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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

How Does Self-hypnosis Work?

There's an old Chinese proverb that states: "One picture is worth a
thousand words." In conveying suggestions to the subconscious, we have
found that picture images are more effective than the words that are
implanted. For example, it isn't sufficient to say, "I will be
confident." The words must be augmented by a picture of yourself as the
confident person you want to be. If you say, "I can't visualize myself
as a confident person because I have never been that way," you can
"borrow" those personality traits that you want for yourself. Imagine
yourself endowed with the characteristics of some confident person that
you know. The qualities that you seek may even be borrowed from a famous
person. If this isn't possible, make up a personality which is a
composite of all the things you want to be. See yourself walking,
talking and carrying on activities. Keep fortifying this image with the
mental suggestions that are needed. It won't be long before these mental
impressions give rise to the confident feelings that you seek. As you
keep implanting these images, they will become a natural part of your
conscious personality.

Dr. S. J. Van Pelt, president of the British Society of Medical
Hypnotists and editor of the British Journal of Medical Hypnotism,
writes about this technique in his book, Secrets of Hypnotism. He
calls it "'3-D' Technique in Medical Hypnotherapy." As you read the
following paragraph, it would be well to remember that it contains the
essence of making the self-hypnosis technique work once you have
achieved the hypnotic state, per se. Incidentally, the same procedure
can be used in attaining the hypnotic state itself. You see yourself
entering the state of hypnosis in your initial attempts. This, in turn,
sets up a conditioned response and a favorable emotional reaction which
is necessary.

"The writer has found (visualization) of the greatest value in the
re-education of the patient, which is an essential part of hypnotherapy.
In this method, after the cause of the trouble has been discovered and
as a part of his re-education, the patient is instructed while under
only light hypnosis to 'form a picture' in his mind. He is asked to
imagine a movie screen and to see himself 'just like an actor' on this
screen playing a part. He is told that the picture looks 'very
real'--'3-D' in fact--and that he can see himself acting and looking the
way he really wants to look and act. Various scenes are suggested such
as ... the patient will have to face in real life. In each he is
instructed to see himself--'as in real life'--always succeeding. For
instance, the stammerer might be asked to picture himself speaking
easily to people, and feeling perfectly at ease. The patient is also
instructed how to form these 'success pictures' for himself, and it is
stressed that he will only be able to see himself as he wants to
be--successful. Since the pictures give rise to the appropriate
feelings, it is not long before the patient begins to show the benefit
of his private '3-D' film shows."

After explaining this technique to students, many have inquired, "Is
that all there is to it? It seems so simple." Of course, there is more
to it in that the individual must follow through with the instruction.
This is one of the difficult aspects of this type of program. Let me
enumerate some of the problems I have encountered in teaching

As mentioned, one of the difficulties is that the technique seems too
simple. Students become skeptical. They feel it should be more
complicated and involved in order to get results. I suppose people
better appreciate something that comes only after a hard struggle. This
procedure is devoid of this. Of course, I am not saying that once a
person begins to use this technique his problems will automatically
vanish and his life will be cheery forever after. We have been
conditioned to think that success in anything can only come after a
long, hard struggle. This is the basic theme of the American way of
life. We have been accustomed to believe that conflict and struggle are
part of life and large doses of it are necessary before we achieve
success in any field. I can only reiterate that the information
contained in this book is all you need to get results. It is necessary
that you follow through and not give up after you have tried the program
for a short while and have obtained no appreciable results. This brings
us to another point.

Many persons expect immediate results when they begin to use
self-hypnosis. If they don't get the results they anticipated
immediately, they want to know "what's wrong?" My answer is usually
that "nothing is wrong" and that they need only keep steadily applying
the instructions. Certainly, one doesn't become a proficient typist,
musician, actor or sportsman because he has mastered the basic
techniques. It takes time to acquire proficiency.

Let me assure you that anyone using and applying this technique can
benefit from it. One of the troubles in dealing with any problem is
routing defeatism and hopelessness. You can incorporate posthypnotic
corrective measures in the suggestions that you give yourself. However,
I believe that they must be dealt with on a conscious level as well. You
must believe that you can conquer your difficulties no matter how long
you have had them. If you are prepared to work with self-hypnosis in an
unremitting manner, you will achieve the self-help that you seek. Now
and then, you can anticipate a setback in your progress, but this
needn't discourage you from your overall task. Recount the progress
already made. If you have a "let-down" because you expected quicker and
more dramatic results, remember that this is a common feeling shared by
many with emotional problems. Remember, also, how long you have had the

No doubt, you have tried other methods and became discouraged because
you weren't making the progress you had anticipated. You dropped the
idea and landed back where you started. Make up your mind, consciously,
that you will work with untiring sincerity and a perseverance that will
not falter because your chosen goal is not achieved immediately. I know
of no therapy that leads straight to positive results without obstacles
and intermittent failure. Success comes in spite of intervening failures
because the ultimate direction has been clearly thought out and charted.
Self-hypnosis will finally work because you are constantly conditioning
your subconscious to react in a positive, constructive manner. The
program must, of necessity, become automatic in nature. When it does,
you will suddenly find yourself feeling the way you wanted to and doing
the things that you set out to do with the aid of self-hypnosis. You
actually cultivate those feelings that you want.

Hypnosis will not work with skeptics. Every so often such a person comes
to my office seeking help. He tells me that his family physician or his
spouse feels he should take my course in self-hypnosis. I inquire if he
feels he might benefit from the course. If his answer is not positive,
and if after talking to him at length about the benefits of hypnosis, I
still feel he is not ready for the course, I suggest another mode of
treatment for him. The reason for this is that unless the person is
optimistic and enthusiastic about self-hypnosis, it just isn't going to
work as effectively as it would otherwise. The very nature of a
skeptical attitude limits the constructive forces that we wish to

Occasionally, individuals want indisputable proof that hypnosis is going
to help them. It is impossible to give them the proof and unqualified
reassurance that they seek. Yet, these same people do not require proof
from their physicians. No one can guarantee success. However, I do point
out that the continued and intelligent use of self-hypnosis can be
instrumental in directing the healing, curative, constructive forces of

Many times, a metaphysical rather than a scientific approach is
required. It's a matter of trying to satisfy the patient's needs. At
times, it is helpful to allow the patient to attend a class in
self-hypnosis. Being able to communicate and identify with other
individuals seeking self-hypnosis often is enough to change his
attitude. This is especially true when one or more of the students
relates dramatic changes.

Self-hypnosis works because we are able to condition ourselves to
various stimuli. We condition ourselves consciously and unconsciously to
many activities. When we experience anxiety, it stems from a
conditioning process which could have been conscious or unconscious. In
self-hypnosis, the individual consciously works toward implementing and
strengthening his own inherent strength and resources. These objectives,
when attained, result in feelings of confidence, relaxation,
self-mastery and well-being.

Furthermore, hypnosis utilizes a natural mental process. We all know
that placebos work admirably in numerous cases. The dictionary defines
the word placebo as, "an inactive substance or preparation, administered
to please or gratify a patient, also used in controlled studies to
determine the efficiency of medicinal substances." Many controlled
experiments have shown that people achieve similar results whether they
take a placebo (which they think is the real medication) or real
medication that was prescribed. Several years ago many such tests were
carried out with antihistamines to prevent colds. The results were
always the same.

We are interested in what makes the placebo act as effectively as the
true medication. It stands to reason that a chain reaction is set up,
actually causing a physiological result from a psychological reaction.
The unsuspecting patient declares, "I've never felt so good in my life."
Yet, this would never have happened if he didn't think he was taking the
marvelous new medicine. A recent scientific study by one of the leading
pharmaceutical houses concluded that one third of the effectiveness of
any medication depends upon the faith and trust that the patient has in
the prescribing physician.

I am sure that the placebo results and the patient's faith in the
physician as contributing factors to the effectiveness of medications do
not come as a revelation. We are all aware of such information. Our
problem is how to harness this unconscious process for constructive
goals. The answer is through self-hypnosis.

Self-hypnosis, as we have explained it, uses a technique called
visual-imagery. This has been referred to by many different names, but
for our purposes we'll call it visual-imagery. Within this technique
lies one of the keys for achieving the goals that you want. There have
been many famous books written incorporating this technique as a basis
for achievement. Perhaps the most famous of all is called Think and
Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. In recent years, The Magic of Believing
by Claude M. Bristol and The Power of Positive Thinking, already
mentioned, have become well-known. The book which gives direction to
most of the books in this field is called Self-Mastery Through
Conscious Auto-Suggestion by Dr. Emile Coue. I am sure the older
readers of this book have heard of his famous saying, which I will
repeat here for emphasis. "Day by day, in every way, I am getting better
and better." Invariably, in all these books, there is reference to the
Biblical quotation, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."

As the reader can deduce, we are not theorizing about a startling new
discovery. The technique is as ancient as man himself and his dream of a
better tomorrow. All books using the visual-imagery technique tell you
to paint a vivid, mental picture of the material things you wish to
acquire, if it is a case of material wealth. For personal improvement,
they tell you to paint a vivid picture of the individual you want to
be. In most cases, you are told to do this in a relaxed or meditative
state with as few distractions as possible. The next two requirements
are constant repetition (conditioning) and a "burning desire"
(motivation) to achieve what you set out to do.

Aren't these books really talking about self-hypnosis? Aren't they
describing precisely the techniques of self-hypnosis? The terminology is
different, but the approach is the same. With these techniques there is
an aim to direct thinking, picturization, positive thinking, suggestions
and constructive thoughts or images to the "inner self" or "real self."
Aren't they once again really talking about the subconscious mind? I
have no argument with any workable approach to emotional maturity, but
in many cases we are actually becoming involved with the meaning of
words (semantics). The quickest way to the subconscious is through
self-hypnosis. In this self-hypnotic state, you are able to consciously
direct suggestions to your subconscious mind.

Next: How To Arouse Yourself From The Self-hypnotic State

Previous: Is Hypnosis The Answer?

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