How To Arouse Yourself From The Self-hypnotic State
You will note that this chapter precedes instruction on how to attain
self-hypnosis. The reason for this is to alleviate whatever anxiety you
may have in regard to the question, "If I'm hypnotized, how do I awaken
myself?" It is important to understand that even though you are
hypnotized, you are in control, are aware of your surroundings, what is
going on about you, can think clearly and can arouse yourself very
. It is only necessary to say or think, "I shall now open my eyes
and wake up feeling fine." You could also give yourself a specific count
and say, "As I count to five, I'll open my eyes and wake up feeling
wonderfully well and refreshed. One ... two ... three ... four ...
It should be remembered that while we sometimes use the word "sleep" to
describe the hypnotic state, we are not actually referring to true
sleep. This accounts for much of the confusion. The individual thinks,
"If I'm asleep, how can I awaken myself?" If the subject were asleep in
the true sense of the word, this would be impossible. Actually, the
subject is in a special or heightened state of awareness. In
self-hypnosis, he is extremely conscious although his general physical
appearance is one of passiveness. In the self-hypnotic state, the
individual consciously gives himself whatever suggestions he desires.
This proves he is conscious and, therefore, can awaken himself with
the appropriate suggestions.
Occasionally, the subject falls asleep while giving himself suggestions
or while relaxing to get into the right psychological mood. Naturally,
in this case, the subject will awaken in due course. If the subject
practices hypnosis when he is normally set to fall asleep in bed, he
would awaken refreshed in the morning at his usual time.
Before beginning to give yourself therapeutic suggestions, you could
give yourself the following suggestions which give you a specific
length of time that you will work with self-hypnosis:
"I shall work with self-hypnosis for 15 minutes. At the end of that
time, I shall open my eyes and wake up feeling wonderfully well, wide
awake, confident, cheerful and optimistic. The moment I open my eyes,
I'll feel refreshed. In case of any outside danger, I'll be able to
awaken immediately, be fully alert and act accordingly."
You will notice that these suggestions take into consideration the
possibility of something happening of danger to the individual, such as
fire, etc. These points arise in the minds of most individuals
attempting self-hypnosis and are well taken. You could also set an alarm
clock to awaken you at a designated time.
Let us assume to arouse yourself you gave yourself a suggestion to open
your eyes and be wide awake at the count of five. You count to five and
for some reason you are unable to open your eyes. First of all, DON'T
WORRY. Remain relaxed and give yourself the suggestions over again,
emphasizing to yourself that at the count of five you will absolutely,
positively be able to open your eyes very easily and will feel fine. You
then begin the count again reiterating between each number that you will
positively open your eyes at the count of five and be wide awake. This
should do it. Should this not do it, may I reassure you again, DON'T
BECOME ALARMED. Relax for a few minutes and try again. You'll be able to
open your eyes and wake up.
I hope I haven't frightened you with the prospect of not being able to
awaken. I bring this up only to acquaint you with the procedure to use.
Actually, the problem of dehypnotization is a rare one. I should point
out a very important fact. I have never had a subject practicing or
using self-hypnosis tell me he had the least bit of difficulty in
awakening himself from the self-induced hypnotic state.
I have had persons tell me that they heard or read of a case where the
hypnotist could not bring the subject out of the hypnotic state, and, as
a result, the subject slept for so many days. Not one of the stories
could be documented. Years ago, for publicity purposes, stage hypnotists
would have a subject sleep in a store window for several days. This was
on a voluntary basis, though, and should not be confused with what we
In working with subjects, I have very rarely had a subject who did not
awaken at a specific count, but I have had this experience. I have
usually found that the subject is so relaxed that he just didn't want to
awaken for fear of losing this pleasant sensation. When the subject
doesn't awaken, I merely ask him in a calm manner, "Why don't you wish
to wake up? You can answer me without awakening from the hypnotic
state." He usually replies he'd like to remain in this state for another
five minutes or so. I agree to this extended period while getting a firm
commitment from him that he will awaken after this period. This is
usually sufficient to bring the subject out of the hypnotic state.
Occasionally, the instructions to wake up are not clear to the subject.
If this is the case, clearer instructions should be given. You could
also deepen the hypnotic state and then give suggestions to awaken at a
specific count in a very authoritarian manner. Every so often, I have
found that the subject has fallen into a natural sleep and just hasn't
heard the instructions. In this case I raise my voice which is usually
sufficient or gently shake the subject awakening him as you would any
I would like to relate a rather interesting experience that I had with a
male subject. I had worked with this particular subject six times
previous to this occasion. He was a good hypnotic subject, and he failed
to awaken in the usual manner. Since he had carried out several
posthypnotic suggestions, it was rather perplexing to analyze what had
happened. After about ten minutes, he finally agreed while he was under
hypnosis to awaken at a given count. I asked him what was the nature of
the difficulty. He replied, "I wanted to see how you would react."
In conclusion, having difficulty in dehypnotizing yourself is extremely
rare. Should it happen, keep calm, and repeat the suggestions with
emphasis. Even in hetero-hypnosis, where the hypnotist hypnotizes a
subject, it is extremely rare. There are explainable psychodynamic
factors for this. However, they can be met adequately while the subject
is under hypnosis.