Self-Hypnosis & Subjective Experience

To launch an audio-visual presentation designed to elicit an altered state of consciousness, please click here. Play it now or save it for a time when you can take about 15 minutes out of your normal modes of thinking, to explore an altered state of consciousness.

This exercise invites you to explore your faculty of selective attention. You may have the ability to influence your motivational state. Intentional Intentional Trance Formation refers to switching from one state of consciousness to another on purpose - a useful skill for those who perform as intended despite the influence of powerful stressors or temptations.

Intentional Intentional Trance Formation

When you tell yourself to raise your hand it goes up, but when you tell yourself to calm down, to become sexually aroused, or to salivate, you may not get the desired response. You can intentionally and directly control your skeletal muscles, but your visceral reations are different. To intentionally control them you have to use a different strategy.

Instead of seeking the response directly, aim your attention to the stimulus that elicits the response you want. For example if you want to salivate, instead of telling yourself to salivate, imagine licking a juicy but sour lemon—the same approach works with sexual arousal, anger, and other emotional reactions.

Thought Experiment: Evoking a cringe. Take a few moments to relive a time when you embarrassed yourself, you will find that the more vivid the image and the more detail you can conjure up, the greater the cringe effect.

If you were able to experience the cringe, then you successfully initiated Intentional Trance Formation—that is, you willfully aimed your attention to a particular stimulus—in this case, an embarrassing moment—in order to produce the intended state change.

Because this is an early exercise and I wanted to make it easy, I used cringe imagery rather than efficacy-enhancing imagery, which would be more useful for our purposes. Special exercises designed to strengthen your ability to use your imagination in an intended way are part of the training, precisely because most people find it easier to create efficacy defleating than efficacy enhancing imagery. Some people actually suppress images of themselves as competent or successful because they were specifically trained to be modest or self-deprecating.

What is Hypnosis? > >

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