What Good Is Hypnotic Amnesia?
In Part I of this hypnosis tips article, we discussed how people often misunderstand the uses of hypnotic amnesia. There are ethical considerations, and just because someone wants you to “make them forget”, that is not always the best choice.
Once you’ve determined the appropriate use of hypnotic amnesia (like suggested amnesia as a way to deepen trance), you’ll want to know how to use it effectively.
Here, we’ll cover when to use it.
There is some evidence that hypnotic suggestions are more powerful when coming from behind an amnesiac barrier. In other words, people tend to follow suggestions they don’t remember!
Now, the first conclusion that people jump to is that you can plant evil suggestions in people and they’ll go around doing your bidding like the Manchurian Candidate.
Well, it doesn’t work that way.
Keep in mind that during a typical hypnotic session, the subject hears everything the hypnotist says. They are free to accept or reject any suggestion they wish. Most people simply refuse hypnotic suggestions that go against their moral character. In addition, they usually refuse any further instructions.
How To Create Hypnotic Amnesia
Here’s the way amnesia can work both for you and for the person you’re hypnotizing…
You give a series of suggestions aimed toward achieving the goals of your subject. You then suggest amnesia for the suggestions.
You can directly suggest amnesia “These suggestions fade from your conscious mind to be carried out fully and automatically by your automatic, unconscious mind. Your conscious mind forgets these suggestions and you carry them out automatically.”
I prefer to invite amnesia, often through metaphor. I like to let the person I’m working with determine how much they want to remember. “And you can remember the experience of an enjoyable movie without remembering each moment of the movie. And this experience can be the same. Some things are more powerful if remembered and some more powerful if forgotten. Your unconscious now can decide what it’s better to remember from this experience and what it’s better to let fade from your conscious memory like sand slipping through your fingers.”
Hypnotic Amnesia Method II
Another way to facilitate amnesia is to talk about something briefly before you induce trance. You might discuss the weather, for instance. Then, immediately after emerging someone from trance, start that conversation up again as if you were just finishing the thought.
Starting a conversation before trance and finishing it after trance gives the unconscious mind cues to forget what was in between.
Memory is largely state and context dependent. To transfer memory from one context to another (from trance to a “normal” state of consciousness) requires a bit of an effort. Right when you wake up from a dream, you may have some memory of what occurred during that dream.
If you do not make an effort to remember the dream it will fade from memory pretty quickly. It may even fade if you try to remember it! An effort is required to carry that memory from your sleeping to waking states. If someone distracted you right when you woke up you’d have even less chance of remembering your dream.
So, if you distract someone immediately after emerging them from trance a larger part of that experience will have a tendency to drop from conscious memory.