Additional Inductions and Suggestions that May Be Helpful for Individuals with Chronic Pain
Jensen, M. P. (2011). Hypnosis for Chronic Pain Management: Therapist Guide. Oxford University Press.
(p. s-2) This material accompanies Dr. Mark P. Jensen's book Hypnosis for Chronic Pain Management: A Therapist Guide (Jensen, anticipated, 2011) and includes the scripts for additional inductions and suggestions that may be helpful for individuals with chronic pain from highly experienced clinicians who practice around the world. It begins with brief biographies of the clinicians and scientists who contributed their favorite inductions and suggestions. Following this, scripts that clinicians may find helpful with some of their patients, and that might fit their particular clinical style, are presented under different headings: Inductions; Suggestions for Pain and Symptom Management; Suggestions for Thought, Attribution, and Mood Management; and Suggestions for Behavior, Activity, and Sleep Management.
These additional inductions and suggestions are provided because every patient is unique, and it is therefore likely that he or she will benefit more from some inductions and suggestions than others. Thus, the more ideas a clinician has for these, the greater opportunity there will be for finding the combination of suggestions that will be most effective for any one patient.
Also, because these additional inductions and suggestions are developed and used by some of the most effective clinicians in the world, they can be considered to be supported by a great deal of clinical experience. A clinician's behavior is shaped by clinical experience; hypnotic suggestions that are particularly effective are more likely to be rewarding to the clinician than suggestions that are not effective. Thus, these suggestions may be viewed as having been “shaped” by the hundreds and thousands of clinical hours in which they have been used. Clinicians would do well to review these and consider incorporating them into their hypnotic sessions as appropriate.
(p. s-3) Contributors
Assen Alladin, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist and Adjunct Associate Professor at Foothills Medical Centre and Department of Psychiatry at the University of Calgary Medical School. He has been practicing and teaching hypnosis and clinical psychology for over 25 years. He is the Secretary of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, and past president of the Canadian Federation of Clinical Hypnosis-Alberta Society. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, and he was the 2005 recipient of the Best Research Paper from Division 30 of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Alladin has published many chapters and papers on clinical hypnosis and is the author of Handbook of Cognitive Hypnotherapy for Depression: An Evidence-Based Approach (2007), Hypnotherapy Explained (2008b), and Cognitive Hypnotherapy: An Integrated Approach to the Treatment of Emotional Disorders (2008a). He served as Guest Editor for Special Issues in Hypnotherapy for the Journal of Preventive Neurology and Psychiatry (1992), the Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly (1994), and the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (April 2007 and July 2007).
Arreed Barabasz, Ed.D., Ph.D., ABPP, is a Psychologist in Practice and Professor and Director of the Hypnosis Laboratory at Washington State University. He is past president of both the Society for Psychological Hypnosis, Division 30 of the American Psychological Association, and the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. He has published over 125 articles and authored five books in the area, including a very popular introductory text on hypnotherapeutic techniques (Barabasz & Watkins, 2005). Dr. Barabasz is the current editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis.
Joseph Barber, Ph.D., is a Clinical Professor at the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. He is an internationally recognized expert and pioneer in the application of hypnosis for chronic pain management, having developed protocols that are recognized for their unusual efficacy (Barber, 1977) and written seminal books on the topic (Psychological Approaches to the Management of Pain [Barber & Adrian, 1982], (p. s-4) Hypnosis and Suggestion in the Treatment of Pain: A Clinical Guide [Barber, 1996]). He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychological Hypnosis and a Fellow of both the Society for Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis and the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis.
Antonio Capafons, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Personality, Assessment and Psychological Treatment, University of Valencia Faculty of Psychology in Spain. He has published and edited several books about hypnosis during the past 20 years and has written numerous book chapters and articles about the efficacy of hypnosis, attitudes and beliefs about hypnosis, and waking hypnosis. He is a Fellow of the Society of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis and has received the American Psychological Association Division 30 award for distinguished contributions to scientific hypnosis. Among his many contributions to applied hypnosis are the Valencia Scales of Attitudes and Beliefs about Hypnosis and the innovative Valencia Model of Waking Hypnosis.
Basil Finer, M.D., is an anesthesiologist who has been studying and using hypnosis for more than 50 years (Finer, 1967, 1972, 1974, 1979, 1980). Throughout his career, he has studied the impact of hypnosis on human physiology, and his research provided important foundational findings for knowledge in this area (e.g., Finer, 1972; Finer, Jonzon, Sedin, & Sjöstrand, 1973). He also chaired the Department of Anesthesiology at Samariterhemmet Hospital in Uppsala, Sweden, where he established and ran the first multidisciplinary pain unit in Sweden, from 1966 to 1990. Since his “retirement” from this appointment, he has worked in private practice and at another pain clinic and rehabilitation center, providing group and individual treatment for patients with persistent pain. He is now affiliated with the Pain Centre, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.
Guy H. Montgomery, Ph.D., is Director of the Integrative Behavioral Medicine Program, Director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Post-Doctoral Fellowship Training Program, and an Associate Professor in Cancer Prevention and Control in the Department of Oncological Sciences at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Dr. Montgomery has been working with (p. s-5) cancer patients for the past 15 years. He is a past President of the American Psychological Association's Society of Psychological Hypnosis, Division 30, and has received extramural research funding from the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society. He has published over 70 articles, including articles on hypnosis interventions (clinical benefits and cost-effectiveness), placebo effects, expectancy effects, and behavioral medicine. He is a licensed clinical psychologist who has devoted his career to improving the quality of life in those confronting cancer and its treatment.
David R. Patterson, PhD, ABPP, is a Professor in the Departments of Rehabilitation Medicine, Surgery, and Psychology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is past head of the Division of Psychology for his home department and co-chair of the ethics committee at Harborview Medical Center. Dr. Patterson has been working as a clinical psychologist at Harborview Medical Center since 1983, particularly in the burn unit and the psychology consultation and liaison service he created. He holds diplomate degrees in the areas of psychological hypnosis and rehabilitation psychology. Dr. Patterson has been instrumental in running psychology intern and postdoctoral training programs for more than 20 years and has mentored hundreds of clinical and research students. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1989, and he has published more than 150 articles and chapters in the areas of hypnosis, pain control, and adjustment to burn injuries and other types of trauma. His articles can be found in such journals as Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Pain, and the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Patterson has recently published the bookClinical Hypnosis for Pain Control (Patterson, 2010).
Michael D. Yapko, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and marriage and family therapist residing in Fallbrook, California. He is internationally recognized for his work in clinical hypnosis, brief psychotherapy, and the strategic treatment of depression, routinely teaching to professional audiences all over the world. He is the author of eleven books, including Breaking the Patterns of Depression (Yapko, 1997),Depression is Contagious (Yapko, 2009),Treating Depression With Hypnosis (Yapko, 2001), and Trancework: An Introduction to (p. s-6) the Practice of Clinical Hypnosis (Yapko, 2003). He is a member of the American Psychological Association, a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, and a clinical member of the American Association for Marital and Family Therapy. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his innovative contributions in advancing the fields of hypnosis and brief therapy. Further information about Dr. Yapko is available on his website, www.yapko.com.
(p. s-7) Inductions
Rapid induction from Joseph Barber's Rapid Induction Analgesia (RIA)
The following induction was introduced by Joseph Barber over 30 years ago as a method for inducing hypnosis quickly while at the same time seeding a “yes set” (note the very first question) and incorporates suggestions for comfort, relaxation, positive affect, and dissociation (Barber, 1977).
I'd like to talk with you for a moment to see if you'd like to feel more comfortable and relaxed than you might expect. Would you like to feel more comfortable than you do right now?
I'm quite sure that it will seem to you that I have really done nothing, that nothing has happened at all. You may feel a bit more relaxed, in a moment, but I doubt that you'll notice any other changes. I'd like you to notice, though, if you're surprised by anything else you might notice. OK, then … the really best way to begin feeling more comfortable is to just begin by sitting as comfortably as you can right now … go ahead and adjust yourself to the most comfortable position you like…that's fine.
Now, I'd like you to notice how much more comfortable you can feel by just taking one very big, satisfying deep breath. Go ahead … big, deep, satisfying breath … That's fine. You may already notice how good that feels … how warm your neck and shoulders can feel … Now, then … I'd like you to take four more very deep, very comfortable breaths … and, as you exhale, notice … just notice how comfortable your shoulders can be come … and notice how comfortable your eyes can feel when they close … and when they close, just let them stay closed … that's right, just notice that … and notice, too, how, when you exhale, you can just feel that relaxation beginning to sink in …
Good, that's fine … now, as you continue breathing, comfortably and deeply and rhythmically, all I'd like you to do is to picture in your mind … just imagine a staircase, any kind you like … with 20 steps, and you at the top … Now, you don't need to see all 20 steps at once, you can see any or all of the staircase, any way you like … that's fine … Just notice yourself, at the top of the staircase, and the step you're on, and any others you like … however you see it is fine …
(p. s-8) Now, in a moment, but not yet, I'm going to begin to count, out loud, from one to 20, and … as you may already have guessed … as I count each number I'd like you to take a step down that staircase … see yourself stepping down, feel yourself stepping down, one step for each number I count … and all you need to do is notice, just notice, how much more comfortable and relaxed you can feel at each step, as you go down the staircase … one step for each number that I count … the larger the number, the farther down the staircase … the farther down the staircase, the more comfortable you can feel … one step for each number … all right, you can begin to get ready …
Now, I'm going to begin … ONE … one step down the staircase … TWO … two steps down the staircase … that's fine … THREE … three steps down the staircase … and may be you already notice how much more relaxed you can feel … I wonder if there are places in your body that feel more relaxed than others … perhaps your shoulders feel more relaxed than your neck … perhaps your legs feel more relaxed than your arms … I don't know, and it really doesn't matter, all that matters is that you feel comfortable, that's all … FOUR … four steps down the staircase, perhaps feel ing already places in your body beginning to relax … I wonder if the deep relaxing, restful heaviness in your forehead is already beginning to spread and fiow … down, across your eyes, down across your face, into your mouth and jaw down through your neck, deep, restful, heavy … FIVE … five steps down the staircase … a quarter of the way down, and already begin ning, perhaps, to really, really enjoy your relaxation and comfort … SIX … six steps down the staircase … perhaps beginning to notice that the sounds which were distracting become less so … that all the sounds you can hear become a part of your experience of comfort and relaxation … anything you can notice becomes a part of your experience of comfort and relaxation, … SEVEN … seven steps down the staircase … that's fine, perhaps noticing the heavy, restful, comfortably relaxing feeling spreading down into your shoulders, into your arms … I wonder if you notice one arm feeling heavier than the other … perhaps your left arm feels a bit heavier than your right … perhaps your right arm feels heavier than your left … I don't know, perhaps they both feel equally, comforta bly heavy … It really doesn't matter … just letting yourself become more and more aware of that comfortable heaviness … or is it a feeling (p. s-9) of lightness? … I really don't know, and it really doesn't matter … EIGHT … eight steps down the staircase … perhaps noticing that, even as you relax, your heart seems to beat much faster and harder than you might expect, perhaps noticing the tingling in your fingers … perhaps wonder ing about the fluttering of your heavy eyelids … NINE … nine steps down the staircase, breathing comfortably, slowly, and deeply … restful, noticing that heaviness really beginning to sink in, as you continue to notice the pleasant, restful, comfortable relaxation just spread through your body … TEN … ten steps down the staircase … halfway to the bottom of the staircase, wondering perhaps what might be happening, perhaps wondering if anything at all is happening … and yet, knowing that it really doesn't matter, feeling so pleasantly restful, just continuing to notice the growing, spreading, comfortable relaxation … ELEVEN … eleven steps down the staircase … noticing maybe that as you feel in creasingly heavy, more and more comfortable, there's nothing to bother you, nothing to disturb you, as you become deeper and deeper relaxed … TWELVE … twelve steps down the staircase … I wonder if you notice how easily you can hear the sound of my voice … how easily you can understand the words I say … with nothing to bother, nothing to disturb … THIRTEEN … thirteen steps down the staircase, feeling more and more the real enjoyment of this relaxation and comfort … FOURTEEN … fourteen steps down the staircase … notic ing perhaps the sinking, restful pleasantness as your body seems to just sink down, deeper and deeper into the chair, with nothing to bother, nothing to disturb … as though the chair holds you, comfortably and warmly … FIFTEEN … fifteen steps down the staircase … three-quarters of the way down the staircase … deeper and deeper relaxed, absolutely nothing at all to do … but just enjoy yourself … SIXTEEN … sixteen steps down the staircase … wondering perhaps what to experi ence at the bottom of the staircase … and yet knowing how much more ready you already feel to become deeper and deeper relaxed … more and more comfortable, with nothing to bother, nothing to disturb … SEVENTEEN … seventeen steps down the staircase … closer and closer to the bottom, perhaps feeling your heart beating harder and harder, perhaps feeling the heaviness in your arms and legs become even more clearly comforta ble … knowing that nothing really matters except your enjoy ment of your experience of comfortable relaxation, with (p. s-10) nothing to bother, nothing to disturb … EIGHTEEN … eighteen steps down the staircase … almost to the bottom, with nothing to bother, nothing to disturb, as you continue to go deeper and deeper relaxed … heavy … comfortable … restful … relaxed … nothing really to do, no one to please, no one to satis fy … just to notice how very comfortable and heavy you can feel, and continue to feel as you continue to breathe, slowly and comfortably … restfully … NINETEEN … nineteen steps down the staircase … almost to the bottom of the staircase … nothing to bother, nothing to disturb you as you con tinue to feel more and more comfortable, more and more relaxed, more and more rested … more and more comfortable … just noticing … and now … TWENTY … bottom of the staircase … deeply, deeply relaxed … deeper with every breath you take …
Note. Copyright © American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (www.asch.net). Reprinted from Barber, J. (1977). Rapid Induction Analgesia: A clinical report. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 19, 138-145.
(p. s-11) Focus on Breathing Induction
The induction presented below, also provided by Joseph Barber, utilizes the fact that everyone breathes.
So settle back once again, with your eyes closed … and let yourself be as comfortable as you know how to be. And as we continue, feel free to make any adjustments you may need in order to feel even more comfortable. Feel free to make any sort of physical or mental adjustments in order to let yourself rest. As deeply … as easily … as you know how. And as you continue hearing the sound of my voice, without even trying to listen, as you continue to understand my words, without any particular effort. Let yourself once again pay attention to the experience of your breathing. Feel each breath. Notice the sensations you can feel each time you breathe in and breathe out. Let yourself become as aware as you know how of all the sensations you can feel with each breath. Let the experience of breathing be at the very center of your awareness. Feel your muscles as they extend, then as they contract. Feel the air as you breathe it in cool, then breathe it out warm. Notice the interesting tingling sensations you may feel in your fingers and hands and perhaps also your face, and very likely the soles of your feet. Let yourself enjoy the feeling of being heavier and heavier. This natural heaviness comes as you allow your muscles to relax more and more deeply. Let yourself really relax and sink deeper and deeper into your comfort. With every breath you take imagine that your muscles become ever more at rest. Right now there is nothing expected of you, so you are completely free to rest. Right now there are no obligations; you are completely free to rest. There is nothing you have to do. No one you have to please. No one you have to satisfy. No one you have to impress. No one you have to take care of. This is your time. This is another opportunity for you to discover deeper and ever deeper levels of your comfort. Physical comfort and peace of mind. Allowing yourself to drift deeper … and ever deeper … so that you can feel more and more fully absorbed by the comfort of your internal world. To feel the peace and restfulness of your deepest self. As you continue allowing my suggestions to create possibilities of comfort and peace of mind, you can be interested in using your imagination to (p. s-12) make real the suggestions I offer to you. You can be interested to discover the real power of your imagination.
Note. Copyright © 2010, Joseph Barber, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
(p. s-13) Count-down Induction
The following induction script, provided by Assen Alladin, represents a classic count-down induction that focuses on relaxation. It also includes text for “deepening” the experience further, which is considered by some clinicians to be an important component of hypnotic inductions.
Close your eyes and make yourself as comfortable as you can. Now I am going to count ONE to TEN … As I count … with every count you will become more and more relaxed … so that when I reach the count of 10 … at the count of 10 you will be resting in a deep trance.
ONE. Just continue to breathe gently … in and out … and as you concentrate on my voice you begin to relax … relaxing very deeply as you continue to listen to my voice.
TWO. You begin to feel a heavy and relaxing feeling coming over you as you continue to listen to my voice … And as you continue to breathe in and out … you will begin to feel your arms relaxing … your legs relaxing … and your entire body relaxing completely.
THREE. You begin to feel that heavy and relaxing feeling beginning to increase … more and more … and you are beginning to relax … more and more … relaxing deeper and deeper all the time as you continue to listen to my voice.
FOUR. You can feel that heavy and relaxing feeling increasing … more and more as you continue to listen to my voice … And as I continue to count, with every count … that heavy and relaxing feeling will continue to increase more and more … until they cause you to drift into a deep and pleasant trance.
FIVE. Just notice … progressively you are becoming more and more relaxed … more and more at ease … more and more comfortable … so that when I reach the count of TEN you will be resting in a deep trance.
SIX. Just listen to my voice as I continue to count … and by the time I get to the count of TEN … you will be resting in a deep and pleasant trance.
SEVEN. You are beginning to drift slowly into a deep … deep trance.
(p. s-14) EIGHT. Just notice you are becoming more and more comfortable … more and more at ease … more and more deeply relaxed … so that when I reach the count of TEN, you will be resting in a deep trance.
NINE. And every time you breathe in and out … you are drifting slowly into a deep and pleasant trance … drifting slowly … into a deep and pleasant trance.
TEN. Drifting slowly into a deep trance as you continue to listen to my voice … as you continue to breathe in and out … drifting deeper … and deeper … down … and down … into a deep and pleasant trance.
You are now in such a deep hypnotic trance … that your mind and your body feel calm and peaceful … And now I am going to help you to feel even more relaxed … In order to do this I am going to count ONE to FIVE … When I reach the count of FIVE … at the count of FIVE … you will be resting in a deep … deep … very deep trance.
ONE. Just let yourself go … just let yourself relax.
TWO. Not doing anything … not trying anything … just letting go … no efforts … effortless.
THREE. Becoming heavier and heavier … or lighter and lighter … sinking deeper and deeper into a deep trance.
FOUR. At the same time feeling detached … very, very detached … your whole body feeling completely detached … drifting into a deeper and deeper trance.
FIVE. Letting yourself drift into a deeper and deeper trance … drifting deeper and deeper all the time as you continue to listen to my voice.
Note. Copyright © 2010, Assen Alladin, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
(p. s-15) Balance and Harmony Induction
The following script was provided by Joseph Barber. It consists of a brief induction followed by suggestions for general well-being and perceived health. As such, it could be used either as an induction prior to providing other suggestions, or could be presented as is, without any additional suggestions. Patients given a recording of this script could listen to it when they wanted to practice hypnosis with an audio recording on a day that they had relatively little time.
This is a time for you once again to rest back and allow yourself real comfort. So, allow yourself to do whatever is necessary, whatever adjustments you need to make to really be at rest … let yourself do that. And as I continue to talk to you … feel free to make whatever physical adjustments, or mental adjustments, that will help you feel more easily at peace. As you rest back, with your eyelids closed, pay attention to your breathing. Notice … what you feel each time you breathe. Notice when you breathe in, the sensations around your chest. Feel those muscles that extend, in order to make room for your chest to expand and to take air in. And notice the sensations of other muscles that have to contract in order to let these muscles extend. And when you breathe out, notice that feeling, as those muscles which had extended, now relax. Those muscles that had contracted, now relax. Notice as you breathe in you might feel the movement of your skin beneath your clothing. Notice that as you breathe in, the air is cool and warm as you breathe out. There are so many sensations that you might feel with every breath you take. Let yourself really become absorbed by this experience … letting the sound of my voice simply recede into the background of your consciousness … so that you are free in the foreground of your consciousness to really pay attention to your breathing.
And as you breathe … and as you pay more and more attention to the sensations of breathing … I want once again to invite you to imagine that each time you breathe in, you are breathing actual molecules of comfort. Breathing them deep into your lungs. And letting them … naturally … be carried all through your body. So that very soon, every cell in your body can be touched by a molecule of comfort. Every time you breathe in … imagine breathing comfort in. And each time that you breathe out, imagine that you are breathing away tension, or stress, or discomfort, or fatigue, or worry … imagine each time you breathe out that you are breathing away those feelings (p. s-16) you really don't want to have, and certainly don't need to have. Comfort in. Tension out. Comfort in. Tension out … with every breath you take. And as we continue, and as you allow yourself to become more and ever more deeply absorbed … you may have already begun to notice again that the sounds around you, all the sounds you can hear … near sounds … and far sounds … and high sounds … and low sounds … all the sounds you can hear, are sounds that can become more and more a part of your experience of comfort and well-being, with nothing to bother you and nothing to disturb you.
So that, actually, as you continue, every sensation you can feel, every feeling you can notice, can become more and more a part of your experience of comfort and well-being, with nothing to bother you and nothing to disturb you. And as you allow yourself to become more and ever more deeply absorbed by the experience of your imagination … it is just so natural and inevitable that your nervous system begins once again to feel recalibrated, for there to be a rebalancing of energy within you.
Balance, harmony, peace of mind. Balance, harmony, peace of mind. Over and over again. Weaving deeply within your unconscious mind. This tapestry of peace and harmony and balance … That's right. Just … peaceful. Comfortable. So that in a while, when you feel ready to end this experience, you can be very pleasantly surprised. Even though you've experienced it before. Each time can be a renewal … of discovery, of surprise … That you can so naturally … feel … such a sense of recovery of your health, and energy, and wellbeing … with nothing to bother you, and nothing to disturb you … for as long as you need. And when you need to waken, you just find that you do so … easily and naturally.
Note. Copyright © 2010, Joseph Barber, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
(p. s-17) Active-alert Induction
The induction script below was provided by Antonio Capafons and takes advantage of the fact that people are able to experience the benefits of hypnosis even while remaining active and alert (Cardeña, Capafons, & Bayot, 1998). Such an induction may be particularly helpful for patients with chronic pain who want to use their hypnotic skills for managing pain symptoms while being very active-for example, during physical therapy or participating in an exercise program, especially if the patient is depressed. Before providing this induction, the clinician should let the patient know that the induction is designed to give him or her more energy, in order to avoid the possibility that the patient may experience the activating experience as cues for a panic attack. Something like, “With this induction, you will feel like you have felt when you experience a very pleasant surprise; for example, when your favorite team wins a game.”
Now, concentrate on your right hand. Start moving it up and down from the wrist, while you rest your arm on the arm of the chair. Keep moving the hand up and down without stopping … You will notice soon that the movement becomes more and more automatic and that the hand will start moving on its own, automatically … Your muscles will not get tired but the opposite, they will become more and more activated … Notice how the movement becomes more and more automatic, as if the hand had a mind of its own … The hand is becoming more and more active, more and more, as you notice that the arm feels also pleasantly tense and activated … Your heart is pumping more and more blood to move the muscles … and you can notice how your heart rate is increasing slightly, in a similar way as when you are impatient or somewhat excited … Your heartbeat is speeding up, and your breathing starts to speed up more and more … You are breathing more and more rapidly but with a nice rhythm … It is a fast but pleasant rhythm. And you start noticing that you are more and more hypnotized, activated and hypnotized … Your mind is working more and more rapidly, expanding … You can now stop the movements in your hand, but your breathing remains rapid and you are becoming more and more hypnotized … very hypnotized. All your body is becoming more and more active-The blood coming from your hand is spreading throughout all the veins and arteries of your body, taking along a sensation of energy, expansion, and activation, similar to when you are alert, waiting for an event, a pleasant event, to happen … and you are feeling even more hypnotized. Your legs are more active and they have a tendency to move, your chest (p. s-18) and head are also more active and feel like moving … You now feel the need to get up from the armchair and walk, calmly and at your pace, to the door of the room. [The person gets up and walks.] As you walk, you feel yourself more hypnotized, alert, with an activated and receptive consciousness … Your mind is prepared, activated and very, very expanded, increasingly clear and expanded … Your mind is hypnotized and ready to work quickly and effectively.
[After the exercises, the person can be re-oriented using the following script:]
Now concentrate on my voice, and as you do so, your heartbeat starts to gradually slow down, your breathing also becomes slower, both to a comfortable level … As your heartbeat and breathing slow down, you start coming out of hypnosis, less activated physically and less expanded mentally. In a moment, I will count to 3. When I reach 3, you will have come out of hypnosis, you will feel calm, your muscles will be relaxed, and you will have an active mind … You will sense the urge to be active, but in a serene and peaceful way. One. Your muscles are less activated, and your breathing is slowing down. Two. You are coming out of hypnosis, your mind is active but less expanded. Three. You are out of hypnosis but remain active and relaxed, with an urge to do things. That's it, very well. How are you feeling?
[It may also be useful to perform a quick re-induction and suggest that the patient will be able to use a cue for future sessions or in his or her day-today life. In this case, the patient can be told, before the last count, the following:]
To save time before the next sessions, and when you want to experience active-alert hypnosis in your life between sessions, I am going to suggest a cue you can use to be able to enter that state of active-alert hypnosis in a few seconds. Now listen carefully: Each time that you touch the thumb of your right hand to the middle finger of your hand and tell yourself that you will “go into an active and alert mental state,” you will enter an active-alert mental state, and be able to maintain this for as long as you wish it. Remember that every time you touch your thumb to your middle finger, and as long as you wish it, you will achieve this same efficient and active mental state.
(p. s-19) Note. Translated into English and adapted by Ma Elena Mendoza from Capafons, A. (1998). Hipnosis clínica: una visión cognitivocomportamental (Clinical hypnosis: A cognitive-behavioral perspective). Papeles del Psicólogo, 69, 71-88. Copyright © 2010. Antonio Capafons, Ph.D. Reproduced with permission.
(p. s-20) Rapid Self-Hypnosis Induction
The following hypnotic induction, developed by Antonio Capafons (Capafons, 1998), provides the client with a method for inducing self-hypnosis very quickly (in about 20 seconds) while being able to keep his or her eyes open. Thus, it represents an excellent method for helping patients incorporate hypnosis into their daily life.
There are many ways to induce hypnosis very rapidly, in a matter of seconds. Today, I will teach you a hand-clasping and relaxing backwards strategy. First I will teach you the hand-clasping part, then the relaxing backwards part. Then we will put them together. Are you ready?
[The clinician clasps his or her hands without interlacing the fingers and without pressing them against each other.] Clasping my hands like this is useful so that I won't get hurt if I wear rings or jewelry. [The clinician then takes a deep breath and during the exhalation lightly presses each hand against the other.] Pay attention. It is very important to exert just a light pressure as you very slowly exhale. It is not appropriate to exhale quickly or to use much pressure. It is not a matter of using a lot of pressure, but only enough to notice later on the sensation of heaviness in the arms. Making your arms feel tired in this exercise, it will be easier later on to notice their heaviness. Slow breathing will help you notice general sensations of heaviness and relaxation. Now, I am going to repeat the exercise twice, without relaxing the hands as I inhale. [The clinician demonstrates.] Okay. Now you do the exercise. [The patient does the exercise, as the therapist helps and corrects as necessary. It may be useful to be very clear with patients that with each exhalation they should lightly press each hand against the other, so that by the third exhalation there is a level of pressure that is mild but strong enough to notice heaviness in the arms and hands when they are suddenly dropped on the legs.]
[Sometimes, patients will exhale too rapidly. If the patient finds it difficult to exhale slowly, you can ask him or her to imagine a candle 3 inches away from the mouth. As the patient exhales, the flame must move but not go out. That is how softly the exhalation should be. You can use a real flame if necessary to illustrate this.] Very good, you are learning very fast. This is a good sign that you can use this method successfully. Now we are proceeding to the next step, relaxing backwards.
(p. s-21) I am now reclining into the sofa so that I will be comfortable. This is the position that I will be in when I let myself relax backwards. Next I will lean forward, separating my back from the back of the sofa about one inch. Then, I will let myself relax backwards, in a similar way as what I would do if I were sitting upright and I wanted to be more comfortable. [The clinician lets him/herself relax two or three times.] When I do this, I notice a sense of muscle relaxation (by being more comfortable) and of momentary paralysis.
This light paralysis is a natural reaction. This is not a hypnotic reaction but a biological response. Now you should repeat this exercise. You will see that it is not difficult or uncomfortable, but you should practice so that you can end up in a comfortable position and in such a subtle way that no one will notice anything. [The patient repeats the exercise a number of times.] All right, now we are going to link both steps. Afterwards, I will give you some suggestions so that you can focus on sensations of heaviness and light paralysis.
[Now the clinician models this entire exercise, separating from the back of the chair, shaking the hands and inhaling. At the moment of exhalation, the clinician lightly presses his or her hands against each other and exhales slowly. He or she repeats this twice more, slowly building pressure between the hands with each inhalation. When the therapist has finished pressing the hands together with the last exhalation, he or she abruptly lets the hands fall on the legs and relaxes back on the back of the chair, while explaining to the client what is happening.]
[Next, the clinician asks the client to do the same, assisting and correcting the client in a kind and encouraging way, while explaining what reactions should be occurring.] As you may have noticed, the hands are very heavy, actually all of your body is heavier and you notice that you are lightly relaxed. [Note: The clinician can alter the suggestion from heaviness to lightness, if the patient feels lightness in the arms.]
Now you will repeat the sequence you just learned, and when you have relaxed backwards, I will offer the suggestion to feel your hands more and more glued to your legs. When it becomes very difficult to separate the hands from the legs, or you feel so heavy and relaxed that you feel too lazy to try to separate them, you will have activated your mind and your brain, and you will be able to produce some (p. s-22) enriching and useful responses to your problem. Remember that at any point you can interrupt those reactions. What matters here is that you may be able to use them so that you can self-administer the therapeutic suggestions wherever and whenever you want. Is that all right?
Now, close the eyes, if you wish, and focus on your hands. One or both of them will feel heavier and heavier, glued to the legs … [using a slow and rhythmic voice], heavier and heavier, as if they were fused to the legs. To help you achieve that, and if you so wish, you can use images of a soft rope that binds your hands to your legs. If you notice these reactions, you will notice that in a moment it will be very difficult to lift the hands, and they feel even more glued to the legs. You know that, if you wish, you can lift your hands at any point, but if you put your mind in action, if you let your brain be sufficiently activated, you will notice that you cannot separate your hands from the legs. Furthermore, the more you try to separate them, the more difficult it will be to lift them. Try it and you will notice how difficult it is to detach the hands from the legs [the patient tries to do it and cannot or it is very difficult]. Very well, excellent, I notice that you are able to control your mind so that it can follow your instructions. Now, focus on your hands. They will feel lighter, and will recover their usual sensation … you can separate them now. I will now count to three and you will come out of self-hypnosis, you will open the eyes [if the patient closed them] and your mind will be active, clear, with a desire to work on the problem, calm and relaxed. All right, 1…, 2…, and 3. How are you feeling?
With some practice you will be able to feel activated and self-hypnotized by only paying attention to your arm, which was so [heavy/ light] and feel it again as [heavy/light], “different” or dissociated. It will take only a couple of seconds, and your brain will be able to evoke the reactions you need to feel better at any time of the day, even with your eyes wide open or while doing some activity.
Note. Copyright © 2010, Antonio Capafons, reproduced with permission.
(p. s-23) Suggestions for Pain and Symptom Management
The following three suggestions for pain reduction and pain-related stress reduction were provided by Basil Finer, an anesthesiologist from Sweden who has been working in the field for over 50 years. They could easily be incorporated into a session in patients for whom decreased pain intensity is a treatment goal.
Magical Ointment for Analgesia
Now you can imagine a magical ointment … which contains substances which calm down … and then reduce … and then completely remove … anxiety … stress … pain … and other symptoms. The ointment can change discomfort … to comfort … and then … to pleasure … First you rub the ointment … onto your skin … all over your body … remember that your skin … is the largest organ in your body … so you create comfort … and pleasure … all over your body … Then the ointment moves … through your skin … to the inside of your body … to your muscles and tendons … to your joints and ligaments … to your bones … (you can recall all these structures from the body maps at your physiotherapist's office) … then to your blood vessels and nerves … then the ointment can wander over to your brain and spinal cord … it stabilizes them … they function better … using less energy … and you feel calmer … stronger … more secure in yourself … and, at the same time, … happier … you have a better defense … against … anxiety … stress … pain … and other withdrawal symptoms … the tougher symptoms are transformed and softer … for example, warmth or coolness … pressure … or a tingling sensation … which are much easier … to handle … you have a better concentration … a better memory … you feel more alive … in the day … and you sleep better … at night … the ointment continues to wander … to your heart … and lungs … your immune defenses are stronger … you have a better protection … against infections … to your stomach … and to your intestines … so that your medicines … give fewer … and milder … side effects … to your other internal organs … your liver … your spleen … your pancreas … your kidneys … your ureters and urinary bladder … your urethra and sexual organs … so that they can repair … much of the damage … that they have suffered … from your uncontrolled symptoms …; the ointment is also always available … to calm down … (p. s-24) and then reduce … and then completely remove … your symptoms … continuously … automatically … and reliably …
Note. Copyright © 2010, Basil Finer, M.D., reproduced with permission.
Magical Fluid for General Symptom Management
You can imagine a magical fluid, which contains substances which can calm down … diminish … and abolish … anxiety … stress … pain … and other withdrawal symptoms …; the fluid exists as drops … for the eyes … and for the ears …; as spray … for the nose … for the throat … for the vocal cords … for the trachea … for the bronchi and lungs …; as drink … for the esophagus … for the stomach … for the intestines …; as instillation … for the urinary … and for the reproductive … organs … the fluid is also always available to calm down … and then reduce … and then remove … your symptoms … continuously … automatically … and reliably …
Note. Copyright © 2010, Basil Finer, M.D., reproduced with permission.
Magical Sponges for Symptom (and Thought) Management
You can imagine two large, magical sponges … one close to your head … and a larger one … close to the rest of your body … The sponges can absorb … inner disturbances … in both your body … and in your mind … so that you feel … calmer … and more comfortable … in both your body … and in your mind … When the sponges are full … you can squeeze them empty … wash away the contents … which run down the drain … and disappear … and then you can use the sponges again … The sponges can absorb negative and destructive thoughts … and replace them with more positive … and constructive … thoughts … absorb negative and destructive feelings … and replace them with more positive … and constructive … feelings … absorb negative and destructive sensations … and replace them with more positive … and constructive … sensations … absorb negative and destructive experiences … and replace them with more positive … and constructive … experiences … absorb (p. s-25) negative and destructive memories … and dreams … and replace them with more positive … and constructive memories … and dreams … absorb negative and destructive behaviors … and movements … and replace them with more positive … and constructive behaviors … and movements … absorb negative and destructive anxiety … and worry … stress … and tension … aches … and pains … and replace them with more positive … and constructive … body happiness … and life happiness … absorb negative and destructive feelings of hopelessness … helplessness … rootlessness … and restlessness … and replace them with positive and constructive feelings of power … and strength … in yourself … in your thoughts … in your emotions … in your actions … absorb negative and destructive feelings of impotence … and despair … and replace them with positive and constructive feelings of your own inner communication … and control … The sponges are always available … working continuously … automatically … and reliably …
Note. Copyright © 2010, Basil Finer, M.D., reproduced with permission.
The following four suggestions-two for headache pain-were provided by David Patterson, an expert in the use of hypnosis for pain management and one of the preeminent researchers on this topic. The headache scripts incorporate suggestions for relaxation, given the research demonstrating that both hypnosis and relaxation training treatments have proven (and similar) efficacy for treating headache. The third script is one that Dr. Patterson has developed for use with patients with fibromyalgia. It focuses on hypnotic pain relief as a skill that the patient learns and practices over time. The final script provided by Dr. Patterson could be helpful for virtually any patient with chronic pain. It includes suggestions for “acceptance” (giving up the struggle against) pain, which often paradoxically leads to decreases in the intensity of felt pain.
(p. s-26) Suggestions for Patients Experiencing a Headache During the Session
As you continue to become more and more relaxed, we are going to talk about how your mind works. Isn't it interesting to realize that your mind can work on a number of levels all at once? For example, even though one part of your mind might be listening to my voice, another part might be drifting from one thought to another. And you may find one part of your mind drifting off to a wonderful place while you still hear the sounds of my voice. That wonderful place can be anywhere. An extremely relaxing place, anywhere you'd like. It might be the beach, it might be in the forest, or maybe it's even at home. It doesn't really matter where it is, as long as it is a place that you find to be profoundly relaxing. And isn't it interesting that even though one part of your mind can clearly see this relaxing place, another part of your mind continues to hear my voice. Maybe at times, my voice almost seems like it is coming from a distance. Yes, your mind is a remarkable thing that can do many things at once. Part of it can listen to my voice, another part can relax in this special place and still there is yet another part of your mind that is an amazing friend to you. It is the part of your mind that allows you to breathe without thinking about it. It is the part of your mind that allows your heart to beat. It is also the part of your mind that can come out when you call upon it and do wonderful things for you. It is that part of your mind that is starting to become more and more aware.
And as we talk to that special part of your mind, we call upon it to make you even more comfortable. You may have noticed that your headache has largely gone away as you have become more and more relaxed. For what is left of your headache, I would like that special part of your mind to observe it. As you have long learned, you cannot force your headache to go away and so right now, all your mind is going to do is observe it and see what happens to it. As you observe your headache, perhaps you can notice what color it is. Does it stay the same color, or does it change? Also notice how large it is. What is the shape of your headache? How much water would it hold right now? Notice if the size and shape of the headache changes. What is the color now?
(p. s-27) In the meantime, just allow your mind to become more and more relaxed. It is important to remember something: nothing can stay the same in your mind, or for that matter, anywhere. Any thoughts, feelings, or perceptions that you have will never last for too long. When you allow the special part of your mind to become more present, you begin to learn that if you simply stop fighting things, you will notice they change themselves. Nothing remains in its present form. If we watch long enough, we begin to realize that nothing can stay the same.
Note. Copyright © 2010, David R. Patterson, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
(p. s-28) Suggestions for Patients with Headache Not Experiencing Pain During the Session
Yes, your mind is a powerful and remarkable thing, and I wonder how it will serve you in the future if and when you have a headache. First of all, as you know, headaches almost never appear out of nowhere. I am curious about how those subtle warning signs, those things that you notice before your headache begins, will become automatic cues. Whenever you feel your headache aura from now on, it will become a signal for your body, a signal for you to become automatically and deeply relaxed. Quickly and effortlessly, more relaxed even then you are feeling now.
But if a headache does appear, I wonder what your mind will do to serve you? From now on, you might be curious that you simply begin to observe your headache. It might be a matter of realizing deep down inside that no thought, feeling, or perception can remain for too long, and so that special part of your mind begins to simply notice what is going on, only now with the deep understanding that it can only last for so long.
And how long will it last? What may happen is that you become confused about how long it lasted. Because while one part of you has been experiencing a headache, another part of you has gone somewhere else. It is not a question of whether the headache has been there or not, but what has happened to the rest of you. It is part of our wiring to be able to take something out of the front of our minds and put it into the background. So wouldn't it be interesting if you just begin to notice that you become so totally absorbed in what you are doing that the headache falls gently into the background. Just as you don't think about the fact that you are breathing or that your heart is beating, you don't think about having a headache. And looking back, it seems like the time it has lasted is different. You even struggle with trying to remember how long it did last.
I wonder what your mind will focus on instead? It may be that your mind wanders off to a time in your childhood when you were carefree and joyful, with no other feelings, and you find that sensation coming to the present. Or perhaps it wanders to the future, an image of yourself floating effortlessly and comfortably through life. I don't (p. s-29) know what you will focus on instead. Perhaps a sense of cool numbing, turning off and on switches, maybe even watching yourself from afar with wonderment.
Yes, the mind is indeed a powerful and wonderful friend. We never know how it will serve us in the future, only that by opening ourselves up to our own resources, we can experience astonishing transformation.
Note. Copyright © 2010, David R. Patterson, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
(p. s-30) Suggestions for Patients with Pain Associated with a Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia
Right now, looking in front of you, you see a door with a bright gold doorknob in front of you. You walk up to the door, put your hand on the knob, turn it and pull open the door. You step into the room and close the door behind you. When you shut the door, you also shut out anything that is negative.
This is a very special room for a number of reasons. First of all, when in the room, you feel remarkably safe and comfortable. Second, you find yourself open to anything in here, as long as the ideas will benefit you. Finally, the room can change every time you are in it to whatever is useful to you at the moment. Your room can be inside or outside, however you experience it is fine. Just notice what you see, what you hear, what you smell.
As you remain in your room comfortably sitting or lying down, you find that you are drifting to an even deeper state of relaxation. Deeper and deeper … effortlessly and automatically. Not a care in the world, nothing to do. You don't think about anything. You find yourself pleasantly drifting, floating and not sure of what is happening, only noticing that it feels right. And you find yourself more and more open to new ideas.
As your pleasant drifting continues, easily and effortlessly, you become aware of a sense of presence in your mind. Maybe it is a voice, maybe it's an image, perhaps just a presence. It doesn't matter, as long as you realize that it is a powerful resource deep within you. An advisor, a teacher, a source of wisdom. Whatever it is, it has a powerful impact on your ability to feel better.
Your mind is a powerful resource, and it can serve you in a variety of different ways. I wonder how you will find it makes you feel more comfortable. It may be that when it is important, you feel your body is filled with a soothing blue liquid. When that liquid comes in contact with an area of discomfort, it might become cool, it might become warm, or it might have a numbing effect. I am not sure what will happen; only that you will become more comfortable. Or it may be as if you have some sort of dial on your body and you can use it to turn up or down sensations. Just turning the dial can result (p. s-31) in remarkable changes in the sensations in your body. Perhaps you just find that you are not thinking about your comfort level any longer … that you find yourself so engaged in life that everything else seems to move into the background. I don't know how your mind will serve you today, it may be in some other way altogether, I only know that you will be surprisingly more comfortable and relaxed.
Yes, your mind can serve you in a number of unusual ways. It may be that you find that you can move with an unusual amount of fluidity. And with the ease of movement comes a pleasant new energy and desire to move. Exercise comes easily and effortlessly and as it does, you feel better and better. Again, I don't know what form it will take or how it will happen, only that you will feel surprisingly more comfortable.
I wonder what lessons that special part of your mind will give you today. One might be to take care of yourself. Understanding at a deep level that, when it comes to your health, it becomes essential to focus on your own needs in order to help others. That spending time on those areas that will make you more healthy is really a way to support others. Your body knows when you are letting it go. Listen to your body's messages to take care of yourself. Your body knows … and you find at a very deep level that you will start doing those things that come with taking care of yourself. I don't know what you will do, and part of you may not know either. Yet, your body knows, and won't it be interesting to see how you start taking better care of yourself?
And won't it also be nice to notice that you are far less bothered by things? That you seem to develop the wisdom to distinguish what you can and cannot change. You find yourself effortlessly moving through the challenges of every day, much like a plastic ball floating down a rocky stream … effortlessly moving in and out of obstacles. Good and bad things happen to us every day, that will never change. But what can change is the degree to which we are bothered by things. Watching stuff happen with a detached bemusement rather than worrying about it. Yes, the special part of your mind is a powerful resource indeed.
(p. s-32) I don't know how your mind will start serving you at a very deep level. Only that it will be an unfolding process touching many areas of your life. A sense of more comfort and that any stress or discomfort is always transient. An increasing urge to take care of yourself, an ability to feel deeply connected with your own body as well as the lives of your loved ones. All happening effortlessly and automatically.
Note. Copyright © 2010, David R. Patterson, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
(p. s-33) Acceptance and Mindfulness Focus for General Chronic Pain
As you remain deeply relaxed, I want to talk to you about how our minds work. We all have a part of our brain that constantly monitors our world. Often this might show up for you as a constant voice in your head, reminding you what you must do today, thinking about what is going on around you, wondering what will happen next. Underneath this constant monitoring, we have different parts of our brain that are working without our even realizing it. Certainly, we can drive a car while our mind is wandering and when we are not really thinking about it. So wouldn't it be interesting to find that one part of you might be listening to my voice and another part of you is finding itself in a wonderful relaxing place. Perhaps the beach or the forest, or even a comfortable place at home. It really doesn't matter. Still, while that part of your mind is in that relaxing place, there is yet another part of your mind that is also aware and working for your benefit. Indeed, while one part of your mind is listening to my voice, and another part might be going to that relaxing place, there is yet another part of your mind that is taking this all in and comfortable watching from a distance. A powerful wise advisor deep within you, observing this all happening and also knowing what it will take to allow yourself to become more comfortable.
So as you continue to become more deeply relaxed and comfortable … breathing slowly and comfortably now … there is an automatic increased awareness of a special part of your mind that can serve you in a variety of ways. This part of you seems to experience things effortlessly, easily and automatically. This part of your mind also seems to have a profound wisdom about what is good for you … what is best for you. For example, this special part of your mind allows you to understand that pain and suffering are always transient. Nothing ever remains the same. When you are in pain, this part of your mind will be able to observe the pain and allow you to realize that there is part of you that is larger than the pain. This part of your mind can observe the pain from within. Not change the pain … not do anything to it … just watch it with a detached awareness.
And as you remain relaxed, aware and increasingly in touch with this special part of your mind, you increasingly become aware that you cannot force your pain to do anything. You can only observe (p. s-34) your pain and see what happens to it. Because just as you cannot force your pain to do anything, you become aware that no pain sensation can remain exactly the same. In fact, no thought, feeling, or sensation that we have in our bodies can remain the same for too long … or for that matter, even for an instant. Everything is constantly changing, sometimes only slightly … and sometimes profoundly, and that includes the feelings in your body.
So as you simply observe your pain, from a distance, as a part of yourself, you notice that it cannot stay the same. It might change in intensity, shape, color, or length of time, but it does change. Further, your thoughts and feelings about the pain also cannot remain the same. Not only will the pain itself change with time, so will your thoughts and feelings about it.
Interestingly, when you simply observe your pain and stop trying to make it go away much of the struggle goes away … and more often than not, it is not the pain that bothers you but the struggle of trying to make it go away. Just watching it, not fighting it is so much easier. And once you give up the struggle, gradually, you might find a number of pleasant changes in your pain or your thoughts about it. It may be that your pain moves into the back of your mind and that other things simply become more important. It may be that you simply forget about the pain; that the amount of time you have experienced discomfort dramatically shifts and you look back in time and have difficulty remembering exactly when it bothered you. Or perhaps your mind begins to focus on an image of you in the future; a time during which you are comfortable and active, without a care in the world. I don't know exactly what will happen, I only know that once you simply observe things and stop trying to change them you will be more comfortable than you could have ever imagined, because you will no longer have the struggle to deal with.
And finally, with that deep level of acceptance, simply observing, letting go of the struggle and letting things be as they are, that special part of your mind can allow a number of profound changes that serve you at a deeper level … not knowing how or why but just finding yourself moving so much easier and better. Finding ways to exercise in ways that are safe and beneficial to you, and being amazed at how easily it comes. Also, at a deep level, doing what it takes to take (p. s-35) care of yourself … and having that unfold in a profound manner over time.
Note. Copyright © 2010, David R. Patterson, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
(p. s-36) Migraine Headache Management
The script below, provided by Assen Alladin, includes suggestions useful for patients with migraine headaches that target the three main components of migraine: (1) physiological changes (usually blood vessel dilation); (2) the subjective experience of pain (aching, distress, fatigue, etc.); and (3) the unadaptive behaviors motivated by the pain (e.g., pill taking, withdrawal from family and social activities, absence from work).
You have now become so deeply relaxed and you are in such a deep trance that your mind and your body feel so relaxed, so comfortable, that you can let yourself go completely. You begin to feel a sensation of peace and tranquility, relaxation and calm flowing all over your mind and body, giving you such a pleasant, and such a soothing sensation all over your mind and your body, that you begin to feel all the tension, all the pressure easing away from your head. As you become more and more relaxed, you begin to feel all the tension, all the pressure, all the discomfort easing away from your head. Soon you will feel so relaxed and so calm that your head will feel clear and comfortable.
You have now become so deeply relaxed and you are in such a deep trance, that your mind has become so powerful, so sensitive to my suggestions that you will be able to feel, imagine and experience everything I ask you to imagine, feel and experience. Now I want you to imagine yourself sitting in front of a bucket full of warm water. You know the water is warm because you can see the steam rising up.
Become aware of the warm water surrounding your hand, dipped in the warm water. You feel the warmth from the water penetrating your hand and soon you will feel your hand feeling warm. When you experience your hand feeling warm, let me know by nodding your head. As you focus on your hand, you begin to feel the warmth increasing, and soon you will feel a very warm feeling in your hand. You may begin to feel a tingling sensation in your hand [therapist needs to wait until these changes occur, i.e., reported by patient].
Now I want you to take your hand out of the warm water and gently rest it against your forehead. Gently massage your forehead, and as you do that you begin to feel the warmth from your hand spreading over your forehead. As you feel this warmth spreading over your (p. s-37) forehead, you begin to feel your forehead becoming more and more relaxed, more and more comfortable. You will soon begin to feel the warmth spreading inside your head [suggestions repeated until the patient can feel the warmth inside the head]. As the warmth spreads inside your head, you feel your head becoming more and more relaxed, more and more comfortable, drifting into a deeper and deeper hypnotic trance. Soon you will feel so relaxed, so comfortable that your head will feel relaxed and comfortable, and as your head becomes more and more relaxed you feel all the tension, all the pressure, all the discomfort easing away from your head, and soon your head will feel clear and comfortable.
Just continue to experience this warm feeling inside your head. The warm feeling inside your head is due to the fact that the blood circulation inside your head has increased. Imagine the blood flow is increasing inside your head [wait for the affirmative before proceeding further]. Imagine the extra blood flow is bringing in more oxygen and more nutrition to the areas where you need them most. As a result of this extra blood, the tissues, the nerves, the blood vessels will become stronger and healthier, and as a result of this migraine reactions will become less frequent, less severe, until they will disappear completely.
As a result of this treatment, and as a result of you practicing self-hypnosis every day, you will become less preoccupied with yourself, less preoccupied with your migraine, and less preoccupied with what you think other people think about you. As a result of this, every day you will become more and more interested in what you are doing and what is going on around you.
And every day as you learn how to relax and to let go, so that even when you have a headache, you will be able to relax … You will be able to unwind, relax, and let go even when you have a headache. As a result of this, every day you will have more and more confidence controlling your headache, and you will become more and more confident coping with your migraine.
As a result of this treatment, you will also learn to warm your hand easily and quickly … so that when you have a headache you will be able to transfer the warmth to your head and the warmth will replace any discomfort you may have in your head. And also as you imagine the (p. s-38) blood flow increasing inside your head, the nerves, the tissues and the blood vessels inside your head will become stronger and healthier. As a result of this your migraines will become less frequent, less severe, until they will disappear completely.
Note. Copyright © 2010, Assen Alladin, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
(p. s-39) Healing Waters Suggestion
The script below was provided by Arreed Barabasz. It provides a “safe place" suggestion coupled with suggestions for physical comfort and healing produced by “healing waters.”
Now that you are comfortably relaxed and pleasantly hypnotized I want you to know that no matter how deeply hypnotized you may become you can move as need to remain comfortable will always be able to hear me clearly and distinctly. In this pleasant state of hypnosis, it is possible to travel in time and space. Just nod or raise a finger if you can picture yourself on a beautiful tropical island. You are now on that island; a warm breeze is gently blowing. You come upon a large pool of crystal-clear water, heated gently underneath by volcanic rocks so it's just cool enough to be so pleasantly refreshing [use appropriate temperature suggestions of coolness for burn patients]. Do you notice the sun trickling through the palm tree leaves? Can you hear the rustle of the palm tree leaves? [Affirmative responses indicate the patient is experiencing the guided image.] Perhaps you can smell the flowers, plants, and the earth. A perfectly comfortable warm beautiful environment, you can hear the birds and see that in the middle of this beautiful, crystal-clear pool of water there is a large flat rock, and the sun is lighting the large flat rock. It's so inviting, it occurs to you it may be a wonderful place to swim or wade over to and stretch out on that large flat rock, just paddling gently over, experience the pleasant warmth of the tropical sun and the perfect coolness of the water making your skin feel just wonderful. As you make your way to the rock you hear the rushing sound of a waterfall. You look around. Yes, this is the waterfall that feeds the pool of water, and it's crystal clear, and so inviting. Rather than falling asleep on the rock, you instead choose to go to the waterfall and sit underneath the waterfall for a while. There you are, just let the water rush down over your head, neck, and shoulders, massaging your shoulders and neck and back. The rushing water washes away any remaining worries or cares, washing them away, splashing over the top of your head and shoulders and back and just washing them away. A wonderful experience of comfort and bliss, perfect comfort and bliss throughout your body and mind. You let the water free you and freeing is such a pleasant sensation. The areas of discomfort that may remain are melting away little by little, melting away, as (p. s-40) the warm water takes away the sensations and replaces them with pleasant comfortable feelings. Whatever sensation you need to keep will be there for you. The water washes away, rushing water from the falls rushes over you. The effect is growing, growing, in fact the water itself must be full of very special minerals that heal and nourish tissues, right to the inside core, healing and nourishing.
Now, you can stay there under the falls as long as you wish. This is a place that you can go back to whenever you want, simply by thinking of our experience here together. Perhaps just imagining the sound of my voice will be one way to take you there, the thoughts of my voice, or perhaps one of the points of light at the pool may come up and help transport you to this wonderful place of calm, serene, bliss. Where the falls can wash away the worries, the cares, and the unwanted sensations. The water heals, and soothes, nourishing waters filled with special minerals that heal, and bring good calm feelings of bliss, perfect bliss. Any time you like you can make your way back to that wonderful flat rock, enjoy the tropical island sounds and feelings so welcoming, safe and inviting. Here you are able to rest in near-complete comfort, letting the nourishing waters work wonders, healing and restoring you. You can drift into as deep a state of comfort and bliss.
Note. Copyright © 2010, Arreed Barabasz, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
The two suggestions below were written by the author of this guidebook for a currently ongoing pilot study examining the effects of hypnosis for managing the fatigue portion of the pain-fatiguesleep symptom cluster often seen in cancer survivors. The first focuses on an increase in perceived energy, and the second on reframing fatigue as relaxation.
Increased Energy for Fatigue Management
And now … you are sinking even deeper, into a profound level of relaxation. Even deeper than before … Letting yourself sink down … it feels so good just to let go … every muscle, every fiber in your body relaxed … your mind at ease. And as your mind relaxes, it becomes easier and easier to hear my voice, no matter what else is going through your mind, and respond to suggestions for your comfort and well-being. …
(p. s-41) And your mind can understand, that with this level of relaxation, the whole body is resting … resting, recuperating, charging its batteries, so that when you are ready, you will feel more energized, know that you are able to focus your body and mind and feel both relaxed, and also know you have the energy and capacity to do whatever it is that is important for you to do. You will be rested, just like waking up from a deep, restful sleep, with energy and focus.
And that is what you will notice, energy and focus. So easy to accomplish your goals, to decide what is most important for you to do … and do with a sense of inner strength. Not too fast … not too slow. Easy and steady … and it will feel easy, because you be rested and relaxed.
For every day … every day that you give yourself a chance to rest in this way, you can feel more and more energy … be aware of the energy that is in your body … and your mind and body can work together to provide this energy for you. Because you will be taking moments throughout the day to rest and relax as appropriate for you. Building your energy, and your awareness of energy.
And you can picture, in your mind's eye, what you look like as you move through the day as a person with energy. Actually picture yourself doing something you enjoy … and noticing how energetic and strong you look … notice the expression … relaxed, happy, and focused … So full of energy and enthusiasm … Take a moment to enjoy this image … and then become that person, and feel what it is like to feel that relaxed, that focused, and to have such energy.
Note. Copyright © 2010, Mark Jensen, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
Reframing Fatigue as Relaxation
And now … you are sinking even deeper, into a profound level of relaxation. Even deeper than before … Letting yourself sink down … it feels so good just to let go … every muscle, every fiber in your body relaxed … your mind at ease. And as your mind relaxes, it becomes easier and easier to hear my voice, no matter what else is going through your mind, and respond to suggestions for your comfort and well-being …
(p. s-42) And you can remember that the natural state of the body is to feel energized after periods of rest, and to let you know when it is an appropriate time to rest, and then after you rest, to feel energized again. A natural pattern and rhythm … rest … energy … rest … energy. You know this so well … it is how your mind and body has worked since even before you were born … What might be useful to remember … and you may find this very useful indeed … is that you can allow yourself periods of rest when it is appropriate … and then after these periods of rest … you can really experience a sense of energy … a sense of being able to accomplish what it is you want to accomplish … in fact, you have been resting for a number of minutes already today … just now … so that you can know that when you are done with this session, you can wake up and feel rested and energized … Just feel good … And then, when it is time for you take a brief rest, you can allow yourself to do … It need not be a long rest … just enough to let your body and mind pull together the resources to feel energetic again … maybe 5 minutes, maybe even just 1 minute … you can find a comfortable place … take a nice deep breath and hold it … hold it … and let it go … close your eyes and just let your mind and body … rest … and when you wake up … you will feel rested and energized … this is called pacing … only going for as long as is appropriate … and giving yourself brief periods of rest … so that when you are awake … you feel energized … fatigue becomes a thing of the past … you can focus your body and mind … and when you need to feel more energy … just take a nice, brief, rest … it might be twice a day on some days … it might be every hour on other days … only you really know what is best for you … but you can pace yourself with periods of rest followed by periods of feeling so energetic … so that when you are awake, you feel energized, alert, focused … and the periods of rest … when you use them … feel so restful … relaxing … all of the time you feel good … Sometimes relaxed … sometimes energized … as you and your body need … and take a moment now, to picture yourself … sometime in the future … pacing yourself well … resting … and energized … resting … and energized … always feeling good … really picture yourself … and then bring those skills back … and use them, now, and every day … so you can feel awake and full of energy when you wish …
Note. Copyright © 2010, Mark Jensen, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
(p. s-43) Fatigue Management in Cancer Treatment
The following script was provided by Guy Montgomery, a clinical psychologist specializing in treatment of symptoms associated with cancer and cancer treatment, including fatigue (e.g., Montgomery et al., 2009). He and his colleagues have found that a major contributor to fatigue is self-criticism, self-condemnation, and catastrophizing about fatigue. Therefore, the suggestions he uses focus not only on the symptom of fatigue itself, but also on the patients' evaluations of the symptom. Furthermore, because the patients he works with are typically confronted by busy medical, professional, and personal demands on their time, he tends to keep his interventions (including hypnotic suggestions) brief.
You are so comfortable in your special place that nothing will disturb you. There is no tension, no anxiety. Later on, any tiredness won't bother you at all. Later on, if you do experience any tiredness or fatigue, you won't bother yourself. You may find that you are able to accept yourself, tiredness and all, you may recognize that you need time to rest and heal, and you may remember that taking care of yourself is perfectly okay. You don't need to be a superhero, you just need to be you.
You can imagine yourself in your special place. You can let things go, without letting yourself go. Taking care of yourself is an important task; other tasks can wait if you choose to let them. In your special place, you are becoming a better judge of your own body, what your body can handle, what you can do, and what you need.
It so easy, so peaceful in your special place. You might even forget to feel tired. Any tiredness can just wash away, likes waves on a beach. Rolling up and back, bringing a sense of energy, taking away tiredness. You can watch your fatigue drifting away, your fatigue carried out to sea, leaving you feeling healthy and light, easy and peaceful, comfortable and well.
You are so comfortable in your special place that nothing will disturb you. There is no tension, no anxiety. Later on, your fatigue won't bother you at all. You might notice feeling a little bit tired, but it will just be a minor inconvenience … nothing you can't handle. You will be alert and energized, hardly noticing any fatigue or tiredness at all. It is almost like your special place is a source of energy, protecting you, comforting you, so perfect … There will be (p. s-44) no or little fatigue during and after your treatments. Just feeling alert and energetic … peaceful and comfortable … healthy and at ease.
Note. Copyright © 2010, Guy Montgomery, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
(p. s-45) Suggestions for Thought, Attribution, and Mood Management
Thought Stopping and Replacement
The script that follows was provided by Joseph Barber. It uses suggestion to automatize one of the key goals of cognitive therapy: to stop maladaptive (often, catastrophizing) cognitions and to replace them with adaptive and reassuring thoughts and images. This particular script also includes post-hypnotic suggestions that the client can use a cue (taking a deep breath, holding it, and letting it go) after the session to experience again the positive feelings associated with these suggestions.
… Just by using your imagination in ways that are truly helpful and good for you. To have zero tolerance for thoughts that make you anxious or uncomfortable. Any time that you can be aware of a thought or an image that is uncomfortable or unpleasant, banish it from your mind. It has no benefit for you at all. Banish it. Say “Stop!” And turn your mind to something pleasant. Perhaps to memories of swimming … the water so refreshing, your body feeling so free. Any time that an unpleasant, anxious-making thought enters your mind, stop, and turn your attention to something you like. Let that be your reality. To appreciate the freedom of your body as you swim. The strength of your muscles, the strength of your body, the goodness of your health. To enjoy that which you have enjoyed all your life. And to discover even greater levels of enjoyment. As you allow your mind to focus more and more deeply upon your good fortune at being able to go swimming. And how very good it feels to swim. Just as it can also feel very good to rest back in your favorite chair or sofa and to read … and to let the letters you read form words in your mind. Form meaning in your mind. A novel, a poem. Whatever it is that is of interest to you, let that be such a pleasure of your reality. And all the while remembering the power of your mind to influence your level of peace and comfort. And you are always free to choose that which is the more peaceful, more comfortable. You can always choose that which is more peaceful … more comfortable … let that be the reality you focus on.
It has healthful effects for you. To breathe deeply. And to take comfort in as you breathe. And to enjoy learning that you can make a habit of breathing comfort in, breathing tension out. It can become (p. s-46) such a habit that virtually any time you want to feel better you can simply take a deep, satisfying breath, hold it for a moment, and as you let it all the way out … these feelings of comfort and well-being automatically come washing over you, just like water in a hot tub. With nothing to bother you, and nothing to disturb you. Any time you would like to feel more at ease, more peaceful … all you have to do is take a very deep, satisfying breath, hold it for a moment … and then as you let it all the way out, these feelings of comfort and peaceful well-being come washing over you just like water in a hot tub. With nothing to bother you, and nothing to disturb you.
And to know that this is your capacity. Wherever you are. Whatever you are doing. You are free to take a deep, satisfying breath, hold it for a moment, and then as you let it all the way out, you are free to enjoy that natural consequence. That peaceful well-being that washes over you. You do not need to entertain anxiety-producing thoughts. There is no value in doing so. Rather, you can reclaim the happiness of your life by not tolerating those unpleasant thoughts. Banish them from your mind.
Breathe comfort in … breathe tension away. And any time one of those unpleasant thoughts or images comes to you, say “stop.” And turn your attention immediately toward an image or a thought which is a pleasure to you. Which can engage your attention. So that day by day, week by week, you can strengthen and ever strengthen this new habit, of nurturing pleasing thoughts, life-affirming thoughts, and images. So they become more and more automatic to you. As I stop talking, you can continue to allow yourself to wander and drift, as deeply as you like for as long as you need, knowing that when you want to end this experience, you quite naturally find yourself awake, alert, and maybe even ready to be pleasantly surprised. For now, let yourself continue, for as long as you like.
Note. Copyright © 2010, Joseph Barber, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
The two suggestions below were provided by Michael Yapko for helping patients learn to respond to events with a sense of calm confidence. The first script does this by encouraging an ability to break down events into component parts, and experience each part in a new way, and the second by encouraging an acceptance of novel situations that might at first seem threatening.
Calm Confidence: Compartmentalization
You can begin by taking in a few deep relaxing breaths … and as it is starting to become familiar to you now … you can begin to recapture … a sense of … growing quieter … inside … each breath … relaxing you … a little more deeply … enjoying … the simple rhythm … the symmetry of breathing … Each breath in … allows you to take in a deeper level of comfort … and each breath out … letting out … what you really don't need … and so each breath in … allows your body … to grow more comfortable … each breath out … is a soothing release allowing you the comfort … of knowing that this time is for you … this experience is for you … and that you've created this wonderfully free time … to just … provide yourself with some space … space to relax … some room to learn … and grow … from things you hear me say and more importantly … from things you come to realize … and when you have a calming experience like this one … there's a moment-by-moment … flow to your thoughts … a moment-by-moment flow to the way sensations of comfort spread through your mind and body … and at the same time … it isn't all just one unified or one-dimensional experience … it isn't just a relaxation session … although it certainly is that, it's much more … much, much more … because when you get absorbed in an experience like this one … you can appreciate that there are so many different aspects to it … one aspect is the quality of your internal dialogue … what you say to yourself through your thoughts … the ongoing conversation in your mind … the things that you begin to say to yourself that make it easy to focus and relax … there's also the external dialogue … my voice … my words … reassuring you, encouraging you … and there's the external environment … the routine aspects of life that go on around you … whatever those external factors might be … whether it's the sound of the wind in the trees outside … or the distant sounds of traffic … or even just the sound of the stillness of the environment … but all that's outside … and there's the internal environment … the quality of feelings … that you experience as your body relaxes … and your thoughts begin to slow down … and you start to experience the comfortable flow … (p. s-48) of just being with yourself in a way that's … easy … and relaxed … and it's an important realization … that whatever experience … you happen to be in … that there are many different aspects to it … many different components … and each component you focus on … creates a different kind of awareness in you … when you watch a movie … you're not just watching a movie … there are many different aspects to it … certainly the images that flash across the screen, the things happening in the story you watch … but those images … aren't just images … images are triggers … for your emotional reactions … as you react to the things you're watching … so that when you watch a really funny comedy … the humor that leads you to laugh … without effort … the silliness, the absurdity … what exactly makes something funny to you? And it isn't just the images that trigger feelings … there's also the soundtrack … the music, the tone of the words spoken … and the sound effects … that make it abundantly clear … that it's meant to be funny and taken lightly … when you're watching a comedy … or that it's meant to be taken seriously when you're watching a drama … and the music in a movie may superficially seem to just be background … but it's much more than that … it's a catalyst for memories as you remember things from your own experience that may relate to what you're watching … songs that meant something special to you … and if you're watching a movie with someone else … there are the glances that go back and forth between you that keep you connected to each other … that's the social aspect of watching a movie … together … so there are images, sounds, feelings … reactions … memories … it's much, much more than just watching a movie … and what I'm drawing your attention to in a very deliberate way … is that how you view … the life experiences that you go through each day … how you react to them … determines just how connected you feel to them … or how disconnected you feel from them … there are so many different aspects to your life experiences … there's what actually happens … and then there's your interpretation of what happens … the meaning you give … to different experiences … and there are different components to each experience … which aspects you notice and focus on … and which ones you let recede into the background … and isn't it interesting how some people focus on … the question of what's the most effective response to what's happening … and someone else focuses on the question of how it makes them feel … and (p. s-49) someone else wants to focus on the component of … how it creates a choice for them about what to do next … and someone else focuses on the uncertainty of what to do now? … And so it becomes very important, very important … to remind yourself … at any given moment … that you can actually choose … which aspect of something that happens in your life … to focus on … what the best response is for managing it skillfully … which is a different focus than how it makes you feel … what the most empowering way of handling something is … which is different than how it makes you react … and the more that you begin to focus yourself … on regularly asking yourself the focusing question … what's the best response here? What is going to … effectively … empower you … by using your voice to say something clear … instead of silently stewing? … What's going to demonstrate your power to choose … instead of reacting as if you have no choice but to be upset and anxious? … Should you focus inside or should you focus outside? … And much more often than you've ever realized before … the more that you focus outside yourself … with the guiding principle of deciding what works best in answering some person or handling some situation effectively … the better you feel … and if you think about the people who are effective people, even high-powered people … you can watch them do that … you can watch them set aside their reaction … and respond to what would be best to focus on … consider the politicians in a debate … or the CEOs of companies who hold business meetings in front of their stockholders … and someone in the audience will ask a pointed question, a barbed question … and the person with some finesse sidesteps the criticism … that's not the part of the question or comment they respond to … the part they respond to … is the opportunity to provide information … or the opportunity to provide perspective … and so they skillfully sidestep the criticism, even though you can be quite sure that inside the criticism irritates them … but they put the irritation aside … and instead they take the opportunity … to explain and to clarify … because helping someone understand is more important in responding and is a better response than just getting angry … And I can give you a thousand examples … of that same kind of effective responding … a really good parent … whose child has just done something wrong that angers them, or frustrates them, because the child was just so careless … and even though the parent has that initial surge (p. s-50) of anger and wants to lash out at this child … an effective parent recognizes that this is an important opportunity to do some teaching … and how important it is to teach in a way that's loving and patient … Now, not everyone has ideal parents like that … maybe you did, or maybe you didn't … but the point I'm making … is that you can have … a flash of anger … a flash of fear … a flash of doubt … a flash of cynicism, or even pessimism … and what instantly takes hold of you is … the empowering realization that that's not the part of you … that you care to respond from … and so you can set aside the anger, or the fear, or the frustration, and focus yourself intently … on providing … an effective response … one that says what needs to be said … that explains and clarifies what needs to be explained and clarified … what needs to be taught … and demonstrated … and when you grow more comfortable … with breaking situations down into their components … so that you're perfectly clear … that yes, there's an emotional reaction … yes, there's concern … or even fear that you feel … but what's more important … what you keep your intense focus on … is the recognition that there's something more important … than getting caught up in your feelings … The task at hand … matters more … and if you think about every movie you've ever seen where there was a hero … a hero who stayed focused on … the mission … the hero was afraid … you could even see it in their face … anyone could see it … the hero may even have said it out loud … the hero may have even gone through many moments of self-doubt, saying, “I can't do this” … but it was the person's perseverance and tenacity that made them a hero … courage isn't about not feeling fear … courage is about setting it aside and staying focused on achieving the goal … staying focused on … the mission … and when I say “the mission” … that might make it sound much too important … when all you're really trying to do is … teach … a colleague or a friend or a child … or a relative … how you want to be treated … or what you want them to know about something … but many times each day you have an opportunity … to notice in the world around you … what's effective … what works … how people achieve things … that they were motivated to achieve despite the fact they were scared to achieve them … and as you are coming to appreciate … anxiety is only one part of you … it's not what defines you … and it's a part of you that's growing smaller and smaller day by day … as you grow stronger and stronger, more focused, more (p. s-51) oriented towards achieving your objective … in each interaction … in each event … looking for the opportunities … looking for what can go right … striving to get clear about and get across to others what matters to you … and so … being able to appreciate … that every experience has many different components … what you're clearly learning is a way of dividing and conquering … reducing concerns … as you focus on and amplify in your awareness … what you want … That's a much greater source of power … focusing on what you do want … and when it becomes so clear to you that … there are many, many more things to focus on of importance that will happen … so you can get done what you want to get done … I think you'll enjoy discovering … how much calmer and more focused you are … remembering … this … wonderful saying I learned a long time ago, that “obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal” … and so you can be calm … and focused … and aware of the opportunities … to handle situations with skill and purpose … setting aside what's distracting … take some time to quietly absorb … these deep messages … and remind yourself many times throughout the day to focus on … which components of any experience … will best serve your needs … in ways that will continue to strengthen you … and build your confidence … and then when you've had enough time for now … to process all these different ideas and possibilities … you can … comfortably bring this session to a meaningful end at a rate that's gradual and easy … and in a little while when you're ready … you can re-orient yourself completely … bringing back with you that sense of knowing, knowing … and when you're ready, you can re-orient yourself completely, and let your eyes open.
Note. Copyright © 2010, Michael Yapko, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
Acceptance of Novelty and Familiarity
You can begin by taking in a few deep relaxed, comfortable breaths … focusing on your breathing is invariably a good way to start … an easy way to establish a comfortable rhythm with yourself … It's an easy way of focusing … because it's such a familiar, repetitive … and life-affirming process … it's just good to breathe … It's a calming (p. s-52) experience to use your breath as a meaningful metaphor for the rhythms of life … and there are many such rhythms beyond breathing … such as always moving through cycles of novelty and familiarity … something new happens … and then when it happens again it isn't new anymore … it has now become familiar … And so, as you sit quietly listening to this and experiencing this session … there's something new about this experience … but also something quite familiar about this experience … You can experience comfort … and there's something new about this experience … each comfortable experience is different … but also familiar … There can be a new idea that occurs to you … but even a new idea has some familiarity when it joins other new ideas you've had … new ideas that were precedents … And so taking the time to focus yourself in this moment … or the next moment … well, that's a new experience because the next moment hasn't happened yet … and there's always a next moment … but it's a curious thing … to have the familiarity of blending … what's new and what's different … what's expansive … what opens the doors to new possibilities … and what simply reminds you that you already know a lot … and so when I remind you of something you already know … it's so comforting to be reminded … and when I introduce a possibility for something a little different … it's so comforting … to be reminded … that there's more … so much more … that you can experience in your lifetime … and of course you already know that … there's a world of opportunity out there … a phrase people use all the time … a world of opportunity … but what does that mean exactly? … And how does a possibility transform into an achievement? … If you take the time to consider … deeply … how you have already accomplished things of importance … things that when you're feeling good you can acknowledge as important achievements … you can easily remember how you learned the skills you've used … how you've learned things like how to read or write or how to listen to someone with a sense of compassion or how to do any of the many things you've learned to do … but learning is a process, not an event … and it means enduring the uncertainty of not knowing … and when you start to learn something new, anything new … it starts out feeling awkward … you feel self-conscious … clumsy … awkward … and then as you persist … you keep trying … you keep practicing … what started out as awkward … starts to transform into comfortable … (p. s-53) perhaps even masterful … and goes from uncertain to certain … from untried to repetitive … and from novel to familiar … from novel … to familiar … and so your awareness grows … and your acceptance grows … that an awkward self-consciousness is simply a starting point … a stepping stone … on the path to greater skill and confidence … and as you get stronger in your growing ability to set aside concern … set aside the self-conscious awkwardness … and stay focused on the next step toward comfort and even mastery … your confidence builds that you can manage uncertainty … and set aside self-doubt … all the while knowing they are normal reactions to what's new or what seems challenging … and the world of opportunity opens up to someone … like you … who is willing to allow the change from awkward to comfortable … even from uncertain to masterful … and as someone wise once said … “too many people miss opportunities … simply because they come disguised … as hard work” … but you're doing the hard work … you're encouraging yourself to grow … and change … and outgrow old and outdated views of yourself … and you're encouraging yourself to seek out new possibilities … and more and more experiences that you can have that can go from novel to familiar … from awkward to routine … you've noticed, I'm sure, that sometimes people don't take themselves seriously enough … and sometimes people take themselves too seriously … It's easy to overstate our importance … and it's even easier to understate … all that you are and all that you're becoming … and so in structuring a focused and calming experience like this one … there's an invitation I'm extending to you … to review some of the things that you've experienced in the last few months … especially new experiences you've had an occasion … to seek out and how they expand you … and you can review other experiences that you made a point of seeking out because of their comfortable familiarity … the obvious things, like a favorite restaurant or the company of a good friend … a favorite place you like to go … these are obvious reminders about the benefits of a comfortable familiarity … but you know and I know it's so fundamentally human to want to seek novelty … to want to add newness and freshness to your life … sometimes in big ways and sometimes in small ways … and did you know this is a reflection of sophisticated mental process? … because the human mind functions best … when it has a mid-range amount of stimulation … if we get too much (p. s-54) coming at us … too much information … too many demands … we get stressed being on overload … and then all we want to do is slow things down … and get away and relax … and if we get too little stimulation … not enough going on to hold our interest or attention … we get bored … and boredom is a spur to go get some action … how important it is to take action … and seek out enough novelty … to keep your mind focused and sharp … and what an extraordinary gift to give yourself … when you seek out novelty without even realizing you're doing that … the inherent trust in yourself to cope with change and to even thrive in the face of it … To adjust yourself in a meaningful way … to what you haven't faced before … that you've already faced one thousand times … what an extraordinary realization … when you understand what I mean … when I say it's something you haven't faced before … and yet it's something you've faced one thousand times … and that blending of what's new and what's old … what's always been with you and what's seemingly been light years away … and whoever it was that said … that the only thing that's constant is change … had a valuable insight … and that's what we're here living each day … while we're learning … and practicing … and continually developing greater depth … a much greater depth … a depth of understanding … a deeper acceptance … of the very human … complexity … and simplicity … and what it means to learn to define complex problems in simpler, changeable terms … and always walking that … fine line … of how deep is deep enough and how simple is simple enough … And if you were to think of a particular issue … that you know people make more complicated than it needs to be … and look at the ways … people work hard … at overlooking the obvious … well, it's the mirror image of people thinking too superficially … and always wondering … how deep is deep enough … and how deep is too deep … and thinking … and problem solving … and living life … and what you can feel good about … are the great leaps in your own awareness … for what works for you … what you're good at … what you discover about your strengths, your skills … the foundation that you're building on … at this very moment … as you grow more comfortable … and there's a moment, you've had moments like this, a moment of realization, a moment of insight, the “aha!” moment as some people call it … when something suddenly makes sense to you that just didn't make sense before … and (p. s-55) it's not a moment you can force, it's not a moment you can produce at will, but it's a moment you discover … a moment you grasp something … a moment you see something … and it makes a big difference in your life in some way … and I can remember one of my most important “aha!” moments, triggered by something a philosophy professor I once had said … He said that “the true measure of a person's integrity lies in what that person will do when he knows that he won't get caught” … and all of a sudden I realized … that the separation between a personal and professional self was arbitrary … and that the separation … between a public self and a private self was arbitrary … and what a huge moment in my consciousness … and what a powerful template for making good decisions … no matter who is around … or whether anyone's around … and I learned the importance of not just doing good … but being good … in wanting to help make a difference … What was one of your “aha!” moments? … I really don't know … but you do … and you've been able to use such moments from time to time in ways that are solid … and strong … and you can continue to use them in ways that enhance you, empower you … and as you encounter and even seek out new experiences … and as you continue to develop mastery with familiar experiences … your ability to keep moving forward becomes even stronger … and your confidence keeps growing … as you discover that what used to seem so overwhelming … now seems pretty mundane … just another part of life to move through and handle … nothing substantial enough to deter you from living freely … and with the powerful sense that awkwardness is an inevitable first step on the road to mastery … which makes it easy to get comfortable with being uncomfortable … secure with feeling uncertain … and it can feel good to you to grasp this idea … and make it your own … Take some time to do that … and when you feel like you're ready to … you can bring this experience to a comfortable close … and begin the process of re-orienting yourself gradually … and when you're ready to and want to … you can reorient yourself completely … and let your eyes open … and you can enjoy and hold onto … your wonderful sense of calm …
Note. Copyright © 2010, Michael Yapko, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
(p. s-56) Ego-Strengthening and Positive Mood Enhancement Suggestions
The following generic suggestions for ego-strengthening and positive mood enhancement were provided by Assen Alladin. They can be used to encourage and enhance global positive mood in individuals who might benefit from a greater focus on positive affect.
You have now become so deeply relaxed … and you are in such a deep … deep trance … that your mind and your body feel completely relaxed … completely at ease. And you begin to feel a beautiful sensation of peace and relaxation … tranquility and calm … flowing through your mind and body … giving you such a pleasant feeling … such a beautiful sensation … that you feel completely relaxed … completely at ease … Your mind and your body feel completely relaxed … and perfectly at ease … feeling peaceful … calm … comfortable … completely relaxed … totally relaxed … drifting into a deeper and deeper trance as you continue to listen to my voice.
Just continue to enjoy these beautiful feelings … and as you continue to enjoy this feeling of deep relaxation … .I am going to repeat some helpful and positive suggestions to you … and since you are very relaxed and in such a deep hypnotic trance … your mind has become so sensitive … so receptive to what I say … so that every suggestion that I give you … will sink so deeply into the unconscious part of your mind … that they will begin to cause such a lasting impression there … that nothing will eradicate them … these suggestions from within your unconscious mind will help you resolve your difficulties … They will help you with your thinking … that is, they will help you to think more clearly, more objectively, more realistically, and more positively … They will help you with your feelings … that is, they will make you to feel less anxious, less upset, less depressed … They will also help you with your actions and your behaviours … that is, they will help you to do more and more things that are helpful to you, and you will do less and less things that are not helpful to you.
You are now so deeply relaxed, you are in such deep hypnotic trance … that everything that I say that will begin to happen to you … for your own good … will happen more and more frequently … And every feeling that I tell you that you will experience … you will begin experiencing more and more strongly every day as you learn to relax … And the same things will begin to happen to you just as strongly … just as powerfully … when you are at home … or at (p. s-57) work or at school … or in any situation that you may find yourself in.
You are now so deeply relaxed … you are in such a deep hypnotic trance … that you are going to feel physically stronger and fitter in every way. At the end of the session you will feel more alert … more wide awake … more energetic … Every day as you practice and learn to relax … you will become much less easily tired … much less easily fatigued … much less easily discouraged … much less easily upset … and much less easily depressed.
Therefore, every day as you learn to relax … your mind and your body will feel physically stronger and healthier … your nerves will become stronger and steadier … your mind will become calmer and clearer … you will feel more composed … more relaxed … and able to let go … You will begin to develop the tendency to ruminate less … to catastrophize less … therefore, you will become less worried … less anxious and less apprehensive … less easily upset … less easily depressed.
As you become more relaxed, less anxious and less worried every day … you will begin to take more and more interest in whatever you are doing … in whatever is going on around you … that your mind will become completely distracted away from yourself … You will no longer think nearly so much about yourself … you will no longer dwell nearly so much on yourself and your difficulties … and you will become much less conscious of yourself … much less preoccupied with yourself and your difficulties … much less preoccupied with your own feelings … and much less preoccupied with what you think others think of you.
As you become less preoccupied with yourself, less conscious of yourself … you will be able to think more clearly … you will be able to concentrate more easily … You will be able to give your whole undivided attention to whatever you are doing … to the complete exclusion of everything else … Even if some thoughts cross your mind, you will be able to concentrate on the task without being distracted … As a result of this, your memory will begin to improve … so that you begin to see things in their true perspective … without magnifying your difficulties … without ever allowing them to get out of proportion … In other words, from now on … whenever you have a problem, (p. s-58) you will look at it objectively and realistically … and decide what you can and cannot do about it … If you cannot resolve the problem … you will accept it and come to terms with it … But if the problem can be resolved … then you will make a plan … or come up with some strategies to overcome it, however long it may take … Therefore, from now on … whenever you have a problem you will become less emotionally upset and less overwhelmed by it … From now on you will begin to examine your difficulties like a scientist-that is, taking everything into consideration and then coming up with a plan … As a result of this new attitude … you will become emotionally less upset … less anxious … less agitated … and less depressed.
Every day … you will begin to feel all these things happening … more and more rapidly … more and more powerfully … more and more completely … so that … you will feel much happier … much more contented … much more optimistic in every way… And you will gradually become much more able to rely upon … to depend upon yourself … your own efforts … your own judgment … your own opinions … In fact … you will begin to feel much less need … to rely upon … or to depend upon other people.
Now … for the next few moments just let yourself relax completely … and continue to feel this beautiful sensation of peace … and relaxation … tranquility … and calm … flowing through your entire body … giving you such a pleasant … such a soothing sensation … that you feel so good … so at ease … that you feel a sense of well-being.
In a moment … when I count from ONE to SEVEN you will open your eyes … and will be alert … without feeling tired … without feeling drowsy … You will feel much better for this deep and pleasant hypnotic experience … You will feel completely relaxed both mentally and physically … and you will feel confident both in yourself and the future.
Now I am going to count ONE to SEVEN … ONE … TWO … THREE … FOUR … FIVE … SIX … SEVEN … Open your eyes … feeling relaxed, refreshed, and a sense of well-being.
Note. Copyright © 2010, Assen Alladin, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
(p. s-59) Suggestions for Increased Self-Efficacy, Positive Feelings, and Sleep Quality in a Patient with Terminal Disease
The following script, provided by Joseph Barber, is from the transcript of a session for a patient with a terminal disease. It provides an example of multiple suggestions for increasing awareness of positive feelings, including suggestions for recalling pleasant memories, an increased sense of control over one's mood, and improved sleep.
As you rest back, letting your body relax, being as comfortable as you know how to be, pay attention to your breathing. You're resting back, your eyes are closed, you can feel each breath just as you have done before. Pay attention to the feeling of each breath. And as you breathe, remember to breathe comfort in. Every time you breathe, remember to focus your mind on breathing comfort in. Breathe the comfort into your nose, take it down your throat and into your lungs, and let that comfort spread through your body, especially let that comfort spread all through your leg. With every breath you take, breathe comfort in. Let it go all the way in, and all the way down through your leg. Focus your mind now. Breathe comfort in. Comfort in. That's right … comfort in … with every breath you take. Focus your mind on breathing in that comfort. Take it in, and make it a part of your body, make the comfort a part of your mind. Let every breath you take, bring comfort in. Let every breath you take, fill your awareness with comfort.
You are so good at breathing comfort in, and you can really enjoy being able to give yourself comfort … wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whenever you want to feel more comfortable. Just remember, to rest back, and breathe comfort in … breathe it in. Breathe it in. Breathe it in. That's right. Every breath you take, you can breathe comfort in. You take that comfort in through your nose, you breathe it down your throat, and into your lungs, and that comfort automatically beings spreading through your body and especially this comfort spreads down into your leg … through … and around … filling your leg with an increasing sense of comfort, and peacefulness … so that there is just no room for pain. You're filling your leg with comfort. And that comfort can last for longer and longer periods.
And any time you want to feel more comfortable, you remember to breathe comfort in again. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, (p. s-60) anytime … you want to feel more comfortable, breathe comfort in. That's right. And as you breathe the comfort in, and as your leg feels more and more relief, your whole body begins to relax deeper … and deeper. And as your body relaxes deeper and deeper, it's so natural that you feel the kind of pleasant heaviness wherever you are. Whatever you are doing. Your body can become more and more deeply relaxed. Your body can feel heavier … and heavier. That's right. So much more comfortable … so much more relief … with every breath you take.
And at the same time that your body feels so much more comfortable, your mind is able to daydream again, very vividly about those very good times that you remember in your life. Such a pleasure to remember those happy days, the days that you swam in the lake, with your friends, on a warm summer day … diving into the lake, and swimming and feeling that wonderful, refreshing cool water, on a warm, summer day. Remembering other days when you worked hard, and you did good work, and people were grateful to you for the help that you gave them. And other memories too. You remember delicious meals you have enjoyed. You remember that very tasty roast chicken … and those very fluffy, rich, mashed potatoes with gravy. And that nutty, buttery, asparagus. What a special meal you had, and you can remember again how good it is to relive those delicious tastes.
And sometimes, when you feel particularly dry, and you wish that you could have something to drink, you can be very pleasantly surprised by that feeling in your mouth, remembering, for instance, what it is like when you bite into a lemon. Imagine, taking a lemon, a beautiful, bright yellow lemon, and imagine cutting it in half, and you look at the inside and it's so beautiful and so juicy … and now you actually bite into that lemon, and notice what happens … notice how your mouth waters … and it's such a pleasure when your mouth can water in this way … and naturally satisfy what you want, naturally give you relief, from that dryness. It's such an interesting human experience to imagine biting into a sour lemon, and your mouth just automatically waters and gives you relief.
And you might enjoy over the next days and weeks and months, you might enjoy experimenting and learning the various things you can (p. s-61) do with your mind and with your imagination that gives you more and more relief. It's such a pleasure to know that you have some control over your life, some control over your body, some control over your comfort.
Whenever you want to feel more comfortable, all you have to do, is rest back … and begin breathing comfort in. With every breath you take, focus your mind on breathing comfort in. Breathing comfort in. That's right. With every breath you take … indulge yourself in comfort. Give yourself all the comfort you know how. And just stay with that experience. Breathing it in. Breathing it in. Feeling the relief that you are beginning to know so well. That comfort, it's so nice to feel good … it's so nice to feel good.
To be able to stay up all day, to enjoy the companionship of your wife, and at night just sleep so deeply, so restfully. To waken in the morning feeling well. You don't have to wait, you waken in the morning feeling well. And in a few moments I'm going to stop talking, and you can let yourself rest as long as you need. Breathing that comfort in for as long as you want. And then, when you are ready, you'll just find that after a while your eyes open, and you're wide awake, and alert, but your body feels so comfortable. So comfortable. So comfortable.
Note. Copyright © 2010, Joseph Barber, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
(p. s-62) Metaphor for Managing Anxiety Well and for Understanding the Role of Hypnosis in Treatment
The script below, provided by Antonio Capafons, contains a story describing the patient managing and succeeding despite multiple challenges that produce anxiety (Capafons, Alarcón, & Hemmings, 1999). A suggestion such as this might be considered for patients who feel “stuck” because of fear of change. It is useful for helping patients understand how hypnosis works as the adjunct to other medical and psychological treatments. It is also useful for reducing beliefs that hypnosis requires the patient to take a passive role in treatment. Thus, it can help increase the active involvement of the patient in the use of hypnosis for managing the presenting problem.
Now imagine that you are driving a Jeep through the South American jungle. You are traveling through a forest road, among giant trees, close to an equatorial river. You are going to a town where your expedition companions are waiting for you. Going by car it does not take more than an hour, but walking would take you about five. All of a sudden your car stops. You are surprised to find that you are out of gas. The sun is setting and it will be dark soon. You are afraid because you do not have supplies or water. You cannot even start a fire. The jungle is full of dangerous insects and deadly creatures, and you have nothing to defend yourself against them. You look at the additional gas tank, but it is also empty. You try to start the Jeep, but there is no sound. You notice your anxiety [the therapist describes the patient's anxiety reactions]. You become more and more worried. You know that it can be very dangerous to try to walk to the village, and a death sentence to stay by the Jeep. You are tense and confused, and desperately look for something that will get you out of this mess. Suddenly you find a very big machete. This scares you. It seems that the machete is a sharp and dangerous weapon, but you have no option. Reluctantly, you grab the machete. It frightens you but it is the only thing you have to save your life. You try to think what to do. Fear and uncertainty cloud your thoughts. But you suddenly realize that the river is close to the road you are on.
You remember that the town is on the other side of the river. If you could cross it, you should shortly be in a safe place. Then, you decide to go for it. You start walking towards the river, strongly cutting the vines, bushes and shrubs that hinder your way with the machete. You are becoming more and more tired. The hand and arm with which you are holding the machete are increasingly fatigued and (p. s-63) they are starting to hurt. Your feet seem exhausted and your legs seem to bend. You are increasingly tired, you are hungry and thirsty, but you continue clearing the path without pause. Suddenly, from within the trees a giant serpent with long fangs attacks you. You are very scared and can barely avoid it. You know that the serpent wants to devour you. It is coming to you so fast that you can even smell its fetid breath. Just then, with a precise stroke of the machete, you behead it. You feel nauseous when you see the head separated from the body, which is still moving and from which blood is spurting. Nonetheless, you do not give up because you know that you have the machete to help you to continue struggling to reach your objective. You continue marching towards the river with self-assuredness, clearing a path through the jungle. Finally you reach the river's edge but notice with surprise and despair that the river is enormous and turbulent. You also remember that it is full of piranhas that would devour you in a few minutes. You are again overwhelmed by anxiety, fear, confusion, and despair. You are very tired and it is getting darker. But you remember that you still have the machete. You rapidly start to cut some small trees. With them, despite the pain in your hands and the overwhelming fatigue, you build a raft. On it you will be able to cross the river safely and reach the town's port where they are waiting for you and you will be safe. Once the raft is finished you enter the river, armed with an oar which you have built. There are very strong currents and the raft is unstable. Once again you are scared, but you know that you are close to your goal. You can see the lights of the town and even hear some distant voices. You imagine how you will be received when you reach the port. You will feel satisfied, sure of your strength and ability. Your associates, bewildered, will greet you with admiration. And, above all, you will have solved your problem with your own effort and courage. You use the oar strongly, despite the river's rapids and the protruding rocks that could destroy the raft. Finally you reach the port. A number of people are waiting for you, amazed and admiring. You feel satisfied, happy, self-confident. You are no longer afraid. You have reached your objective, through your effort, perseverance, and reasoning, which have allowed you to overcome hopelessness, fear, and confusion. You know that with the machete you have been able to untangle and eliminate the obstacles in your path. You have been able to ward off the attacks of your enemies. You have gotten rid of (p. s-64) what prevented you from reaching your goal, your objective. But you also know that this is not enough. It is not enough to firmly and decisively get rid of the obstacles. You have had to run risks, design and build something new to reach your goal. You have built the raft, a new way of transportation. And you have achieved all this with the help of the machete. It is a frightening instrument, but when you understand it and use it with decision, it can become a peerless instrument to go forward in the path we have traced.
This is like life. We sometimes have to fight, struggle and persevere to attain what we aim for (decrease our fears, improve our habits, etc.), to eliminate hindrances and obstacles, but also to create new ways of life and relationships; to open new options by taking the risk of changing our life or the way we see it. The machete is like hypnosis. It might seem dangerous and scare us. But if we use it with cunning, intelligence, courage, and dexterity it becomes an instrument that can be of great benefit to reach our goals and objectives. The machete is the self-hypnosis. You can use it whenever you wish. But remember, it is a help to overcome your problems. Without your industry, perseverance, effort, courage and creativity, it is of no use whatsoever. Do remember that every time that you are afraid, confused or in despair, you can say the word “machete” to yourself and focus on the arm dissociation. At that moment, you will be able to control your anxiety and give yourself therapeutic suggestions so that, in such a way, you can look for the best solutions to the problems you may be facing.
Note. Copyright ,© Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. Reprinted from Capafons, A., Alarcón, A., & Hemmings, M. (1999). A metaphor for hypnosis. Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 27(2), 158-172.
(p. s-65) Suggestions for Behavior, Activity, and Sleep Management
Increased Strength and Activity
The suggestion below uses a time progression approach to encourage an increase in a specific activity. In the example below, the activity is going on regular walks with his wife, but any reasonable activity could be suggested.
As you settle into this feeling of calm … a sense of detachment from the day-to-day worries … you have arrived at your safe place … It is so beautiful here … I wonder what you will notice that you have not noticed before … I wonder what is new … perhaps you notice that some of the plants have grown a little. Maybe they look a little taller … stronger … healthier … reaching for the sun …
And now you notice that you see someone walking towards you … someone who feels just as home here as you do … a future version of yourself … You observe yourself walking with a sense of purpose … a calm strength and confidence … As the future version of yourself comes into view, I wonder what he is wearing? Maybe some very comfortable clothes … clothes that are easy to move in … And you notice that you are even more relaxed in the future than you are now … You have practiced your relaxation skills, so you walk around with a sense of relaxed calm almost all of the time. And you can see that you are also even stronger than you are now … more fit … And on his face … there's a little smile. He is glad to see you … He is so grateful … thankful to you … because of course the reason he feels so good, so strong, so fit … is because of what you have done and will do to feel better …
And I wonder what that will be? What is it that will allow you to feel stronger and stronger … to be able to do more? To have the strength and energy enough to do what is important to you? … And now, as you allow yourself to float into this future you … to become the future you … you can look at the earlier version of yourself from this perspective … you feel so good, you feel strong …
You have successfully achieved your goal of being able to go on a walk every day with your wife after dinner. And it shows. It shows in how easily and comfortably your are walking … it shows in how confident you look … you made a goal of walking regularly with (p. s-66) your wife … you determined what was needed to achieve this goal … and you set about doing what was necessary.
I don't know how you did it, and I will be very curious to find out, so that I can tell other people in your shoes how they might succeed like you have. Did you set a goal of walking just a little more every day, every week, until you could walk easily and comfortably for an hour at a time? Did you get advice from a physical therapist for leg exercises, and used these to get your legs stronger and stronger? Maybe you ran into speed bumps … most people do. But you just keep on going. And you are keeping going.
And of course, one of the reasons that you look so relaxed and happy is that you are doing something that is truly important to you. You feel close to your wife, and she can enjoy this time with you. It enriches your life. You can keep this goal in your mind … and tell yourself what you need to do to achieve this goal … Go ahead, in your mind, think of what it will take to achieve this goal … [pause]
And when you are ready … allow yourself to drift back into your current you … but you can bring back anything that is or will be useful. Perhaps some advice from the older version of yourself. Perhaps a sense of confidence … perhaps an excitement about what you will be able to achieve.
And coming back to the here and now … at whatever pace is just right for you … bring back what will be most helpful …
Note. Copyright © 2010, Mark Jensen, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
Following the hypnosis session, as is the case with almost all hypnosis sessions, it would be useful to discuss with the patient what he/she experienced. What advice, if any, did the future version of the patient have for him or her? What aspects of that advice does the patient think is useful, and what parts of that advice might he or she decide to heed?
The suggestion that follows was provided by Michael Yapko and is a script from his Calm Down! CD program (reproduced here with permission), available on Dr. Yapko's website (www.yapko.com). The script is intended to be listened to right before the client is planning on going to sleep.
(p. s-67) This particular session … is all about … being able to sleep … Now, being able to sleep … sounds like such a basic … thing to do … that you can wonder why it's even an issue … but as you know … there are times when sleep is elusive … and so it's going to be really valuable for you to deliberately create … the kind of mindset … as well as the physical comfort … that will make it easier than ever for you … to sleep through the night … and wake up refreshed and comfortable … And so we can get this enjoyable process started now … by you … arranging yourself in a comfortable position … my assumption is … that as you listen to this … you're lying in bed … and whether you're at home or you're traveling … whether it's your bed … or some other bed … it doesn't really matter … certainly, it's always nice … to sleep in your own bed … the comfort … the familiarity of it … but it's much, much less about where you are going to sleep … and it's much, much more about … how you focus yourself … how you relax yourself … how you clear your mind … gradually … so take in … all the exquisite details … of where you are right now … because in a very short while … the outside world will be … very distant … and when you notice … that your eyes have closed … and when you notice that … your body is starting to relax … it's so reassuring … just how quickly and efficiently … your body responds to the cues that are so automatic … and so reflexive … it's not as if you have to think about … your breathing slowing down … it's just a well-practiced unconscious response … that naturally occurs … effortlessly … And somehow your body knows … it's time to sleep … maybe just from the sheer fatigue of having had a busy day … spent doing many different things … maybe it's just from how good it feels to be in bed … but whatever … is the catalyst for the growing comfort … soothing … the muscles of your body … there's something pleasurable … about being wonderfully tired … and it might sound a little strange at first … the idea of being wonderfully tired … but when you're lying in bed … and it's time to go to sleep … and you have ahead of you many hours … for the fatigue to work its way out of your body … allowing you to be rested … replenished … rejuvenated … then being so tired is truly wonderful … being tired is an invitation to you … to sleep and to re-energize … It helps to know … that you want to sleep … and that you know you need to sleep … for all kinds of reasons … You're at a point in your life where … you're really paying attention … to your own (p. s-68) well-being … developing personal skills that help you grow … paying attention to your goals and plans … and so you're making a wonderful effort … and there is a … wonderful tiredness … that comes from working hard on such worthwhile goals … thinking … and striving to change things and improve things in your life … you're continually growing … and outgrowing … what's no longer useful … and in that respect, every night you have a chance … to move well beyond … whatever happened today … with the wonderful sense of … anticipation … about all that can … surface … in your day tomorrow … and isn't it interesting … how easy it becomes … to move past today … and to … be someplace so comfortable … that's gone past today … and comes before tomorrow … and there are certain times in life when … being … in just this moment … can be such a powerful … awareness … to be in this moment … only this moment … means your thoughts … your very being … are right here … right now … totally focused … on the immediacy and the inevitability … of sleep … right now in this moment … These few moments before you drift off … into a deep and satisfying sleep … these are the moments … where there is nothing … beyond … simple sensations … very simple … soothing sensations that you notice … in just this moment … such as the feel … of your pillow … the texture … of the sheets you're lying on … the comfort … of the mattress … supporting your body … and cushioning you … the immediate sounds … that are just … the sounds … of sleep being … just moments away … It may just be the … routine night sounds … of the environment … It may be the sounds … of … your own movements … each time you move to make an adjustment … and make yourself even more comfortable … that much more deeply … comfortable … And it's such an interesting thing … when you discover … the gentle thoughts in your mind … the soft images in your mind … dwindling … down, way down, to nearly nothing … What a wondrously soothing experience … to have your mind … gently massaged into a deep sleep … by the simple … flow … of random … and meaningless … bits and pieces of enjoyable fragments of images … that float … randomly … through your awareness … It really doesn't make much sense … on a logical level … to talk about mental bits and pieces … floating around aimlessly … but it's one of the most relaxing things … about thinking about … nothing at all … and to have your mind … bathed in comfort … to (p. s-69) have your body … so calm … and relaxed … It's really quite extraordinary … how easy it makes it for you … to drift off to a deep sleep … at any moment … and to be able to sleep … so well … all through the night … that even if you wake up briefly … how nice … to experience again … so easily … so quickly … the comfort … and that deep sense of sleep being only a few moments away … only moments away … and when you realize … that all the conditions are right … or at least right enough … to sleep well … how comforting … that the external environment doesn't have to be perfect in order for you to sleep well … how very comforting … that your internal environment … the world inside of you … is where the sense of peace … can be found … and where the experience of tranquility … can be appreciated … and while you sleep … the world can go about its business … It's just so soothing … to know that this is … your time … your time to rest … your mind … and rest your body … a time when your focus is so total … and just allowing … the kind of deep … and peaceful sleep … that rejuvenates you … that gives you the energy and drive … to do important things for yourself … for living well … and all through the night … your mind … your body … uses the power of sleep … to restore … And how wonderful … to be able to look forward … to awaking many hours from now … with a very strong sense … of having slept well … and so even now … you can be very aware … of being in that in-between place … not awake … and drifting … and drifting off to that wonderful sleep … drifting into sleep … wonderful sleep … and drifting … drifting … and you can go drift deeply now … into a wonderful sleep [pause] … goodnight.
Note. Copyright © 2010, Michael Yapko, Ph.D., reproduced with permission.
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