Friday, April 15, 2011

I Want To But I'm Sacred

I got a message today from one of the viewers of my YouTube channel. His problem was one that I suspect is quite common among novice hypnotists, so I decided to share it here without revealing the name of the person who wrote to me. The message went like this:

Subject: Hypnosis...scared

Dear Briz,

I have been thinking (for over a year now) about attempting to hypnotize someone, but haven't brought up the nerve to do it. Could you give me some advice?

Here is my response:

What you are experiencing is not uncommon. I know when I began as a hypnotist, what I faced most was a fear of failure. Even armed with strong information from good, solid teachers and mentors, I was concerned that the methods "just wouldn't work for me".

I trusted in the process but not in my ability to apply it. Until I did it for the first time. When my subject went under so quickly he almost collapsed in my arms, my mouth hung open and all I could think was, "Omigod, I DID it!! Holy COW!!!"

What you are experiencing is normal but temporary. The only cure is to get out there and do it. Otherwise you're going to be scared forever and haunted by the thought of what you could have done but never had the nerve to try.

The solution is simple. Notice I didn't say it was easy. It's very difficult to pull off, but it's also a simple task. Act like you know exactly what you are doing and that you will always succeed.

That's all there is to it.

Conduct yourself as someone who is a skilled hypnotist who has studied the craft thoroughly (which, if I understand you correctly, you have) but also as someone who has never failed.

Don't act cocky or arrogant. Never approach someone with the air of "You cannot resist my power." That will turn anyone off and make them want to resist you. Instead, present your excitement and love of hypnosis as something wonderful you can't wait to share. And that's true!

Approach your subjects with an introduction of, "I am a hypnotist and I would love to share something with you. It I absolutely amazing! It's perfectly safe, and it feels just wonderful! May I show you? Say yes." And away you go.

Keep all that you have learned in mind. Ethics, safety for the subject, and all due consideration for their well-being and enjoyment. But behave as if you have done this a thousand times and the result is always one of success and joy. The more you do it, the more you will convince yourself. And in a while, a surprisingly short while, you will no longer need to convince yourself. You will be the hypnotist you want to be.

From then on it's just a question of continuing to put your art into practice and growing and learning more and more as you go. That's it.

Get out there and do it. Act brave and you'll be brave. Enjoy.


I look forward to hearing of this young hypnotist's successes soon. Yours too.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Going Too Far

I love surfing YouTube for hypnosis videos. I subscribe to a number of channels and have even made one video encouraging others to watch some of my favorite posters. Each time a new video appears on my radar, I rush to watch it and see if I might add it to my list for repeated viewing. I have found many a wonderful hypnosis demonstration this way.

Every now and again, I find something else.

YouTube has a new option on its front page that shows what your friends and contacts have rated or favorite. That was how I found the video Instant Induction Hypnosis! by MrMaxwellvideo. The host is a mustachioed gentleman who goes by the name Dr. Mova. There was little conviction on my part that he was an actual doctor, but considering that I regularly cheer on comic book heroes with names like Dr. Mid-Nite, I was hardly going to blanch about that. His on-screen caption does credit him as “hypnotists” (plural), so if nothing else the good doctor needs a secretary to spell-check for him.

In the video, the doctor introduced a friend of his who looked like a fellow comic geek but who actually played in a rock band. Dr. Mova was going to use hypnosis, applied by way of an instant induction, to help the reserved rock and roller get over his timidity onstage and build his confidence when performing before a crowd. Sounds good.

Putting aside the notion that what might be better served as a private session was being publicly posted on YouTube, I saw that Mova seemed to know what he was doing in regard to hypnosis. But only just. His instant induction was more than effective, dropping his subject instantaneously, as the name would imply. He lacked preparation, however, and his subject nearly collapsed on the floor as the hypnotist struggled clumsily to catch him. He did reinforce the musician’s ability to stand and support himself, but it came as more of an afterthought than anything else.

He then proceeded to go to work on his shy friend. Mova’s ability to provide guiding imagery is strong, as when he helps his subject relax by describing his body as feeling limp “like a wet, cooked noodle”. He then, however, rotates the subject’s head around and around, causing him to bend at the neck in full revolutions. This is a big no-no with anything, be it hypnosis, athletics, or dance. It is far too easy to injure by bending the neck backwards, regardless how relaxed they are. This is of particular concern when the person is limp in your arms and you have a palm clasped tightly over his forehead. The spinning motion caused by rotating the head around in circles can also trigger motion sickness, as I can attest firsthand. If physical contact must be maintained at this juncture (which, let’s face it, he’d better if he doesn’t want his pal to smack hard against the floor), light contact upon the neck and shoulders will do wonders to increase the state of relaxation, while allowing the subject’s imagination to do the rest. Even upon standing the subject up, Mova just keeps right on swiveling his head and neck well past the point he should have stopped.

Mova is a natural performer, which for a hypnotist is a good thing. He continues to gesture and move in a very showman-like way as he speaks, despite his subject being unable to see him through his closed eyes. The intensity of Mova’s movements are carried in his voice.

He calls upon image after image, each one wonderfully vivid, as when he clears his friend’s mind of cluttered thoughts by describing them falling away like water melting off a glacier. Very effective. Then he goes a little nuts.

He describes the subject’s mind as being an open field, something he can run and play in. Say what? Is that what we really want our hypnotists to do? Just run and play in our heads all willy-nilly? As Mova practically dances around his subject at that point, hands gesturing like a Disney villain, it makes you wonder.

To dissect every aspect of what follows next would turn this article into a novella. Suffice it to say that rather than simply addressing the young musician’s stage fright, he creates a vivid experience in his mind, on to which his subject is now extremely susceptible. The vision includes just about every negative stereotype about rock stars you can imagine, including big-breasted women, casual drug use, raging egomania and promiscuous sex. We’ve definitely gone way beyond confidence induction and wandered (sped) into dangerous territory.

Perhaps the most unnerving thing about this demonstration is that afterward, when the shy subject is brought back to awareness, he bears the look and mannerisms of someone who does not recall his session. This is quite common in situations of deep trance, but here it indicates that this young man has no idea what’s just been put into his head. Will he go on to find his confidence boosted and his stage presence enhanced along with a love for his music? Or will he descend into the dark abyss of ‘E’ True Hollywood story dysfunction?

This may be an exaggeration on my part, but after seeing this video we are left with the impression that Dr. Mova has never learned the first rule of the ethical hypnotist: The subject is not only under your influence, he is under your protection. I am far from blameless when it comes to playing in the “open fields” of my subjects’ minds, as I have turned them into everything from clowns to chickens to laughing fools. But in the end—and indeed, throughout the process—I always take great care to ensure they not only have a great time and leave feeling wonderful, but that they fully understand and remember all that they experienced.

In working with a subject who has trusted himself to our care, we must be worthy of that trust. Helping a person improve upon himself is always, first and foremost, for that person’s benefit, and must never be done to bolster our own egos or live out fantasies of control.