The Sceptical Believer

Postby Jalke » Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:44 am

Heya! :mrgreen:

Before I get stuck in, what I'm going to type pretty much revolves around my knowledge of hypnosis, yet being unable to be hypnotized. Where being hypnotized entails experiencing recreational effects (i.e. temporary amnesia, an inability to move, etc.) as opposed to the more therapeutic/just entering trance pleas.
I'll try to paint as broad a picture of my understanding/experiences as possible to avoid any repeats, & hopefully help you to help me.

My Sources

Just so we’re all aware - I've never taken any courses, so I apologize for any ignorance I may show. What I have done, however, is scour the internet for relevant materials over many years.

My Understanding

So we're clear, my understanding of how hypnosis works, is that it's all in your head. What I mean by this, is that - all hypnosis is technically self-hypnosis, a hypnotist is simply acting as the guide to the subject who's taking the journey him/herself. Thus, if the subject simply believes or wants to experience what is being described, he/she probably will. The same as sitting in a room, picturing through imagination a hot desert, you'll start to feel hotter. So if the subject doesn't like what's going on, he/she won't feel the effects.
Just the other day in fact, with nothing to do with trance, my friend was having a panic attack. So I had her hold her hands out, and formulate a stress ball, drawing all of the uneasiness from her body through her hands into this ball. Then after some waffles later, got her to toss it out the window, which made her feel so amazing that she simply didn't know how to react to what had just happened. So even in practicing hypnosis (albeit light in this scenario) I feel as though I have a decent understanding (more importantly, enough to know it's real. I'm anything but a sceptic).
There are different types of hypnosis, such as the slow methodical relaxation, instant inductions (which I believe is a process of confusing the mind for a temporary moment, allowing direct comms to the subconscious?) & stage hypnosis (which is just pre-prepared hypnosis). Conversational too, but I’ve never researched that.

* I'm aware that everyone (including myself) enters trance all the time- from daydreaming to pre-sleeping.
* I'm aware that hypnosis isn't something that "strong willed" or "intelligent" people are impervious to, in fact quite the opposite. Which must mean that I'm a weak-willed idiot...
* I’m aware that everyone can be hypnotized...

My Attempts

I've acquired simply thousands of audio / video files over many years, for all of which to have no effect on me whatsoever. The majority of which, being recreational. If one said "You can't move", I'd’ve still been able to move. If another said "your only thoughts are of my voice", I'd’ve ended up thinking random shizzle. Now speaking honestly, I have absolutely No reason not to want to go along with these suggestions, as since a young age, this idea of being led/controlled in such a manner has been incredibly enticing. It’s worth noting that the one thing I Was able to achieve & can do via self-hypnosis as a result – was deep relaxation. I can always attain that with any file, but nothing else beyond it. By myself, I can even cause my body to vibrate, comfortably numb, through being so deeply relaxed.
I eventually came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to get anywhere with these impersonal/detached files – a personal touch would be more appropriate; a professional, even better. I tried asking online for help/advice, but to no avail. This post may be a similar event... In fact, I ended up researching how to hypnotize instead, which was a much easier process.
In order for me to experience it - I decided to go for an in-person meet. It seemed natural that if an expert can successfully hypnotize me, it’ll have the effect of “blowing away any hidden scepticism or concerns, proving I can be hypnotised”. That way, I could enjoy recreational hypnosis with confidence that I know I can now be hypnotized. However, I know no-one into hypnosis. Or anyone to try it with. So I decided to message Hypnotists. Hah... The only ones I could find, were hypnotherapists & hypnodommes.

Primarily, the hypnotherapists rejected my request of simply being "hypnotized". Neo-Hypnotists told me that there's no such thing as trance, & that they "usually use EFT [...] and it would need to be used on a real issue." I did meet up with one hypnotherapist, actually, but I felt incredibly awkward as she, rightfully so as her profession dictates, was playing the therapist role more so than anything else. Along with repairing my soul. Seemingly, she ignored my initial plea to become a better hypnotic subject, urging instead that I keep to a weekly therapy session with her due to my many underlying issues. She looked positively shocked at some of the things I said about my life... :twisted:

So without any headway down that avenue (after several months of trying), I decided that I'd have to try a hypnodomme. Equally inappropriate, but who out there is actually there to "just hypnotize" you? I met up with an elderly lady who was right down kinky lane - only for her to be confronted with a skinny early twenty-year-old stuttering all over the place. It wasn't long before the sultry voice was swapped out for a normal one, realizing that I really wasn't there just to get off. A much more comfortable setting than the therapist's ironically - I was able to talk much more freely about my scenario actually. She just did a basic relaxation script, was convinced that I was a great subject, & that if she suggested something for me to do (which she didn't) I'd do it. At this point, the thing is, I felt again incredibly awkward. In the face of someone that's so sure of their skill, or rather my suggestibility, if she said "you can't move, try" & I’d moved, it'd’ve been a terribly awkward/embarrassing affair! I should also add that I felt very comfortable with her as an individual. We got along swimmingly, so I can safely say there was no apprehension in the air –it wasn’t as though I was too scared/uncomfortable in her presence to go into hypnosis.

After that (6 months ago) I decided to come here after failing at video/audio files yet again...

People's Reactions

You see, when I explain that I'd like to experience hypnosis but can't be hypnotized, I get met with "you're not viewing hypnosis the right way", “your expectations of it are wrong” or "everyone experiences different levels of trance".

The reason for my not viewing it the right way is, I assume, because they think that I think hypnosis is some sort of supernatural process. It’s not. It’s as though they’re just outright dismissing any hypnosis that involves you forgetting a number, believing you’re a chicken or thinking you’re a sex guru, as though they were unrealistic & not real at all. How can I be dismissed so easily, along with these abundantly practiced hypnotic episodes!? I just don’t get it...
One person said that when they experience hypnosis (said person simply viewing youtube videos) she doesn’t really get hypnotized, she just pretends to. Then feels so good that she just goes along with it. I’ve tried “pretending”, but again, when I’m tested (“move your hand if you can”) I can. I want to believe I can’t – I pretend I can’t – I go along with everything in a file pretending I believe every word! – but at the end of the day, I know I’m not actually hypnotized. People then say “well you Could have moved, but you didn’t, did you? So you Must have been hypnotized!” And on half the attempts, no I didn’t move, because I was just told by the same doofus that I should go along with it in the first bloody place (this argument is so infuriating). Then on the other half, I got bored pretending so just closed the file halfway through out of frustration. Lying to myself doesn’t make me feel any more hypnotized than before, if anything, more agitated.

So, according to everyone that’s responded to me in the past, the verdict is – unless I'm willing to always pretend that I’m hypnotized, I can't be hypnotized as I’m stopping myself. Which means that I can’t become hypnotized Ever, because it’s simply not Real. Yet other people will always be able to become hypnotized, to catatonic states too (oh the envy) because they believe it to be real, or just pretend it’s real. Yet I know it’s real, but am told I have to pretend it is to experience it properly. Just wtf^infinity.
Thus, now I’m left with a terribly confused understanding as the internet experts have painted this picture that Hypnosis isn’t real at all. It’s just a heightened state of gullibility which I’m rather jealous of not possessing. Ergo, I am officially 100% unable to ever experience hypnosis that people who believe they’re chickens can. Ever. Ultimately, my will here to not "pretend" and to "experience" overpowers any possible chance a hypnotist has of hypnotizing me - beyond getting me suitably relaxed for bedtime that is.

All I want to do is forget a goddamn number at first hahaha

Possible reasons for my inability

* I want it to be genuine, not me "faking it". Perhaps I don’t know what hypnosis is supposed to feel like, so because it isn’t what I expect, I’m somehow denying it!? I don’t even know how that works...
* I’m too scared of it not working, that I stop it from working from the fear alone.
* I have a monkey’s mind - my mind wanders a lot. I’m incredibly analytical as well... & for some reason, I’m always itchy when trying. I’m also unsure if the position I’m in is the right one because it’s not “just right”.

What I’ve ultimately had to come to terms with, is that Hypnosis (of the stage kind that I’ve been referring to) is simply ineffectual when geared towards myself, as I’m unable to go along with it. I really am immune. Sure, I can make my body feel heat or cold with thoughts, but can I become temporarily paralyzed, trying to move with all my might to no effect? No.


Any tips?
Anything to try?
Anything to discuss?
Just, anything?
Ultimately, aside from any helpful advice & perhaps an enlightening conversation about hypnosis, I’m really just yearning for a means to experience jovial hypnosis, thus looking for help one last time. :?
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Postby saladinsmith » Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:52 am

Wow, your post sounds almost as if I wrote it myself.

Don't you just hate that argument "if you've ever been so absorbed in a movie that you forget you're in a theater? That's hypnosis!" Just drives me crazy. Ok, so I've watched movies. That doesn't mean that I can get any actual practical use out of hypnosis.

Anyway, because you sound just like me, I suspect that you have the same problem I do: ADHD. A year or so ago I looked it up, and apparently lots of people with ADHD can't be hypnotized until they get medicated. It makes sense though, right? Of course an attention disorder is going to keep you from enjoying something that usually requires fixed attention.

For me, when I'm being hypnotized, I do get very relaxed. Sometimes (if my eyes are open) my eyes will focus completely on what I'm looking at, like everything else just blurs out. And then my vision goes back to normal and I'm wide awake again.

Sometimes my phone will suddenly be in my hand, or I'll be on my feet and halfway across the room, without ever having the intention to do any such thing.

When I do manage to sit still, my mind is usually elsewhere. I'll think about how annoying the hypnotist's grammar or pronunciation is, or what book I've been reading, or what video game I've been playing.

For a while I listened to the same file every single day, and I got to the point where I'd black out for a good portion of it. People told me that was a good sign -- lots of people who go very deep don't remember the session. I don't think that's what was happening for me. I think I was just falling asleep.

If any of this sounds like your experience, it's possible that ADHD is your problem as well. Look it up. Do some research. Maybe try Adderall and see if that helps any.
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Postby jimmyh » Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:14 pm

Heh, sounds familiar.

It seems like you're pretty familiar with all the stuff people say and are even somewhat onto the problem as I see it. However, it's still a weird thing until you've experienced it first hand, so I'll see if I can explain it better.

You say, under "possible reasons" that maybe it doesn't work because you're too scared of it not working. I'm getting the impression that this doesn't actually feel right, no? Like "maybe I am scared, I dunno. It just feels like I want it to work though". And you mention that maybe wanting it to be genuine causes problems because "somehow" not knowing what it would look like would block it.

Yes, sorta. But it's fixable.

But before we get into that let's first look at what bar you're setting for being "successfully hypnotized". You apparently can look "tranced out" according to some hypnodomme, and you have no problem imagining a hot desert and feeling hot. What you struggle with are basically *challenge suggestions*. It's when they say you *can't* move that you'll find you can - or when they say your other thoughts *will* stop that you notice they haven't.

It hasn't worked for you any time you had reason to check if it wasn't working.

Let that sink in for a moment. It's important.

Other suggestions though, for example "think of a hot desert", you'll feel hot. And when you're feeling hot you're *not* paying attention to "what if I *don't* feel hot" because it's not even directly suggested. No one is telling you it "will" happen, so when you voluntarily follow the focus to imagining what it'd be like in the desert, you begin to feel hot.

So what's wrong with checking to make sure it works? We don't want to BS ourselves, right? Well, how do we check to make sure it works? If we're asking "do I feel hot?" the answer can be "yes" and it'll be working. What would it look like to check if we've forgotten?

This is a weird one. A really weird one.

So the way you'd do it, or I'd do it, or *anyone* who has not been thoroughly and genuinely hypnotized will do it - is to ask "can I remember this?" and see if they fail to. In other words, success of hypnosis is in a "no" answer. And in order to answer "can I remember this?" you must try to remember it. You must point your attention towards remembering *and still fail to remember*. Somehow.

But how the hell does that work? Since when you direct your attention towards "being in a desert", the feeling of heat comes right with it. When you point your attention towards intent to remember your name, your name sure will come with. So it's tricky.

And ultimately irrelevant for many many things. If you want to use the art of suggestion to toss your uneasiness out the window, you certainly don't need it. If you want to feel hot, you certainly don't either. In fact, anything you can think of that you want to *do*... you can *just do*. This is half the reason so many hypnotherapists/amateur hypnotists explain hypnosis as "just like watching a movie", and there's a really good point to it. You don't need to be "unable" to resist suggestions in order to accept them. You don't have to be *unable* to move your arm if you don't want to move your arm, you simply *don't move it*. So where's this desire to accept challenge suggestions come from in the first place?

For me, at least, it was in the "holy sh**, there's something REAL and POWERFUL" aspect of it. If it can do *that*, what else can it do? If it can make me *unable* to resist, then maybe it can help me do things I'm currently unable to do? And if all it can do is make me feel a little warm or "pretend" to not be able to move, then that doesn't sound very powerful or interesting. But if it's real, I want to KNOW. And I want to experience what that sh**'s like so I know *first hand*.

So I get it. I've been there. And the answer to this "whence desire for challenge suggestions?" question is that ''any'' sufficiently powerful and important suggestion is in essence a challenge suggestion. "your focus is only on my voice" isn't even phrased as a challenge suggestion, but it functions that way when it seems so ludicrous that you immediately look to see if can be true - or rather, if it's *not*. It may be easy enough to "not move your arm", but not remembering things is more difficult. It's like "Don't think of a black cat!" - that's hard enough as it is!

And yet there is *still* a point to the "you don't need challenge suggestions and deep mind blowing hypnosis" side of things. If you start down the line of "why *is* it hard to not think of the black cat/quit smoking/focus on her voice/whatever", you *will* find answers. And I've done some things by the end of that chain of thoughts that were fully and completely "impossible" to me at the beginning of them - only it wasn't "crazy hypnosis" by that point, but just "Duh. How did I miss this to begin with?". And I can't even remember the last time I cared to give someone a challenge suggestion. Even when amnesia can be therapeutic in preventing them from consciously analyzing things and undoing it, I don't frame it as a "can't remember" but as a "there's not really any reason to and you don't even have to worry about it".

Still though, that's only *half* the reason you get that kind of response. The other half is that they're pussies. If challenge suggestions don't come naturally to you, they don't know how to debug it. They're afraid to try and fail. So they tell themselves that "real" hypnosis doesn't involve that - that's just role playing and pretensies. Or can't be done through text. Or is only for the high responders. Or whatever. Pussies.

It's still real and it's still possible if you want it. Personally, I changed my mind before *really* getting into it, but I definitely got enough of a taste to know first hand what it's like and that I didn't want more.

So let's return to the question of how you test if your suggestion for amnesia is working. What would it look like if you've forgotten? What would it look like if you just could not remember?

*That* is the question to ask, not "can I remember". Until we know what success even looks like, how can we know if we've achieved it? We can't. But we *can* look to failure if we want, and enact that.

So let's look at success. What would *that* be like, and walk ourselves into it. So maybe we start with something we *have* forgotten before. Like, *real* forgotten, not "mind games" play forgotten. Go into *that*. Can you imagine having *that* feeling about, say, your name?

It'd be weird, right? Like, "Yeah, I guess I can but that's silly" or something. Maybe "yeah, I would know what that feels like *but I still remember my name*". Of course you do, that doesn't matter (yet).

The time *I* just about forgot my name was when I was playing around with hypnosis patter with my girlfriend and she was talking sh** so I was like "go ahead, you hypnotize me then". She had absolutely no idea what she was doing of course, but I was doing my bestest to help her out. I was really wanting to give her a chance, you know? And I still knew it wouldn't work, of course. I still knew that at any moment I *could* remember my name. I could just stop playing along and remember it as soon as I felt like teasing her that she hadn't *really* got me.

But for the time being I decided I'll just play into it and really go into the experience. Really feel what it's like to not be able to remember my name *even though* it's silly as ****. Really embracing that known-stupid frame and allowing myself to feel it *anyway*.

And that's how I typically go for name amnesia too, by the way. Or did, when I used to play with challenge suggestions like that. I'd make it very clear that of course they *actually* remember their name, but lets just imagine for a moment. What would it feel like if you didn't?

I'd walk them right into that experience the way you'd walk someone though a pleasant and relaxing walk on the beach - or hot desert or whatever. I'd say stuff like "it's like when you just have that thing on the *tip of your tongue* and try as you might you just can't think of it" and "you *know* you know it, but you're just drawing a blank, yeah? You're feeling it, yeah?".

Then I'll have them imagine that the part of them that knows is just fading away. Fading and drifting until pretty soon it's just gone. At that point it's actually pretty difficult to remember. When my girl challenged me to remember my name I was like "I'll show her!", but by that time my immediate reaction was "uhhh....". Huh, I must still be playing along, I'll *really* stop playing along now! "uh...."

It came back to me, but I had to *work* for it. I had just gotten so immersed in that alternate reality that I had to find my way back out. What's it like to be able to remember your name? When you get immersed enough in the experience of not knowing - even while you *know* it's silly and that you haven't "really" forgotten - it becomes a task to remember what it's like to *not* have forgotten. Ever wake up from a scary dream and have trouble shaking the fear even though you're wide awake and you know it was just a dream. It's like that. Kinda.

When a challenge suggestion works, it's not that you focus your attention on remembering and cannot. Once you actually focus on remembering you'll get it. Always will. It's that sometimes you forget how to do *that*. It's forgetting how to remember and having to take a moment to remember how to remember.

And still, I *did* get it back. I was able to unravel the yarns faster than she could spin them. People will always find their way out if they're at it for long enough, which is why hypnotists will keep distracting them at first. Once they've given up on finding their way out it can last longer, but the point remains that if you keep at imagining you way back out, you'll find it sooner or later. But that doesn't mean it aint a trip.

The reason that it being unlike what you expect is getting in your way isn't that you're testing or that it's not real. You're supposed to test. That's how you know it's *real*. That's what makes it so cool. It's that you're testing too much *too soon*. You're so eager to get stuck that you test before the glue sets. You'll get there, you're just weren't there *yet*, you know?

Does that make sense?
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Postby Joe100 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:04 pm

Magnificent post there Jimmy.

To all the rest of you: That's what a real master of the art looks like.

I'll go back to my hibernation now :)
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Postby Jalke » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:54 am

@ Saladinsmith

I’ve been there, analyzing the hypnotist’s grammar / pronunciation or randomly thinking of a PC game haha always figured it was just me being a pompous git xD “If your less capable than I, how could you lead me?”

Tbh, I’m unsure if I have ADHD. Doing a quick Adult ADHD test (nothing in-depth of course) over the internet, I had 40% in common with it. Before taking any Adderall (noted though) or assuming it’s truly the case, I’d have to verify with an ADHD specialist first, as so far it appears that the 40% in common is merely coincidental.
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Postby Jalke » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:12 am

@ Jimmyh

Really enjoyed reading this – a lot of good food for thought to digest here. “Challenge suggestions” are exactly what I meant as well, a phrasing I can’t believe I hadn’t discovered until now.

I’m pleasantly surprised to have acquired fresh perspectives that I would have had otherwise not thought of from reading your response. The simple alteration of “can I remember” to “what would it be like...” is so obvious, I can barely believe it. Whenever I go to hypnotize another, I always run that exact model! O.o I’m speechless. I really never thought about that as the subject..

In addition, your last paragraph is also something that I hadn’t thought of – testing before setting. It’s a very likely scenario that I was an eager beaver; more so than ever after years of frustration too. Definitely something that I can work on with the aforementioned point.

So yes, a lot of that made damn good sense & I concur with Joe100. Really grateful for such a thorough passage, it’s certainly provided great insight that I hadn’t seen anywhere else. Initially I thought I had double posted actually, floored someone took the time to respond with a post that was longer than mine! And I waffle on unnecessarily, too!

“Personally, I changed my mind before *really* getting into it, but I definitely got enough of a taste to know first hand what it's like and that I didn't want more.”

Could you just re-explain what you’re referring to above though please, I got lost.
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Postby jargan » Sun Jun 19, 2016 9:10 pm

Here's another interesting idea to keep in mind: when you're consciously evaluating whether a suggestion is "taking", you can only use data that exists in conscious awareness. What if there is stuff already happening related to the suggestion that you're not able to become consciously aware of just yet? Maybe because it's too weird to fit into your current mental model of things, maybe because it's too subtle, maybe because it's in a completely different place or quality than you thought it would be, maybe mental processing simply hasn't proceeded to the point where it's possible to create a conscious experience of whatever is going on.

By applying this type of outlook to something, you force yourself to be, uh, dangerously open-minded, aka. suggestible. ;)
In fact, don't do this kind of mental re-framing for ideas you don't actually want to fully consider. Unless you want to become a conspiracy theorist or something...

Now, any process like this doesn't necessarily work as quickly as what hypnotists show off with their "star subjects", but it works and it can still be surprisingly fast.

(By the way, this is one way people create obsessive thoughts. They notice some kind of thinking pattern or intuitive reaction and go "omigosh, I didn't choose to think/do this, is my mind going south, am I going crazy, what other indications may I have been missing", etc. Well, guess where that happy ride goes.)
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Postby jimmyh » Sun Jun 19, 2016 9:42 pm

I mean that I didn’t really get the full experience as I did know I’d be able to get my name back, and after several seconds I did. I didn’t get to where “anything the hypnotist says becomes reality without doubt or question”, but I could see what that’s like from the inside while still remaining on the outside of that doorway. I knew that if I kept down that road I’d get there, but I didn’t particularly *want* to. I want the door to be open and to know how to get there, but *actually* thinking/feeling/believing whatever someone has the whim to say is actually pretty scary and not something I felt inclined to do at the time.
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