Self-hypnosis is an important branch of modern hypnotherapy, used either in addition to guided hypnosis. It can be done using a CD or tape recording that leads you into a trance state, or through a learned routine, such as the one below. Self-hypnosis can be an effective therapy for pain relief, gastrointestinal upset (especially in the case of irritable bowel syndrome), a tool to assist in weight loss and addiction recovery, and to relax, relieve stress and anxiety, and to promote general wellbeing. By leading the conscious mind into a relaxed, unfocused awareness, it becomes susceptible to positive autosuggestion.
Sink into a state of complete relaxation and trance, state the necessary affirmations, and re-emerge.
- Find a quiet place where you can turn ringers off of phones and otherwise ensure silence for at least half an hour. Sit or lie down comfortably; many people enjoy using a recliner for self-hypnosis sessions. Ease into a restful position, with arms and legs lying heavily and loosely. Don’t cross your legs as they may start to fall asleep and leave you uncomfortable.
- Close your eyes and begin to breathe deeply in through the nose and out through the mouth. Slowly relax your body by visualizing the tension and stress flowing out of your muscles, starting at your toes and moving up your legs, through your torso and arms, and finally your head. Let your heavy limbs become lighter with this visualization.
- In a similar way, let the mental sensations of fear, stress, and anxiety flow out of your mind. If they arise, instead of trying to force them out, just observe them and let them slowly pass away. Visualize with each breath these negative feelings leaving with each exhalation and a bright white light coming in with each inhalation, bringing with it positive feeling and a healing energy.
- Now, visualize that you are at the top of a flight on ten stairs. Visualize yourself descending this staircase slowly, counting down to yourself with each one, from ten to one. When you reach one, you will be at a doorway. Visualize opening this door to a calm paradise, full of beauty and serenity. Allow yourself to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of your personal haven, breathing in its purifying air deeply. While you are here, you may decide to make some affirmations. Visualize yourself walking through your serene place until you come to a body of water. Look down into this body of water and see your reflection looking back at you. With relaxed and loving resolve, repeat between one and three affirmations silently to yourself two or three times each. For more on affirmations, read the article here.
- When you have made your affirmations and explored your paradise as fully as you wish, return to the doorway. Visualize yourself opening the door and ascending the staircase slowly and relaxedly, counting up silently from one to ten. When you have reached the top, take three easy breaths and let them bring you back to the outside world. Rest silently with your eyes closed for a little longer, then allow them to open and take in the world from your newly relaxed and refreshed state.
- As you do this exercise more, your trance will deepen and improve.
If you’d like to try another technique, this young gentleman has recorded a video of a different, quick, and easy method:
The 18th-century German physician Franz Mesmer developed a primitive form of hypnosis based on what he called "animal magnetism"; later, the Portuguese monk Abbé Faria postulated that hypnosis-type effects were due to the power of suggestion instead. In 1841 the Scottish physician James Braid took these ideas and developed both traditional guided hypnotism and self-hypnotism. Later, psychologists like Émile Coué refined autosuggestion techniques. In the 20th century, research confirmed that self-hypnosis had similar effects to "hetero-hypnosis" and proved its worth as a self-help technique.
If you find hypnotic and autosuggestive techniques helpful, there are a great many different possibilities. Follow the links below under "See Also" for some suggestions. You may want to use self-hypnosis as a supplement to hypnosis sessions guided by a therapist. This is a very effective way to maximize therapeutic benefit while saving time and money.