Tawney's Techniques of hypnosis
(Published in 1954)
NOTES FROM THE TECHNIQUES OF HYPNOSIS: CLEAR THOUGHTS. HOLLYWOOD, CA. 1954
PREFACE: This book is for the edification of the man in the street who wishes to know more about the "mysteries" of hypnotism, and, perhaps, use it where it will do the most good. Hypnosis is not a gift possessed by a few; it is possessed by all of us, but only a few of us know enough about it to use it to our advantage. This book will show you how to use the power of hypnosis and for what purposes.
There are those who cry that hypnotism is dangerous, but anything is dangerous in the hands of a fool. If you will use hypnosis prudently and in the manner described in this book, being aware of the dangers that are pointed out herein, you will have no difficulty.
Highly technical details and abstract theories will not be found here, for, unless you are a psychiatrist, a psychoanalyst or or psychologist, they will be of no use to you and will only serve to confuse. The basic rules are here, however, and the experimenting we will leave to the scientists.
All of you have heard of hypnotism and most of you have formed an opinion of it. If you are filled with skepticism, mistrust or fear, let me suggest you hold your mind open until you have finished this book, for hypnotism has been greatly misused and abused. It is only now gaining the recognition and place in science it deserves. This book is for your enjoyment, your health and your peace of mind
PROFESSIONAL ATTITUDE: Nowhere, on the face of this earth, is there a more controversial subject than the one we are about to discuss now, namely, the therapy of neurosis. One would not think that there could be snobbishness and narrow pettiness among the men and women who are our psychologists, psychiatrists and psychoanalysts, but there is. They split up into clannish little groups and eye each other with a distrust bordering upon hysteria if one were to read all the literature on the subject of mental therapy, one is likely to get the idea that here a peculiar form of neurosis exists. Here are men and women, professed to be experts on human behavior, acting like a patient in need of treatment. A theory is developed and then jealously guarded against any and all refutation, while those who attempt to refute it, do so because of peculiar reasons of their own.
When it comes to the treatment of mental aberrations, there are many schools of thought, and each school assaults the other in away that is not becoming to those who are supposed to be concerned with the Cure of mental illness. Each of these schools of thought can very easily explain their successes, but not one of them, and I'll repeat that, not one of them can explain their failures!
In attempting to find a reason for a failure, the mental therapist rationalizes as much, if not more, than any neurotic patient ever did. Obviously, if there is a failure, it will have to be the fault of the method of treatment or the therapist and not the fault of the patient, as so many therapists like to claim to save their own face.
The fact remains that, for every person declared cured, there (p 106) are others whom therapy has not helped at all. Many times this is because the therapist has not applied all the techniques that are available to him. If the therapist is a psychoanalyst, he is likely to use the technique of psychoanalysis only, completely disregarding any other method, no matter how successful that method has been. There is a tendency to disregard the personality of the patient in that it may conflict with that of the therapist, and where there is conflict, a cure is impossible.
An army whose generals obstinately work against each other will soon go down in defeat. It seems that these various schools of thought are hindering, if not defeating, their own purpose by dividing into armed camps and pooh-poohing each others' pet theory while clinging almost neurotically to their own as though. it were a fetish they were unable to give up. I think it is high time our psychologists, our psychoanalysts and our psychiatrists dropped their immature behavior as they expect their patients to do, and adopt a more mature attitude in treating those suffering neurosis. These people who choose to meddle with our mental conditions should, without hesitation, use every known method to produce a cure, preferably starting with a method most likely to produce the quickest results namely hypnosis.
Andrew Salter, in his book comparing hypnotherapy and psychoanalysis, says that in the length of time it takes a psychoanalysis to cure a patient, the patient would probably get over his illness anyway without having to be treated at all. This may not be so hard to believe when one realizes the amount of time involved in the psychoanalytical procedure. It is a procedure that only the rich and near rich can afford, involving analysis the personalty and behavior patterns and then a substitution of new behavior patterns in place of the old. This technique requires upwards from two-hundred and fifty one-hour sessions to sometimes three thousand, each session being fifty minutes, (p 107) which is the accepted analytical hour. The patients are seen several times a week at first, then once or twice a week as they show progress and then once a month. Most analysts charge from twenty to fifty dollars for each analytical hour, 50, if the treatment does manage to cure the patient, the bills will kill him or at least set up a foundation for a new neurosis.
With this technique, the analyst can see only about six or seven patients a day, unless he were to extend his working hours, and he would be hard put to reach more than twenty patients a year. The psychoanalyst goes through an extensive period of training, which ends when he has successfully analyzed three cases under a supervisor. This, naturally, requires a lot of time and study and expense. It isn't necessary, but there is a method to this madness. It keeps the number of analysts available to a low figure so that the world would not become glutted with them and thus ruin a lucrative business.
It is the outspoken opinion of the psychoanalyst that he and he only is competently qualified to cure a neurosis, and that no one else should be allowed to administer mental aid to those who need it. Silently and meekly to submit to this would be to reject the plea of thousands of mental and emotional sufferers who seek relief from their distressing symptoms, but who can afford neither the time nor the expense involved in psychoanalysis.
It is safe to say that a cure can be affected by a hypnotherapist in one-tenth of the time it would take a psychoanalyst, even in the maximum case, since, in hypnotherapy only six to twelve sessions are needed, as a general rule. The hypnotherapist, then, can handle many more patients a year than can the psychoanalyst. Moreover, the hypnotherapist charges from five to twenty-five dollars an hour, with only a few of them reaching the twenty-five dollar scale. (Durbin: Note that this was written in 1954. I would also say that most problems can be overcome in one to six sessions instead
six to twelve sessions.) (p 108)
I do not intend to deride the efforts of the psychoanalyst or the psychiatrist or any other school of thought. I think that, basically, all their efforts at finding a solution to the mental ills of mankind are sincere. If it were not for a clash of ideas, we wouldn't progress in anything. There would then be no way to compare the results to see if the direction being taken was right or wrong. What I am protesting against, however, is the lack of understanding, the bigotry and lack of cooperation among these different schools. Their stand-pat, stubborn attitudes probably stem from personal reasons that may be conscious or unconscious. But, with the development of psychoanalysis and psychiatry, a sure-fire way to cure neurosis still has not been found, and the trend is back toward hypnosis, at least as an aid to other forms of treatment.
This derisive attitude is not flattering to the men and women whose object is to eliminate the hypocrisies of intolerance and prejudice. They, themselves, fail in the very thing they are trying to accomplish.
Hypnotherapy has had its measure of success and failure, to be sure, but so has every other method of treatment that was ever evolved. The human mind and personality is too variable to be set to a standard method of procedure in curing mental ailments. Certain things are, by and large, true, but never for all people, under all circumstances. The patient cannot be adapted to the method of treatment, the method of treatment must be adapted to the patient. We should not hesitate to adopt a method of procedure that is applicable to the personality of the patient, regardless of who or what school of thought developed that procedure.
Hypnosis can be of great aid to the psychiatrist and the psychoanalyst, even though he does not use it exclusively. There are some people who respond to hypnotic treatment with astonishing results, and, of course, some who do not respond so (p 109) readily. But even this handicap can be overcome by conditioning, a procedure we will go into later.
There is much written about the harmful effects of ridding a patient of his symptoms with hypnosis while not treating the underlying cause. Let us bury this idea once and for all. The fact is that hypnotherapists understand full well that the symptom is only the expression of the deeper problem, and when it is necessary to deal with the problem behind the symptom, it is dealt with. Although the hypnotherapist does not agree with all the concepts of the psychoanalyst, he recognizes the value of analysis and uses it extensively in the treatment of the neurotic.
Another erroneous idea that we might as well bury here an now is the cry that the patient becomes dependent upon the hypnotist to the extent that the cures are not permanent unless the hypnotist is available occasionally to reinforce the personality changes with suggestion. It is said that the patient is not actively fighting his problem himself, but that the hypnotherapist is doing it for him by the injection into the unconscious mind of hypnotic and posthypnotic suggestions. Therefore the patient does not learn to control his emotions, nor is he able to direct them into more constructive paths.
The treatment of neurosis by hypnosis is not so superficial as that. As the patient's problems are brought out, reviewed and understood by him, he is taught the correct reaction to adopt for his particular kind of stress. In other words, the hypnotherapist does much the same thing as the psychoanalyst, but, with hypnosis as a lever, he does it in much less time.
The hypnotherapist gives the patient an insight into his problem by determining the underlying cause of his symptoms. When the patient understands how and why he reacts as he does, hypnosis helps to break the bad behavior pattern and establish a new one in its place. Posthypnotic suggestion is used liberally (p 110) here to establish anew and good conditioned reflex in place of the old and bad reaction or reflex that the patient had been conditioned to.
The psychoanalyst, whether he will admit it or not, uses suggestion liberally. These positive suggestions given by the analyst are eventually turned into positive autosuggestion by the unconscious process of self-hypnosis in the patient. This feeling of dependence upon the hypnotherapist the patient has, is the same feeling a patient has for the psychoanalyst, a parent-child relationship, which, in both cases, must be terminated before the treatment can be fully successful. In other words, the patient must be able to reach the correct decisions and maintain the correct attitude toward his various problems by himself without the direction or herp of the hypnotherapist or the psychoanalyst. In hypnotherapy, this is accomplished when the correct emotional attitude, fixed in the mind by hypnotic and posthypnotic suggestion, becomes a conditioned reflex or a fixed habit. In psychoanalysis, this is done when the patient becomes bored with the endless repetition of his story or becomes fed up or bored with the psychoanalyst.
The psychoanalyst must wade through mountains of irrelevant material in order to finally arrive, by a process of elimination and interpretation, to a decision of what the patient's underlying problem is. He must listen for hours to the free association rumblings of his patient, separating the chaff from the wheat, the important from the unimportant, listening mostly to what the patient wants to say, and passively waiting until the patient, without meaning it, reveals something pertinent to the problem at hand. He takes copious notes, sometimes directing the thoughts of the patient with gentle questions. But most of the time he remains inactive, apparently waiting for the patient to Cure himself by reaching the inevitable saturation point.
This method of free association has a cathartic effect upon (p 111) the patient, in that he is able to discharge his feelings and secret thoughts without fear of reprimand. He goes over his problems so often that he slowly becomes desensitized to them, reacting to them with less and less energy until that saturation point has been reached. A change must follow, naturally, for the patient is by now bored to tears. To escape from his position, he eagerly accepts the new behavior patterns and rejects the old and who can blame him, listening as he has to the same old story for more than a year? To be sure, he backslides, that is, he falls back into the old habits, but each time he desperately pulls himself back, until the backsliding becomes less and less. Bad habits are not so easily broken. They are established by repeated use and broken by disuse. So, each backslide is of shorter duration and each step forward toward "normalcy" is longer, until the patient's new personality becomes a more or less fixed habit " I" and he is able to cope with the every day stresses as a normal person would.
The psychoanalytic patient cures himself with the helpful guidance of the analyst who gently points out the way. The analyst shows the patient just how his emotions are defeating his purpose and shows him how to control these emotions so that he can at least get a measure of what he wants. It follows that the patient must be constantly aware of himself at all times. He must continually analyze his actions and motives in the light of what he has learned from his analyst. He does this until he has established a new behavior pattern and his reactions become automatic.
Free association is an indirect, tedious and time-consuming method of dredging up from the unconscious mind those memories and experiences that have been repressed. This process takes so long simply because the alter ego is constantly on guard to see that these painful things never again become conscious. The analyst proceeds upon the theory that one (p 112) association leads to another, and, with persistence and constant bombarding of the alter ego with associated ideas, the alter ego is weakened and the memory finally breaks through the iron curtain of the mind. However, this does not always happen. I will present, in another chapter, a case history where nine months of psychiatric treatment served only to heighten a patient's resistance to revealing a painful memory that lay behind his symptoms, and where hypnosis, in only six hours, affected a complete cure by forcing to consciousness this repressed incident. It is a case where, though the method of hypnosis was available to the analyst, he refused to use it. If is foolish and dogmatic to accept only one method of cure and reject all others, especially in this day and age when psychiatry is a hit or miss proposition. Each method has its truths and fallacies, and sometimes the best that can be done is to ease, somewhat, the neurotic burden the individual has to bear.
But the fact remains that hypnosis allows a more direct method of probing the unconscious mind by lowering the threshold of consciousness. The result is that the patient's guard IS relaxed. Memories that were hitherto impossible to recall are more easily revealed, and with less embarrassment to the patient. The unconscious expresses itself more freely and less inhibitedly. There are, of course, resistences, but they can be overcome. The patient may try to lie, but this too, can be detected by using a meter to check the pulse. Instead of the patient drifting aimlessly about, and sometimes helplessly, as in psychoanalysis, he can be directed to talk about pertinent things. The hypnotherapist, " for one, am not overly concerned with what the patient wants to tell me. I only want to know what he does not want to tell me, because therein is where his problem lies.
Those, In the medical profession, who use hypnosis, are in a very small minority. The physician who has spent years building up his practice is not going to risk his reputation by putting to (p 113) use something he feels the public is not ready for. There is no medical school at the present time that includes the study of hypnosis in its curriculum. The physician is prejudiced in that he fears the reaction of the general public if he should undertake to use it, or he knows little or nothing about hypnosis and consequently is not interested in it. If he is well informed upon the subject of hypnosis, he might feel that to use it would take up too much of his time.
Since hypnosis takes from one-half hour to an hour, its use by physicians would take quite a cut out of the doctor's earnings. The average length of time consumed in seeing a patient, not including the long waiting period in his outer office, is about ten minutes. Very seldom will a patient get more than ten minutes of the doctor's undivided attention, unless it be on an operating table. This is an era of production-line medicine. You very nearly meet yourself coming out of the doctor's office.
The added burden in the last decade placed upon your physician has called upon his time to such an extent that he is no longer able to engage in chats with patients. At one time he was not only your doctor, but your psychiatrist, giving sound advice to help you with your emotional problems. In this age of specialists, one generally has to go elsewhere for encouragement and advice, while the physician busily concerns himself with only the organic disturbances of the body. The tragic part of all this is that, with a great number of patients, their illness is purely psychosomatic, and that the organic illness of the body is caused by an emotional disturbance. The physician can treat the organic illness, but he has not the time to consider the emotional problem involved, and the patient cannot afford a psychoanalyst.
To overcome this particular difficulty and the time-consuming problem of hypnosis, it has been suggested by various hypnotherapists that the physician employ a hypnotic technician, very (p 114) similar to the technicians he employs to assist him in his office and in the operating room. I might suggest that they include in their office staff, a hypnotherapist, with the physician in a supervisory capacity, having, himself, a good working knowledge of hypnosis, taught in medical schools. This had been worked out to good advantage in some psychiatric and psychological clinics.
This may seem strange at first, but one must consider the human body and mind as one total organism. The mind and body cannot be divided or looked upon as separate parts. They are one and the same, enmeshed together. One cannot operate without the other. The health of one determines the health of the other. While the physician takes care of the organic needs of the patient, the Hypnotherapist can take care of the emotional needs. The proper frame of mind is extremely important in the curing of the organic ailment, for it can hinder or help. A depressed, worried and doubtful patient is his own worst enemy, and the job of the therapist would be to reassure him, replace negative autosuggestion with positive suggestion, to eliminate the fear and anxiety and to promote the desired attitude in the patient which would facilitate a more rapid recovery.
To eliminate pain in the doctor's office without the necessity of anesthesia produced by drugs would be a great help. This would eliminate the fear of pain which all of us have.
The physician is, by and large, a conservative individual, who, at times, can be most daring, especially in an emergency. He is reluctant to accept anything that has not been proven by repeated tests, which is to our general benefit, and yet, when an emergency arises, he will, without hesitation, perform the most daring of surgical feats in an effort to save a life that would otherwise be lost.
Psychiatry, and I use the word to include all schools of thought, is a squawking, brawling infant. There is much to (p 115) be learned yet, and much to be discarded. Our professionals are trying to find a way to rid mankind of his neurosis, but the task is great. We know the construction of the brain, but we do not yet understand the spark that causes it to function. We know the physical construction of the human organism, but. we do not know what causes it to become a moving, living thing. We cannot yet explain what life is. Someday we will know, and everything will become clear. As it is now, we must and can, only theorize. The mind, the body and life are all one, and to understand one thoroughly, we must understand all. Until then we can only stumble along, struggling to find the answer. The answer is there, somewhere, and someday it will be found. Until this miracle occurs, we must do the best we can. (P116)
Dr. Henri Bernheim used magnets in his earlier therapeutic work, though not so flamboyantly as did Mesmer, the father of hypnosis. But Bernheim began to doubt the value of the magnets when he discovered that symptoms disappeared by direct suggestion. Investigating this further, he came to the conclusion that the curing by magnets was merely positive suggestion working indirectly. The patient's belief in the curing potentialities of the magnet was what caused the cure, not the magnet itself. Bernheim discarded the magnets and simply suggested to his hypnotized patients that their symptoms would disappear.
From this discovery arose the theory of suggestion, and the result of it was a book, written by Bernheim in the latter part of the 19th century called Suggestive Therapeutics. Since then, the theory of suggestion has largely been adopted, and the technique of hypnosis has been elaborated upon, until now there are several techniques of hypnosis used in mental therapy.
Bernheim's technique was to repress the symptom and to make it disappear by simply telling the patient that he would be no longer bothered by it. Although he did not, apparently, grasp the significance of it, he did note, in his book, that in Some cases the symptom would disappear and then reappear in a revised form or in another manner.
The significance of it is this, that, with the disappearance of the patient's symptom by direct suggestion, the underlying problem goes unresolved. That is, the patient's problem remains to harass the patient, even though the symptom is gone, and sometimes this problem causes another and more disturbing symptom to take the place of the one repressed. (p 117)
The symptom is a device whereby the patient gets some sort of unconscious relief from his problem which otherwise would be unbearable and might, unless suggestions were given him against it, lead him to commit destructive acts against himself or society. The symptom is a crutch with which the personality maintains a sort of balance with society. In some cases, when this crutch or symptom is removed without also removing the underlying cause of it, the personality will, so to speak, tend to disintegrate.
When the underlying problem has not been dealt wish, the relief from the symptom may be only temporary, with the same symptom, or another, reappearing in a short time or within several months. However, this is true only in the more severe cases which can be dealt with by other techniques of hypnotherapy.
As in all methods of treatment of neurotic problems, the sooner the symptom is treated, the more chance there is for a permanent cure. In most cases the disappearance of the symptom is all that is necessary to allow the patient to return to a useful life if not an entirely happy one. The treatment, however, need not end here. If the patient so desires, the underlying problems can be explored and eradicated.
The symptoms of a neurosis can be crippling to an extreme, thereby preventing a person from earning his livelihood, as the symptoms of the problem express themselves in one of two ways or both, symbolically or physiologically.
When the symptom appears symbolically, it attacks the muscular system or the senses by throwing apart or parts of them out of gear, so to speak. The patient is then able to fix his attention upon the symbol of his problem, rather than upon the problem itself which is more terrifying than the symbol.
The patient may find himself suffering from paralysis of one or more parts of the body, or he may have convulsions or trembling, a loss of sight, of smell, of touch or voice, a deafness, or (p 118)
a roaring in the ears. There may be psychological symbolic symptoms of amnesia, or a depressed, extremely tired feeling and even coma.
Physiologically, the symptoms of deep emotional problems may reveal themselves in the patient as a permanent state of anxiety and tension. Though the patient cannot explain why, he is in a constant state of acute fear, or he may feel all sorts of pain, and is generally irritable and easily upset. He may complain of stomach disorders. Frequently he suffers from mucous colitis, a heart condition, or ulcers or migraine headaches, all caused by his extreme feeling of tension. Then anxiety or tension, itself, may cause actual organic illnesses. Ulcers and other intestinal disturbances or a heart condition may arise from this, the permanent cures of which cannot be successful unless the problem causing all the anxiety and tension is resolved.
Although direct suggestion is not a cure-all there is hardly a functional disturbance that has not been cured by it at one time or another. Some hypnotherapists have succeeded where others have failed, and there is now a general agreement about what can be cured by direct suggestion and what cannot. The possibility of a relapse is not inevitable, as there appears to be some kind of a psychological void in the patient which is filled by his association with the hypnotherapist. All therapeutic methods have their backsliders, but none can claim so many quick and lasting cures as can hypnotherapy.
Cures are often miraculous when a deep hypnosis is used, for symptom disappearance by direct suggestion, although deep hypnosis is not always necessary. Amenable to this technique are skin diseases, muscular rheumatism, the removal of warts, constipation, menstrual disturbances, migraine headache, epilepsy, asthma, insomnia, hayfever, stuttering, tics and many others not named. Cures have been obtained in cases of hysteria, obsessions, compulsions and various phobias, but psychotics are often unapproachable. (P 119)