Ego-Strengthening: The Forgotten Swiss Army Knife of Hypnosis [Video]

Like everything else, hypnosis goes through fads and phases. New and exciting techniques replace old, familiar ones, even when the old ones were better.

So the simple, old-fashioned hypnosis of yesteryear yields to fancier methods: guided imagery, indirect suggestion, age regression, and so on. Don’t get me wrong! I use all of these with excellent results, and I use guided imagery in every session. But there’s something primal about the simplicity of old-time direct suggestion: “You are a nonsmoker. You’ve already smoked your last cigarette. Tobacco no longer holds any attraction for you. You are a nonsmoker.” Simple, yet powerful.

Because some consider it old-fashioned, direct suggestion’s more interesting wrinkles are positively forgotten. Decades ago, a British doctor, John Hartland, developed a method he called “ego-strengthening.” This was described in his book, Hartland’s Medical and Dental Hypnosis.In this, he doesn’t mention the client’s specific problems at all during hypnosis, but instead gives general suggestion for physical and emotional well-being. Since hypnosis works on broad issues as well as on narrow ones, ego strengthening tends to lift clients’ spirits, energy, and outlook. This makes everything easier. Continue Reading...

Mind-Body Self-Hypnosis

I use self-hypnosis every day. It’s pretty easy, and I’ve recently discovered a particularly elegant shortcut to success, based on the idea that every thought in our mind creates some kind of reaction in the body. Actually, two shortcuts:The mind is not a machine, and neither is the body

  • Mind-body feedback during direct suggestion.
  • Focusing on discomfort until it changes.

These aren’t original with me, but I think I may have found their simplest possible forms.

When Good Suggestions Feel Bad: That’s Useful Mind-Body Feedback

While there are a lot of ways of using self-hypnosis, the simplest is to use direct suggestion, with a list of positive suggestions that you repeat to yourself over and over during the session. The rules are pretty simple:

  • Say it the way you want it: “I’m a valuable human being,” not “I’m not worthless.”
  • Put it in the present or present progressive tense, since the unconscious mind may choose to procrastinate forever if you use the future tense. “I am a nonsmoker,” not “I will be a nonsmoker.”
  • Specify the desired outcome, and leave the method of achieving it completely unspecified: “I am confident,” not “I get confidence from my lucky rabbit’s foot.”
  • When in doubt, use general suggestions: “Every day in every way, I’m getting better and better” is traditional. I’m also rather fond of the childlike, “I am good. I am great. I love me.”
  • Repeat them many, many times, exactly as written. One advantage of hypnosis is that it allows you to tolerate and even enjoy verbatim repetition. Sometimes you’ll feel like each repetition is opening another door.

You can write them on a card and open your eyes if you want: self-hypnosis works fine if you open your eyes for this purpose.

Anyway, if you’re like me, suggestions like “I am good. I am great. I love me” will initially spark some internal resistance, which you will feel in some way, somewhere in your body, or through some kind of internal dialog or imagery. This is good! Continue Reading...