Creative Visualization and Self Hypnosis

The power of visualization

Creative visualization is a technique that can help to create rapid and lasting change. We use it extensively within our self hypnosis recordings, because it is such a powerful form of suggestion and will often produce good results where pure suggestion using mainly words might otherwise fail.

Visualization is probably one of the least exploited abilities that the human mind possesses; this is largely due to the fact that we are, in the Western world at any rate, very largely a watching society. We watch films and TV, our newspapers have many pictures and much is made of the value of pictorial presentation of any subject to be learnt. It is precisely our fascination with seeing things that makes creative visualization such a powerful tool. But, when it comes to self hypnosis and using the vast power of creative visualization to create positive change, the visualization needs to come from within your own mind, rather than from pictures we might draw or films you might watch.

“If you can see it, you can be it”

Athletes have a saying: “If you can see it, you can be it.” By this, they mean that if you can honestly and sensibly mentally observe yourself achieving a goal and feeling the emotion that you would feel if that goal were achieved now, then you increase your chances of achieving it.

Of course, to be viable the goal must be possible and plausible. It must be something that is physically possible and within your physical limitations. A sixty-year-old office worker who has never exercised would be most unlikely to ever be able to run 100 metres in just 10 seconds, or jump over a seven foot bar, even though others may be able to do those things. The goals, therefore, would not be viable and all the visualization in the world would not change that fact. But if the individual was 30 years old, already fit, already managing 10.5 seconds for the 100 metres or already managing to clear a bar placed at 6’ 10,”, then the picture changes somewhat. The goals definitely become viable.

Now, although we are talking here about athletes, visualization has been used by writers, musicians, people taking exams, people preparing for a public speech, and people seeking to help their immune system to fight disease…it can be used by just about anybody who wants to create change, and for just about anything. That phrase “If you can see it, you can be it”, when it is interpreted sensibly, is actually a very true statement.

When combined with self hypnosis, it becomes even more powerful

Remember, we have a natural fascination for visual stimuli; how better, then, to help create a change to the belief system than by mentally rehearsing, in our mind’s eye, achieving something that we clearly want to achieve. A useful concept is that anything you mentally rehearse in an altered state of consciousness (i.e. hypnosis) will be available for you when you need it in a normal state of consciousness.

Many world class athletes use creative visualization and self hypnosis. Many of them actually perform in a state of “trance”, as you will observe if you study them closely next time you get the chance. The biggest indicator is the fixed gaze and it is most noticeable in the sprint races. The gaze is fixed, but there is no intensity; quite often there appears to be an apparent state of relaxation, one of the indicators of hypnosis, of course.

How does creative visualization work?

Well, first we gently guide you into a nice state of hypnosis. Then we focus on the goal, using our voice to assist in the stimulation of the relevant emotional state. We can use mental rehearsal techniques to go through the actual experience in the mind and visualize the attainment of the desired goal. Emotion is of paramount importance, if we are to be successful. It is a “reward” if you like, for the visualized behaviour. Why would someone allow the change, never mind actively seek it, if it was not going to provide a reward of some sort? In this context, we are like a salesperson, selling the concept of fulfilment by inspiring you, the listener, towards enthusiasm for the change.

Creative visualization is such a powerful tool when used correctly. To do it properly we must allow actual emotional responses to be far more readily generated than with mere words alone. In fact, this is usually the case, since when we use suggestion in the form of words, the listener will often start to visualize what we are talking about anyway. By emphasising that ability and working with visualization directly, we can magnify the power of the suggestion many times.

Everyone can visualize

Some people believe that they simply cannot visualize anything, that their imagination does not allow them to create images of any sort in their “mind’s eye,”; but, that is just another error of the fundamental belief system. Visualization is linked to and used in the process of recognition, so an individual who was totally devoid of the skill would not be able to perform even the simplest of recognition tasks. They could not tell you, without looking first, whether or not a ball is a different shape to an egg, nor could they describe a film they had seen. The film, in fact, would have made no sense to them at all, since they would not have been able to remember the actors from one scene to the next.

When we are born, before we even know what language is, our brain is already a fully functioning organ. But precisely because we know no spoken language, the only way we can think is in images, in pictures. Thinking in pictures is part of  the visualization process that every human being possesses as a birthright– an ancestral skill.

So, if you believe you cannot “see” pictures in your mind’s eye, this is not strictly true — you have simply forgotten how, that is all. You have not forgotten how to do it, but you have simply forgotten how to control it. If you can think of a milk bottle and know whether it is empty or full; if you can describe your place of work; if you can remember some of the details of an ad on TV; if you know what you look like when you see yourself in the mirror (if you do not, then you get a surprise whenever you see yourself!) – these are all excellent examples of the visualization process at work. But, they seem so normal that they can go unnoticed, just like breathing or swallowing.

The “four-sense” method

Visualization is just about the most powerful form of suggestion imaginable. The more senses that are stimulated, the more realistic the image to the brain, and the easier it is to establish that all-important process of selective thought within the hypnotic state.

Just about any sort of hypnotic suggestion we might wish to give somebody can be enhanced by the use of the “four-sense” method of creative visualization. It means we include sounds, feeling, and even smells — in addition to any visual imagery. For example, imagine for a moment, that we are helping an individual who is interested in a career promotion. Suggestion will really take root if that individual can see himself or herself in his or her new office; feel what that new chair is like; smell the fresh paint; and hear themselves being addressed by their new job title.

Hopefully, you now understand and appreciate why we use creative visualization within our self hypnosis recordings. It has so many benefits! The person who wants to stop biting his or her nails, for example, will far more readily accept the suggestion that he or she will do so, if we help create a vivid image of elegantly tapered fingers and beautifully manicured fingernails. A fearful  speaker will react very favourably to the vivid image of their audience smiling and applauding, especially if that image includes the sound of the applause as well. And, when it comes to goal-achievement and sporting performance, there is little that can beat creative visualization when it is combined with self hypnosis.