Dave Elman and Hypno-Analysis

Dave Elman and Hypno-Analysis

To understand the history of hypnosis, we must look at the pioneering works of Dave Elman and understand how many of his methods are used in modern-day hypnosis training.  

Elman considered himself to be a “lay hypnotist” in the sense that he was not a doctor or psychotherapist, however, he taught countless doctors, dentists, therapists, and anesthesiologists his methods to inducing trance and for helping to find the root cause of problems once people were in the altered state.  Elman pioneered many techniques still used today and we invite you to read more about him here…

How did Elman contribute to modern-day Hypnotherapy?

Elman created techniques to induce trance quickly and easily.  He developed methods of induction and deepening that were proven to be very effective.  

For instance, he had a dentist who used to relax patients by putting the hand about 18 inches above the person’s face and then slowly lowering the hand while giving relaxing suggestions.  Elman realized that this was a powerful method of quickly altered another person’s state and this led to what we now call “Two-Finger Eye Closure” as a tried and true induction method for hypnosis.  

Elman also constructed carefully worded language patterns to induce light and deep hypnosis through compounding suggestions, trance logic, and induced amnesia.

What is Elman’s Hypno-Analysis?

Elman, like Freud before him, realized that the altered state could be used to elicit memories that were the cause of a person’s problems.  Unlike Freud who rejected hypnosis for his theories of psychoanalysis, Elman continued with inducing hypnosis and guiding the client back to the root of their problems.  

We have fascinated audio recordings of Elman’s actual sessions and we can hear clearly that Elman would induce hypnosis, find the cause of the problem within the subconscious mind, and then essentially tell that part of the mind that the original trauma is over and that the related symptoms can now drop away.  

While Elman’s work would be considered primitive compared to modern hypnotherapy, we can see that his insistence on finding the root cause and resolving it influenced many practitioners after his initial pioneering works.

How did Elman measure depth of trance?

Elman essentially spoke of light and deep hypnosis.  He felt that light hypnosis was simply physical relaxation with a basic level of responsiveness to suggestions.  

For instance, if Elman told someone to relax, relax their arm, and give him all of the weight of their arm while lifting it, then if that arm was truly relaxed then he said that the person was in light hypnosis.  To measure deep hypnosis, Elman induced profound mental relaxation.  

This was often measured by relaxing numbers out of the mind (series amnesia) until all numbers were temporarily gone.  When this occurred then Elman said that his client was in deep hypnosis – or mental relaxation.  

While this way of measuring depth of trance is considered rather basic in modern hypnotherapy, Elman’s simple view of the altered state actually empowered him to achieve great results with his clients and with the professionals that he trained.

We incorporate many of Elman’s techniques into our work at the Institute’s hypnotherapy training programs.  Learn more at www.InstituteofHypnotherapy.com or give us a call at 800-551-9247.

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