In this chapter some simple practical examples are given which allow the reader to explore in person and with others some of the obvious things about the way in which the mind and body work. In particular attention is a drawn to the way in which activity in one part or subsystem of the brain can lead quite naturally, but usually in a little time, to activity in another part. But the speed and quality of the response varies from person to person.
These results are related to "tests of hypnotizability" and to "hypnotic inductions": which are ways in which they have been regarded in the past.
Chapter 2: Switching Off Systems
In which we explore various ways in which muscular relaxation can be induced. The main systems used to do this include the verbal, visual, emotional, musical and humorous.
We end with a sample compound induction script.
Chapter 3: The Visual Imagination
We explore the visual imagination, which is enormously rich and varied. This is a tool much used in hypnosis and so it is valuable to explore its natural processes in many people, including yourself. You may agree that one of the main functions you have when helping another to explore his or her imagination is in helping to maintain focus, primarily by asking questions.
The question of what kind of meaning such an exploration gives is left open. There are a wide variety of interpretation schemes which you will find: I simply urge you to keep at least TWO such possibilities in mind so that you are less likely to jump to unjustifiable conclusions. Sometimes the asking of questions will help to resolve a conflict between two interpretations.
The material you find is seldom strange by the standard of dreams.
Chapter 4: Directing And Controlling The Imagination
The visual imagination can not only be used for exploration, it can be guided and directed. This chapter provides exercises to develop this ability.
The specifics used are to imagine a place, then a strange element in it, then a changed, floating viewpoint, then a floating journey. Next the ability to change images is used to change a small memory; then developed to see if a completely different life can be pictured.
This chapter should teach you how much can be done with the imagination in many people without any "induction" or other hypnotic techniques.
Chapter 5: Exploring "Inductions"
In this chapter for the first time we will meet some processes which have been passed down the years as being ways of producing some dramatic changes in the functioning of people. These are what have been called "hypnotic inductions". We start with a close look at an induction used by James Braid, the father of hypnotism. Then some others, again from well-known names in the history of our subject, are given more briefly for you to try.
The question of whether as a result of such inductions a given person will respond more readily to suggestions is one that you can explore practically.
Some reasons are given why such inductions may have been more successful in the past, and need modifying for the present day.
Chapter 6: Posthypnotic Suggestions
Posthypnotic suggestions are a large part of what people regard as typical of hypnosis. We start by comparing it with the common phenomenon of social compliance: the fact that people quite normally will do what another asks them to do. A description of a subject (Nobel Prizewinner Richard Feynman) is used to illustrate what it feels like to carry out a post hypnotic suggestion. Both phenomena are based on establishing a causal connection between two subsystems of the brain.
Some exercises are suggested for you to find out how easy it is under ordinary conditions to establish such a causal connection between two subsystems of the brain, so that you can (as in the previous chapter) later compare the ease of doing the same after a preliminary induction.
In fact the usual word to describe the creation of a causal link between two systems is learning! And you are asked to consider the conditions under which learning is most likely to happen well. I suggest that a focused attention is generally best.
However this matter is complicated by the fact that the brain consists of very many subsystems and we may consider each to be capable of independent attention, or arousal. To explore this exercises are given aiming at maintaining the attention of just one subsystem (in this case that connected to fingers) while conscious attention subsides.
Chapter 7: Resistance And Rapport
We focus on high-order mental systems: those which determine whether to accept or reject statements made by another.