What Is Hypnotic Phenomena Good For

I am asked this question a lot by both new hypnotists and those who have been in practice for quite a while. They just can’t seem to wrap their minds around the concept, or they are afraid to try different forms of demonstration, so I try to explain what hypnotic phenomena is really all about.

Okay, so you have a clinical client or a stage subject, and you’ve hypnotized them… What now?

Most people think of Hypnotic Phenomena only in terms of Stage Hypnosis skit performances – see the guy start to sweat when you suggest that it’s hot, see the girl raise her arm like a balloon, and so forth.

Let’s Look At Some Different Hypnotic Phenomena

Unfortunately, this is often the extent of hypnotic phenomena demonstrations you see in stage shows. But there are so many more things you can show the audience and have your subjects experience – beyond just dancing like Madonna or posing like a GQ model.

Hypnotic Amnesia is a very powerful demonstration on stage, yet I’ve met tons of hypnotists who don’t use it – won’t even try it – simply because they are afraid that it won’t work.

Get over it – IT WORKS!

If the subjects will follow your suggestions to pretend they are swimming like a fish, or to cuddle their shoes as if they are pets, they will also forget their name, where they are from, and who they came to the show with. Confidence – on your part – is all it takes.

Full body catalepsy demonstrations were once the expected show climax, but are not really recommended these days, due to safety and liability concerns. However, you can still pull off some astonishing effects with simple arm or leg catalepsy demonstrations.

What Are Positive & Negative Hallucinations?

Positive and Negative Hypnotic Hallucination is just fascinating. Have you gone invisible in front of your guests yet, or made an object become invisible? This is an amazing type of skit that audiences just love, because there’s no denying that it’s really working.

There was once a video clip on the Internet of a stage hypnosis show where the hypnotist actually has an alligator walking across a lady. She is laying on the stage, and she does not see – or feel – the alligator that is climbing over her.

This is a demonstration of a “negative hallucination;” something that is obviously right in front of their eyes – is not seen, or felt or heard, as the suggestion may indicate.

Positive hallucination” is when you tell the subjects that they will see something that simply is not there. A common use of this is when the back of the hypnotist’s pants are said to go missing, and their bare behind shows when they turn around. This generates a variety of giggles and gags from the subjects.

If you’ve seen many of Brian David Phillips’ posts recently, you may have heard the term “sticky hypnosis”. This phenomena generates a ton of bewildered laughs. Stick the subjects feet to the floor, or their hands to their head or to a wall, or their bottom to the chair – and no matter how hard they try, they can’t lift – the harder they try to lift, the more they are stuck. Great fun.

Now, let’s get clinical for a minute. You can easily use Hypnotic Phenomena in clinical sessions, and they can help you achieve long-lasting results.

This client has never been hypnotized before, and he needs to quit smoking immediately for several reasons. Richard utilizes an eye-focusing awareness induction, followed by a bit of confusion.

Then, to enhance the effectiveness of the age-regression ‘as if you never smoked’ suggestions, he works in an arm catalepsy effect to draw out all negative resistance and blocks to success. This video was filmed 11 months ago, and the client has never smoked since.

What Is Arm Catalepsy?

Using arm catalepsy in situations like this – gathering up negativity, anxiety, depression, fear, confusion, anger and so forth – helps to focus intensity on the suggestions, driving them deeper into the subconscious.

This technique can also be useful for ‘giving the client what they want’ when you have one who wants to ‘feel’ the power of hypnosis and to ‘know’ they are hypnotized. To achieve this, after the catalepsy is in full swing, simply have the client open their eyes and see their arm, acknowledge that it’s stiff and rigid, and then close their eyes and pick up where you left off. Sometimes this bit of ‘proof’ will exponentially enhance the therapeutic efficacy for clients who are skeptical or resistant.

In this video demonstration, Richard has the client’s arm drop to release the tension and let go of the negative blockers – but another powerful effect is to have the client open their fist and feel the built up negativity shooting out of their fingertips, out into the ether, dissipating into harmless nothingness, never to return.

Age regression is useful in many clinical situations to help the client remember what it was like before (they smoked, gained weight, became phobic, etc). This helps re-center the subconscious, generating the valid idea that what once was, can be again, and offering a set of emotions and behaviors as resources to draw upon for altering today’s behaviors towards the desired goal.

That’s all I have time for now, but I hope to have offered some interesting thoughts to ponder as you create your next show or get ready for your next clinical session.

Paula Saxon Nongard, MA,CCH