Hypnosis Happens While in a Conscious State of Sleep

Hypnosis Happens While in a Conscious State of Sleep

I have been a hypnotist/hypnotherapist for over four decades and have worked with over 35,000 clients. The process that is called hypnosis is a process that is always going on in the human brain and can be intentionally used to change and alter behavior. Yes, hypnosis is a process that happens between the human mind and brain. However, it appears to me, that “hypnosis” is not something that a person goes into or under but rather the formerly mentioned process that is always operating. It is just that the process works the best when the subject is in a conscious state of sleep!

You can be asleep but still aware and conscious… just like dreaming. While dreaming a dream you are not unconscious! While dreaming a dream you are perfectly conscious of what you are dreaming, and even remember it sometimes when you wake up. But while dreaming a dream you are in fact asleep. So that must mean that we can be both at the same time—asleep and conscious. It is while in a conscious state of sleep that the process of hypnosis works best to make a change in behavior.

Next Weeks Sneak Peak:

Train your mind to instruct your brain.

The Hypnotic process

    1. The phenomenon that is call hypnosis is a conscious state of sleep in which the human brain is open to suggestions
    2. While in a state of hypnosis, suggestions that are given are messages to the  brain and the brain in turn produces the behavior associated with the suggestion…  hypnosis is a state of mind and suggestions are instructions to the brain.
    3. However, the brain accepts suggestions only when suggestions are stated in the now!  i.e. You are a non-smoker as apposed to you are going to be a non-smoker.

    Future blogs will in detail address each of these issues with logic, examples and demonstrations.

The Bradian Pendulum Demonstration

The Bradian Pendulum Demonstration

If what I profess is true—i.e., that the human brain automatically responds to messages it receives from its mind, and that our perceptions are the means by which our mind and brain communicate—then there must be a way to demonstrate the validity of my claim… and there is… It is just that the human mind is most open using the process when in a state of hypnosis.

For hundreds of years many hypnotists have used a pendulum (the swinging of a watch or some other object for the subject to stare at) to induce a state of mind in which a subject is receptive to suggestions. A method I used for several years early in my practice.

In addition many hypnotist and practitioners of metaphysical disciplines use pendulums to probe unconscious secrets that are hidden from a subject’s conscious awareness.

While one of my mentors was in the process of teaching me to do hypnosis the right way (his way) he wanted to demonstrate a technique for uncovering subconscious memories by using a pendulum to determine the answer to questions.

The idea was to have a subject hold a pendulum (he used a marble attached to a 10-inch jewelry chain) with thumb and forefinger over the palm of the other hand, and whichever way the pendulum swings determines the answer to a question. The subject is then told that if the pendulum swings in the direction that the subject’s fingers are pointing the answer to a question is “yes.” If the pendulum swings crossways the answer is “no.” If the pendulum swings in a circular direction it means, “I don’t know” or “maybe” or “it’s none of your business.”   And if the pendulum doesn’t swing at all, either the question was asked wrong or the subject is not cooperating.

So Linda (our practice subject) held the pendulum over the palm of her left hand and Eric asked, “Is your name Sam?” Immediately the pendulum began swinging crossways to the direction her fingers were pointing—“no.”

“Are you in love with someone?” The pendulum swung in a circle.

“Does that mean that you don’t know?” The pendulum swung crossways—“no.”

Does that mean maybe you are in love?” the pendulum began swinging crossways again—“no.”

“Does that mean that it is none of my business?” And the pendulum swung in the direction her fingers were pointing—“yes, it’s none of your business.”

It was obvious that Linda consciously knew the answers and it appeared to me that she was intentionally moving her arm to make the pendulum swing in the appropriate direction to confirm that the answer corresponded with her conscious knowledge.   However, Linda said that she did not try to move her arm and that the pendulum just seemed to swing all on its own.

I had dismissed any thought that this “parlor trick” might have a useful purpose relative to hypnosis or demonstrating the powers of the human mind and brain, until I once again engaged Socrates in a dialogue.


Next Blog: Using a pendulum to demonstrate that our brain responds to our perceptions.

Perceptionism The Hypnotic Process

Finding a Term That Describes the Hypnotic Process: Perceptionism

After having been advised by Socrates to look in a dictionary or thesaurus for a term that explains what makes the hypnotic process work—I did. I knew that it had something to do with visualization but visualization didn’t quite work—visualization infers seeing with one’s eyes but I needed a term that inferred “seeing” with one’s mind.

Merriam Webster Dictionary:

  • Visualization—No definition
  •  Visualize—To see or form mental image

Merriam Webster Thesaurus:

  • Visualize—Conceive, envision, imagine, conger up, see in the mind’s eye

I began trying out all of the alternatives but they still didn’t seem to fit. So I went back to the thesaurus to see if I could find some other term.

  • Conceive—Ponder, ruminate, observe, see
  • Observe—Watch, look at
  • See—Mental vision, notice, discern, perceive

Perceive! We perceive with our mind. Perception does not infer seeing with one’s eyes. Sure we perceive with our five senses but we also have self-perceptions—how we perceive ourselves and how we perceive ourselves responding to people and events going on around us.

So I tested the effect of using perception (instead of visualization and all of the other alternatives) when working with clients; it not only had a more positive influence to help them to achieve the behavior they desired but by using the terms perception and perceive, the session just seemed to flow more smoothly.

Next: The Pendulum Demonstration

Defining Perceptionism

Defining Perceptionism

A Conversation with Socrates

Socrates: Explain to me what is wrong with hypnosis and hypnotism?

Me: Okay, it appears to me that the phenomenon that is called hypnosis is not a state of mind into which or under which a subject goes, but rather a state of mind in which the process that is called hypnosis works. Hypnosis is a process that goes on between the human mind and brain… the state in which it works is not a process. But what I need is a word that is dynamic and defines the process by which the human mind can intentionally tell its brain and body how to emotionally feel and physically act. And, aside from the negative ideas associated with hypnosis, the word itself puts the power in the hands of the hypnotist rather than in the subject where it belongs.

Socrates: So what you are asking is that you need a term that describes the process, not the state, in which the process works. And that a hypnotic subject does go into a state of mind in which the process works but the subject does not go into or under the process that is called hypnosis. Is that right?

Me: That is exactly right.

Socrates: And that the power that drives the hypnotic process lies within the subject and not in the hypnotist?

Me: That too is exactly right.

Socrates: To find such a term to describe the process have you looked in a dictionary or a thesaurus to find a better term to express your idea?


Next: Finding a term that describes the hypnotic process: Perceptionism

How Socrates and my Clients Transformed Hypnotism to Perceptionism

How Socrates and my Clients Transformed Hypnotism to Perceptionism

I am convinced there is a vast creative resource “hanging out” in the gray matter between our ears, and with the proper stimulus we can activate that creative resource to find solutions to most of the challenges in our day-to-day lives whether it be personal or professional.

Many of our good ideas arise when in a relaxed and peaceful state of body and mind—while dreaming; out in nature; while engaged in mundane tasks, while relaxing in a Jacuzzi, showering, meditating or in a conscious state of sleep (a state in which our body is in a relaxed sleep state but still able to deliberately direct our thoughts)—a state of mind that can be achieved through the application of perceptionism.

Time spent in my Inner Room and visiting with Socrates is central to the development of perceptionism and leads to forming my unique approach for using it. In some respects, Socrates became an essential guide and confidant as I sorted through endless questions, ideas, theories and paradoxes to create a theory that explains why we humans behave as we do and how to change our behavior if we choose too.

From the beginning of my career as a hypnotherapist, my interest in hypnosis has been to discover what makes the process work and how to best use it to enhance my client’s behavior (as well as my own), rather than to confirm some predetermined agenda or belief system.

Many hypnotists start out with a belief or philosophy and then use their preconceived notions to explain hypnosis and even manipulate the hypnotic process in an attempt to confirm that their erstwhile premise is true. My investigations were the opposite: look at the data and then adjust my approach to fit the evidence even if it is in conflict with what I had previously considered to be valid.

While my personal philosophy and the belief system that I now embrace are a spin-off of my investigation into perceptionism, it was never my intention to directly use the process to establish them. Many times (and probably many more times in the future) I have had to scrap some of my most cherished ideas and convictions when they no longer held true after experiment, research and empirical observation, or when they got in the way of successfully helping a client achieve his or her objectives.

The procedure I use for my investigations is based on the edict that if a principle (an idea or premise) is to be accepted as being true (valid and reliable), one must define the principle, describe a process for testing it and then replicate the process several times to confirm that the outcome is consistent…. And then accept the outcome even if it is different from personal bias and what was expected. If a principle cannot be consistently replicated, with the same outcome, it is not a valid principle and as such must be relegated to some theoretical or metaphysical niche.

I am completely willing to accept that perceptionism is based on only a few principles that truly meet the above criteria; the rest fall into the theory department. And if an idea or theory falls into the realm of metaphysics I leave it to the mystics to sort it out.

The following chapters are based on how my clients and Socrates shaped an unique approach for me to not only help my clients to achieve the behavioral changes for which they came to see me but to explain human behavior in general.

So keep in mind that much of what follows is not etched in stone, it may change with additional research, experiments and feedback from my clients.



Defining Perceptionism

My Inner Room

My Inner room and Socrates

When I have a problem to solve, or a question to resolve, I take it into my inner room and discuss it with Socrates. My inner room is an imaginary quiet peaceful place and Socrates is an imaginary alter ego. I conjured this make-believe place and pretend person as a means to stimulate fresh ways of thinking, to gain a better insight of myself and to choose my role in the scheme of the universe.

This place and person was created over 40 years ago by using perceptionism… back then I called it self-hypnosis.

To enter into my quiet room I lean back in my recliner; close my eyes; get my body into a tranquil state by imagining every muscle and nerve of my entire body as being relaxed and perceive myself as being in a deep peaceful sleep… a state that many would define being a state of meditation but I call it a conscious state of sleep; a state of being in which the only thing that matters are my thoughts.

Once in this meditative conscious state of sleep, I then imagine myself at the top of a staircase that takes me to an imaginary door that opens into my inner room. The staircase has 10 steps leading down. As I descend to my inner room I pause on each step and give myself suggestions about being open minded and creative when in my quiet room.

Upon entering my quiet room I sit myself in a comfortable imaginary chair and inter into a conversation with Socrates who sits on the other side of a highly polished imaginary desk.

I want to make it perfectly clear that, although when in my inner room it is truly like being in a conversation with another person (Socrates), I never lose sight of the fact that I am conversing with myself.

An unexpected benefit of conversing with Socrates is that I can—while scripting this narrative—I can type: “Socrates said,” instead of saying “I said to myself.”


Next weeks blog topic:

How Socrates transformed Hypnotism to Perceptionism



There is a phenomenon in human behavior that is most commonly called hypnosis and to a lesser degree mesmerism but I call it Perceptionism.

The underlying principles that define Perceptionism will not only be laid out in following blogs and methodically set forth in a logical, rational method that will give credence to each principle.

Very few principles that define perceptionism have been derived from other hypnotist or books about hypnosis, but rather I have gleaned them from interacting with tens of thousands of clients. From time to time I have been forced to disregard many of my most cherished ideas and methods of “hypnosis” when a client takes exception what I say or how I explained an issue; and then they restate it with a more plausible explanation with a convincing argument. I then take their ideas into my Inner Room and discuss it with Socrates.

They Called it Hypnosis

They Called it Hypnosis

I am writing my second book, They Called it Hypnosis, but I am writing it backward from my first book As the Pendulum Swings—A Memoir.

As the Pendulum Swings begins with my earliest interest in hypnosis, tells the story how I became a hypnotherapist and ends by describing my unique approach that was developed over 44 years and working with tens of thousands of clients; then describes how to use the hypnotic process.

They Called it Hypnosis is a work that begins with setting forth, not how to do hypnosis, but rather the principles that makes it work. It explains the driving force behind the hypnotic process and describes how our mind tells our brain how to cause us to emotionally feel and physically act.

Anton Mesmer called it Animal Magnetism, his followers called it Mesmerism, James Braid called it Hypnotism, but the term that best describes the underling process is what I call it—Perceptionism.

Stay in touch for future blogs that will describe what “hypnosis” is and what ‘hypnosis” is not and why Perceptionism best describes the process and how it works.

Emotional Independence

Emotional Independence

There is a principle that I call Emotional Independence… An aphorism that is based on a stroke of inspiration that was triggered by one of my clients many years ago, and over time, has been refined by additional feed-back from other clients. This dictum simply states: What other people are does not determine what you are. My question is: Why should how other people are, cause you to feel stress or anxieties?

I had a client exclaim, “If I could only divorce people out of my life, then I wouldn’t be stressed-out, anxious and angry.” Of course that is not practical.

I explained to him that the behavior of other people—what they say, the things they do and how they treat others would be the same if he would have never been born. They do not behave as they do because there something wrong with you, they act that way and say those things because that is how they are… So, why are you letting them determine your stress, anxieties or anger?

The “Emotional Independence” comes by having peace of mind, and a sense of well-being independent from the behavior of other people, circumstances and events that happen in your daily life. I am not saying that you are oblivious of what is going on, nor am I saying that you don’t take positive action to fix the things that are fixable, what I am saying is, that you are at peace, have peace of mind and a sense of well-being while fixing them… and if you can’t fix them, particularly the behavior of other people, they shouldn’t be an issue.

I have helped hundreds, maybe even thousands; experience a state of emotional independence through the process of hypnotherapy. A process that changes a person’s self-perception from “I am stress-out, anxious and angry because of other people” to “I have peace of mind and a sense of well-being no matter the behavior of other people.”482333107

The Evolution of Hypnosis

The Evolution of Hypnosis

My interest in hypnosis has spanned 60 years. My first exposure to hypnosis was in my sociology class during my senior year in high school (1955) when our teacher hypnotized one of my class mates (see My First Encounter With Hypnosis). This sparked my interest in the hypnotic process but it was several years before I learned how to use self-hypnosis to getting rid of my low self-esteem, fear of making sales call and other self-imposed limitations… and it worked.

A friend noticed that I had made some significant changes in my personal and professional behavior and asked what had made the difference. When I told him that I had been hypnotizing myself he said, “Hypnotize me. I want to stop smoking.” I use the same technique I had been using to hypnotize myself… and it worked. He quit smoking with a single session—and that is how I got started as a professional hypnotist.153812722

This blog however is not about being a professional hypnotherapist but rather about the change in the attitude of people about hypnosis over the past six decades.

Here are a few examples of the mind-set of people in the early years of my involvement with hypnosis.

In high school I wanted to learn more about hypnosis but didn’t have the courage to breach the topic with anyone who might be in the know (even my sociology teacher) since I had been told by parents and church leaders that hypnosis was the work of the devil.

After I had successfully hypnotized a few people, in an attempt to become more knowledgeable about the subject, I visited the Salt Lake City Library but the shelf where books about hypnosis should have been was empty. I surmised that hypnosis was such a popular topic that they had all been checked out. So I asked the librarian if I could be placed on the waiting list for books about hypnosis and she said, “Oh, those books have not been checked out. We keep them in a locked bookcase in the back so they don’t fall into the hands of children or deranged people.”

In 1976 I was unable to place an ad in the personals secretion of the want ads of the Republic & Gazette because any advertising related to hypnosis was in violation of some standard set by a national organization governing ethics in advertising. Hypnosis was lumped in with subject matter like séances, fortune telling, voodoo, mystics….

I could advertise in the Yellow Pages but I received numerous calls from people not wanting to make an appointment to change something about themselves but to accuse me of being in league with Beelzebub sent to corrupt the minds of children and god-fearing people.

Hypnosis has come a long way since those days!

Do It Now with Hypnosis