Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Forbes Blair - Instant Self Hypnosis
Mary Elizabeth Raines - How to Create Guided Imagery

Timothy D. Wilson - Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change

Richard Bandler - Getting the Life You Want

Cheri Huber - What You Practice Is What You Have

Michael D. Yapko - Mindfulness and Hypnosis: The Power of Suggestion to Transform Experience

When I was first interested in meditation, I wondered about the similarities and difference between the practice (which can be defined and structured in many different ways) and hypnosis.  When I think of meditation, I think of sitting still and keeping my attention on a single point, returning to that point repeatedly as my mind wanders away from it.  It is the attention training that seems to have been the main benefit for me.

So, the last book listed above, by Michael Yapko, PhD, was of interest.  Both meditation and hypnosis can be completely solitary activities and both can be done in cooperation with someone else.  They are both mental activities and both have track records of being of assistance in helping people be what they want to be.  Self hypnosis is the subject of the first book listed and many books and hypnotists say that all hypnosis is actually self-hypnosis, given that one is required to concentrate attention.  Most people's idea of hypnosis involves a hypnotist telling the subject that his eyelids are growing heavy and that he should let himself close his eyes and relax.  The meditation researcher Herbert Benson, MD, always refers to the practice as "relaxation".  

Dr. Yapko has spend his professional life as a therapist and hypnotist and was inspired when he watched a demonstration by an experienced hypnotist conduct a session with a woman who had serious pain.  After the hypnotist suggested to the hypnotized woman that she imagine the pain traveling down her leg and draining out of her foot, she was free of it.  

Meditation and deep relaxation sessions are often conducted for people by someone who speaks.  The subjects of the session are usually seated or lying down and they listen to the speaker, who encourages them to imagine being in a comfortable place, such as a beach.  They might be asked to imagine sunshine and delicious breeze flowing over them.  This type of activity is called "guided relaxation" or something similar.  Yapko calls the activity "guided mindful meditation".  He is interested in the rapid and very wide acceptance of GMM and related practice while hypnosis has struggled for acceptance since the days of Benjamin Franklin.

Wilson, Raines and Blair are more detail and application oriented.  Raines and Blair are professional clinical hypnotists while Wilson is a professor of psychology and a researcher.  He explains in the beginning of his book that various stressful experiences have been overcome by some writing techniques.  Blair and Raines describe how to construct one's own written statements for a personal guided meditation.  Huber's book explores very positive experiences her clients and students have had creating spoken statements to themselves and then listening in an attentive way to those statements several times.

My experience being hypnotized by Raines and reading Yapko and others makes it clear that mental images and our imaginations, in addition to our attention, can do good things for us with the right approach.

Main blog: Fear, Fun and Filoz
Main web site: Kirbyvariety

Popular Posts

Follow @olderkirby