What is conversational hypnosis?
As I mentioned in my other text, Forms of Hypnosis, conversational hypnosis (hereafter “CH”) is characterized by the hypnotist actively bypassing the critical faculty of the hypnotee (also called a “hypnotic subject”). Actively, that is, constantly taking action towards that end. CH doesn’t stabilize hypnosis into trance, which means that deep hypnotic states are generally impossible to achieve (though they can be, should we convert CH into a more direct form).
Please keep in mind that when I write about conversational hypnosis, I am thinking of a constantly talking, sharing information, communication, and not an approach of “follow my instructions”, which belongs to direct hypnosis.
What are its uses?
Generally, CH is used always when using direct hypnosis isn’t possible, be it due to circumstances, an inability to meet in person, or other obstacles. It doesn’t rely on any inductions (aside from catching the hypnotee’s attention), which naturally translates into an easy and pleasant time. There are some matters which require applying specific techniques (for example some convictions a person can have that are linked to their identity), while others are simply impossible to achieve using CH, such as inducing the hypnotic coma, the ultra-deep or ultra-height states, or even hypnotic anesthesia.
How does it work?
Conversational hypnosis relies on three elements. The first one is the aforementioned active bypassing of the critical faculty. The second, and more important in context, is the way the brain works in relation to three-dimensional space – i.e. what we live our daily lives in. The last, and most important one, is the way in which our brain searches for information in it’s established knowledge.
We can divide the active bypassing of the CF into several elements:
- Increasing emotions. Emotions are an effect of subconscious activity. They are a signal telling our consciousness whether things are good or bad. If a suggestion makes us feel warm, positive, pleasant feelings, that means that the subconscious wants whatever it’s being given, and therefore will work towards those ends, if we allow it to. If, on the other hand, a suggestion causes feelings of fear, disgust, or other negative feelings, it is automatically rejected (an exception here is a therapeutic context, in which the client knows why he’s being given such suggestions, and therefore wants to realize them in order to get rid of his problem).
- Holding the attention and interest of the hypnotee. It is very simple, and also key to being effective. A person who is distracted won’t be as engaged in the process, which also makes bypassing their CF much harder. It is quite important to do this in a way that’s conducive to the process, rather than becoming a hindrance.
- Causing confusion. Confusion has the happy effect of messing with the natural thought process that occurs, which also bypasses the critical faculty, as the mind searches for a point which will allow it to regain traction and find it’s way back where it was.
Spatial memory in hypnosis is linked to how our memory and perception work. Since we live in a particular environment, our brains (in the context of the species) have adapted in working with three-dimensional space. Research 1 shows that the hippocampus is key for the functioning of spatial memory. The hippocampus is also responsible for long-term memory.
Spatial memory is also the main element of the so-called Art of Memory (Ars Memoria, also called Mnemotechnics), whose leading motive are Memory Palaces. In short, they rely on creating in ones imagination a space we can walk through, placing on our way characteristic objects, which we associate with the thing we want to remember. In that way, we work both on associations, as well as spatial memory, which in and of itself exceptionally helps memorization.
The way in which the brain finds information is also very important. A particular example of its usage is hypnotic language, whose perfect example is Igor Ledochowski’s Mind Bending Language 2. The subconscious (or the brain, from a neuropsychology perspective), in an extreme simplification, works much like a syntax parser. With each expression (regular expression) which we say to the hypnotee, their brain analyzes it, and immediately, in real time seeks out elements (both in memory as well as in imagination) which fit that expression.
This means that by knowing the appropriate linguistic rules, using spatial predicates and quickly changing the apparent direction of the sentences we direct at the hypnotic subjects, we can very quickly, easily and pleasantly introduce exactly those changes which they want, are appropriate and best, in their lives.
It is enough to “spin” their mind, ask the right question at the right time, in order for the subconscious of the people we’re working with to find the right solution. It will be a solution significantly better than if the hypnotist had suggested it, because it takes into account all the various factors, which the hypnotist is ignorant of, while the hypnotee isn’t.
It’s also worth noting that this process is entirely congruent with mathematical logic; however, it also works on personal associations, which makes it very difficult to know what the persons being hypnotized will find within themselves.
This is a very general overview. One could add metaphors, parallels and other methods, however the foundations of conversational hypnosis rely on those simple rules.