Originally published March 4th 1985 By: Chris Daley – Mountain Democrat
Pssst, guess what? Zap You’ve all been hypnotized! Heh, heh, and you didn’t even know it. But don’t worry, no one is going to make you cluck around like a chicken or eat an onion and say it tastes like an apple. You’re still in control.
According to Dr. Richard Ward, Placerville hypnotherapist and metaphysician, you have experienced hypnosis every time you daydream. How about when you’re driving along thinking about something else, and you miss your turn and wonder where you’ve been and how you managed to get where you are without running off the road. A form of hypnosis, he said. Your subconscious knows how to handle the car while your conscious mind takes its little detours.
Ward said this and lots of other intriguing things before he wove a hypnotic spell over about 50 students and guests at last week’s seminar on Health and Wellness at El Dorado High School.
The “group induction,” as he called it, culminated his presentation on hypnosis and health and left some of the audience “relaxed as a rag doll,” and others charged up and “ready to put in another eight hour day.”
The hypnosis workshop was the sixth in a seven-part series of lectures and seminars coordinated by El Dorado chemistry teacher Mark Detzer as part of an ongoing program investigating the concepts of wellness.
“Hypnosis,” Ward said, “is recognized as an effective way to realize and to utilize potential we have but never use. It is a tool that facilitates success by allowing you to transform negative aspects of your subconscious in qualities of personal strength.”
Hypnosis is used with some patients as an alternative to chemical anesthetics, in treatment of burn victims, in psychotherapy, criminal investigations, in athletics and in personal development.
Ward described an experiment in which basketball players were divided into two groups. A control group practiced shooting baskets .for two weeks, while the experimental group remained in a room for the same amount of time and imagined themselves shooting baskets. At the end of the test, the group that had simply used imagery had achieved the same level of increased skill as the group that had been physically shooting the ball day after day.
“Many American Olympians use these techniques,” he said, “and the East Germans and Russians rely heavily on hypnosis, imagery and visualization as an integral part of their athletic training.
“Almost everyone, with the exception of the severely mentally handicapped, can be hypnotized to some extent, however.” he said.
“Just like playing the piano or anything else, it takes a lot of practice. ”
There are three distinct personality types recognized in hypnotherapy by their “suggestibility.” They are the physical, emotional, intellectual, and they each respond to a different technique or approach.
“A physically suggestible person is one who walks closer to you, looks you straight in the eye and is comfortable being touched. These are people who respond readily to a direct style of induction such as “eye fixation”. They can gaze at an object while being told their eyes are becoming heavy, as though there were little lead weights attached to their eyelids. Because the eyes were not meant to stare continuously at only one thing, they see it working right away and that helps to continue toward the hypnotic state.”
The emotionally suggestible must be approached indirectly, Ward said, because they tend to be more protective of themselves, particularly of their emotions. For these types of people imagination, rather than will power, is the key to their suggestibility. Arm levitation is an effective induction technique that lets the “hypnotee” imagine that as he raises his arm slowly, he becomes more and more relaxed.
“Imagination is 20 times stronger than will power,” Ward said. “And when the imagination is in conflict with the will, the imagination will always win.”
The intellectually suggestible, must be approached with reasons and explanations for everything, or in the last resort, shock. Ward told of a noted hypnotherapist in southern California who wanted to demonstrate for a group of high powered doctors and university medical staff. He skipped all the preliminary relaxation procedures and simply grabbed the unsuspecting volunteer and yelled “Sleep!” and the high powered doctor went out like a light.
“In the hypnotic state,” Ward assured a number of questioners, the hypnotee is really more alert than the hypnotist, in a heightened state of awareness, because the subconscious is taking control. This is why people never do anything they don’t want to do or would not normally do as a result of Hypnosis.” As an aside he cautioned that “If there are people sleeping in your house, don’t think they don’t hear a lot of what’s going on, because they do. Your conscious mind may be an 8 to 5 worker, but the subconscious is like the police and fire departments: on duty all the time.”
The question was raised several times in various guises; Ward noted that only two main conditions prevent successful hypnosis. ‘
“Fear” he said, is the most common and comes out when there is no rapport between the hypnotist and the hypnotee. It is a lack of trust and it can be felt just in the ‘vibrations’ coming from one or the other’s thoughts. Their fear is that they won’t ‘wake up’ or that they will tell something they don’t want to tell. Both are just the fear of being out of control.”
The other main block to experiencing hypnosis he called the “reverse effect.” In this case the individual does not succeed because he is trying too hard, like trying to remember an answer in Trivial Pursuit that only comes to you after you move on to another question. In hypnosis, he said, an example is the overweight person who says to himself, “I’ve got to make this work” so often and with such intensity that it then does not work.
Ward brought the issue of health and hypnosis straight to the audience with the statement that, “Man is the only animal that is a creator. He can create an ulcer or high blood pressure or even cancer or any number of the two thousand or so diseases we recognize. He can create things good and bad: happiness, good health and success, or negative things: misery, unhappiness and bad health.”
In short, he said, “He draws to himself the things he thinks about. Man is the sum total of his own thoughts. ”
A few moments after Ward’s formal presentation, the audience seemed to become the “sum total of his thoughts,” all of which were positive and quite relaxing.
Speaking softly and rhythmically, he inducted the group into a quiet state of alert relaxation. And except for a couple of students who whispered constantly throughout much of the session, nearly everyone went “under.” At least, I think they did. It was hard to tell, because I was so completely relaxed, I couldn’t make myself notice what others were experiencing.
Ward described a wave of relaxation that started at the head and scalp and slooowly flowed down through the entire body .
“Every muscle, every nerve is limp’ and loose, laaazy and relaxed,” he intoned in a soft singsong voice. And by the time the wave of relaxation got down to the chest there was hardly a sound in the room except his voice. .
“Your body feels like a rag doll, limp and loose, laaazy and relaxed,” he said. And he was right.
He brought us back to a fully conscious state with the suggestion that we would feel very good, rested yet energized, and that in the future we would be more attuned to the positive aspects in life and less influenced by the· negative.
The moment we “surfaced” the room seemed to explode with exclamations and excitement.
“I felt great.”
“I felt like my feet were so heavy they were sinking right into the floor.”
“I wanted to sleep.”
“I was ready to get up and put in another eight hours work.” .
I was limp and loose, laaazy and relaxed.