Chaplain Paul G. Durbin, Ph.D. 

(1) Rules of the Mind:

(2) Guidelines For Using Hypnosis:

(3) The Clinical Interview or Pre-talk:

(4) Guidelines For Structuring Suggestion:

(5) Types Of Suggestions:

(6) Types of Imagery:

(1) Rules of the Mind:

1. Every thought or idea causes a physical reaction.

2. What is expected tends to be realized (good or bad) "Whatsoever a person thinketh is her/her heart so is he/she." Worry is a form of negative programming. Job "That which I feared has come upon me." The subconscious can not tell the difference between a wish and a fear.

3. Imagination is more powerful than knowledge. When dealing with the subconscious mind, reason is often over ruled by imagination. Imagination is more powerful than will power.

4. Opposing ideas can not be held at the same time. One or the other will become dominant.

5. Once an idea has been accepted by the subconscious mind that idea remains fixed until it is replaced with another idea.

6. Each suggestion acted upon creates a greater possibility for accepting successive suggestion.

7. A message to the subconscious connected to an emotional experiences has more power.

8. Law of Reverse Effect: (a) the harder you try to do something, the more difficult it is to do. (b) The greater the conscious effort, the less the subconscious response.

(2) Guidelines For Using Hypnosis:

1. Develop rapport with the client before beginning hypnosis. Rapport is a bond of trust established between the hypnotist and the client. Trust fosters a willingness on the part of the client to cooperate and establishes a feeling of empathy on the part of thy hypnotist. Rapport is established by being sensitive to and concerned about the client's needs.

2. Even as a beginner, always exhibit confidence in what you are doing.

3. During the first session you have with a person, be sure to go over the nature and characteristics of hypnosis. Discuss misconceptions and answer any question the person may ask.

4. Regardless of what may come up after you have gone into a hypnotic induction with a client, always remain calm and continue talking in the same smooth tone of voice. Keep yourself under control at all times, even if the client begins crying or becomes hysterical. If you become excited or your tone of voice changes, you might lose contact with the client, by changing to a calm tone, the client can then adapt to your smooth, calm voice.

5. Never attempt to remove pain unless you know the cause of the pain and know for sure it can be removed without causing further injury to the client. Remember that pain is always there to let a person know something is wrong. For example, if a client has a stomach ache and you remove the pain, it could be his/her appendix and by eliminating the pain, the results could be tragic.

6. If you have a client who is experiencing difficulty into going into a hypnotic state, remain confident. Keep in mind that everyone can be hypnotized. Review what you have done. Perhaps you didn't clear up some misconception in the client's mind, or perhaps

you made some statement the client's mind did not want to accept, or you may be using the wrong induction for that person.

7. If you are unsuccessful using hypnosis with an individual; never tell the person that he/she cannot be hypnotized. You may tell them that though you were unable to lead them into the hypnotic state on this occasion, they can be hypnotized because everyone who can think, reason, and communicate cab be hypnotized.

8. Never date or have a sexual affair with a person you are having hypnotic sessions with. It could ruin you reputation and is unethical. Remember that most people do not understand hypnosis and would believe you seduced the person through suggestions you had given while the person was hypnotized.

9. At all times when guiding a person into a hypnotic state, be calm and confident.

10. If someone is enjoying the hypnotic state so much that they are not ready to come out at this time, you may use one or more of several techniques. If time permits, you may say,"You can drift into a normal, natural sleep, awakening when it is appropriate or when someone wakes you up". You may say, "Your bladder is getting fuller and fuller. You need to go to the bathroom. Your bladder is getting fuller and fuller." If you are charging for a session, you may say, "You may remain in hypnosis as long as you desire, but in one minute from now, I will begin to charge one hour's cost for each minute you remain in hypnosis".

11. Develop the skill to be able to detect the cause of the difficulty and know how to handle it so you can aid the client in being released from the control it is having on her.

12. You must have a knowledge of enough hypnotic techniques that you can be flexible in your approach, so you will be able to use the best technique for the specific problem involved. Always proceed with an air of complete confidence. Give the impression of being an authority in hypnosis even if you are a beginner. Imagine how you might feel if you went to a surgeon to discuss a surgical procedure he was going to perform on you, and he said, "I'm glad you are ready for surgery. You will be my first patient, I hope this operation will be a success."

13. You must be able to handle your own shortcomings and biases without projecting them on to the client.

14. When a situation calls for an attempt to remove a symptom by suggestion, there is a way you can be sure to do so without causing any danger, and that is, when using the finger response technique by asking the question: "Is it okay for you to get rid of that symptom?" If the answer given by the subconscious mind is "yes" there will be no danger. If the answer is "no", you should not attempt to remove the symptom at that time.

There have been critics who have said that if a symptom is removed, another symptom may appear but this is seldom true. If an aspirin is used to relieve a headache, does other symptoms develop? This illustration is used an example to let you know that symptom removed by hypnotic suggestion is no more dangerous than symptoms removed by any other treatment that does not eliminate the course of the problem. With hypnosis, the problem is often eliminated with the symptom.

15. As much as possible the surrounding should be conducive to relaxation and comfort. Pleasant lighting should be used if available, outside noises should be eliminated as much as possible. If disturbing noises should occur, just say, "Now allow the outside noises and sounds contribute to your experience of relaxation."

16. Close friends and relatives sitting in to observe may but not always interfere with the client's ability to concentrate. The client may wonder what they think about everything that is occurring. He may be wondering if they are going to think he looks silly or will they kid him after it's all over.

17. Never try to work in areas beyond your training and experience. Keep in mind, that some people who seek the aid of hypnotist are neurotic, so you must always be prepared for the unexpected, and always observe rules of caution. Do not try to do therapy you are not qualified to handle.

18. Think of hypnosis as a science and work accordingly. By observing these rules, you will be able to succeed where many other hypnotists have failed.

19. Be sure that the client is brought out of the hypnotic state before he/she leaves your office. Always count out even if the client has his/her eyes open and may be talking to you.

20. Continue to read, study, go to seminars and courses on hypnosis so that you can continue to improve your knowledge and techniques.

(3) The Clinical Interview or Pre-talk: The initial session with pre-induction interview or pre-talk is perhaps the most critical part of the hypnotic session. I have developed a very specific format which I have used successfully with thousands of clients. The purpose the pre-talk is five fold:

1. To establish the purpose of the visit and determine the therapeutic objectives and to get to know the client and to determine the client's communication and learning system.

2. To discuss what hypnosis is and is not to include the elimination of fears and misconceptions the client may have about hypnosis.

3. To learn the client's motivation so that you can formulate effective suggestions.

4. To prepare the client for the induction through suggestibility exercise.

5. Induction and therapy. The clinical interview and pre-talk is also a time for you to further establish yourself with your client as an expert hypnotherapist. If your client believes that you can help him achieve his goals, in all likelihood you can. He will succeed if he expects to. Therefore, you must be at your professional best, maintaining control during the interview while showing your sincere desire to help him. The person who expects to respond to hypnosis usually does so.

(4) Guidelines For Structuring Suggestion:

1. Use presence tense: Construct your suggestions as if they have already been accomplished or being accomplished. "You are a non-smoker." "Your self-confidence is increasing more and more each and every day." Even future behavior is given in the present tense. "Next Thursday when you speak at the banquet, you are calm, relaxed, and confident." When dealing with a physical condition such as a broken leg the progressive form of the present tense is used to by-pass the critical factor of the conscious mind. "Each day your leg is healing faster and faster. Your leg is becoming stronger sand stronger."

Using the word "will" reduces the effectiveness of the suggestion because it is indefinite. Any suggestion given in the future tense with the word, "will" is like making a New Years's resolution.

2. Use positive instead of negative statements as the subconscious mind may drop the "not" or "no" and accept the suggestions opposite to the desired meaning. For example: If someone wants to remain awake and alert while driving a car, says, "I will not get sleepy while driving." If the subconscious mind drops the "not", what has the subconscious heard? A better suggestion would be: "While I am driving, I remain awake and alert."

3. Do not use the word "try". "Try" implies failure. Some one said to me, "I tried to call you last night." Well either he picked up the phone, dialed my number and got a busy signal or no answer or he did not call at all. If the person dialed my number and got a busy signal or no answer, he did not try to call me, he called me, he just did not make contact with me. "Try to pick up a cup of coffee" You either pick it up or you let it set there.

In the "Star War" movie, "The Empire Strikes Back", Yoda tells Luke to levitate his space ship out of a swap by thought alone. Luke says, "OK, I will try." Yoda responds, "Try not, do, do, or do not. There is no try." Though Luke makes the attempt, he's unsuccessful. After much effort, he says," I can't. It's too big." Yoda then raises his arm, closes his eyes, and raises spacecraft from the swamp and sets it on dry land. Luke says, "I don't believe it." Yoda quickly replies, "That is why you failed."

4. Imagine or visualize what you want to happen as if it has already happened.

5. Be specific. Choose one area to work on at a time or a few related areas. You can work with improving self-confidence with about anything you are working on. You can work on a few related issues, but too many may become confusing to the subconscious mind. If the client wants to cover two areas, ask which one is more important and work on that issue first. Example: If the person comes for stop smoking and weight control. I recommend that you work with client for stop smoking first with a few weight control suggestions included. The reason I make this recommendation is that stop smoking is usually easier to overcome.

6. Be detailed: Analyze the goal and structure your suggestions to cover details of the changed behavior and/or attitude.

7. Be simple. Speak to the subconscious as you would a bright 9-year-old. In most cases avoid long technical terms.

8. Use exciting words: Joyous, radiant, thrilling, abundant, loving, wonderful.

9. When a suggestion is coupled with an emotion, the suggestion is enhanced.

10. Be accurate: Name exactly what the client desires to achieve. "You reduce to your

desire weight to 125 lbs."

11. Be Realistic. To suggest that a 57 year old man can be a major league ballplayer may be unrealistic. If the individual involved is capable, you may suggest he consider a softball league or a senior baseball league.

12. Personalize the suggestion. Take information obtained in the interview and integrate the clients concerns into the script you use with the client.

13. Be repetitive. Repeat the suggestion, repeat the suggestion, repeat the suggestion. Repetition is important because it helps to strengthen the suggestion and aid in its retention. It may be helpful to repeat the suggestion several times with a slight change in wording. Example: "You are satisfied with just enough food to meet your body's nutritional needs, you are satisfied with just enough food to meet your body's nutritional needs, you are satisfied with just enough food to meet your body's nutritional needs. You find that you feel full with small portions of healthy food. You enjoy the feeling of eating good food in limited quantities."

(5) Types Of Suggestions:

1. Direct Suggestions are to the point and request desired results, "You desire those foods which help you reach your goal." "You have been released from your desire to smoke."

2. Indirect Suggestions relates to the situation you are working with, but in covert ways. Indirect suggestions tend to give the impression of choice. "Are you gaining self-confidence because I suggest it or because you are learning to be more confident." The implied meaning is that the individual is becoming more confident. "Have you made the decision to be a non-smoker because you want to be healthier or because you want to use the money saved on other things?"

3. Open-Ended Suggestions are designed to be interpreted in the broadest manner possible as a means to enhance the benefit of trance. In the initial stages of trance, the suggestion, "There are many ways of finding the most comfortable position conductive to trance." is an example of the open-ended suggestion.

"You may find yourself reviewing and remembering these things you learned in trance for some time to come."

"Imagine yourself as a non-smoker, act as if you are a non-smoker and you are a non-smoker because..."

4. Positive Suggestions are used because the subconscious mind tends to respond better to positive suggestion. "When you are driving, you remain awake and alert." instead of "When you are driving you will not get sleepy." If the subconscious mind doesn't pick up the "not", what has your subconscious mind accepted?

5. Negative Suggestions uses words like "no", "not", as in the above suggestion about "not going to sleep" while driving a car. Negative suggestions can be given as a type of reverse psychology. If I were to say to you, "Do not think of the number seven." What do you do? You can't help but think of the number seven. "Do not think about how deep you are going, just go deeper.".

6. Truism are statements which are generally regarded as true and they are used to develop an attitude of acceptance of the statement that follows. "As two plus two is four, and as you breathe in and out, you go into a deeper and deeper state of hypnosis." "The subconscious part of your mind is an amazing storehouse of memories that enables you to go into a deep hypnotic find out numerous things you can do...and you are capable of doing much more than you have ever been aware of..." By using truisms, you are giving indirect suggestions of things the person is familiar with or knows to be true and these can be associated with the response you are wanting the client to experience.

7. Suggestions Covering All Possible Alternatives such as "As you allow your arms to relax, you may notice that your arms and hands feel pleasantly light or comfortably heavy, or maybe you are just more aware of your hands than you were before I mentioned them." "You may find yourself going into trance slowly or quickly, now or later." "You may choose to release this problem now, later today, or tomorrow." Implication is that problem will be released.

In addition to those people who are direct and indirect suggestible, there is a third class, which may show up as direct or indirect, but are classified as analytical. These people analyze or question whatever you may say. Suggestions which use all possible alternatives are good for analytical because they cover all possibilities of response. With these suggestions, any response is correct, including no response at all.

A suggestion which covers all possible alternatives may go something like this: "As I count from ten down to one, you may find your right hand moving, or perhaps it may be your left hand that moves.....It may move up or it may press down more tightly against your thigh, or it may move to the side. It may move quickly or slowly....or it may begin jerking, or perhaps it may not move at all....It is not important the way your hand moves, the important thing is to be fully aware of the feelings that you go deeper and deeper...."

The various possibilities of hand movement are covered, including the possibility of not moving at all. Using this type of suggestion during the induction, there is no way for the client to fail. He is successful regardless of what response may develop. By using this type of induction, it gives you a chance to observe what type of responsiveness that particular client is achieving. At the same time, you are inducing the hypnotic trance by getting his conscious mind to focus on his hand or hands instead of questioning what is happening.

8. Permissive Suggestions are suggestions which are requested for the client to follow. "You may want to close your eyes as you allow yourself to relax more and more."

9. Apposition of opposites is the technique which involves the use of opposing behavior or states. "You may find yourself feeling lighter as you go deeper into trance." In age regression, one may say, "The older you become, the younger your memories may be." Using contradictory messages are more likely to promote confusion that can help the suggestions to by-pass the critical factor of the conscious mind and the enter the subconscious mind where it can be acted upon for change.

10. Binds of Comparable: Alternatives are statements that offer the client a free choice of two or more comparable alternatives that may lead to more constructive behavior..."Would you prefer to use your right hand or your left hand to respond." "You can choose how you use this trance or may simply discover its use."

11. Double Blinds are presented at the conscious level to effect change in the subconscious. The double bind offers alternative choices in order to counter a negative response. If you ask a person, "Would like a soft drink?" It is easy to say, "no", but not easy if you say, "Would you prefer a Coke or a Dr. Pepper or maybe a Pepsi either diet or regular?" Another example of a double bind is, "You think you know the real reasoning behind your problem, but maybe your subconscious sees things differently. Maybe your conscious understands imperfectly what your subconscious understands perfectly. Whereas your conscious mind may be confused, your subconscious mind can now move toward the resolution of the problem."

"Maybe your conscious mind can give you permission to go into trance while your subconscious mind prepares for change or maybe your subconscious mind triggers your willingness to enter trance while your conscious mind gets ready to receive new information and understanding."

For a resistant client: "I don't want you to listen to me even if you feel like you want to relax and pay attention. I am positive that there is nothing that I say that can be of any use to you, so don't even try to absorb any of this information." This technique averts the client's attention as he begins to wonder what is going on as you continue with good positive suggestions for the subconscious.

"You can either go into trance as we speak, or you can begin to notice changes in your consciousness and experiences." The client has a choice, and both are beneficial to the client.

12. Compounding The Suggestions occurs when you tie a suggestion to a specific pattern or behavior. "As you continue breathing deeply and slowly, you keep becoming more and more relaxed and comfortable." The client is breathing, so you associate relaxation and comfort to breathing deeply and slowly.

"As you continue sitting there, you keep drifting into a deeper and deeper hypnotic state."

"In a moment I am going to ask you to open your eyes and remain in hypnosis. I will

ask you to move over to that other chair and when you are comfortable in that other chair, I will ask you to close your eyes. When you close your eyes, you go twice as deep into hypnosis."

13. "If" And "Then": These two by-words can be tremendously effective when inserted into a sentence properly. "If you learn to use these two key words in the right way and at the right times then you increase the effectiveness of your suggestions 100%."

"If you close your eyes for a couple minutes each night and imagine your body the way you want it to be, then your subconscious mind causes it to happen, and you develop a perfect body, exactly the way you want it to be."

14. Aversion Suggestions are used to change behavior by making it have a negative effect upon the client. "Your cigarettes taste like horse manure." I seldom use aversion suggestions because I prefer positive change in behavior. "Chocolate candy taste like gummy tar. You want to spit it out because it taste so bad." "You are trying to get heavy phlegm out of your throat caused by smoking. Will it be slimy green or yellow? Will it have blood in it? Feel yourself gagging to bring it up...It will disappear when you are a non-smoker." I would never use such a suggestion. The only time I have ever used aversion suggestions was when a man came back for a third session. He said, "Tell me my cigarettes taste awful." I followed his request and he stopped smoking. It worked for him because that was the kind of suggestions he expected. His uncle had quit smoking and had always told him that is the way hypnosis worked.

15. Metaphor and Healing Stories are indirect methods of suggestion. They are stories which point to some meaning beyond the story so that the client can use them to motivate change. They are non-threatening to the client and are available to the client to discover its therapeutic meaning for himself.

(6) Types of Imagery:

1. Spontaneous Imagery comes to one without consciously requesting the imagery. I can remember at a time while visiting the pastor of Arcadia Methodist Church. As I drove by the old Joy Theater (still standing, but not in use) I could almost see myself as a 5 to 9 year old boy going to that theater. It was usually on a Saturday afternoon and a double feather western was the order of the day. What a good time I had in my spontaneous age regression.

2. Induced Imagery is consciously selected for a specific purpose. One day, as I was thinking of my dad who died in 1983, I consciously went back in my mind to the night before I went to college. I could see my dad plainly as he said to me, "Paul, you are going to be taught many things while in college. Some will be different from what you have been taught

at home. Take that which will help you whether it is like you have been taught or not and add it to your life. If it does not help, discord it." He continued to talk and finished his guidance with these words, "Be careful what you pray for and what you preach against, because you might get them both." I did not have to ask my dad what he meant. I understand him to mean, "If you pray

to miss an event that you do not want to attend, you may get sick and not have to attend." The prayer was answered but the person did not want to get sick. In regards to the preaching statement, he meant often that which one is against, may be the biggest temptation for that individual. One who preaches against the "sins of the flesh" may get into trouble by having sex outside of marriage.

3. Concrete imagery is used to see something in detail which you want to happen in your life. A person who desires to reduce to a specific weight uses an imagery of stepping on the scales and seeing the exact weight she desires to be.

4. Abstract imagery has the person in number 3, seeing a bowl of ice cream behind a red circle with a red bar crossing the bowl. That is the universal symbol for "reframe from."

5. General imagery is used to see yourself health, feeling good, enjoying life. This imagery is used for overall achievement instead of specific results.

6. Specific imagery is used for a specific purpose. A person with high blood pressure

imagines taking his blood pressure and seeing 120 over 80.

7. End Results imagery is used to imagine the end result which is desired. I have shared with you the imagery that I used before being selected for promotion to Brigadier General. I visualized my star being pinned on me by the Chief of Chaplain of the Army and wearing my general's uniform.

8. Process imagery is used in going through a process by which the goal is achieved. A person in preparation for a speech imagines preparing the speech, choosing just the right things to say, writing the speech, practicing the speech, and delivering the speech.

9. Guided imagery is scripted to bring about a specific imagery. "Imagine that you are walking down a beautiful country road. It is a beautiful sunny day.