Falling Asleep During Hypnosis?

Hypnosis / Self Hypnosis - discuss this most useful, and misunderstood, of therapeutic tools.

Postby Simon » Wed Sep 17, 2003 8:41 am

Following her re-orientation to the room etc yesterday, my client opened her eyes and after a few seconds said "Sorry, but I think I fell alseep". She said she only remembered up until a certain point (quite early in the session) and thought she'd been alseep for the rest.

I don't think she did fall asleep as she was still responding to things I was saying later on in the session - she was smacking her lips when I got her to imagine drinking whilst not smoking, so she wasn't asleep then. I know that amnesia is common too so I'm not worried about that either.

What I'd like to know is do peole ever fall asleep during hypnosis, and if so, how do you tell, and what can you do about it? Also, whaty are the implications for the therapy?
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Postby Roger Elliott » Wed Sep 17, 2003 9:18 am

Hi Simon

This is certainly something one hears fairly regularly, and I always use it as a ratification of trance - you know the "Yes, you seemed to go quite deeply, but I know you weren't asleep" sort of thing.

I can't remember the last time I had a client actually fall asleep, although I've had a couple who have come close. I just watch primarily the breathing pattern - it's difficult to describe, but you can tell when someone is getting towards sleep - snoring usually gives it away :wink:

If I spot that i liven up my voice a little, use a few attention-getting phrases, that sort of thing.

In my opinion, an asleep person is not doing therapy, I like my clients to be actively involved. People go on about subliminals you can play while asleep, but me, I don't buy it. :lol:

As an aside, we sometimes get enquiries from people who fall asleep while using one of our products, and we usually just recommend they sit on a stool next time. (!)

Love to hear others' experiences of sleeping clients...

Roger
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Postby Louise McDermott » Thu Sep 18, 2003 3:01 pm

Well, I guess I have to reply to this one, as Roger knows all too well that I had a client fall fast asleep during a session earlier in the year! :oops:

It was for a phobia, and I must've relaxed her far too much ('No, really?' I hear you all say!) before actually starting the VK technique (used to quickly and comfortable treat trauma/phobias/events that are still held in the emotional memory instead of the narrative memory).

She did actually report improvements which surprised no one more than me :wink:

But, to see the best of that situation, I think it's quite something to be able to get a highly phobic person to relax that much!

We're going to have another go at it, and at least this time I know what (and what not) to do . . .I'll keep you (quite literally) posted :)

Louise
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Postby Sylvia » Wed Oct 08, 2003 3:36 am

I am surprised to hear people wonder about the sleep issue because I was taught that sometimes it happens and it doesn't make much difference. For instance, someone can easily fall asleep listening to a tape at bedtime and it will still be beneficial.

But, I, too, prefer to have my clients 'awake' and I am always amazed to watch peope who look right out of it, return to the room right on cue.

My most enlightening experience with this was hypnotising my new husband for snoring; I was a new hypnotherapist, too. We did it right at bedtime when he was already in bed, and within minutes of me starting, he was gaily snoring away. I felt discouraged and rather foolish sitting there talking away to this snoring person but I continued. Before I had finished, I suddenly realised that the snoring had stopped. A year later and he still doesn't snore.

I guess it works even when the hypnotherapist loses faith in what she's doing!

This is a great forum, I look forward to everyone's posts.
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Postby Roger Elliott » Wed Oct 08, 2003 6:58 am

Welcome to the forum Sylvia! :D
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Postby Louise McDermott » Wed Oct 08, 2003 10:14 am

Hi Sylvia!

Welcome to the forums :) Thanks for your post.

I was always under the impression that if clients fell asleep then nothing particularly therapeutic was going on.

I'm not really convinced of 'subliminal learning', at least, not learning whilst actually asleep.

There does seem to be something in subliminal messages whilst awake though. Just thinking of snippets I've heard here and there about uproar over advertising using flashes of subliminal images . . .very sneaky stuff if you ask me.

Obviously it's known that the unconscious absorbs a lot of peripheral information that we don't consciously know or think about. I just don't believe it works the same way when asleep.

Great work on your husband though, Sylvia! What a result :D

Louise
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Postby Anthony Jacquin » Sun Oct 12, 2003 8:08 am

I have had a spate of clients falling asleep recently.

It is normally very easy to tell - I find the breathing changes becomes deeper and more audible - if you have ever read a child to sleep you will probably know what i mean.

If I note that someone has fallen asleep then I speak a little faster, louder and use their name a bit more. For whatever reason there seem to be a few things that break through the sleep state and saying someones name seems to be one of them. I guess it shows that at some level unconscious hearing does exist. That said i do not feel there is any therapeutic value in proceeding with a hypnosis session once the client has fallen asleep. In saying their name or speaking more quickly, all i am trying to do is bring them back into a state of trance rather than sleep.

I have also found that if someone really does go into a deep sleep and then wakes up it is unlikely they will be in a trance - instead they are back in conscious wakeful awareness. Certainly it is possible to play on this confusion and send them back into a trance but if you do not acknowledge that they have slept then they will likely be concerned that you didnt realise they were asleep and will just sit with their eyes shut - thinking I am not in a trance...

If someone falls asleep and i do not have time to restart the session then I will schedule another appointment, try to make it at a time of day they will not be so tired and also use a more active induction involving arm levitation. I think it is a good arguement for having them sit in a chair they simply cannot get too comfortable in such as one without a headrest.

Ant
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Postby Mark Tyrrell » Mon Oct 13, 2003 11:35 am

Hi every one :D

The word hypnosis actually comes from the Greek meaning 'to sleep'....in Ancient Greece they actaully had 'sleep temples' where such thngs as forcasting the future were meant to be carried out! However if we remember that a much favoured way of inducing hypnosis was swinging a pocket watch in front of the eyes of the subject (this is a little corny but very effective :) ) then we can see the link between hypnoisis and, not slow wave stage 4 sleep, but REM sleep. About 25% of the time in a non-depressed adult's sleep is comprised of REM (The old pocket watch swinging of course artificially replicates the REM state).

REM (Rapid Eye Movement sleep) or 'dream sleep is called 'paradoxical sleep. Most REM activity occurs during the last three months before you leave your mother's womb so the REM state itself seems to be connected to 'instinctive programming (babies born more than three months premature often lack insticts that other babies are born with). So if the REM state is linked to instinctive learning then it makes sense to go back into the REM state to instictively learn-which is a reason for hypnotherapy. We know that results from hypnotherapy tend to be instinctive rather than cognitively based. "I felt better even though I didn't expect to!" (Instictive learning) rather than: "I am really trying to feel positive!" (Conitive effort).

REM is called paradoxical sleep because brain wave patterns during REM sleep are very similar to waking brain wave patterns-when you dream your consciousness feels awake in this deepest of hypnotic trances. So the hypnotist will have trouble getting a response from a sleeping subject in normal deep sleep but during the REM phase of sleep the person is effectively in an hypnotic trance. Any so called subliminal learning would have to occur during REM phases of sleep.

The REM state can be accessed out side of sleep......people enter a dream like REM state during say a traffic accident. Their insticts may be programmed through this 'shock REM state' and this instictive learning may manifest itself say through 'flash backs' to the accident. So if all instinctive learning occurs through the REM state (if you watch people when they describe an emotional issue they will often do minimal REMing thus embedding the emotional association deeper) then it shows us why relaxation needs to be, often at least, part of the hypnotic induction. This mimics how REM is accessed every night-first you have deepening relaxation-(Stages 1 to 4 of slow wave sleep) then you enter REM sleep which is very different) so to activate REM artificially (hypnosis) we either relax them progressively or shock them into trance (think tipping back a person on a stage show or Erickson's use of shocking language or ideas) since these are two natural precursors to the hypnotic state!


Mark




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Postby swordmaster_g » Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:38 am

i have hypnotized my girlfriend three times and twice she has fallen asleep.
after reading this string, im going to try a more active induction also.

(maybe something to do with her comfortability around me? )
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Postby Roger Elliott » Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:49 pm

If you're falling asleep during hypnosis, I recommend the one-legged stool :D
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Postby Michael Lank » Tue Apr 17, 2007 3:51 pm

Here is what Elman had to say on the subject:

"Sleep and hypnosis are really two entirely different states. They
are not compatible, when the hypnosis precedes the sleep. Those of
you who are doctors know from your medical studies that in sleep the
bodily functions slow down. Respiration gets slower and deeper, blood
pressure and heart action slow down, reflex action slows down. In
hypnosis, you will sometimes find the mildest of slowdowns, but most
of the time, none at all. In sleep the mental processes slow down
considerably, and in deep sleep, there is an apparent loss of
consciousness. This does not occur in hypnosis.

"If you test reflex action in hypnosis, you will find it quite
normal. Respiration does not decrease; heart action remains normal;
blood pressure remains normal. It is true that these functions can be
made to slow down by suggestion, but you can't get them all to slow
down simultaneously as occurs in natural sleep. Despite appearances,
it is impossible to fuse these two dissimilar states—the normally
functioning body in hypnosis and the slow functioning body in sleep.

"We have made over ten thousand tests in an attempt to induce sleep
in hypnosis. In my own work, I have tried to induce sleep in hypnosis
by every known technique, but have yet to see the first success."
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Postby Miaux Catterie » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:47 pm

I'd like to bring this thread back up, as I recently begun taking hypnosis sessions on MP3. I put a series of six total sessions that were related in topic back to back, starting with one that helps me ease into the hypnosis idea.

I fall asleep every time. And the reason I feel that I fall asleep and not just trance, is that if, according to some of you, I were trancing, wouldn't I wake at the end of each session when it guides you to open your eyes and come out? I do wake a few times during the sessions, but in the middle of say, the third one, and then the last one. Never right when one is ending or starting, and I have no clue what's being said in-between. I feel that I fall right asleep during the beginning of the first session.

But, and this might just be the self-fulfilling prophecy/power of positive thinking approach, I do feel that the sessions are doing something. Granted, I've only been doing it for a couple of days. But the sessions focus on eating less out of boredom, and less binge-type eating, as well as the drive to drink more water and be more motivated to work out. I feel almost as I do during the beginninng of the hypnosis- that thought that says "I could open my eyes if I wanted to.. but why bother?" That complete.. laziness toward reaction. When I think nonstop about food, which I do, now it has started to get drowned out by just.. eh. It's like my mind is pushing it back a little, and saying why bother to the thoughts.

And though I usually take the time to talk myself OUT of working out, the same why bother idea is having me go on and do it. Oddly enough, it's telling me not to bother talking myself into eating, or out of working out, rather than the usual way, which is somewhat reversed.

And while I'm not drinking more water at all really, I'm finding my interest in it is higher, and I think about drinking it (though I haven't really found myself taking that step toward actually going to get water to drink yet.)


So that's my experience with sleeping through hypnosis, and you can take of it what you will. I suppose only time will tell if it's a placebo in my head getting me up and going, or if I really am benefiting though I fall asleep. And yes, as I mentioned above, I do feel that I am really actually asleep because I'm not waking to the cues at the end of each session before it rolls on to the next one.

But I'm really interested in hearing what anyone else thinks of all of this.
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Postby ulv » Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:37 pm

Roger Elliott wrote:I just watch primarily the breathing pattern - it's difficult to describe, but you can tell when someone is getting towards sleep - snoring usually gives it away


Yeah, it's not hard to spot where the person is in manner of state, you can pretty much see when the person is 'ready' for any direct suggestions, and you can see subtle reactions to how the person responds too, so if you don't see any movement at all when giving a direct suggestions, you can be pretty sure the subject will take it in. Getting the 'feel' of how deep your subject is :)
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Postby ButMadNNW » Sun Aug 12, 2007 9:33 pm

Miaux Catterie wrote:I'd like to bring this thread back up, as I recently begun taking hypnosis sessions on MP3. I put a series of six total sessions that were related in topic back to back, starting with one that helps me ease into the hypnosis idea.

...I do wake a few times during the sessions, but in the middle of say, the third one, and then the last one. Never right when one is ending or starting, and I have no clue what's being said in-between...

Hi, Miaux (and welcome!) ~ Speaking only from my own personal experience and layperson learnings, here are my thoughts. :)

When you say you "do wake up a few times...in the middle of...the third one, and then the last one," how are you defining "waking up"? Is it just that you've returned to conscious awareness of what's being said? Or are you physically feeling less relaxed, opening your eyes? Because you might be experiencing amnesia rather than sleep. I know that my consciousness drifts in and out (sometimes I know I'm hearing what's said, other times not), depending on the program, the time of day, how physically/mentally tired I am, and/or how I'm sitting. When it comes to body position, I cannot lie down, because I risk falling asleep every time. Unless I actually wantto fall asleep, I sit up in a high-backed chair or on the sofa and sometimes rest my head on a pillow, but even that can be "risky," so usually I just let my head do what feels right that time - sometimes it stays up, mostly it relaxes forward. It seems like being just that slight bit of uncomfortable often keeps me out of the amnesia depths. (Hope that's not too much information! :lol:)

Amnesia, though annoying, is not as troublesome as falling asleep. I asked Mark about it a while back and (hopefully he doesn't mind my quoting him!) he said, "time distortion and amnesia...[aren't] a problem as far as your unconscious mind is concerned as you'll be taking everything on board on that level but your conscious mind may feel that it is 'missing out.' Hypnosis is really a communication for the unconscious mind (which is why people often feel better without always knowing why they feel better after hypnosis)." But as you can see here on this thread, actually falling asleep is generally considered unhelpful.

I don't know what anyone else will think of this idea (I admit it's a bit odd), but if you have a video camera (or a digital camera that can take video), you might record yourself and run through it after your hypnotic session. If you hear yourself snoring, yeah, you fell asleep! ;) (Note other posts on this thread for less obvious signs.)

Also, IMHO, you might be "pushing it" doing six programs back to back to back to... ;) I find that the relaxing effect can be cumulative - I've tried listening to two and three programs in a row, and my consciousness often drifts more and more the longer it goes, even with "returning to the room and opening [my] eyes" at the end of each. You might want to try simply scaling back to one program at a time (with a break between), maybe even only one a day.

All that being said, if you still feel like you're making progress despite your concern that you might be sleeping, good. :) And given that you feel like you're making progress, I'm leaning towards the amnesia hypothesis. But again, I'm an "interested layperson" with casual(ish) study and no real training backing me, so take with grain of salt.

Going off-topic from sleeping -- Speaking of Mark, I was reading through this thread again and this...

Mark Tyrrell wrote:So if all instinctive learning occurs through the REM state (if you watch people when they describe an emotional issue they will often do minimal REMing thus embedding the emotional association deeper)

...reminded me of something I noticed at work on Friday. My boss was describing a task he wanted me and the other editor to do that involved a bit of creative writing. As he was trying to think of an example of what he was looking for, I suddenly noticed that his eyes were flicking side to side. I might be totally off here (so feel free to correct me), but the thought that popped into my head when I saw that was that I was seeing REM caused by him accessing his creative mind. I'd never noticed that before, so I thought it was pretty cool. :lol: Something I'm going to keep an eye out for in future.
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Postby deltadeliquent » Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:07 pm

Hello,
I have developed a regular habit of listening to a hypnosis download or two after climbing into bed at night. I find it is the best time (somtimes only time!) for me to relax and be alone as well. They are also great for sending me off to sleep and insuring that I sleep well.

However, sometimes I am quite tired and fall asleep during the session. I am always awake enough to "wake up" gradually at the right time, when told to on the download, but I can't recall what was said during the periods I slipped away. (I am assuming that I am asleep because I can't recall.)

Have I lost the value in that hynosis session or is my mind still listening?

I am new here, and I sent this letter through the contact page. I never got a reply even though I took steps to "whitelist" the address. So in looking around I found this thread. Even though I think my question is answered I thought I would post the question here anywaay. Thanks for indulging me.
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