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Elman’s Stages of Hypnosis

Elman’s Stages of Hypnosis
In Chapter 8, we discussed LeCron’s six stages of hypnosis, rang-
ing over a continuum of light, medium and deep trance. Elman
offers a simpler scheme of four levels of trance:
Light or superficial trance
Somnambulistic trance
Hypnosis attached to sleep.
Conditions for Hypnosis, and Pre-Talk
Dave Elman specifies four prerequisites for a successful induction.
First, in order for hypnosis to occur, the subject must
agree to be hypnotized.
Second, there must be communication between the
Hypnotherapist and the client.
Third, the client must be free from any fear about the
hypnotic process or what is going to take place.
And finally, the client must be free from reluctance. The
client must trust the Hypnotherapist and their intentions.
The pre-talk ought to set up these conditions. From Elman’s point
of view, much of the work of hypnosis occurs before the induction.
We need to eliminate the client’s fears and misconceptions. Here is
a sample of pre-talk in the Elman style:
Elman Pre-Talk
Make a fist. Relax.
You know that if you wanted to, you could tighten your
muscles and make a fist that was so strong that you
couldn’t make it any stronger or any more powerful. Isn’t
that true? So, if you wanted, and if you knew how, you
could also make any group of muscles you wanted so
absolutely, totally relaxed that unless you removed the
relaxation, you could relax those muscles to the point
where they wouldn’t work. That is also true, isn’t it?
Eyelids are the easiest to relax.
The easiest muscles in your entire body to relax are your
eyelids. Now, you know that’s true, don’t you? Remember
a time when you were tired, had a rough day, and you
closed your eyes, and it just feels so good.
“Now, watch what I do.” (Demonstrate this to the client
while you are talking.)
I’m going to close my eyes, and I am going to relax them
so completely and so deeply that if I do not take that relax-
ation away they won’t work. Nothing that I can do or say
or think will make them open. Now I can take away the
relaxation and they will open instantly, but if the relax-
ation is there, they won’t work.
“Now I’m going to try to open my eyes.” (Open eyes.)
Now I tested myself to see that they did work, and I did
the wrong thing, because I wanted to test them to be sure
they do not work.
“This time I am going to keep them shut.”
This time I am going to relax my eyelids to the point where
they won’t work. And I am going to hold on to the relax-
ation and then test them to make sure they do not work. I
don’t have to prove they will work, I can do that every
day. I know that I can instantly remove the relaxation by
the slightest thought, the slightest desire, so I am not going
to do that this time. This time I’m going to allow them to
stay, totally relaxed, and I know that as long as I stay total-
ly relaxed, and as long as I do not take that relaxation
away, nothing I can do or say or think will cause them to
open. Watch. See, they stay there like an old shoe. And I
know it looks stupid with my eyebrows going up and
down, but it feels great! Hypnosis: A Comprehensive Guide
‘You can do it too!”
Vow, I can feel proud of myself, because I did it. I can take
:he relaxation away and I can open my eyes. You know, 5-
!ear-old kids can do this; you can do this, too. Just see if
OU can do what I do. Close your eyes, and put your
lwareness on your eyelids. You’re in charge, you’re in con-
roll and your muscles have to do what you tell them to
“They respond to what you tell them.”
Not what I tell them to do.. . they respond to you, not me.
Your eyelids respond to you because the suggestions are
coming directly from you, and through your neurology.
You direct your body to follow those suggestions totally
and completely, and you will be successful.
Have the client do it.
So, go ahead, tell your body to relax your eyelid muscles
totally and completely, so deeply and completely that
unless you remove the relaxation, they just won’t work.
And when you know that you have accomplished this,
then hold on to the relaxation and give them a good test,
and notice that they stay shut; make sure they won’t work,
and notice how good that feels. Test them hard, really try.
(If client opens eyes:) Congratulations; now prove you can
relax them so they won’t work.
That was the hardest step. You did just great.
Take turns practising this pre-talk with a partner until it flows nat-
urally and smoothly.

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