How Deep do You Need to Go?
It cracks me up when I hear some hypnosis instructors talk about depth of trance. In general, they fall into 2 groups; those who think deep trance is absolutely necessary for any progress and those who don’t place much importance on depth of trance at all.
Let’s look at both of these extreme views, figure out where they fall short and get a good handle on what we need to do to get the results we’re after.
A “Master” Speaks
A couple of months ago, I heard a prominent hypnotherapist talking about NLP. NLP uses many of the same concepts as hypnosis but does so in a more conversational style, usually with no formal hypnotic induction. Because there often aren’t the obvious signs of trance, many old-time hypnotists believe that NLP works only temporarily. Well, my experience proves otherwise.
Just think about it for a minute…
Has all lasting change occurred as the result of a deep hypnotic state? Isn’t it possible to make profound changes without visiting a hypnotherapist? You bet it is! It’s downright silly to believe that all permanent change comes about as a result of a formal hypnotic induction in a deep state of hypnosis.
The people who say that you must have a deep hypnotic state (somnambulism, for instance) are at best foolish and at worst, dangerous.
What do hypnotherapists think?
And what about the other side of the coin? I once asked a group of hypnotists if they thought depth of trance was important. About 1/3 raised their hands. I asked those that did not think depth was important why they bothered to hypnotize anyone. “Why don’t you just sit them down and tell them what to do,” I asked. “Why do an induction at all if depth of trance isn’t important?”
The answer seemed to be that “any old trance will do.” That’s not a good enough answer for me.
What pain control can teach us about depth of trance.
So where can we go for answers? Joseph Barber and his work on pain control can help us out here. Joseph Barber is a University of Washington professor who has done extensive studies on hypnotizability, depth of trance and pain control.
So, is depth of trance important when your working with pain? The answer is…….
It depends! It depends who you’re working with and what you’re trying to do.
In general, if you’re trying to alter a physiological process, deeper is better. Restructuring cognitive and emotional responses doesn’t seem to require the deep levels of trance (but deep trance doesn’t hurt, if you’ll forgive the pun).
Here’s some examples to make this more plain…
You can ease someone’s suffering with a light trance. The pain sensations might be just as strong but they wouldn’t bother the person so much or they pain would have a more positive meaning. If you want to actually decrease the strength of the pain signal, deeper trance is called for.
Depth of trance mysteries solved???
So what does this tell us about what level of trance we need to achieve for whatever we’re working on?
1) For some things, depth of trance may be important.
2) We do not have a perfect grasp of what issues need a deeper trance.
3) Deep trance is actually pretty easy to achieve with most people, so if you’re doing a formal hypnotic induction, go for it.
4) If you’re doing conversational hypnosis, go for somnambulism anyway.
5) If you don’t get a deep trance, go ahead with your suggestions anyway since a light trance or even no trance at all may be useful.
Would you like to learn how to quickly achieve somnambulism with
the vast majority of people?