Adventures with Hypnosis
In 1949, I had a real problem with a dental phobia. Four dentists had turned me down as a patient. I had two abscessed teeth and a mouthful of other cavities. My dental phobia was so bad that it had forced me to go to a hospital some years earlier in order to have three abscessed teeth removed while I was unconscious. I went to a dental convention where I found the recommended dentist who did hypnosis. He couldn't work on my teeth, but he said he thought he could help me.
So, at the lunch break, I went to his room with several other dentists, and he hypnotized me with a “standard” induction technique. Then, he taught me a psychological trick of relaxation. If I raised my left hand whenever I felt my right hand becoming a fist, indicating tension, the dentist would stop, and I would relax my right hand, and lower my left hand.) I didn't believe it would work, but I made an appointment with the last dentist who had turned me down and had recommended hypnosis. For the first few minutes, I kept raising my left hand, and he stopped immediately.
After that, I didn't need to raise my left hand much at all, and he worked fast. He pulled the two bad teeth, and drilled and filled a dozen more in one single hour and half session. I had Novocain for the bad ones, and didn't need it for the others. Both the dentist and I were amazed at this, and he asked if I were really twins To me, a 22-year-old engineering student, this was a genuine “miracle”, and I started to learn all I could about this miracle cure. I read everything I could find, from the 1700's literature about Mesmer, Coue, etc, up to Erickson, Barber, etc. I became an electronic engineer, and pursued this as my major career, but my avocation continued to be hypnosis, and by extension, psychology. (Much of behavior psychology is similar to hypnosis). I used it professionally, taught it in a major university to doctors, and continued to learn about it. I performed some “shows”, and considered a career as a stage hypnotist, but was more interested in using it for helping people, as it had helped me. In 1979, I left electronic engineering, and turned to psychology.
I went back and obtained a Doctorate in Psychology based on my education, life experience, and my doctoral dissertation. I became a successful Behaviorist Psychologist for years in private practice in Florida. I gradually converted to an Orthomolecular practice when I found that these types of therapies worked better than any “talk therapy”, although talk therapy is sometimes useful as well. Hypnotic Relaxation During this many years of study, and later career as a psychologist, I realized that what that original dentist who hypnotized me had actually done. With hypnosis, he had simply given me a “new” conscious tool of relaxation. Using this simple tool, I could actually change something in my unconscious called a “phobia”. It wasn't really a miracle, though I had thought so at the time. Adding this knowledge to my knowledge of Pavlovian “conditioning responses”, I came up with what I called the Bate Relaxation Technique. This is very simple, yet it can be very powerful - much more powerful than most realize because of its simplicity. It starts with a general hypnotic induction technique of relaxing the body muscles, starting with the toes and going up to the scalp and face.
Then, in a state of muscle relaxation, ask the subject to visualize a very beautiful relaxing scene he/she is in. Describe the scene. Ask them to concentrate on how beautiful and very relaxing it is. Then, ask the subject to memorize the feelings of relaxation and concentration they are feeling at that time. Have them put these feelings into their memory like a photograph. Then, give them a post-hypnotic suggestion that they can now recall those feeling any time they simply count to three. End the session, and have the subject stand up, take a deep breath and simply count to three. It's simply amazing how the shoulders often slump 2-3 inches or some other muscles that the subject usually tenses from stress relax. I describe the “strange” feeling as sort of a “blah” feeling. (As subjects stand up from the session, their “normal” pattern of muscle stress takes effect, and the “instant” relaxation is definitely experienced.
) I then tell the subject that they now have the pattern, but it up to them to use it often, several times a day, even if not needed, for the next week or so. This will set this pattern into their unconscious as a “conditioned response”. (Remember Pavlov's dog?) Now, they have the same tool I got from the original dentist, but it is much more enhanced and valuable. It instantly relieves stress of any kind. Driving a car a long distance is very stressful. My wife and I recently drove over 20 hours straight thru, with me driving about 14 of those hours. At 78 years old, that's not “usual”. The secret - we both simply count to three every so often and are able to relax behind the wheel. Muscle tension is very tiring, and few are able to relax this muscle tension behind the wheel.