The Hypnotist "Abbé Faria"
Since I have noticed that my blog has english-speaking followers, I’m going to publish a short series of article in that language. It will be the translation of an extensive article that I wrote in January 2016 for “La Revue de la prestidigitation” (“The Conjuring Review”). The translation has been done by the mentalist Eric Bertrand co-author of “Douceurs mentales” (“Mental Sweets”)
Hypnosis: History and Techniques
The hypnosis process, be it in the street or during a private party, comprises four crucial steps, known as the “Four As”: Agreement, Announcement, Accomplishment and Awakening.
You meet someone in the street to whom you state that you perform hypnosis. This is the educational part during which you explain what hypnosis really is: it is not something bizarre; it is a particular state of consciousness that people experiment several times a day, without even noticing it, when one reads and doesn’t pay attention to anyone speaking, when one is totally focused on driving a car, when one runs or meditates, etc. The only difference the subject will feel is that he will be guided while in hypnotic trance. You also explain that, unlike what most people think, unlike what the subject may have seen or heard, he will not lose his free will. You also tell him that, unlike what may happen in some shows by Messmer or other hypnotists, you will never belittle the subject nor ridicule him.
This part is what Jean-Emmanuel Combe names “pre-talk” in his book La Voix de l’Inconscient. In his own words: “As crazy as this may seem, pre-talk is the key to your success.” A good pre-talk allows the subject to alleviate his fears and fantasies regarding hypnosis and therefore to be less tense, more relaxed and ready to follow your instructions with grace.
According to hypnosis theory, any significant action that is to happen needs to be previously announced to the subject. Always give some timing indication and stick to it. And always act according to the announcement. Describe clearly the pre-hypnotic experiment you are going to carry out: for example lightness of right arm and heaviness of left arm (you announce one of the five typical pre-hypnotic phenomena: flexibility, stuck hands, ring, stuck fingers or elevator). Explain that the subject will fall into a comfortable sort of sleep. The tone of your voice is key: you must sound convinced and convincing!
Here is one part of the induction described by Jean-Emmanuel Combe in his book La Voix de l’Inconscient: “You will remain perfectly conscious and perceptive. It is simply through your imagination and your focussing that you will experience what is known as hypnotic phenomena. […] Everything becomes possible thanks to hypnosis. And even when I’ll say the word “sleep” in a short while, it will have nothing to do with sleep as you know it. It will just be a state of deep relaxation, in which you will remain perfectly lucid. You will keep on hearing everything, feeling everything. The only difference, if you accept that, is that you will experience sensations that were unheard of so far.” Explain (I do that in every session) that you will gratify the subject with a “hypnotic gift”: you will allow him to live, while under hypnosis, one of his dearest dreams. I have for example made a car racing fan experience the pleasure of driving a Ferrari on the Imola racetrack, allowed a young actress to co-star with Isabelle Huppert in a movie, etc.
That's all. I hope you enjoy it.