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Friday, August 29, 2008

Shock Hypnosis

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Uncommon Hypnosis Master Series
Shock Hypnosis
When I was ten or eleven I used to climb trees.
We used to play in a wood near where I lived. There was a particular tree overhang-
ing a slight drop of about eight or nine feet. Me and my pals would dive out to the
branches, grabbing them with our hands, and hang suspended above the drop. Typi-
cal boyish daredevil fun; we'd never even heard of health and safety back then.
And there was a time when I leapt out for the overhanging branch - and my hands
slipped. The force of the leap drove my legs upwards, and as my hands left the
branch I did a full back flip in mid air. My friends could see what was happening to
me physically, and I have to say it must have looked pretty cool, because I actually
did a full rotation and landed more or less unharmed on the ground like a proper
gymnast. What they couldn't know is what was happening to my consciousness dur-
ing that split second.
Yes, you've guessed it, everything went into slow motion, I felt absolutely calm and
relaxed, my mind felt wide open to any experience, but there was no hope or fear -
just a sense of being, of a strange kind of timeless existence. A split second to my
mates felt like eternity to me. When I landed, it was like coming out of a dream or
awakening from a hypnotic trance. I felt like I'd been some place else. And only af-
terwards did my heart rate speed up. But by that time I was busy trying to look totally
unruffled. All the normal aspects of my mind had returned, such as self conscious-
ness, imagination, anxiety and so forth, but in the air I had been momentarily free of
all mental clutter. My consciousness had narrowed down to a pin point. Now it was
again busy and crowded.
When we are expecting one pattern of events and an entirely unexpected pattern
happens instead, strange things happen to our state of mind. Of course, this fast
track entry to a wide awake hypnotic state isn't restricted to me. Countless people
have reported time distortion, as well as visual and auditory alterations during sudden
shock experiences. They don't tend to think of this as instant shock hypnosis but that
is precisely what it is.
The Rapid Eye Movement - or REM - state is usually connected to dreaming, and is
so called because during REM your eyeballs flicker from side to side. Yet REM can
also occur when we are awake. Foetuses in the womb experience REM more than at
any other time and it's through the REM state that instinctive responses are laid
down - before you are born. These instincts are then later matched to environmental
triggers in the world - for example, the instincts to cry, to eat and to speak are acti-
vated by the infant's real experiences.
But life is complex and if something unexpected occurs, we need a new response to
that trigger so we can deal with it in future. We need to update our instinctive re-
sponses because, for example, how can a newborn baby know to fear a loaded gun
pointed at them? In order to form a new instinctive response we need to enter the
REM state - otherwise known as hypnosis. This state of natural shock hypnosis
means we become much more suggestible and therefore able to learn a new instinc-
tive pattern.

During REM dreaming at night your body experiences a kind of paralysis called cata-
lepsy because acting out your dreams is bad for survival - and nature doesn't want
that. More evidence that shock is a fast track into the REM state is that we can be-
come frozen by shock. We enter the REM state and we experience catalepsy. This
freezing during shock may last a second or minutes for some people. Flip a guinea
pig on its back suddenly and it will freeze. That's how you do animal hypnosis!
In all animals, including humans, shock hypnosis is triggered by the orientation re-
sponse. When something startling grabs your attention, an electrical charge travels
up from your brain stem through your mid brain and into your cortex. This electrical
charge is called a PGO spike.
When we enter shock hypnosis, which of course is much quicker than progressive
relaxation hypnosis, we are wide open to suggestion and new instinctive program-
ming. If somebody had been able to whisper a hypnotic suggestion in my ear during
my split second flip, then chances are I would have been effectively programmed by
that suggestion. This is what happens when a stage hypnotist creates a shock and
fires the orientation response. For example, when they tip a subject backwards - cre-
ating the shock - they are then able to deliver their command.
The great Milton Erickson would often interrupt an expected pattern and replace it
with another - creating mild shock - so he could make therapeutic suggestions. The
famous Erickson handshake is pure pattern interruption and can induce deep hypno-
sis instantly for some people.
Understanding the power of shock and its connection to hypnosis is hugely important
as it can illuminate other areas of life for us.
For example, bullies can program people to be fearful by doing unexpected things or
by suddenly shouting. This leaves you feeling you don't know where you are with
them, which means your brain is wide open to receive any pattern that is suggested
to it. The bully may then create the pattern of fear. Bullies can make us experience
post-hypnotic phenomena such as feeling fearful when we go back into the environ-
ment where the bullying took place, whether the bully is there or not. Think about bul-
lies you have known - they will have been inducing a kind of shock hypnosis in their
victims by behaving unexpectedly.
When we think of hypnosis we usually think of relaxation, of a calm voice lulling us
into serenity and peace. It's true that progressive relaxation is a wonderful way to en-
ter hypnosis or REM. Progressive relaxation mirrors what your mind and body do
naturally as you drift off to sleep and enter the REM state naturally at night. Relaxa-
tion has many health and mind benefits but it is not an essential aspect of the REM
state - we can be hypnotized - like the startled bunny caught in the headlights - with-
out being relaxed. Both types of hypnosis can update the way we instinctively re-
spond to life. We prefer to use relaxation hypnosis with our clients because of the
added benefits of relaxation.
My tree experience years ago didn't put me off climbing trees, but the anxiety I felt
just after the hypnotic experience did program my young mind with to be more cau-
tious - which means I'm still here today.
In summary
Emergencies naturally hypnotise us and people who want to manipulate you make
use of this. This knowledge should make certain aspects of life clearer to you, and
protect you against those who would use shock hypnosis against you.


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