might not have given himself therapeutic suggestions
because he would feel he hadn't reached a state of hypnosis which would
benefit him. Remember, follow the instructions of giving yourself
whatever therapeutic suggestions you want, regardless of the fact that
you feel that "nothing has happened." I have seen many subjects who were
bewildered because certain tests did not work, yet were pleased because
of very gratifying overall results from using self-hypnosis. They were
baffled because of their inability to pass certain tests which they felt
were a prerequisite to the success of constructive suggestions they gave

It is commonly felt that the deeper the state of hypnosis, the better
the results. In actual practice, I have not found this to be so. I have
had excellent results in a relatively short period of time with subjects
who only achieved a light state, and it has been necessary to work with
others who achieved a deep state of hypnosis for a longer period before
lasting results were in evidence. Naturally, each individual presents a
different set of needs and even though the symptoms may be basically the
same, each will respond favorably when his requirements are met. This
happens on a conscious as well as unconscious level. For example, the
mere assurance by a physician that the patient is all right and has
nothing to worry about is often sufficient to bring about desirable
results. Another example is the mother who stops the sobbing of her hurt
child by a loving kiss. A logical approach, pointing out to the child
that he really didn't hurt himself, would never have worked. We have all
heard stories of primitive tribesmen who have died because they knew
they were the objects of "death wishes" by another member of the tribe.

The key to achieving a greater depth of self-hypnosis lies in the use of
the visual-imagery technique. You "see" yourself going into the hypnotic
state deeper and deeper. You even picture yourself, using this
technique, passing various progressive hypnotic tests. The second part
of the key lies in giving yourself a posthypnotic suggestion that each
succeeding attempt will put you into a deeper state as a result of a
given stimulus--such as the count of three.

The following instructions should not be attempted usually unless you
have been successful in achieving the two basic tests--the eye closure
as well as the uncontrollable urge to swallow followed by the physical
act of swallowing at a specific count. If the conditioning process works
for these two tests, you have achieved the lethargic state of hypnosis.
This is the first state of hypnosis and is generally referred to as the
"light" state. Therapeutic suggestions can work admirably in this state.
The next stage of hypnosis is known as the cataleptic state and is
referred to as the "medium" state. Generally, hypnosis is divided into
three states: the lethargic (light state); the cataleptic (medium
state); and the somnambulistic (deep state).

As you deepen the hypnotic state, you can accomplish the progressive
tests that I shall outline for you. I'll also number these tests for the
convenience of having a reference. Deepening the hypnotic state requires
the same type of practice or conditioning as the first two steps. Let
us call eye closure--No. 1, and swallowing--No. 2. We are now ready to
proceed to the "hand tingling" test--No. 3.

You have just completed tests No. 1 and 2; you are in a completely
relaxed state. Now give yourself the following suggestions: "As I count
to ten and even before I reach the count of ten, I shall feel a light
tingling or numb feeling in my right hand." As you slowly begin the
count of ten, you keep repeating suggestions to the effect that your
right hand is beginning to tingle. Once again, you practice the
technique of visual-imagery, tapping your experiential background for
this feeling. You can recall how it feels when your hand goes to sleep.
Once you get an initial feeling of lightness, tingling or numbness,
reinforce this feeling by the feed-back technique as you did with the
eye closure test. As you practice this procedure, it will work with
greater effectiveness. The following is a very important point to
remember. Be sure that you give yourself a posthypnotic suggestion that
the tingling, light or numb sensation will disappear as you continue to
count to 15. For example, "As I count to 15, the tingling feeling in my
right hand will disappear, and I shall experience only normal
sensations. Eleven ... The tingling feeling is leaving. Twelve ... Now
it is leaving faster. Thirteen ... I can feel my hand returning to
normal. Fourteen ... The tingling feeling has left. Fifteen ... My right
hand feels perfectly normal." You could try a variation of this test by
saying your nose or one of your toes will itch at a specific count. Once
this test is accomplished, you are ready for the "foot" test--No. 4.

You will remember that the key to achieving a greater depth of hypnosis
lies in visualizing yourself going deeper with each attempt and
accomplishing progressive hypnotic tests. Keep this in mind. For a
moment, let us go back to the hand tingling test--No. 3. Once you have
been successful in accomplishing this test, use the visual-imagery
technique to see yourself successfully responding to the foot test. When
you have actually accomplished test No. 4, you see yourself
accomplishing the "hand levitation" test--No. 5. In other words, you use
each step to enhance a greater receptivity for the following progressive
test. As you couple this approach with posthypnotic suggestions that you
will go deeper and deeper into the hypnotic state at a given stimulus,
you set into motion a conditioned response mechanism which must
ultimately guide you into a profound state of hypnosis.

The foot test can be accomplished while sitting or lying down. The idea
of this test is to imagine that your feet are stuck to the floor or that
your legs are so heavy that they are impossible to raise until you reach
a certain count. It is best to begin this test by trying to capture a
heavy, relaxed feeling in your legs. You give yourself specific
suggestions along these lines: "As I count to five, I shall notice a
very heavy, relaxed, pleasant feeling in both legs. It will be a very
comfortable feeling; a feeling of complete relaxation." You then begin
the count of ten, following out the idea of the other tests you have
successfully accomplished. You should remember that there is no time
limit and you take as much time as you need in order to get the relaxed,
heavy feeling. Once you get the relaxed, heavy feeling, you use the
visual-imagery technique to try to picture your legs stuck to the floor.
If you are lying down, imagine you are covered by a heavy blanket which
is tightly tucked under the mattress, making it impossible for you to
raise your legs. If sitting up, I tell the subject to imagine that his
shoes are stuck to the floor with "iron glue," and since his feet are in
the shoes, it is impossible to lift them until the specific count which
will enable him to do so.

Here are the suggestions you can use for the second part of this test.
"As I continue to count to ten, I shall find that it will be impossible
for me to raise my legs. I shall try at the count of ten, but it will be
absolutely impossible to raise my legs until I count to 15. At that
time, I shall be able to raise my legs easily, and the heavy feeling
will leave as well." You then continue with the count, giving yourself
appropriate suggestions. Once this test is accomplished, you use the
visual-imagery technique to see yourself accomplishing the hand
levitation test--No. 5. Be sure you give yourself the posthypnotic
suggestion that the next time you hypnotize yourself, you will fall into
a deeper and sounder state.

I'll assume that you have been able to get a relaxed, heavy feeling in
your legs. You have reached the count of five and are ready to proceed
further. Here are sample suggestions you can use: "Six ... My legs are
becoming extremely heavy. Seven ... I'll be unable to lift them until I
count to 15. Eight ... I feel very comfortable; my legs are becoming
heavier and heavier. Nine ... My entire body is completely relaxed, and
my legs are so heavy that they are impossible to lift. Ten ... I'm in a
very deep hypnotic state, and it is absolutely impossible for me to move
my legs until I count to 15." At this point, you actually try to raise
your legs. If you can't do it, you have reached the cataleptic stage.

Should you not be able to raise your legs, don't become frightened. All
you need to say is: "I can now move my legs." You could also say: "As I
count to three, I'll be able to move my legs." However, since we have
elected originally to be able to move the legs at the count of 15, it
would be best to follow out this pattern. You could at this time merely
continue to count to 15, at which time you would be able to move your
legs. I prefer giving suggestions between each count as follows: "Eleven
... The heavy feeling is leaving, and I shall be able to raise my legs
at the count of 15. Twelve ... I can feel the heavy, relaxed feeling
leaving. Thirteen ... I am beginning to move my legs. Fourteen ... I am
lifting my legs more and more. Fifteen ... I have perfect control over
my bodily functions and legs; I am lifting and moving my legs; the heavy
feeling is dissipating; I am in complete control; I can now give myself
posthypnotic suggestions that will be very effective and beneficial."
Give yourself whatever suggestions you want at this time.

Let us suppose that you tried the foot test for some time and were
unsuccessful. Perhaps this puzzles you, and you wonder why it didn't
work. Perhaps you were able to get a heavy feeling in the legs, but the
second part of the test didn't work. The following information will help
you to understand why you were unable to complete this cataleptic test.
Either you had not conditioned yourself sufficiently, or you weren't
really "letting go" enough to enter into a deeper state of hypnosis.
Most subjects need to test themselves and feel secure every step of the
way. They don't just plunge into the cataleptic or somnambulistic stages
immediately. In this connection, I believe it can be compared with the
bather who goes into the water one step at a time. Even the playful
splashing directed at him by friends does not compel him to duck under
the water. Instead, he continues to slowly go deeper and deeper until he
is completely submerged. Wouldn't it have been easier to duck under all
at once? Perhaps, but I'm sure you have either experienced the same
thing yourself or seen it happen.

The analogy should be clear. The subject is reluctant to do what he
considers as "giving up his control" when, in reality, he is really more
and more in control of himself as he penetrates the deeper levels of

In reality, the subject who does not or cannot raise his feet really
could move in case of emergency, even without counting to 15. He has, in
effect, entered into a state in which it is too much bother to lift his
feet. A common example of this frame of mind is when you remain in bed
in the morning even though you know you will be late to work. You are
just too comfortable to move, and your initiative seems paralyzed.

Let us assume, at this point, that you have finally succeeded in getting
the foot test to work. You are now ready for the hand levitation
test--No. 5. In this test, the goal is to get your hand to slowly rise
and touch your chin. Once it touches your chin, you enter into a still
deeper state and lower your hand slowly to your side. This test is
actually combined with the hand tingling test--No. 3. Since you have
been successful with test No. 3, the rest is rather simple. This time as
you work test No. 3, aim for a light, pleasant feeling in your right
hand. Once you get this reaction, you give yourself suggestions that
your right hand will now rise and touch your chin. As soon as it does,
you will fall into a deeper state and lower your hand. Here are the
suggestions that you can use: "As I count to ten and even before I reach
the count of ten, I shall have an irresistible impulse to slowly raise
my hand to my chin. As I progress with the counting, my hand will slowly
rise, and the impulse will become stronger and stronger. As soon as my
hand touches my chin, the impulse will leave. I will then lower my hand
and fall into a very deep hypnotic state. I shall be fully aware of what
is happening, my surroundings, and will be able to give myself
beneficial posthypnotic suggestions."

At this point you start counting to ten, giving yourself suggestions
that your right hand which already has a light feeling will begin to
slowly rise to your chin. Time the counting to coincide with the actual
physical act of raising your hand. You are trying to feel an involuntary
urge to raise your hand. The movement itself should also be of an
unconscious rather than conscious nature. A conscious raising of your
hand to your chin is not what you are looking for in this test. Should
you experience difficulty in attaining the first movement of your hand,
you can give yourself assistance by consciously and slowly raising your
hand just to get it started. The rest of the movement, as mentioned,
must be automatic. Should you find it necessary to start your hand
rising, use the feed-back technique to continue the movement. You can
give yourself the following suggestions:

"One ... My right hand is beginning to rise. Two ... My right hand is
very, very light, and I am getting an irresistible urge to slowly raise
it. Three ... This feeling is getting stronger and stronger. Four ... My
right hand is rising more and more. Five ... My hand is rising toward my
chin. Six ... As soon as my hand touches my chin, I shall fall into a
deeper and sounder state of hypnosis. Seven ... My hand is rising closer
and closer toward my chin. Eight ... The feeling of lightness is
becoming stronger and stronger. Nine ... My right hand is about to touch
my chin; as soon as it does, I'll fall into a very deep hypnotic state.
Ten ... My right hand is touching my chin; I'm falling deeper and
deeper into a sound hypnotic state; I'll now slowly lower my hand and
continue falling into a deep, sound, pleasant state of hypnosis. The
light feeling has left my hand."

You should not attempt to memorize the exact phraseology for any of the
tests. You are to merely use the suggestions that have been written out
for you as a guide. The timing of the suggestions is the paramount
consideration in attaining successful results. Don't be impatient. Take
as much time as you need. Should you find yourself unsuccessful after
ten or fifteen minutes, drop the test and come back to it another day. I
haven't found that working at a specific test all day long accomplishes
the end result.

It is best to work for a specific period every day. In this way, the
conditioned response pattern is established for the success of the tests
as well as the success of the posthypnotic suggestions that you have
given yourself. You should bear in mind that if you have been successful
in achieving the first five tests, you have reached a medium state of
hypnosis, and posthypnotic suggestions will be extremely effective. In
the next chapter, you'll learn, psychologically, how to go even deeper
into hypnosis. You'll learn those psychological factors that are
important to know and that can contribute to your development into an
excellent hypnotic subject. Following this, the subsequent chapter will
give you further tests and instructions for developing into a
somnambulistic subject.

Next: What You Should Know About Becoming An Excellent Subject

Previous: How To Attain Self-hypnosis

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