Hypnosis and NLP are now often interlinked because hypnotism is such a good way of introducing the benefits to the unconscious mind.
What is hypnotism? A common misconception, unfortunately, has been created by stage hypnotists and the film The Ipcress File,
amongst others, that it is possible to control the minds of others to
the extent that they can be made to look foolish on stage or, at the
extreme, programmed to murder.
Neither of those versions is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds
If your experience of hypnosis and NLP is limited to watching stage hypnotists perform on television, you will not have seen what happens at a live performance when, before the show starts, the hypnotist asks for volunteers to assist him.
If you were ever minded to be one of
them, you will know that you were nearly killed in the rush for the
stage as a horde of extroverts ran for the stage in the hope that they
would be selected.
Truth is that if the hypnotist asked most of them to flap their arms and strut around the stage clucking like a chicken, there would be no need to hypnotise them first – they’d do it anyway.
Stage hypnotists are used to calibrating their audience and observing who is likely to be compliant and who is not, who is most likely to bend to their will.
If anyone tells you that he remembers nothing from the moment he was hypnotised until he returned to his seat in the auditorium, receive the information with a large spoonful of salt.
People receive that degree of unconsciousness when they are sound asleep or dead! This idea is well known to those who seriously practise hypnotism and NLP.
It would perhaps be more appropriate to describe hypnotism as a kind of daydreaming, when the mind sort of detaches and part of you works on autopilot whilst the other drifts into a dreamy state.
We describe this as the workings of the conscious or unconscious (some say “subconscious”) mind.
The mind is not really split, of course, but it is a convenient way to describe the process.
I can almost hear you saying “Well, I’ve never been hypnotised” or “It would not be possible to hypnotise me”.
Have you never got into a lift only to find yourself getting out a short while later at the wrong floor, only to jump straight back into it again when you realised your error?
Or have you ever driven a car on a familiar route for many miles and then realised that for a substantial period of time you were not aware that you had been driving, you have no memory of passing certain landmarks on the road, and your mind has been somewhere else completely?
Or have you never allowed yourself to drift to another place while someone else talked at length, and you realised later you never heard a word? You may have said “My mind wandered”.
But that was a hypnotic experience. Your mind didn’t “wander” anywhere; it is still where it is inside your head.
When you are in this dreamy state – which is where a skilled practitioner in hypnotism and NLP can put you – it is believed that you are more susceptible to suggestions which may help you.
The process requires your cooperation and willingness to subject yourself to the treatment.
Any suggestion that you do something which you find repulsive or offensive will immediately bring you out of that dreamy state, or “trance” as hypnotists call it.
One of the greatest living hypnotists is Richard Bandler, co-founder of NLP or neuro-linquistic programming; Hypnotism and NLP is his forte.
Richard Bandler was a computer modeller and postgraduate student when he teamed with college professor John Grinder in an attempt to identify elements of genius in talented people.
One of those was Milton H Erickson MD the father of medical hypnosis. Scientifically, Erickson’s ability and accomplishments were baffling.
Together they discovered the extremely complex behaviour which Erickson demonstrated while he induced hypnotic states of consciousness.
But at the same time they observed that his behaviour had distinctive patterns and was systematic.
I have no doubt that some readers will have attended Richard’s talks and seminars and may even have had the privilege of being hypnotised by him, as I was. A fundamental part of Richard Bandler’s teaching technique is to hypnotise his students.
During the course of a seminar day, two or three students (maybe more) will be invited on to the stage and hypnotised to demonstrate a teaching point.
The rest of the attendees will watch
transfixed thinking that it is all about the person seated alongside
Richard Bandler, whilst all the time he is putting them all into trance.
He doesn’t like people taking notes during his seminars. He believes it to be unnecessary. His technique is good enough as it is. Here hypnotism and NLP goes hand in hand.
I remember sitting alongside Richard that
day. We had a brief chat and then Richard turned to the audience and
appeared to be talking to them, telling stories and engaging in the
practice of what I later learned was called “nested loops”.
Richard tells his students to put themselves in the state first, so that by the time he hypnotised me he was in a trance-state himself.
He asked me to look into his by-then softened dreamy eyes, and it is difficult then not to go into the same trance state.
It is a sort of empathic state rather like when a family member yawns and you, too, cannot help but respond with a yawn.
The purpose of the hypnosis with Richard was to get everyone (me in particular) to loosen up and take things less seriously.
I was aware that during the induction he was constantly anchoring suggestions by touching me.
He encouraged me to think of serious things that happened to me and I can remember, in that dreamy state, laughing and laughing. Now, nothing objectionable or horrible took place.
If it had I was aware that I could have
broken that trance and walked off the stage. Quite the contrary, I felt
very good indeed and very happy.
The most amusing part, for me and for
everybody else I think, was when Richard brought me out of trance and
asked me to bring to mind something extremely serious.
Every time I recalled something really serious, I just laughed … and laughed … and laughed until the tears rolled down my cheeks and my specs steamed up.
Of course, the more I laughed, the more the audience laughed and the loosening-up exercise succeeded. I certainly don’t need convincing about hypnotism and NLP!
But during the course of Richard Bandler’s seminars I have attended, I have seen him put people into hypnosis and achieve wonderful results, some of which resulted in the curing of long standing phobias, but most remarkably a lady experiencing release from post-traumatic stress after her involvement in terrorist bombings.
So rather than shy away from hypnosis, you might want to learn more about hypnotism and NLP.
Even if you do not wish to learn hypnosis and NLP to use on others, learn how to hypnotise yourself.
Put yourself into the state you want to be and you will be amazed how you can improve your life.
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