In light of the challenges we’re facing I wanted to share with you a technique for self-hypnosis. Although in some ways we cannot achieve quite the same specificity working on our own as we can in 1:1 sessions, I do find self-hypnosis very nearly as effective and I practice it all the time! The more trance work you do, whether it’s hypnosis, Breathwork, creative process, or even daydreaming, the more skilled you become at navigating and shifting your own consciousness.
This technique can be done alone in any sort of environment that feels reasonably safe for your to relax your mind. The process of moving into trance is ultimately a state of (dis)orientation, or reorienting in a less focused way. Our senses are a primary means of being oriented, and here we will work with three senses to shift your orientation and awareness.
Begin by settling into a comfortable position sitting or lying down. Let your posture be easy and comfortable. Decide on a “destination” for your trance; this could be a comforting or soothing place/environment, a memory, or a feeling/experience. It can really be anything but it should be something specific. Allow your mind to rest on this for a moment and allow a curiosity that somehow, some way, you will arrive here. Trust that you will get there in the way that is most appropriate for you in this moment.
Set a timer, you might want to start with 10 minutes and extend from there as you feel comfortable.
Take some deep breaths and allow yourself to ease into your body with your eyes open. Soften your gaze, as if you could have a maximal amount of peripheral vision and letting your whole window of vision be equally noticeable.
Speaking out loud, softly but audibly, name 5 things you can see, 5 things you can hear, and 5 things you can feel (in your body or tactile things you can touch) in a complete statement (for example “I can see a blue lamp, I can see my dog on the bed, I can see the plant, I can see a sock, I can see my own hands”).
Then say out loud 4 things your can see, 4 things you can hear, and 4 things you can feel. Then 3 things you can see, hear, and feel, then two of each and finally one of each.
At some point you may become a bit confused about what number or sense you are on, this is the point- just continue as best you can. When you finish you can gently close your eyes, and perhaps you might say to yourself “here we are, at the beginning.”
Allow any images, senses, ideas, wonderings to flow in and out of your perception. Follow along or choose your focus, either is fine. Allow yourself to be fully immersed in whatever you’re experiencing, really connecting to your senses. What can you see, feel, hear, smell, taste, what do you know in this moment? Allow yourself to move easily and with trust to your planned destination or whatever emerges. If you find yourself drifting too far into consciousness you can repeat the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise within the your visualization or you can open your eyes for the exercise and make you way back inward.
Continue until your timer goes off.
Some tips: Include a related sensory component that connects to your destination can be helpful. For example, I often use a beach as my destination and find it helpful play some ocean waves sounds when I do this. You may wish to incorporate some sound, smell, or tactile support the first time you try it. Another helpful trick is to do this while in a hot bath or if you have access to a sauna (lucky you if you do!), the heat and sensory flattening of the hot water can help in shifting your orientation as well.