Friday, April 20, 2012

Power tools of influence

With deep hypnosis and a bit of strategy, absolutely crazy things are easy - but we can't always get deep hypnosis. Sometimes people have their egos in the way, or are afraid of losing control, or whatever it is. And if you can't rewrite peoples memories, emotions, and sensory inputs at will, it becomes non trivial to create situations where they want what you want. But there are still things you can do. If they're not responding to you then find out what they do respond to and manipulate that.

On the extreme end, delerium tremens is one of the most effective cures for alcoholism there is. It's just dangerous and horribly unpleasant. I like to think of Joe Fobes' "What Do You Want" deal as pressing someone from the 'top down' until you force the higher parts to engage with the lower parts because its too painful to have them rubbing on each-other. And of course, you make sure that it's set up to favor your preferred outcome. DT is like WDYW with a hydraulic press - your life is falling apart and you need to get this shit together NOW. As a fascinating side note, they actually tried to replicate this with LSD. The early studies got similar effectiness, but for a much different reason (which is a topic for another post). Then a group tried to restrain their subjects in hospital beds - you know, in case something goes wrong! How's that for a good set and setting? They did get the horrible experiences, but it didn't cure alcoholism. No doubt because they were thinking "Fuck you crazy ass psychologists!" instead of "Alcohol is doing this to me, I need to get my life figured out".

But anyway, if you could orchestrate a DTesque complete crash (and have them blame their problem, not you!) then you'd expect similar results, even if they don't respond to you with hypnosis. Perhaps you do this by having the balls to toss out the steering wheel in a game of high stakes chicken -  or by getting your client to commit to choosing between fixing their problem and something even tougher (while in a state focused on their strength and distracted from how terrible it's gonna feel!).  Or by being be the wizard behind the curtains and set them up.

Jorgen Rasmussen uses these approaches when he finds ways to frame the problem as incompatible with the clients identity.

Joe Fobes uses this approach when he goes into clever arguing mode playing devils advocate. He'll argue that the client should keep the problem, and if they agree, he says "Great! Just pay me and leave!" The game is over when they buckle down and embrace the reasons why he's wrong.

As I've mentioned before, people are often capable of solving their own problems once they get to actually doing it. If they don't cooperate when you play nice, then shove them in the corner and don't let them out.


  1. I once agreed to be hypnotised, years ago but for what ever reason I didn't go under. It was for entertainment purposes and part way through I turned to the hypnotist and said "Sorry it's not working!" I was about to return to my seat but he said first he had to bring me out of the trance (I wasn't in one!) which left me somewhat cynical of hypnosis!

    1. There are plenty of reasons why not everyone responds to hypnosis every time, but its also common to be hypnotized without knowing it - if you're expecting it to feel more different than it actually does

      My best return subject was adamant that she was not hypnotized even as I was feeding her invisible suggestions. She was quite shocked to read over the logs later ;)