Hypnosis Trance Depth Assessment

In this post you would find comprehensive instructions and suggestions for assessing trance depth of a person after delivery of instructions for hypnotic induction. We are routinely using trance depth assessment through Aron’s Master Depth Rule. You may conduct your observations for your convenient methods which could be elaborated in this post or you could devise your own based upon the understanding you would gain.

  1. After deepeners, the depth of trance need be tested.

  2. The persons who have high hypnotizability are called as ‘highs’ and the persons with low hypnotizability are called as ‘lows’.

  3. Highs enter the deepest level of hypnotic trance and lows may even fail to enter the light state of hypnotic trance.

  4. Majority of persons would attain medium trance level.

  5. The trance depth of every subject should be tested as a routine.

  6. It takes about 5-10 minutes to gauge trance depth of an individual.

  7. Assessment of trance depth may be skipped for analytical subjects.

  8. Assessment of trance depth provides objective evidence to the subject and the hypnotist that the subject was under hypnosis. It convinces both and facilitates healing work.

  9. It must be remembered that while tests are performed all the induced phenomena should be reversed. If there is any failure in reversal of induced phenomena, it may persist after trance termination and cause problems to the subject.

  10. There are many scales for assessment of trance depth; but in routine practice Arons Master Depth Rule is applied.

  11. The assessment through Arons Depth Scale proceeds from Level-I to Level-VI. If a subject fails at any level; you may discontinue with the test for higher levels. However, it may be possible in few cases that a subject failed at lower level but passed the higher level.

  12. It is a myth that deeper level of trance is essential for healing under hypnosis. Even light state of hypnosis can be used for healing.

  13. The tests in Arons Master Depth Rule are objective.

  14. Before applying objective tests of Arons scale; one can do covert testing. In covert test, a subject does not become aware that he is being tested for trance state.

Covert Test: “Now count numbers backward silently beginning from 100; 100…99.. (let the subject continue the counting) … as you are counting … the numbers are fading away … with each count … it is becoming very difficult to retain the numbers… all the numbers are fading away … after sometime it would become almost impossible to continue to count the numbers …. all numbers are fading away … when numbers do fade away .. raise your left hand index finger (wait for indication)”

Arons Master Depth Rule

Level-I

Lethargy, Eye Catalepsy

Level-II

Arms Rigidity

Level-III

Number or Alphabet Block

Level-IV

Part of Name or Address Block

Level-V

Positive Hallucination

Level-VI

Negative Hallucination

Level-I Eye Catalepsy: “Now look towards sky in your minds eye… visualize that it is a night time … you are looking at stars in the sky … continue to view the sky … your eyes are locked… you can not open your eyes … the harder you try the tightly they are locked … give it a try to seeyour eyes locked … (allow only about five seconds for try; because a subject tries very hard, prolonged try may injure the eyes; be careful)… alright… leave now.. your eyes are unlocked … and normal…. be relaxed even more deep … (if a subject could open his eyes … tell him that he needs to enter even more deeper level of trance…)

Level-II Arm Rigidity: “Now I want you to raise your left hand towards ceiling …. (when hand is raised) … o.k. .. straighten your arm… it is becoming stiff like a steel rod … and getting locked in this position … if you try to bend the arm … it is becoming more stiff … the harder you try … the more stiff it would be …give it a try to see, the stiffness in your arm … (allow only about five seconds for try; because a subject tries very hard, prolonged try may injure the arms; be careful)… alright… leave now.. your arm and hand is unlocked now … it is in normal and usual state of relaxation… let it come down in normal resting state ….(if a subject could bend … tell him that he needs to enter even more deeper level of trance…)

Level-III Number Block: “Go deeper and deeper … as you are going deep … you are forgetting the number that comes between 5 to 7. … in a moment, I would ask you to count numbers from 1-10 … as you have forgotten a number.. you would jump from five to seven while counting… if you could understand … raise your left hand index finger (wait for confirmation) … go deeper and deeper … now count number from 1-10… (if subject counts seven after five and misses the number six; then this level is considered as passed) … now be relaxed and you remember all the numbers now even the number that comes between five and seven…. (Similar procedure can be adopted for alphabet block. That is, suggestion may be given for blocking any alphabet for example, the alphabet that comes between F and H. Any of the block test, number or alphabet can be used. It is not essential to perform both the block test).

Level-IV Name Block: “Now I want you to tell me your first name, middle name and last name … (wait till the subject tell his name) … go deeper and deeper … as you are going deeper … you are forgetting your surname … the harder you tries to remember … the more you would forget … in a moment, I would ask you to tell me your full name … you would remember and tell me only first name (and middle if applicable)… now tell me your full name (if the subject fails to tell his last name; this level is considered to be passed) … now you remember your full name and be relaxed … (Similar procedure can be adopted for address block. That is, suggestion may be given for blocking any part of address. It is not essential to perform both the name and address block test).

Level-V Positive Hallucination: In positive hallucination, a subject perceives an absent object. “go deeper and deeper … into deepest level of sleep … in a moment, I would ask you to open your eyes… when you open your eyes… you will continue to have the deep level of sleep … opening of eyes would further deepen your level of sleep … when you open your eyes … you would see a teddy bear in my palm… you would describe the teddy in detail … now open your eyes and tell me about the teddy … (if a subject is able to see a teddy in your palms; this level is considered as passed)… O.K. be relaxed … everything in normal and as usual….

Level-VI Negative Hallucination: In negative hallucination, a subject fails to perceive an object which is present. “go deeper and deeper … into deepest level of sleep … in a moment, I would ask you to open your eyes… when you open your eyes… you will continue to have the deep level of sleep … opening of eyes would further deepen your level of sleep … when you open your eyes … you would find my palm empty… you would not be able to seething on my palm … (hold your mobile in your palm) … now open your eyes and see my palm … (if a subject is not able to see the mobile in your palms; this level is considered as passed) … O.K. be relaxed … everything in normal and as usual….

Posthypnotic Suggestion: A posthypnotic suggestion is the suggestion which is given when a person is functioning at Level-V or Level-VI; and the person executes the suggestion after coming out of the hypnotic trance. In posthypnotic suggestion, a subject is provided the details of a signal and the desired behavior in response to the signal. In addition to that, suggestions for amnesia that the subject would forget that the hypnotist suggested the act under trance. For example, “go deeper and deeper …. after sometime when I say you would be coming out of sleep … when you are in waking state … I would show you my mobile phone … when you see my mobile… you would pick up your mobile and make a call at following number: 111…. you would forget that I told you to do so …. if your deepest layers of mind could get it… let the left hand index finger be raised… (wait for confirmation and continue the trance work” Upon awakening, after a gap of a few minutes, show your mobile phone in subtle manner to the subject and see if he makes a call to 111. If he did; then it is an indication of compliance to posthypnotic suggestions. Never give any immoral, criminal posthypnotic suggestions to a subject. Maintain highest integrity of yourself and the profession. Do not be silly in your suggestions. One of the students suggested to slap the other student; this sort of suggestions are strongly condemned. Posthypnotic suggestions are used for healing purposes. It should be understood that in posthypnotic suggestion a cue and the desired behaviour is specified. When accepted a subject executes the behaviour as suggested and when enquired why he acted like that; he would give any explanation other than that the hypnotist suggested to do so. All individuals functioning at Level-V and Level-VI may not execute the suggested act. Usually, there is spontaneous amnesia for the source of origin of the posthypnotic suggestion.

There are many other phenomena which get manifested in the trance. In Time Distortion, a subject usually underestimates the time of trance; e.g. one hour of trance may be perceived as 20-30 minutes; some subject may over estimate the trance time. In amnesia, a subject forgets the trance experiences.

Subjective Experiences in Hypnotic Trance: If you inquire from a hypnotized subject what he was feeling and experiencing under hypnosis; he would report any of these phenomena; many of them can be observed even by a hypnotist:

  • Relaxation

  • Fluttering of eyelids

  • Feelings of drowsiness

  • Heavy eyelids or locked eyelids

  • Dryness in mouth.

  • Desire to swallow, Swallowing or gulping movements appear in lighter states of hypnosis (Swallowing or gulping)

  • Body warmth or chill (Changes in Temperature)

  • Vividness of imagination

  • Time distortion (minutes seems like hours and vice versa).

  • Voice sounds fading in and out.

  • Letting go as if falling asleep.

  • Enhanced awareness of any sound in the environment

  • Feeling that one is not hypnotized yet

  • Feeling that one is wide awake

  • Strong lassitude or lethargy (disinclination to move, speak, think, or act)

  • A relaxation response in muscles surrounding the tear ducts which cause ‘Shedding tears’ (Increased Lacrimation)

  • Experience that his eyes are rolling back, as if looking into head (Eye Roll)

  • Whispering voice

Naturally Occurring Trancelike Phenomena:Hypnosis is a state of ‘heightened focal concentration’. Absorption in a novel, movie, computer game etc are known as naturally occurring trance like phenomena.


Comments

Hypnosis Trance Depth Assessment — 1 Comment

  1. City
    Medway

    Message:
    Hi. I was wondering how you know if someone is actually in a trance or
    faking it. is there a test you can do?

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