Practical Applications Of Self-hypnosis
With hypnosis on the march, there is practically no limit to its uses in
the field of medicine, and new applications are being discovered every
day. It should not be necessary to add, however, that some of these uses
should remain as they are--in the hands of professionals with years of
experience in the area. One of the themes of this book has been that
laymen should use hypnosis discriminately and intelligently. No
sponsible therapist would ever recommend masking or removing a symptom
which was indicative of organic disease. For that reason, the practical
uses of self-hypnosis will be limited to measures that can be taken
safely by the layman. The only possible exception to this will be
instructions on how to curb obesity, but even here it is suggested that
a physician be consulted before embarking on a weight-reducing program.
The foremost use of hypnosis has been for relaxation, and it becomes
more and more important as world tensions, anxiety and strain increase
daily and millions seek vainly to "get away from it all." Inasmuch as
all methods of hypnosis discussed in this book utilized relaxation as
the first step, it should not be necessary to go over this material.
Simply review the many induction techniques.
Lung cancer has become a very real threat to many people today, and the
professional hypnotist is besieged with men and women who wish to
curtail or quit smoking. This is easier said than done because smoking,
although there are no physical withdrawal symptoms when one stops, is a
strong, conditioned reflex and cannot (except in rare instances) be
accomplished by the will alone. The best way to stop smoking is to make
it an impossibility, and that is exactly what you do when you follow the
method touched on in an earlier chapter.
All of us have tasted or smelled certain foods or medicines that
nauseate us. The subject who wishes to quit smoking is asked to conjure
up the vision and the actual taste and smell of the substances which
upset his stomach and offend his nostrils, transferring its properties
to cigarettes. This, of course, must be done under hypnosis. The subject
then conditions himself in the following manner: One ... This cigarette
tastes and smells just like (mention name of repugnant substance). Two
... It is the most vile and repugnant taste I have ever encountered, and
I shall not be able to continue after the third puff. At the third puff,
I will develop a paroxysm of coughing. Three ... I cannot smoke the
cigarette any longer, and I will have to put it out.
This sounds like a simple procedure, and yet it has worked for
thousands. Some switch to chewing gum or candy, but the cure essentially
lies in substituting one conditioned reflex for another. This is
comparatively easy with hypnosis because, unlike narcotics, barbiturates
or alcohol, smoking is purely a psychological addiction. There is no
need for tapering off.
Stopping drinking, unlike smoking, doesn't involve merely the creation
of a physical aversion to the drug. The patient's entire personality
should be changed and more mature viewpoints substituted for the
unrealistic and infantile viewpoints which lead to the addiction in the
first place. The subject should give himself suggestions that he will be
able to "face up" to the problems of every day life without recourse to
the crutch of alcohol. It is a well-known fact that nothing is as bad as
we think it is going to be once we confront it.
One of the strange aspects of drinking is that it is actually a form of
self-hypnosis, and the cure lies in substituting a new viewpoint for the
old. This fact can be demonstrated by the fact that drinking is begun in
the first place so that the individual can be "one of the boys" or
because it is the thing to do. Those who do not drink, at least as a
social lubricant, according to this code, are "squares." Because of
this, self-hypnosis must be directed toward reorienting one's sense of
values. Sober reflection should convince anyone that the truly
intelligent person does not drink to excess.
Nail biting is an unsightly habit, one that may even hinder one's social
acceptance. The help lies in a therapeutic approach similar to that for
It is not hard to predict that many of those reading these pages are
suffering from overweight. With 30 million Americans in this category,
it has become one of the nation's chief health problems, and it is the
predisposing factor in many other diseases such as heart trouble,
diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis. If you are overweight, it is
well to remember that (unless you are one in a million) you cannot
blame your glands. The plain truth is that you eat too much.
We know today that overeating for some is an emotional problem, stemming
from feelings of rejection and insecurity. Individuals who feel unloved,
whether this is truly the case or not, make up for this lack to
themselves by stuffing in large quantities of food. It would even appear
that these people are masochistic, making themselves even more unloved
by their gross gastronomical habits. A big factor in overweight in women
is "raiding the refrigerator" while doing their housework. Most of them
do this so unconsciously that they swear they eat less than most people.
There are a number of appetite-curbing drugs on the market today, but
they should not be necessary for anyone who has acquired self-hypnosis.
If you have learned to visualize yourself (visual-imagery) in different
situations, you will have no trouble in picturing yourself having a
slim, attractive figure, exactly as you were when you felt you looked
your best. Keep this figure ever in mind and use it along with
conditioning yourself against certain fatty and starchy foods. A trick
used by some hypnotherapists is to have the subject purchase a dress or
suit several sizes too small and then work toward being able to wear it.
This actually has worked in many cases because it adds the element of
competitiveness to the procedure.
Not all people overeat because of emotional problems. Some come from
families where "licking the platter clean" was the rule because food was
scarce. Others come from rich families where overeating by the parents
established a habit pattern in the children. Certain races and
nationalities look on fat as a badge of wealth and prestige, and
children in such an environment are likely to be deliberately overfed.
Regardless of the reason for overweight, however, the use of
self-hypnosis is one of the answers to the problem.
Simple headaches, arthritis, neuritis and other painful symptoms yield
readily to hypnotic suggestion. If physicians have given up on the
problem and placed a subject on a maintenance drug dosage for pain,
hypnosis can potentiate the drugs or even obviate them.
Two of the major uses of hypnosis are in childbirth and for intractable
pain of cancer or some other incurable diseases. Although patients
usually start with hetero-hypnosis, they are put on self-hypnosis as
soon as possible, and there are many cases of women waiting too long and
having their babies at home painlessly through self-hypnosis. The father
invariably is the only one excited in such cases. The mother knows that
she is an excellent subject and has been instructed in prenatal classes
about every contingency that could arise. Inasmuch as stopping the birth
pangs is similar to stopping other pain, the method should be learned so
that it can be accomplished in a minimum of time.
The best way to stop pain is to let your right arm slowly rise while you
are under hypnotic suggestion. Do not help it. If the suggestions are
strong enough, it will "float" up. As soon as the arm is straight
overhead, you should give yourself the suggestion that it is as rigid
and unbending as a bar of steel. Following this, a suggestion is given
that the hand is beginning to tingle and become numb. As soon as the
numbness has spread through the entire hand, it will be insensible to
pain. The hand is then placed against the part of the body where pain
exists, and you will feel the numbness flowing from the hand to the
affected area. This happens as a result of your suggestions and is the
method followed by most subjects. Only a deep somnambulistic subject is
able to remove pain by direct suggestion to the painful part.
There are many people today using self-hypnosis in the realm of sports,
and an entire book has been written on improving one's golf game with
this method. It is called How You Can Play Better Golf Using
Self-Hypnosis by Jack Heise (Wilshire Book Company--Publishers).
Dr. Huber Grimm, team physician of the Seattle University basketball
team, recently related the results when Dave Mills, a six-foot five-inch
junior forward, asked for his help because he "froze" during
competition. He had been benched on the eve of the West Coast Athletic
Conference tournament in San Francisco. Spectators made Mills so fearful
that he was afraid he would make mistakes--and in this frame of mind, of
course, he did. Under hypnosis, Dr. Grimm suggested to Dave that he
would be unaware of the spectators, be completely relaxed and would play
exceedingly well. Dr. Grimm asked coach Vince Cazzeta to allow Dave to
play and the result was astounding. Mills scored 60 points and cleared
63 re-bounds, and his brilliant play led to his selection on the
"All I did was free his spirit," Dr. Grimm reported. "He was in need of
confidence, and I gave it to him through hypnosis." The Associated Press
told the story as follows: "Dave Mills, a vacuum cleaner off the
back-boards, led a fast-breaking Seattle University team to victory last
night. It was hard to recognize Mills as the same player who has been
with the Chieftains all year."
Dr. William S. Kroger, a pioneer in hypnosis, undertook to improve the
batting of a professional baseball player with equally sensational
results. The player had been "beaned," and his fear of a recurrence was
so strong that he became "plate shy." He had changed his batting stance
so that he always had "one foot in the bucket" so that he could back
away from the plate more quickly. He was given a posthypnotic suggestion
that such an event happening again was exceedingly remote, and this was
amplified by suggestions of confidence that he would immediately start
slugging as well as ever. His batting average soared immediately.
Dr. Michio Ikai, professor of physiology at Tokyo University, and Dr.
Arthur H. Steinhaus of the George Williams Laboratory of Physiologic
Research in Physical Education, Chicago, have proved that track men can
far surpass their best previous times under hypnosis. Their tests,
incidentally, proved that there is no danger of an athlete going beyond
his physiologic limit while bettering his former marks. They attribute
the superior performances to the removal of inhibitions, which
psychologically prevent an athlete from doing his best. This report was
made before the International Congress on Health and Fitness in the
Modern World held in Rome during the last Olympic games.
All reports, as a matter of fact, show that athletic performances are
improved by psychological, not physical, means, and that built-in
automatic reflexes protect the athlete against the danger of
overexertion at all levels of awareness--hypnotic or non-hypnotic.
Psychologists are using hypnosis more and more to facilitate
concentration and learning, and it is likely this use of the ancient
science will become even more popular than its medical applications. The
reason one learns so quickly under hypnosis is because of time
distortion which allows you to obtain the equivalent of many hours of
study in a relatively short length of time.
Undoubtedly, you have had experience with time distortion in your daily
life. Remember how slowly time goes when you are not interested in what
you are doing and how fast it speeds by when you are? And the drowning
man, who sees his whole life go by, is an excellent example of this.
Enough people have been saved to know that this actually happens. The
point is that the subconscious mind does not record the passage of time
the same way as the conscious mind.
The conscious mind records time physically, by means of a clock. It is
objective and tells you that a thought or movement requires a certain
number of seconds, minutes, hours or days.
Your subconscious mind has an entirely different concept of time that
has nothing to do with the physical world. It is called subjective
because your own sense of the passage of time is used.
Personal time varies according to the circumstances in which you find
yourself. Haven't you noticed that when you are happy or extremely
interested in something, time passes quickly? On the other hand, if you
are sad or anxious, time seems to drag.
This is called time distortion. When you continue in a happy state, time
is automatically shortened. When you are in a state of unhappiness, pain
or anxiety, time automatically lengthens. This explains why the drowning
man can review his entire life within seconds. Psychologists know this
is possible, because your subconscious mind contains a complete record
of everything that has happened to you since birth. Therefore, in
moments of extreme distress your subconscious has the ability to distort
and manipulate time.
If you have ever encountered danger or had a narrow escape, you probably
experienced time distortion. Everything about you went into slow motion,
and time seemed to stand still until the action was over. At that point,
objective time started up again and everything returned to normal.
Many of you no doubt read an Associated Press report from Chicago on
February 11, 1958, which reported how movie actress Linda Darnell had
used hypnosis to help her with her first stage role. She had been asked
to do the part on short notice and had no time for preparation. Miss
Darnell telephoned her California physician for aid. He flew to Chicago.
Overnight, through hypnosis, Miss Darnell learned her part and astounded
the cast by knowing everyone's lines. Not only did she learn the part,
but she was coached in the character of the artist she was portraying.
As a result, "Late Love" was a hit play. Miss Darnell was under the
impression she had been learning the part for a week although only about
48 hours were involved and these hours were not continuous. After her
first performance, she said: "I never felt so secure about playing a
role in my life. Hypnosis helped me feel the part completely."
Imagine how much more we are going to be able to learn when study under
hypnosis becomes widespread. And the best part of it is that the
learning is in your mind for a long time. Forgetting or mental blocks
that interfere with your recall of the information at any time, are
reduced to a minimum.
In conclusion, I should like to recommend the entire field of
self-hypnosis to everyone. It is a therapy which is positive, dynamic
and constructive. An excellent example of this is contained in the
autobiography, Rachmaninoff's Recollections. In this book, immortal
Rachmaninoff describes in detail his success in overcoming a severe case
of mental depression. He had stopped composing and kept to himself,
seldom leaving his room. After meeting with failure, using the available
therapeutic remedies available at that time, he was persuaded by his
relatives, the Satins, to seek the help of a hypnotist called Dr. Dahl.
With much reluctance, he agreed to see Dr. Dahl and be treated
specifically with hypnosis. Rachmaninoff's own words read as follows:
"Although it may sound incredible, hypnosis really helped me. Already at
the beginning of the summer I began again to compose. The material grew
in bulk, and new musical ideas began to stir within me--far more than I
needed for my concerto. I felt that Dr. Dahl's treatment had
strengthened my nervous system to a miraculous degree. Out of gratitude,
I dedicated my second concerto to him. As the piece had a great success
in Moscow, everyone began to wonder what possible connection it could
have with Dr. Dahl. The truth, however, was known to Dr. Dahl, the
Satins, and myself."
Does this story sound incredible? You have the word of one of the
world's greatest musical composers that hypnosis alleviated his severe
despondency. This is proof that the emotions of the individual can be
changed by the ideas he builds up about himself.
Dr. Leland E. Hinsie, professor of psychiatry, Columbia University,
writing in his book, The Person in the Body, (W. W. Norton & Co.)
states, "In some persons the fear of disease is often the only damaging
evidence of disease, yet it can be so strong as to disable the person in
all his daily activities." The entire field of psychosomatic medicine,
which deals with the interrelationship between body and mind, has as one
of its basic tenets that suggestion not only can cause psychological
personality disorders, but many physical disorders as well.
It is, therefore, logical to conclude that the systematic use of
positive mental attitudes in an organized, progressive, self-improvement
program can be a vital influence in helping you lead a healthier life,
both emotionally and physically.
Many people in need of help are at a loss as to where they can locate
reputable hypnotherapists in their area. You may consult your family
physician, county medical society or mental hygiene society. The
chairman of the psychology department at your nearest college or
university would usually have this information. I maintain a file of
over 4,000 doctors located all over the world who practice hypnosis and
would be pleased to refer you to doctors located in your locality.