Depth of the trance

Levels or stages of hypnosis

There are almost as many methods of assessing the depth of trance as there are hypnosis experimenters.

  1. The most popular: Davis and Husband’s 30 stages.
  2. LeCron and Bordeaux: 50 stages
  3. Stanford scale: 12 stadiums
  4. Arons’ depth scale: 6 stages

At one time, only three stages were considered important: light, medium and deep. This tripartite division appeared
then seemed inappropriate. A more differentiated classification was needed to determine the stages suitable for dental treatment, surgery (minor or major), childbirth and even age regression.
This course advocates the use of Arons’ depth scale, which we will look at in detail very soon.

There are two main distinctions:

  1. The first three stages are mnestic (memory-preserving stages).
  2. The second three stages are amnestic (the stages of forgetting). These are
    is temporary selective amnesia. On emergence and with appropriate suggestions
    the client does not remember what happened under hypnosis.


Stage 1
(Hypnoidal stage)

It is so light and imperceptible that the client does not feel hypnotized at all. He feels completely awake. Simple muscle control – catalepsy of the eyelids.
A lot can be achieved even in this first stage: Weight reduction, smoking cessation, etc.

Stage 2

Deeper relaxation. Larger muscle groups can be influenced.
Arm catalepsy.. The power of critical thinking decreases.

Stage 3

Extensive control of the entire musculature. Unable to get up from chair,
cannot walk. Wouldn’t be able to articulate a number, can’t remember it!
Partial analgesia.
Most hypnotists will not work with a client if he or she is not
has reached at least stage 3.
In most cases, the first 3 stages are really the only ones that most clinical hypnotists have to deal with.

Stage 4

The beginning of the amnesic stages. Far more astonishing phenomena begin to occur here. The client will actually forget numbers, name, address, etc.
Glove analgesia – will not feel pain, but will feel touch. At this stage the client can perform most dental activities, minor procedures. (The client will still feel the airflow from the incision, but no pain).

Stage 5

Onset of somnambulism. Complete anesthesia. Will not feel pain or touch. Positive hallucinations. Sees/hears things that do not actually exist.

Stage 6

Deep somnambulism. Negative hallucinations. Negatively affects the sense of sight and hearing. Will not see/hear things that actually exist.

Four criteria for assessing the depth of trance

1. catalepsy:

(rigidity, muscular incapacity) In the first 3 stages, in various degrees.

2. Amnesia:

divided into stages 3 and 4:
difficult: Stage 3: Inability to articulate numbers.
Stage 4: will forget numbers.

3rd stage: anesthesia:

divides stages 4 and 5:
Stage 4: Analgesia – no pain, but pressure.
Stage 5: Anesthesia – neither pain nor pressure

4. hallucinations:

5. and 6. stage:
Stage 5: positive hallucinations – seeing/hearing what is not really there.
Stage 6: negative hallucinations: – not seeing/hearing what is really there.

Application of the depth tests

Depth tests are used with clients to determine the depth of analgesia/anesthesia needed for dental treatment, surgery, childbirth or age regression.
The mild stages are sufficient to induce behavioral changes and for use in conjunction with psychotherapy.
Do not proceed to the next “test” in the depth test if the previous “test” has been completed.
has failed.

Suggested sequence of depth tests:

  1. Eyelid catalepsy
  2. Arm catalepsy
  3. Number blockade
  4. Glove analgesia/anesthesia
  5. Positive hallucinations – sees clock on the wall
  6. Negative hallucinations – inability to see anyone in the room.

Reality of negative hallucinations

This is one of the most difficult ideas to grasp.

A client who is in stage 6 is told that a chair is empty, even though someone is sitting in it.
is sitting on it with their legs stretched out into the aisle. If the client were asked to move to another
person who was further behind that chair, he or she would walk over the outstretched legs.
stumble or step over them?

Answer: He would step over them, because he has to see them in order not to see them.

Hyperamnesia phenomena

Recall: of events that were forgotten in the conscious state. Must in any case in the 2nd stage
better in the 4th stage.

Normally: 2/3 will not remember, 1/3 will remember.
Under hypnosis: 2/3 will remember, 1/3 will not remember.

Age regression: reliving past events that have long been forgotten. Must be in the 5th or
5th stage, because true age regression requires the ability to hallucinate. However
pseudo-age regression can occur in stage 2.
In true regression, events are reported in the present tense as if they were happening in the here and now.
are happening. In pseudo-regression, events are reported in both the past tense and the present tense.
in the present tense. (“My teacher in the 5th grade was called Mrs. Schmidt” versus “My teacher
in the 5th grade is called Mrs. Schmidt”).

Age regression value: can help the client retrieve repressed material. You
can shorten the therapy. Hypnotists must ensure that the use of the
age regression does not interfere with the application of psychology or medicine .
in their very own field Age regression should only be used by hypnotists with appropriate skills, experience and expertise
and references.

Justification: The client may go back to any period of their life where a
traumatic event has taken place (death, serious illness). This can be various
behaviors, such as crying or hysteria, which even an experienced hypnotist
can be difficult to handle.

Past life regression: very controversial. More on this topic in the lesson “Regression”

Sensory hyperaesthesia

Accentuation of the senses
All five senses can become hyperacute through hypnotic suggestion.

Example: People who are hard of hearing or have a problem with their eyesight can experience a temporary improvement (of approximately 15 to 20 %) under hypnosis.
The sense of touch can be maximized. The fingers can be influenced so that they appear to touch something very hot/cold. However, stories that they “glowed” due to suggestion are unproven.
The sense of taste or smell can also be affected. In the 4th stage, a client (under suggestion) can perceive water as alcohol and can behave as if they were drunk.
Water can smell like expensive perfume.

Post-hypnotic phenomena can be very strong. They begin in stage 2 with arm catalepsy. However, the arm will only remain in the air for a short period of time.
The deeper a client can go into hypnosis, the longer (generally) a post-hypnotic suggestion will last, but usually no longer than 48 hours without reinforcement. This is the main reason why self-hypnosis is taught: to enable clients to reinforce suggestions.


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