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Self Hypnosis Techniques

Mastering the art of self hypnosis can bring valuable changes into your life, from changing habits, to releasing stress or improving performance through to achieving your goals.  In some ways goal setting is a logical starting point for using self hypnosis techniques because it helps you ensure you get magnificent outcomes.


1         Progressive Relaxation


This involves progressively working through your whole body and tensing each part of your body and then relaxing that part.  A variation of this technique is to work through your whole body and just give yourself suggestions for relaxation of each part.


2         Indirect Language

This uses indirect requests and suggestions to guide your internal representations to those of relaxation.  This is similar to Ericksonian Hypnosis.


3         Eye Fixation

Eye Fixation may be considered a visual mantra because it lets you take advantage of focusing your visual attention on an object or spot.  Whereas, a mantra tunes you in to an auditory component.


As you focus on the external object your mind will become so absorbed in this object that your suggestions for relaxation can go straight to your unconscious.


4         Guided Imagery

Your focus in this technique is on images.  You use a series of images to guide you to trance.  In this context images are just not visual but also include the other representation systems. 

5         The Direct Language Method

This method employs direct specific language to command you to have certain experiences.  For example you may say my eyelids feel heavy and as I experience this heaviness they will want to close. 


6         Using Dreams

With this method you would firstly apply another method to help you into your trance state.  Then you guide yourself towards a dream, a dream in which you may solve a problem, make a discovery or uncover useful information.


7         Erickson Handshake

To start this technique you extend your hand in preparation for a handshake.  You can choose your left hand or your right hand to extend and leave your hand and the arm attached to it suspended there.


As you focus on your arm you can be diverted only to notice the relaxation and other sensations in parts of your body.  This may correspond with your arm moving towards your face or totally relaxing into your lap, but only as quickly as you can go into trance.


The technique is named after Dr Milton Erickson, who popularised the technique.


8         With Music

You will select a piece of music that has special qualities for you.  Maybe you feel calm, engrossed or absorbed.


After this music has started you use the assistance of another technique to help you to the appropriate trance state.  You will utilise the music to take you towards your goals.



9        Deepening

This method employs the benefits of fractionation so that each time you go into trance you go a little deeper each time.  After someone goes into trance they come out of it so that when they enter trance again it can be at a deeper level.


10.     10      Other

There can be as many varieties as we are prepared to prepare.  These nine techniques provide a great basis for putting ourselves into trance and for experiencing the feelings of trance and other sensations and of experiencing time distortion and above all of experiencing the benefits of achieving our goals with the aid of appropriate suggestions. 


While these 9 techniques are a useful and valuable starting point – that is all they are.  The seed to grow other techniques, techniques that may be even more appropriate, useful and successful for us.




How to tell if you are in a state of self hypnosis

The three key clues for the achievement of self hypnosis: 

1      Achieving feeling of relaxation

2  Achieving suggested physical changes

3  Experiencing time distortion

1.  1 Achieving feeling of relaxation


A significant clue to self hypnosis is the achievement of a feeling of relaxation.  This could involve physical feelings of relaxation (such as lowering heart rate, slower breathing or feeling in muscles, mental feelings, more focus of thoughts).


2.  2 Achieving suggested physical changes


As you begin to notice the suggested physical changes taking place your confidence that you are achieving the benefits of self hypnosis will increase.  These physical changes could be related to feelings of weight or temperature in various parts of the body.


3.    3 Experiencing time distortion


“Time distortion is a signal of a hypnotic state” (p48, Alman & Lambrou, Self-Hypnosis).  If your session of self hypnosis took considerable longer (or shorter) than you expected to, you have experienced the distortion.


A further clue to self hypnosis is how you feel after your trance and long term clue is the actual achievement of the goals you have set for yourself in self hypnosis.


A Mantra

A mantra is a word or phrase that you will repeat to yourself to help you maintain an internal focus – especially with the purpose of changing your state of consciousness. Porter distinguishes between a word or phrase repeated vocally (which makes it chanting) and sub-vocally.  He goes on to point out that “as in many meditative exercises, the goal is to repeat the mantra and do nothing else, training yourself to focus your awareness” (p52, Alman & Lambrou, Self-Hypnosis)


Using a mantra for better suggestions?

Alman & Lambrou indicate that a mantra is a mechanism for change.  They provide a number of examples of how trance mantra can be used to achieve change.  They give a sample midday mantra of

“relaxed and confident, what did I learn form this morning, relaxed and confident, what did I learn from this morning”  and of an evening trance mantra “breath and let go, breath and let go”.


A mantra is a point of focus.  You can lack focus and be bombarded by thoughts, all of which are not necessarily useful.  Alternatively, you can choose to focus on something that is useful.  This something useful will be in your mantra.


To achieve change with the assistance of your mantra you will first determine what change you desire, then develop a mantra that will enable you to focus on what you need to achieve the change.  You may also give consideration as to when is the most appropriate time to use your mantra.  Though this may only come with experience.


By way of example a person who would like better sleep may choose a mantra of  “I get to sleep easily and I sleep soundly”.  The power of this mantra can be increased by “using your imagery to see the words, sense the colors, breathe the words in and keep your focus on your trance mantra” (p13, Alman & Lambrou, Self-Hypnosis)


A Posthypnotic suggestion

A posthypnotic suggestion is a suggestion that you give yourself while under hypnosis to carry out while you are out of trance.  The cue is the event which will trigger the suggested behaviour.


A post hypnotic suggestion is an extension of the stimulus response mechanism.  The response is an action or behaviour that you will carry out.  This action or behaviour is as you suggest to yourself while in trance.


Go to Visualisation for more information.