Questions about the validity of hypnosis especially the deeper levels in which a subject or client can experience hallucination by suggestion.
The question is paraphrased to eliminate identifying information and doubts he expressed about some of the teachers/trainers he has encountered.
Answered by Calvin D. Banyan, MA, CI, BCH
Dear Cal Banyan,
I hope you can help me because I am coming to a very important decision point. I have studied hypnosis for years, having read many books, watched many videos, and studied under several teachers. I am convinced that some of the big names in hypnosis use magic tricks and other forms of trickery to convince a subject or an audience that the subject is hypnotized. I have even heard from someone that I trust that the deeper levels of hypnosis (levels 5 and 6 in the Arons Depth Scale) in which the subject is supposed to experience hallucinations does not exist.
Cal, I see your dedication, care and integrity in reading your book, Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy: Basic to Advanced Techniques for the Professional. I wonder if in the beginning you had any of these concerns and how did you get past them? I am really struggling with my belief and faith in hypnosis.
I know just what you are talking about and I too was unconvinced about the validity of hypnosis in the beginning. To solve my problem I went out and received a referral to a well trained and skilled hypnotherapist. I simply went out and got hypnotized so that I could experience it for myself.
Unfortunately, there is a some fakery going on in our field. Some are fakes because that is their nature. Those people have never really done anything in their lives. On the other hand, there are those who have their hearts in the work, but were either taught by fakers or simply lack good training. As a result they too become fakers.
Let me tell you something that I know. Hypnosis is real. Positive and negative hallucinations are real. Not everyone can go deep enough into hypnosis in the first session to experience them, but I know that it is possible. And, that most people can experience it if taken through the proper hypnotic techniques.
I conduct several hypnosis demonstrations in my hypnotherapy courses. I always to attempt demonstrate the six levels of hypnosis to the class on the first or second day. In about 70 percent of my hypnotherapy certification courses, I am able to select a good candidate from the class and take her to a deep enough level of hypnosis to experience positive hallucinations (see or hear what does not exist) and in about 50 percent of those classes, I am able to demonstrate all 6 levels of hypnosis by having a student experience negative hallucinations (not perceive something that does exist). In my office, in a hypnotherapeutic environment, my statistics would be a bit higher.
I am able to do this because of the highly systematized approach that I have for doing hypnosis and conducting hypnotherapy sessions. But anyone can do it if they are willing to practice what I teach (i.e., instant inductions, rapid induction, covert testing, convincers, etc.).
All of my students are taught how to take their clients into somnambulism. Somnamulism (levels 4, 5, and 6) is required in order to conduct true age regression sessions. Phase II of 5-PATH®, the system that I use and teach consists of age regression and other advanced techniques. I use the somnambulistic state with all of my clients and all of my students are taught to do what I do and that's what all our hypnotherapists at our center do (real hypnosis with somnambulism).
I am not the only teacher who teaches this level of hypnotherapy. Gerald F. Kein, does the same, only he started doing it about 20 years before I came along. I have heard that Gil Boyne also teaches at this level, although I have never studied his work.
I can’t tell you what to do next. I can only tell you that hypnosis is real. There are teachers out there that can teach you the real thing.
Remember that hypnosis is a heightened state of suggestibility. Suggestibility is not the same as gullibility. Those who are easily fooled are gullible. Hypnosis occurs when the suggestions made by the hypnotists or hypnotherapists have sufficient impact upon the person who is hypnotized that the hypnotist’s suggestions have varying levels of impact on the subject’s perceptions of the world. In the deepest states of hypnosis, the hypnotherapist can say that there is a cute little kitten in your lap, and there will appear to be a cute little kitten in your lap. It is different from just pretending or following along. It will be a hallucination and a hallucination is defined as a perception, using any of the five senses, which is not based in any physical stimuli.
This heightened state of suggestibility is essential in hypnotherapy, if you want to help your clients with the most difficult problems and to help them achieve long-lasting or even permanent success.
I hope that helps,
Calvin Banyan, MA