Today I did a hypnotic induction with a member of a study group that I’m looking to grow. The gist of the induction was that every time the subject would breathe out I would utter a single word. On one exhale I would say the word, ‘Relax’ and then I would on the next breath say, ‘Deeper’. I alternated back and forth between these two phrases as a means of demonstrating how easily a person may induce an altered state of consciousness. The actual induction itself only took a mere minutes maybe at most four and was not more complex that alternating between those two words and timing them with the person’s breathing.
I know when I first started studying Hypnosis that I thought inducing altered states was something that required great skill. In fact I remember having an incredible about of anxiety over whether or not I would be able to actually pull of the task or not. Pacing someone’s breathing is something that is commonly taught as a means of teaching rapport. In my experiences I have never been able pull off using pacing of breathing patterns with my rate of speed in dialogue during normal conversation in order to build rapport. However in the context of inducing a ‘trance state’ I’ve been able to accomplish this task many times before.
It all seems to come down to context. Some things are permissible in one place are not in others. The ease with which a person can induce an altered state seems to rely as much on what a person is doing to elicit it as it does where and when they are attempting to accomplish this task. Something that is extremely effective in one area can be utterly useless in another.
I’ve been working in the field of NLP and Hypnosis some time now. And I’ve come across the phenomena of arm catalepsy in my experience it’s really only good for four things initiating a trance, deepening it, reinitiating and acting as some sort of symbolic representation to be defined by the hypnotist and the client. I’ve practiced attaining this particular phenomena on a great deal of people and this has only solidified my understanding that every hypnotic induction is one of cooperation. I’ve walked up on numerous people at the bars, pubs, restaurants, casinos, and grocery stores of Las Vegas and have tested attaining Arm Catalepsy with them.
Typically I will say something such as, “ I want you to extend your hand and then to pull it away and at the same time but not before after that I want you to just let it float up into the air and just continue to hold it there… and really just continue to hold it there.” Most of the time without much fuss full rigidity of the arm can be attained. I’ve found though that through the years the better you get at attaining arm catalepsy with clients the better you get at handshake interrupts because they are pretty much the same thing. A good handshake can give a person a great deal of information about how much rapport they have with a client. Do they squeeze your hand do they let go, do they thrust forward or pull back. Typically when working with clients I’m looking for an ambiguity of movement when shaking their hand.