Over the past weekend I appeared at two Pagan Pride Day events. There are many dozens of such events all over the U.S. and around the world. You can find out more about these events at this LINK. I strongly encourage people to find local events and attend them. They’re free, and they give you a chance to meet people who think like you.
On Sunday, I gave a workshop on the future of magick, for the Los Angeles/Orange County Pagan Pride Day event, focusing on banishing rituals used by Chaos magicians, especially one created by Peter Carroll. You can find out more about this in the new edition of Modern Magick which is just shipping. It was originally taught to me by Ms. Lola Babalon who also wrote a section in my Modern Sex Magick.
But I’d like to talk about the workshop I gave on Saturday for the Antelope Valley Pagan Pride Day event. The topic was “The Power of Real Hypnosis.” I chose that title for two reasons. First, a lot of people have misunderstandings about hypnosis because of what they see in movies or on TV. It’s odd. People see movies with actors pretending to be vampires and monsters and realize that while the movies are fun, there aren’t vampires and monsters as shown in those shows. On the other hand, people see movies with an actor who pretends to be hypnotized and think that represents the truth about hypnosis. It doesn’t. Hypnosis isn’t a truth serum. Hypnosis can’t force you to do something you don’t want to do. You can’t get lost in a hypnotic trance and not come out. Those ideas can make good plot points in movies, but they don’t represent real hypnosis.
The second reason I chose that title is because most people in the new age/occult/Pagan community who teach hypnosis aren’t trained in hypnosis. They learned either from reading a book or being taught by someone who also wasn’t trained in hypnosis. Learning a skill such as hypnosis isn’t difficult, just as riding a skateboard isn’t difficult. Learning how to do it from a book or from someone who isn’t very good at it can be a challenge.
I believe I’m qualified to comment. I am extensively trained in hypnosis. I am certified as a hypnotherapist by the National Guild of Hypnotists (the world’s largest certification organization for hypnotists), the American Board of Hypnotherapy, The Association for Integrative Psychology, and the Society of Experiential Trance. I also possess numerous certificates in advanced hypnosis training and am a Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, an allied art to hypnosis. I am certified as a hypnosis trainer by the American Board of Hypnotherapy and the Society of Experiential Trance.
I know hypnosis. I know trance. And I know how to teach hypnosis. The area that interests me the most is hypnotic past life therapy, which I’ll discuss in another post. I’ve hypnotized thousands of people. Sometimes, however, hypnosis produces results that surprise even me.
Suggestions Not Needed?
As many of you know, the process of hypnosis is actually fairly direct. First, the state of hypnotic trance is induced. Second, a series of specially-designed suggestions is given, ideas that go directly into the unconscious mind. Finally, the person emerges from hypnosis and his or her unconscious marshals their abilities to achieve the goals that have been put into the unconscious via the suggestions.
Hypnotists want to feel useful. The thing that really separates a good hypnotherapist from others is not the ability to induce hypnosis, but training and experience that allows him or her to design suggestions that will best help people achieve their desired goals.
But what if those suggestions aren’t needed?
There is a belief among some hypnotists that merely inducing a state of hypnosis can be therapeutic. No suggestions are necessary. Some say that this is because the unconscious already knows what it needs to do. Going into hypnosis for the purpose of achieving a certain goal or goals merely unleashes the incredible power of the unconscious mind to empower a person to do exactly that.
However, others say that simply going into hypnotic trance will cause positive changes. It is the hypnotic trance state itself that is important for humans to regularly experience. To me, this makes sense. We regularly go into and out of hypnotic trances, such as when reading a great book, when watching an exciting moving, when entering and rousing from normal sleep, etc. If hypnosis wasn’t good for us, why do we so readily and often go into trance?
During my workshop on Saturday I explained in greater depth what hypnosis isn’t and what it is. Then I let people experience what hypnosis is like without being hypnotized. Finally, for those who wanted to be hypnotized, I led them in an induction, gave positive suggestions of feeling great, rested, and being able to achieve their goalsâ€”very generic suggestionsâ€”and then led them out of hypnosis.
After the workshop several people came up to me and told me that the hypnosis had helped them deal with issues they were facing, and that they couldn’t thank me enough. They really got a lot out of it. My suggestions had been very generic, but it helped them with specific issues they were facing. It would seem, then, that for many people, just going into hypnosis is helpful.
There are lots of books on hypnosis. Llewellyn offers some of the most practical ones around. However, there is one that deserves special attention. It’s called Self-Empowerment Through Self-Hypnosis by Carl Llewellyn Weschcke and Joe H. Slate. It’s a great book on using hypnosis for spiritual and practical advancement. Some of you reading this may be wondering why I’m recommending this considering that I wrote earlier that learning hypnosis from a book is challenging. Well, I’ve got a secret! The book is ready to read and study and learn from now. In just a few months (it hasn’t even been announced on our website yet!), Mr. Weschcke and Dr. Slate will be releasing a CD, the Self-Empowerment Through Self-Hypnosis CD Companion. This is an addition to the book, not a repeat of it. Together, they will be a great pair for helping you to learn hypnosis and obtain your goals.