Alert Inductions

Alert inductions center on creating a state of alertness. Alert hypnosis was first documented by Braid in Neurypnology, tested in 1964 by Ludwig & Lyle. Examples include Capafons' waking hypnosis, Banyai’s active-alert induction.

Alert inductions are useful in situations where a traditional "sit down" induction would be impractical. For example, alert inductions can work during physical activity such as walking or exercising, or at public events like a football game or an art museum. Because alert inductions do not require relaxation, they can work in high stress conditions, such as before taking an exam, or even during panic attacks. They also work well with first time hypnotees who may be tense or anxious.

From a kink perspective, the major advantage of alert inductions is that they are flexible. They work well with people who are in physical discomfort or pain, allow for movement, and can be incorporated into activites. They are also safer, as excessive dissociation can potentially interfere with safety, either by being "too deep" to safeword or not even being aware of an unsafe situation.

Active Alert Induction

The actual active alert induction is described in the original paper, but I’ll reproduce it here for completeness. The eye-fixation and relaxation inductions from the SHSS-B are not available online, although Form C is available here.

The traditional induction procedure followed the eye-fixation and relaxation induction of the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, Form B.

In the active-alert induction procedure the subject rode a Monark bicycle ergometer loaded with a heavy flywheel and adjustable snubbcr to simulate actual riding conditions. The seat was adjusted to conform to the subject’s size, and the constant load was set so that pedaling required a good deal of effort. The level was determined individually for each subject. Initially the load was set so high that the subject was rarely able to pedal; then it was reduced slightly from this level to permit a smoother performance, but still with considerable effort. The actual load varied between 1 and 3 kg. The pedaling itself tended to vary between 1 and 2 rotations per second under the load, although, as indicated later, the rate varied somewhat as the experiment progressed. The subject was asked to begin to pedal and to look straight ahead. The room remained illuminated with its usual overhead light throughout the whole session. While the subject was pedaling, the experimenter repeated verbatim a set of suggestions closely paralleling those of the SHSS-B, except that for suggestions of relaxation and drowsiness there were substituted suggestions of alertness, attentiveness, and feelings of freshness. The induction began as follows:

I’m about to help you to become as attentive and alert as you can …​ that will help you gradually to enter a state of alert hypnosis. Just sit on t!ie bicycle with your hands on the handle bars and pedal. I want you to pedal steadily and while pedaling listen to what I say. Your ability to enter a state of alert hypnosis depends partly on your willingness to cooperate and partly on your ability to pedal the bicycle steadily while concentrating on my words.

The induction goes on in this manner, paralleling the Stanford induction, but converting all mention of relaxation and drowsiness into their opposites of activity and alertness. The induction ends with the suggestion, "You will wish to be alert and attentive …​ and you will have the experiences I shall presently describe." At this point the subject continued to pedal and (with eyes open) was tested by eight items from the SHSS-A and SHSS-B, alternate forms being used following the alert and traditional inductions. The eyes were closed following the traditional induction.

Generally, any kind of exercise can be used for active alert hypnosis. In fact, the nature of exercise may lead to a state of focused attention similar to hypnosis. To academic researchers, this is a limitation as it restricts the situations in which active alert hypnosis can be used, but for recreational hypnosis this is an opportunity. Combining hypnosis with a workout session means that doing reps and sets is itself following suggestions. Even alone, a hypnotic induction over headphones can make a workout more interesting and focus the mind.

Valencia Model Waking Induction

Capafons developed the waking induction (first called "alert-hand") as an alternative to the active alert induction for people who didn’t want to exercise while being hypnotized. I have not found a use for this induction personally, but I’m fascinated by it by how counters the narrative and tropes of hypnosis.

There are several stages of the induction, but not all are necessary in a recreational hypnosis context. The stages are as follows:

  • A cognitive-behavioral introduction to hypnosis

  • Clinical assessment of hypnotic suggestibility

  • (Rapid) self-hypnosis

  • Didactic Metaphor

  • Practice and training suggestions

  • Hetero-hypnosis (waking alert)

  • Theraputic suggestions

You probably won’t want to follow all of the stages here, but they may be useful with new partners especially.

Here’s a video giving an overview.

There’s a complete description of the procedure in The Valencia Model of Waking Hypnosis and its Clinical Applications from chapter 10 of Hypnosis: Theories, Research and Applications. You probably won’t have access to this book, so I’ll reproduce just the induction in Appendix IV.

The appendix consists of several pre-induction exercises, followed by the alert hand induction. Exercise 1 and 3 are always done, but if there are difficulties then 2 and 4 may also be followed.

Exercise 1

At some point, you must have felt impatient when waiting for something you wished for very much, for instance when you were going to meet someone you had not seen in a while and wanted very much to see. Try to remember that time. Imagine that it is 30 minutes before that encounter and that you are starting to feel anxious, pleasantly anxious, that is. As time goes by, you start to notice that your heart is beating faster, each minute beating faster, and that emotion over-whelms your body. It is only a few minutes before you will see that person, and you want it to happen. You feel restless, not an unpleasant restlessness but a very pleasant one.

Do you understand what I mean? Did you experience the sensations (heartbeats, anxiety) I described? Did you imagine the situation I described?

(If not) Don’t worry. Let’s do another example. (Go to Exercise 2) (If yes) Very well! Now we’ll go to another example. (Go to Exercise 3)

Exercise 2

Remember a time when you were taking a long walk. It is possible that at the beginning, when you decide to start strolling, it is a bit difficult and you feel a bit lazy. But after a while, surely you start feeling better. Remember that as time goes by and you continue walking, you start to feel clear minded and refreshed, and you enjoy walking more and more. To continue walking becomes easier. As you continue walking, you feel more refreshed and active, and there is a pleasant sensation throughout your body. It is possible that your breathing will be faster, considering that many muscles in your body are working, but it is not a worrisome breathing. It is, instead, a very pleasant breathing because you feel increasingly more energy as you continue strolling.

Do you understand what I mean? Did you imagine the situation I described? Did you experience the sensations (breathing, energy) I described?

(If not) Don’t worry. Let us do another example. (Go to Exercise 3.) (If yes) Very well! Now we will go to another example. (Go to Exercise 3.)

Exercise 3

Let us do a little exercise. (The experimenter will need a drawing, and the phrasing of the exercise will change accordingly.) F

Focus on the word ("congratulations") above the drawing. Ready? Good, now try to see the bird underneath it…​. The goal is to gradually increase your field of vision, so that your mind will also expand— If you do this, you will see that there are some houses and, in the periphery of your vision, a few trees. That’s it, fine. Let us continue. Now, concentrate on the scene under the houses, look at the little animals and continue expanding your field of vision so that you will now see that some animals are eating ice cream and some others are playing with a ball. The time will come when you have the whole scene in your mind, because your mind is expanded and active.

Have you followed the exercise?

(If not) Don’t worry, we’ll do another exercise, and you will understand it then. (Go to Exercise 4.) (If yes) Perfect! Because I can see that you understand what I am talking about, how about if we start with the hypnosis session? Did you experience how your mind expanded?

Exercise 4

"I am going to ask you to close your eyes and imagine what I am saying: Imagine that you are watching a TV show. You like this program very much and are absorbed in it, your mind is totally focused on the TV set. That’s it, very good…​ Now, imagine the room with the TV set and try to see everything that is around the set, the closest things and those that are farthest away; for instance, imagine any piece of furniture the TV set is on, any chairs, furniture, lamps. You can see the whole room, you have a complete view. That’s it. You continue to be in the room with the TV set, but now imagine that the roof and everything else over that room has disappeared, so that from above, you can continue seeing the TV set, that room and the rest of your house or apartment— Imagine the whole building, if you have an apartment, the street where your house or apartment is, the whole area, you can see it from the air…​. Your mind is expanding more and more, and what I am describing to you is easier and easier because your mind is becoming more active. Now place your street in your city, look at all of the streets, any buildings or parks, any cars, lamps, stores, pedestrians…​ Try to imagine it all from above, as if you were flying over the city…​. From that perspective, you can see your house or apartment over there, at the distance, the rest of the buildings…​ And, you start to go higher and higher, and you can see the people and the cars becoming smaller…​. It is becoming easier to control your mind. We will continue imagining…​ Continue flying over the city as you get higher and higher, so that you will be able to see not only the city but the whole country. Try to imagine it. You can see your city and the whole country at a distance. You can see the country as if it were drawn on a map, very far away, so far that you can see its rivers, mountains, and oceans…​ Your mind expands more and more, to such an extent that you can see the Earth itself. You can see the whole globe and can differentiate high mountains, oceans, and so on. You are controlling your mind, which feels so expansive and activated that you can see the Earth within the Milky Way, you can see the whole space, the stars, the planets, the rest of the Universe— you can see the Earth from the vast space.

Did you imagine the situation I described? Did you experience how your mind expanded?

Alert Hand Induction

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 agitated 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 irradiating 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 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.

(Note: After this induction, exercises such as arm levitation, or any other that may be of particular interest, may be carried out to "show" participants that their mind can do these exercises when it is activated.)