There are numerous ways of eliciting ways of eliciting a hand levitation. There are no standard techniques, as well as no right or wrong ways. The hypnotherapist is only limited by his/her own creative mind. However, there are helpful hints. The following induction demonstrates suggestions that are usually quite effective. It is a modification of the famous "Reverse Set Induction" conducted by Erickson.
I understand you've never been hypnotized, but you're interested. So I think the best thing to do is get down to work. And you're willing to learn, aren't you?And all you have to do is to let things happen, and they will happen and I'm going to take hold of your hand in a moment.
(Erickson placed her hands on her things.)
Now, as you watch your hands, they're simply resting there. And do you know about the feelings you have when you are feeding a baby and you want baby to open its mouth, and you open yours instead of the baby?
(Subject nods her head.)
And did you ever put on brakes when you were in the back seat of a car?
(Subject nods her head).
Well, I want that same kind of automatic movement. Now, look at my hands. You see very, very slowly, without it being a voluntary thing. My right hand can lift up and it can lower. And the left hand can lift up and lower.
(Erickson models slow lifting and lowering with his hands.)
Now, what I'd like you to understand is this:you have a conscious mind, and you know that and I know that, and you have an unconscious mind. You know what I mean by that, do you now?
(As she nods, Erickson leans forward toward her and makes intense eye contact.)
Now, you could lift your right hand, or your left hand consciously, but your unconscious mind can lift one of the other of your hands. And now, I'd like you to look at your hands, and I'm going to ask you a question, and you do not know the answer to that question, but your unconscious mind does. So you'll just have to wait and see what the answer is. I'm going to ask you which hand is your unconscious mind going to lift up first?The right hand or the left hand, and you really don't know. But your unconscious knows.
That's right. It's beginning to lift one of your hands. Lifting, lifting, lifting, lifting up. And now that hand begins lifting up.
(Subject's right hand begins to slowly move.)
That's right. Watch it lifting, lifting, lifting, up it comes, lifting higher and higher. And as you keep watching your hand, you'll notice that you can just close your eyes and feel it lifting higher and higher. And I'm going to take hold of this hand.
(Erickson lightly slides his thumb on the inside of her left hand.)
And it's lifting, lifting, lifting. That's right. And the other hand is lifting, lifting up.
(Erickson lightly touches her right hand to assume a catalepsy position.)
That's right. I mentioned before that the hand could lift up and it could go down. And now I wonder if you know which hand is going to go down first. One of the other is going to go down. Down it comes.
(Her right hand begins to lower.)
That's right. Down it comes. And it's coming down more and more. And as it comes down, I want you to go deeper and deeper into the trance. I'd like to have you enjoy going deeper and deeper. And when your hand reaches your lap, you'll take a deep breath and go even deeper into trance, because you're beginning to know how now. That's right, coming to rest there. Now, take a deep breath. That's right. And now let it seem as if many minutes had passed. Now, I'd like for you to slowly arouse and look at me and talk to me. Now, slowly rouse up now.
(She opens her eyes.)
That's right. And you're
(Erickson lightly takes hold of a suspended left hand.)
And how does your hand feel?
(She says it is a little heavy.)
That's right. A little heavy.
(She says it is a little heavy.)
That's right. A little heavy.
(Erickson continues with what has been called "The Reverse Set", but eventually terminates the trance in this manner.)
Rouse up. Do I have to awaken you again?"
(Erickson raises the tone of his voice and slightly rubs her left hand.)
Erickson begins the induction by confirming her interest in hypnosis and defines it as a learning process. He then casually instructs her to just let things happen and directly suggests that they will happen. Notice that he informs her of his intentions of touching her hands before he places them on her thighs so as not to startle her, and indirectly asks permission by giving her a chance to refuse.
Notice how the pacing statements are utilized to focus her attention before the analogies of automatic movement that are appropriate (matching/pacing) for a young woman. These analogies prepare her for the automatic movement required in hand levitation by initiating an unconscious search for the processes needed to automatically lift her hands.
Erickson then paces and leads her by demonstrating how the hands lift up consciously, and continues the unconscious search by commenting about the unconscious lifting of the hands while fixating her attention on the hands. Notice how he speaks to her unconscious mind with the phrase "very, very slowly, without it being a voluntary thing."
(It was not unusual for Erickson (and this author) to enter a brief trance to demonstrate the unconscious movement expected.)Her attention is further fixated by firmly stating, "Now, what I'd like you to understand is this," before he describes the dissociation of the mind as conscious and unconscious, and concludes with "You know what I mean, do you not?"The intense eye contact is used to speak to her unconscious mind.
The dissociation is continued by reminding her that he conscious mind can lift either hand voluntarily, as well as show automatic movement by continuing the inner search, with the expectation that the unconscious mind is going to lift a hand by the question, "I'm going to ask you, which hand is your unconscious mind going to lift first?The right hand or the left hand, and you really don't know. But, your unconscious knows."
Erickson then notices a slight movement in her right hand and begins to use leading suggestions until the hand is lifting automatically to his suggestions. A direct eye closure suggestion is linked to observing the hand levitating in a casual manner and suggesting that she feel the levitation. Suggesting that the elbow bend is only natural to direct the hand toward the face.
Again, he informs her of his intention before he touches her other hand. Slightly sliding his thumb under her other wrist is a tactile suggestion that he is going to lift her hand, and she follows the suggestion by levitating the left hand as he gently guides it along with verbal leading suggestions.
After a cataleptic position has been obtained in both hands, he touches her other hand. Slightly sliding his thumb under her other wrist is a tactile suggestion that he is going to lift her hand, and she follows the suggestion by levitation the left hand as he gently guides it along with verbal leading suggestions.
After a cataleptic position has been obtained in both hands, he facilitates another inner search by suggestion, "And now I wonder if you know which hand is going to go down first."
Again, pacing and leading suggestions are utilized for the lowering of the hands. Notice how simply the downward movement is linked to deepening the trance. Not only is the hand reaching her lap linked to a deep breath and deepening trance, but it is also linked to "new" learning about how to enjoy a trance experience.
As he awakens her, he again frames hypnosis as a learning process as he initially defines it. Notice, that at the end of the initial induction with her, she reports her hand being heavy (unlike the previous inductions).This is intentional. Erickson does not want her to fully awaken because this is only the first phase of the trance work that he is doing with her. But notice how he does awaken her at the termination of the trance session - raising the tone of his voice and slightly rubbing her hand.
Rubbing parts of one's body after being asleep causes faster blood circulation and is associated with awakening. It is interesting to note that, after this 50-minute session, she is not convinced that she has been in a trance.
Time distortion is used to ratify the trance experience by having her wonder where 50 minutes has gone when she feels that it has only been several minutes.
From the book "Ericksonian Approaches"
by Rubin Battino, Thomas L. South
The definitive training manual in the art of Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. Topics covered: The History of Hypnosis; Myths and Misconceptions; Traditional vs. Non-Traditional Inductions; Rapport-Building Skills; Language Forms; Basic and Advanced Inductions; Hypnotherapy Without Trance; Utilization of Ideodynamic Responses; Basic and Advanced Metaphor; etc.