Alpha States and Hypnosis

I recently had a question about alpha brain wave patterns and Hypnosis:

“…perhaps you can talk about Alpha Brain Waves as it relates to hypnosis. For example, in facilitating change the Silva Method talks about the need to be in an Alpha Brain Wave level. Perhaps you can talk about your thoughts on how this relates to somnambulistic states and compare/contrast these concepts to your work.”

It is interesting to get this message at this time as it is something I am especially interested having recently read Les Fehmi’s most excellent The Open-focus Brain: Harnessing the Power of Attention to Heal Mind and Body

Anyhows, the video shares my perspective.

httpv://youtu.be/wzLZpeyWVkQ

P.S. And please ‘LIKE’ ↓↓↓↓↓ this and share it if you have any FB friends who would benefit from this information!

About The Author

James Tripp

Hypnotist and Transformative Facilitator. Creator of Hypnosis Without Trance.

Facebook Discussion

26 Comments

  • Brian

    August 1, 2013

    I found over the years people need to be in a particular state of mind in order to respond to suggestions. Selling a hypnosis course or something like expensive double glazing requires the person to be in a receptive state of mind. They need to be at a place where they are “open to your suggestions” in order to progress further into “your world” that you create for them. Some hypnotists would use the trance label to describe that place. After all its just a label.

    I believe that in our whole lifetime we never experience two states exactly the same because we are constantly growing or changing as is our environment. And in my experience the biggest shifts and results with clients are gained by the most subtle adjustments or “reprogramming” of the states they elicit in a day to day basis. Likewise I find the usual Hypnotic phenomena usually associated currently with therapy and previously with stage is not necessary to facilitate change.

    Alpha may be associated more with “switching off” “autopilot” “giving into the unconscious allowing it to take over” than Where as beta might be more of an effort to force things to happen consciously?

    phenomena varies in quality dramatically. Amnesia and forgetting one’s name for a few minutes might be due to confusion. But forgetting a whole two hours of activity responding to suggestions for months and in a lot of cases never to recall most of it ever again is a totally different thing. Hypnosis whatever you want to call it isn’t that simple or clear cut.

    I totally agree about the value of Alpha state or relaxed mind you can change someones life even prolong it by helping them condition themselves to relax on a regular basis.

  • Michael

    August 1, 2013

    I got into Hypnosis via the Silva mind control method and have used Sound and light devices for years and my impression is that most “visualisation oriented” Hypnosis feels very much like alpha state to me. I know that responses are not dependant on depth of trance, but rather on the progress of belief in the context of the change work. You can be in any state for that to happen. The great thing about alpha states and open focus is very much that sense of “self trust” that comes from being in the present with your eyes and ears being the primary source of what is going on inside your head. The Alpha state is a great help for anyone who wants to step into the present and let go of ideas which interfere with experiencing life through your primary sensory system rather than your programming/thinking. The change work itself does seem to benefit from alpha state, but in my opinion the hypnotic pacing of language and language patterns perform that function. Hypno speak to me, literally “feels” like an alpha patterning.

    • admin

      August 4, 2013

      Thank you Michael – most eloquently put!

      “I know that responses are not dependant on depth of trance, but rather on the progress of belief in the context of the change work. You can be in any state for that to happen. The great thing about alpha states and open focus is very much that sense of “self trust” that comes from being in the present with your eyes and ears being the primary source of what is going on inside your head.”

      Beautiful! 🙂

      All the very best

      James

  • Jeff Jordan

    August 1, 2013

    Thanks for sharing this video and the last several you’ve made. I love the track you’ve been on recently (and previously). As a result I’ve included in my personal daily goals to ‘maintain a creative and growth mindset’.

  • john

    August 1, 2013

    Trance State = Alpha State (Calm focus). Maybe James?

    • admin

      August 4, 2013

      Hi John

      If you wish to say so… but what is that really saying?

      In the Hypnosis Mastery Programme I talked about the concept of hypnotic focus, and how that is useful but not necessary in leading someone in ‘hypnosis’. It is interesting how this notion fits/overlaps with Les Fehmi’s work on attention and alpha states.

      But why ‘trance’? Along with all the old baggage that we need to ‘put someone in it’ as a prerequisite for hypnosis, and that particular ‘hypnotic phenomena’ correlate with specific ‘depths of trance’. State shifts necessarily happen correlatorily with process – it’s all part of the flow. No need for ‘inductions’ (although they can serve as tools from both a process and semantic perspective), just get busy leading the hypnotee where you want to lead them.

      Now, to flip that on it’s head, I’ve absolutely no doubt that many old school trance inductions do indeed work very nicely to relax people and shift them into synchronous alpha, and this can be of clear benefit of people in terms of health, well being and personal transformation. It does NOT mean that since these people have been lead into such a state, they will now be any more ‘open to suggestion’ than they may have been otherwise. Sure, they may find that they can connect with their imagination a little better than they would if their attention was flitting all over the place and their brain was running in survival mode. But this is not the same as saying they are in ‘trance’ to a particular depth that is required for a particular phenomena to spontaneously manifest as a result of ‘suggestion’.

      My objection to people trying to hold on to the past and keep moving back to old models is that it removes useful nuances offered by more up to date models. Those nuances create choice that is missing from less nuanced models.

      Of course, the different models are all describing the same reality, but that isn’t to say that the terms of one model necessarily correlate with the terms of another, or that it is useful to seek such correlation.

      Anyhows, I’ll get off my soapbox on this one now… thanks for the contribution and stimulation 🙂

      All the very best

      James

  • Ben

    August 2, 2013

    Bravo! He’s (nearly) got it! I can almost see the intellectual turmoil that this is presenting for the model 🙂 Well done though James, I completely applaud you for bringing Dr Les Fehmi’s work to a wider audience. It is the real deal though it takes a proper dedicated practice and lots of patience to get there. I’m very grateful for you opening up your focus and your courage makes you the excellent communicator you are.

    All Done By Kindness
    Ben

    • admin

      August 4, 2013

      Thanks Ben

      😀 No intellectual turmoil – just a small epiphany regarding the potential impact even the simplest forms of ‘hypnosis’ can have.

      Regarding ‘states’ and ‘hypnosis’ – of course, what happens in the brain/body will change in response to how attention is shifted and imagination is used. Hypnosis Without Trance is simply about working directly with the desired shifts in attention/imagination/cognition etc. without the belief that there is some requirement to put people into a particular state first. And it may show up that alpha wave patterns correlate with some or many ‘hypnotic phenomena’, but this doesn’t mean that such patterns are ‘trance’ and are required for ‘hypnosis’.

      What is much more interesting to me is how ‘hypnosis’ can be used to shift people into synchronous alpha (rather than being synonymous with synchronous alpha), which in turn has fantastic applications in terms of making shifts in quality of health, creative thinking, personal fulfilment and life in general. And how just this simple thing (aside from any other suggestion and more detailed process work, which people – including myself – often emphasise in changework) can be so phenomenally impactful. THAT, IMO, is very cool! 🙂

      Best,

      James

  • Steve

    August 2, 2013

    James, love your work. I have always been a bit of a somnambulist. I’ve trained in hypnosis and studied the brain LB/RB stuff for years. I’d never heard of the beta- narrow objective focus and alpha – open focus brain put quite that way, but I love it!
    Just tonight we were in a busy Wal-Mart ( grocery/discount store). When I walk in my 17 yr old son and I start doing our normal thing. We always have this game of being “master observers”. Where we notice small details about everything or everybody we walk by. Kind’a like the Jason Bourne home game. – That girl’s left-handed, that guy has a glass eye, that word is misspelled etc. It may be genetic but we walk around in a big picture mode most of the time. Never really thought about it being a “state” but more like a thing we do and it does always feel very relaxed and calm. Like your perception stretches way out and you’re picking up everything. I guess we see the micro focus of everyone else around at the store with their list and objectives it makes us feel extra observant. Keep up the good work. You are really on the cutting edge of change work and brain mechanics. As always super impressed.

    • admin

      August 4, 2013

      Thanks Steve.

      I don’t usually think in terms of state either… just interesting to learn from Les Fehmi that brain wave patterns shift as we shift the way we pay attention. AND the knock-on effect it has in terms of blood flow in the brain and activity in the autonomic nervous system.

      The big hit for me was in changing my thinking about my years of martial arts practise and martial ‘Nei Gong’ meditation, and how that may have contributed to my personal development outside of martial arts (I was only in it for the combat art at the time).

      Anyhows, The Open Focus Brain is definitely a book I will be re-reading.

      Best,

      James

  • Steve

    August 2, 2013

    Hi James, as usual, a thought-provoking video. I played around with an eeg monitor a couple of year’s ago thinking it might be a shortcut to achieving change but became disillusioned with my lack of success, but I will check out that book and hopefully become re-enthused.
    Steve

    • admin

      August 4, 2013

      I enjoyed the book greatly Steve.

      Regarding the applications to changework, I think that semantic and cognitive re-patterining are still very often required to get the desired results, but for those who are chronic ‘beta-wavers’ a lot can be done by slowing things down and shifting attention.

      Best,

      James

  • Mary

    August 3, 2013

    Hi James
    Interesting hmmmm……..
    I love mind it is powerful beautiful and always awe inspiring!
    I never fail to be utterly mesmerised by its mesmerising qualities (?)
    You as an artist take from its palette every day any colour in any design you choose
    Painting till your hearts content…without even noticing the brilliance of your artistry.
    Nor the unplanned dexterity with which you orchestrate the symphony of words that gracefully fall onto your path.
    What we choose to build is whatever our heart has to express. Must express.
    You are correct attention is more multi-faceted, deeper and wider than we may ever be able to fathom. Personally, like you I love a good mystery!
    I wouldn’t have it any other way……

  • John

    August 3, 2013

    Bravo James!

    Another great blog! Your curiosity and intuitive ability to ask the right questions and explore these issues is phenomenal and powerful. I sense your work and ability to use of hypnosis to facilitate change is getting ready to make a big transformational leap as you further integrate your vast understanding of consciousness. This is a very exciting time!

    As always I look forward to learning from you as you further explore these powerful topics.

    John – Illinois

  • Ellen

    August 4, 2013

    Hello James,
    What a great subject! I am looking forward to reading the book. I tend to believe that the small part of consciousness that we use to monitor our senses (five or six) utilizes various degrees of trance in order to focus “attention” on anything we might be considering at any given moment. Weather it is a book we are reading, person passing our line of sight, a sound we decide to track or any thought we have.

    I think there is a level of trance engaged in everything that this portion of our consciousness encounters; and it could be likened to, but not equated to, a scale of 0 to 100%.

    I think that in Beta the thought process tends to be more intense, because the quality of an individual’s “perceptions” regarding their environment, (be that an internal or external environment), may be more likely equated to issues of safety and security, (either mental, emotional, or physical). Thereby, as you say, triggering off the system of fight of flight.
    This, for me is the clearest sign of not just State but also “trance”, because of the way that attention gets absorbed and tends to rap around the notions and any resulting consequences of the “perceptions” triggering the State.

    I think it is important for me to engage the notion of a wider range of perception for what “trance” is. I feel that traditional definitions are very restrictive and don’t depict the true spectrum of what trance encompasses.

    Thank you again James, for the video it really starts the cogs to whirling!
    Sincerely,
    Ellen

    • admin

      August 7, 2013

      Thanks for contributing Ellen! I think that you will really enjoy the book!

      All the very best

      James

  • Peter Wright

    August 6, 2013

    As always James, very many thanks for information, the links, and the inspiration!

    I acquired Les Fehmi’s book (Kindle version) and today downloaded the audio files as well. I have just played through the one entitled “Head and Hands” and had a number of interesting experiences.
    I’ve had an increasingly arthritic area in my left wrist for some time now where the pain is chronic, although variable also. I can definitely report that it feels noticeably different. There is perception of pain, but is different.
    I’ll be interested to see (with a bit more focus) what takes place after the next exercise – he recommends doing them twice a day.

    Best wishes as always,
    Peter

    • admin

      August 7, 2013

      That’s most interesting to hear Peter! Did you ever play around with any of the NLP style pain dissolution exercises (excellently outlined in Monsters and Magical Sticks if I remember right)?

      Reading The Open Focus Brain has got me back into Chi Gong, Nei Gong and Meditation as well as playing with Open Focus in daily life (as I stroll lazily through the town). For me, it also fits (and gives a more science based explanation) for some of what the three principles crowd talk about (quieting down thought to allow innate wisdom and well being through perhaps correlating with shifting from Beta to Alpha).

      All good stuff for staying connected to creativity and general well-being!

      Best,

      James

  • A sleep cycle is about 120 minutes, 30 min each. Stage I Beta waves and taking in body position, bladder fullness etc. Stage 2 Alpha waves ideologies twitching. Stage 3 Theta waves like Tibetan monks and people on acid. Zif 268 turns on enabling gene plasticity remodeling the brain and body at the DNA level. The natural hallucinogen DMT coordinates the theta and zif268. Stage 4 is Delta wave deep sleep paralysis while the new coding sequences are expressed into proteins. Hypnosis is dragging the self-healing chemistry of sleep into the daytime, and a hypnotic sessions circles through all 4 brain wave patterns and stages of sleep.

    I will try to addendum a diagram from a conference I gave recently but I’m typing on my cellphone now!

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