Automatic writing technique

Introduction to

Automatic writing can be defined as a script that the writer produces involuntarily and sometimes without being aware of the process, despite being awake and alert.

In hypnosis, during automatic writing (AE), the subject is usually unaware of what has been written. He knows on a cognitive level what has been written, but is unable to process it on an emotional level. (Dr. Milton Erickson).

Everything we have experienced and felt in our lives, whether we are aware of it or not, is burned into our memory and can be recalled under the right conditions. This must be taken into account in order to understand automatic writing. The best examples of automatic writing are the things scribbled on the notepad next to the phone.

The fascination

You will find very little information about automatic writing in the “Hypnosis” section of the library. You can find it in the “Spiritism” section.
You’ll find fascinating stories of people who have written things they seem to have no idea about in their normal state. This writing was created in a form of dissociation. The most famous of these stories is that of Patience Worth, which took place 60 years ago.
This story is about a 32-year-old woman Johan Curran who lived in St. Louis, Missouri. She obviously had no culture, education or literary talent. Using a Ouija board and automatic writing, she apparently generated a text of great literary quality. This text was allegedly written by a person named Patience Worth, who emigrated to the United States in the 17th century. This text, written in an archaic literary style, was written as quickly as the hand would allow and resulted in several volumes of poetry and prose. The text has been compared to Longfellow and Bryant and some even thought it was written by Shakespeare.
There are many other interesting stories to read, but as hypnotists we are interested in automatic writing as an important exploratory technique to help us access the subconscious mind.

Clinical application (dissociation)

Dr. William Kroger defines “dissociation” as the inherent ability of a hypnotic client to detach from their immediate environment. Dissociation can of course also take place on non-hypnotic levels. We know that dissociation can be used in hypnosis to remove a part of the body, such as the jaw, from consciousness and thus create anesthesia in dental treatment. The client can be conditioned to believe that a body part is not his own, that he is not responsible for it and has no control over its function. This dissociation, when induced in the preferential hand and arm, is the basis of automatic writing.
Automatic writing is a useful technique for exploring unconscious things. It is a valuable tool for hypnotists. It often seems to be more useful than verbal answers to questions asked in hypnosis. This may be because the hypnotized client accepts the suggestion that his hand and arm are not really his and therefore he is not responsible for what he writes. Dies kann daran liegen, dass der hypnotisierte Klient die Suggestion akzeptiert, dass seine Hand und sein Arm nicht wirklich seine sind und er daher nicht für das verantwortlich ist, was er schreibt. This makes it easier to express in writing anything painful that triggers feelings of shame or that would otherwise be difficult to bring out. However, when speaking under hypnosis, the client is unlikely to be able to dissociate their throat or voice to the same extent as when writing, and is less able to express deep emotions.

Intended use

1. to quickly obtain the client’s own explanations for illusions, fears, compulsions and hallucinations.
2. it is a means of bringing fantasy into real expression.
3. it is a means of retrieving things that have been repressed or suppressed.
4. it is used to preserve impressions from childhood.
5. it is used to uncover conflicts and resistance to change.
6. it is a way to discover hidden talents.
7. it is a supplement to analysis.

The danger

A customer may be afraid of his inability to evaluate the written text correctly. Sometimes the writing is illegible, fragmentary, enigmatic, sometimes it is abbreviated.
Caution: Do not use automatic handwriting with a depressed customer.

The technique

This method can be used in private practice or in public lecture demonstrations with three to four clients.
Hypnotic automatic writing is created by hypnotizing a client (deeply, for optimal results) and dissociating their preferred hand and arm. When he is in a trance state, he is told that he can write without being aware of what his hand is doing. A demonstration of automatic writing can be carried out as follows:
Two or more clients are placed in front of the audience and before they are hypnotized, in a state of awakening, they are asked a series of questions relating to their childhood, such as
1. what was your best friend’s name in first grade?
2. who sat directly behind you in third grade?
3. what was the first thing you bought for yourself as a child?
4. which present did you prefer on your fourth birthday?
5. what was your first phone number?
Clients can rarely answer more than one or two questions before they are hypnotized.
Clients are then hypnotized and conditioned to dissociate their preferred hand and arm, and are told that they can easily write by hand without being aware of what they are writing.

How to use

Choose an induction method, then deepen the hypnotic trance. Give the following suggestions:
In a moment I will begin to count from 5 to 1…At 1 you will open your eyes and remain in deep hypnosis…The hand and arm you are using to write will now seem strange to you, it will be as if it is independent of the rest of your body, as if it is no longer part of you…At the same time you will find it quite pleasant…I will place a pencil in your dominant hand and it will be able to write as if it has a mind of its own, automatically.
You won’t have to concentrate or strain, you’ll feel as if a force is moving her. While it’s moving, you won’t know what you’re writing… The things you should remember will only have a pleasant meaning for you (say this only when demonstrating in public, when working with an individual client you should expect unpleasant and traumatic things to be revealed). If something about the feedback bothers you, simply ignore the question. You feel that your dominant hand does not belong to you, you realize that you know the answers to my questions, and later you can read the answers… I place a pencil in your dominant hand, hold it in your dominant hand… When I ask you the question, you write the answer on the pad your arm is on.
NOTE- During the demonstration you should ask the client to read a book or magazine aloud and talk to a chosen person from the audience- this is a distraction and usually the audience finds it incredible that the client can continue this activity while answering the questions in writing.
After you have read the questions, proceed as follows:
Stop what you are doing, close your eyes and go into deep hypnosis…You feel your dominant hand as part of your body again…You feel it normally…In a moment, when I bring you back from this state, you will understand what you have written and you will grasp the meaning.
Once the clients are out of hypnosis, compare the answers written in hypnosis with the answers given before hypnosis. (Note: In demonstrations at various congresses where 4 clients were asked 4 questions: before hypnosis the typical result of the group was 4 answers out of a maximum of 16, while under hypnosis and using automatic writing the group was able to give a total of 10 answers).


Automatic writing is an exciting technique to observe and has enormous therapeutic potential. As a reminder, if you are using automatic writing for demonstration purposes, the questions should only have pleasant associations.
If you are working with a client in private, you need to let them know that bringing things out of the unconscious can be emotionally disturbing and should only be done by a qualified person. This is an area where clinical psychologists and psychiatrists have an underutilized technique of great diagnostic and therapeutic value. They should use it more generally, whether they perform hypnosis themselves or with the help of qualified hypnotists.


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