Why is there so much fascination with the eyes in hypnosis?
Eye fixation – that is helping somebody’s eyes to get tired and close, is a classic hypnotic induction. It involves concentration and focus, which are both ingredients of any basic hypnosis process. All the early methods of induction were based around some kind of eye fixation and getting the eyes to close. I think this is still what society generally pictures when they think of hypnosis.
Certainly looking at something for a long time at eye level or just above eye level helps to tire the eyes. There is a particularly strong connection directly between the eyes and the brain. Obviously when the eyes have closed, it shuts down all visual sensory systems and your ability to see things outside of yourself. This allows the person trying to attain hypnosis to focus more and become more aware of their internal dynamics.
I don’t particularly have a “swinging watch” like one might see in Hollywood movies. I don’t know where this idea of induction into hypnosis came from, but it certainly looks good in films and on TV. It looks intriguing and quite mysterious. Imagine someone just swinging a watch in front you and suddenly you fall asleep. Well, that is a bit strange so I can understand where people might see hypnosis as a mystery.
I suppose swinging a watch is just another way of getting someone to concentrate and focus. As they watch it move from side to side suggestions are given to relax, which together create the type of circumstances needed to go into hypnosis.
As I said, I don’t have a watch. However, I do take into consideration that in society people’s perception is generally that a hypnotist will do something that involves their eyes to help them into hypnosis. If that’s the case and a client comes into my office expecting that, then it’s useful to follow what is already in their belief system.
In my self hypnosis CDs and hypnosis downloads, we don’t go through the process of having somebody look at a particular spot so that the eyes get tired and close down. Instead, we literally ask they take a few deep breaths and close their eyes, which bypasses that process.
This means that people can relax much easier and deeper, and go into hypnosis that much quicker. Deep relaxation is after all, what hypnosis is all about.