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Neuro-Hypnosis:

Trusting and Activating Unconscious


Processes as Resources


Presented by

C. Alexander Simpkins, PhD
&
Annellen M. Simpkins, PhD




annellenandalex@radiantdolphinpress.com

VISIT OUR FACEBOOK PAGES!
Annellen M. Simpkins, PhD & C. Alexander Simpkins, PHD
The Dao of Neuroscience
Neuro-Hypnosis
Meditation for Therapists and Their Clients
Meditation and Yoga in Psychotherapy


About the presenters: C. Alexander Simpkins, PhD and Annellen M. Simpkins, PhD are
psychologists specializing in meditation, hypnotherapy, and neuroscience. The Simpkins
are authors of 28 books, many of them bestsellers and translated into more than 20
foreign languages. Their most recent books are Yoga and Mindfulness Therapy
Workbook (PESI, 2014), Neuroscience for Clinicians (Springer, 2012) and Tao of Bipolar
(New Harbinger, 2013). They are also authors of Neuro-Hypnosis (Norton, 2010), Zen
Meditation in Psychotherapy (Wiley, 2011), Meditation and Yoga in Psychotherapy
(Wiley, 2010), The Dao of Neuroscience (Norton, 2010), Meditation for Therapists and
Their Clients (Norton, 2009), They have three book-CD combinations: Self-Hypnosis for
Women with Audio CD (Radiant Dolphin Press, 2004), Effective Self-Hypnosis with
Audio CD (Radiant Dolphin Press, 2001), and Meditation from Thought to Action with
Audio CD (Radiant Dolphin Press, 2006). They are also authors of the acclaimed Simple
Series on Eastern philosophies published by Tuttle Publishing: Simple Zen, Simple
Taoism (1999), Simple Buddhism (2000), Simple Confucianism (2001) & Simple Tibetan
Buddhism, (2002). Forthcoming are Core Principles of Meditation for Therapy: (Multi-
media from Wiley, 2016) and Resistance, Rebellion, and Growth (Springer, 2016).

Dr.s Simpkins have been practicing hypnotherapy and meditative therapy for more than
three decades and have taught their hypnotic and meditative methods to facilitate
mind-brain change in people of all ages. They have been involved in neuroscience for 18
years and teach Tae Chun Do, a martial art that includes meditation to address mind,
body, and spirit. They present workshops on hypnosis, meditation, and neuroscience all
around the world and have taught their methods at state mental hospitals, and
university campuses. The Simpkins have performed psychotherapy and hypnosis
research and studied personally with hypnosis masters Milton H. Erickson, Ernest Rossi,
G. Wilson Shaffer, and Harold Greenwald. Psychotherapy and research teachers include
Jerome D. Frank, Carl Rogers, and Lawrence Kubie. Their neuroscience teachers are
Vilayanur Ramachandran, Jaime Pineda, Paul Churchland, Stephen Anagnostaras, and
William Bechtel. And they learned meditative methods from Alan Watts, Charlotte
Selver, the Kwan Um School of Zen, and the Integral Yoga Institute with Swami
Satchidananda. Their Eastern philosophy influence along with their commitment to
continual learning and therapeutic effectiveness have helped them to look at things
through the crystal of a unique vision, which they bring to you with warmth and clarity
in their books and seminars.
The Wise Unconscious: Using What Comes Naturally
Exerted from Simpkins & Simpkins book
Neuro-Hypnosis: Using Self-Hypnosis to Activate the Brain for Change

Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free:
Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing.
This is the ultimate.
(The great Taoist sage, Zhuangzi in Hyams, 1982, 57)

Mysterious, elusive, seeming to escape rational explanation, the unconscious
holds a certain fascination. Today, thanks to the new technology for studying the brain,
we have mounting scientific evidence that many important brain processes are
unconscious. The unconscious serves important functions of intelligence. Hypnosis
works through these unconscious processes and allows you to draw from the great
reservoir of brain-mind potential.

Evidence for the Unconscious from the Two Hemispheres of the Brain
At first, it was believed scientifically that unconscious processes could not be
intelligent. But brain research about the two hemispheres of the brain performed in the
1950s, 60s and 70s gave one of the earliest sources of evidence that this might not be
the case. Neuroscientists studied patients who had damage to one side or the other, as
well as those who have had the connecting tissue, the corpus callosum, severed during
surgery to help stop the devastating effects of epilepsy. They discovered that many
structures seemed to be repeated on both sides, offering different options for
awareness.
In the early years, neurologists evaluated that the left side, which seemed to
control language and complex cognitive abilities that are involved when we think
carefully about things, was the most important side for intelligent functioning. Rational,
conscious, deliberate thinking was believed to be all we really need. But evidence

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gradually emerged to indicate that the right hemisphere might be important for
intelligent functioning, as well. Research in England during World War II revealed that
right hemisphere damaged patients were deficient in a number of ways. They had
trouble finding their way back to their rooms on the wards and even had problems
putting on their clothes. It became clear that the two hemispheres had unique ways of
conceptualizing and responding to stimulation. Each left and right hemisphere has its
own private chain of memories and learning experiences that are inaccessible to recall
by the other hemisphere. In many respects, each disconnected hemisphere appears to
have a separate mind of its own (Sperry in Springer & Deutsch 1981, 52).
We now know that the two hemispheres have unique cognitive properties, each
with its own strengths. The left is specialized for language, speech, and problem solving,
and thus sometimes equated with conscious processing. The right is specialized for
visual and spatial processing. It also constructs a representation of the visual world. In
some ways the right hemisphere is more visually intelligent than the left, but since the
right hemisphere is not associated with language, we are often less aware of its
processes. For example, people who are good at finding their way around, even in a
strange city, often do so in an intuitive, somewhat non-rational way. This kind of
knowing is intelligent, but differs from consciously knowing details; for example, that a
place you are looking for is located 2.4 miles north on highway 5. So, memories of
pictures and orientation in space are processed in the right hemisphere, while memories
that call for language, meanings, and concepts are processed in the left hemisphere.
Both ways of knowing are intelligent and helpful, but one is explicit and conscious. The
other is implicit and often unconscious. Clearly, human intelligence may come from
multiple parts and functions of the brain. Hypnosis enlists both sides of the brain to
activate more capacities than simple conscious, deliberate action might be able to
achieve.

More Evidence for the Unconscious Comes from Brain Damaged Patients

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The way our memory works has served as another source for understanding the
unconscious. Henry Gustav Molalson (1926-2008), best known by his initials, H. M.,
brought new understandings about memory, learning, and the unconscious. Back in the
1950s, H. M. underwent an elective surgery to deal with epilepsy. His surgeon, William
Beecher Scoville, had found the epilepsy to be located in the left and right medial
temporal lobes. Based on the limited understanding of brain functioning in those days,
he decided that the best way to prevent the epilepsy was to remove two thirds of H.
M.s hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, and amygdala. Nobody predicted the
serious effects this surgery would have on H. M.s memory. The surgeon immediately
recognized the deficits following the surgery and began testing his patient. (Schoville &
Milner, 1957). H. M. could not form any new lasting memories, suffering from what is
known as anterograde amnesia. Surprisingly, even though H. M. could not learn new
facts or recall what he did, he could learn new skills. The task he was given was called
the mirror-tracing task, where he was taught to trace a pattern. He did the task every
day, and each day he had to be instructed anew, from the beginning, as if it were the
first day. But paradoxically, his skills improved, showing that some learning can take
place unconsciously, He could learn how to do something, even though he had no
memory of what he had learned. From many years of study with H. M., we have gained
strong evidence for the idea that there are different functional areas in the brain, some
operating with full consciousness as they occur, and others working intelligently and
unconsciously, without any awareness of them doing so. Learning what does indeed
seem to be distinct from learning how.
The modern system of memory is generally considered two separate but
interacting systems, each with its own neural counterparts. One system is conscious,
declarative and semantic; the other is unconscious, non-declarative and implicit. These
systems have their own unique logic: Conscious recall for declarative, and unconscious
performance for non-declarative. Conscious declarative memory and learning occur in
different brain areas than unconscious procedural memory and learning. The quality of
attention can influence how well we learn and remember, but sometimes learning can

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take place without deliberately paying attention. Emotions also affect these processes,
engaging the limbic structures. And right-left hemisphere processes differ as we have
described. Thus, unconscious functioning is complex and varied, thereby offering a
wealth of skills and capacities to be utilized in self-hypnosis to help you foster change.

Evidence for the Unconscious from Studies of Perception and Attention
Our senses take in a great deal of information, but consciousness is limited, only
registering a few bits of information at a time. Our immediate short-term memory
capacity tends to be no more than seven plus or minus two bits of information at one
time. Anything beyond this goes unnoticed consciously, but research shows that it is
registered unconsciously. The unconscious continually absorbs much more information
than consciousness perceives at any given moment. This ability is used when a witness
to a crime is hypnotized to recall details of the event. The witness might seem unable to
remember certain specifics, such as a license number, but under hypnosis the entire
scene can be visualized or even imaginatively revisited. Although there can be errors in
recollection, sometimes a memory retrieved in trance includes more than what was
conscious recalled. More information can be perceived through the senses and stored
unconsciously, outside of awareness.
Even when we dont pay attention to an input, it has still been perceived. If we
dont interfere consciously, we will perceive and remember even a single presentation
of an item. These processes do not involve any intervention from our conscious
attention. In certain situations, we receive unattended information without registering
it, especially when our attention is directed towards something else. And this
unattended information, even though it remains outside of conscious awareness, can
influence our behavior, thoughts, learning, and emotions (Posner, 1978). Researchers
devised a way to test how unattended information is processed, called priming. Priming
research has shown us how stimuli that are not deliberately, consciously attended to
can enhance learning from unconscious processing. As noted neuroscience researchers
Squire & Kandel (2000, p, 160) stated, Primings key feature is that it is unconscious.

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Priming refers to improved speed, accuracy, or efficiency in the ability to identify
words or objects after having a recent experience with them. People respond more
rapidly and fully to stimuli previously experienced than to completely new experiences.
This ability is called implicit memory and it results from priming. Implicit memories
improve our performance on a task, without the need of any conscious or intentional
recollection of those experiences.
The brain acts differently when exercising these unconscious processes. PET
images of individuals doing a task following priming reveal a reduction in activity in the
visual cortex, specifically in the posterior occipital lobe. When priming occurs, the visual
system has already processed part of the learning and so, less higher processing is
required. These processes occur more quickly and efficiently than those that use
conscious thinking because the priming effect for visual stimuli is processed earlier in
the visual pathway.
The effects of priming can last for decades. For example, Mitchell and Brown
showed that normal subjects retained priming effects for one week, as might be
expected. But seventeen years later they retested some of their 1988 priming subjects
and found these original subjects did significantly better with the primed material, and
also showed a significant improvement over controls (Mitchell, 2006). Amazingly, these
subjects had retained their priming effects all those years! Thus, unconscious changes
you make can be efficient, stable, and lasting.

Unconscious Input in Everyday Life
Like priming, all kinds of inputs are registered continually without our being
aware of them during everyday life. For example, as you read the words on this page,
you are probably not aware of your foot. But now that "foot" is mentioned you might
notice that yours is cold or warm, light or heavy or perhaps feels tingly. As your
attention turns there, you can perceive your foot experience. Sensation in your foot was
always present, but when thoughts were directed elsewhere these feelings were
unconscious. Attention makes your perception conscious, but the experience exists

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whether consciously perceived or not. Unconscious perception is similar to the old
philosophical question: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it
make a sound? We know that people can have experiences with thoughts about the
experience, even though the experience is unconscious, because these thoughts can be
recalled later.
Memories, concepts and learning experienced over the years are retained
unconsciously. As children grow they learn how to walk, read, and write. With each
stage of development, certain skills and abilities are mastered; earlier ones are
incorporated or transformed. This requires applications of intelligence, emotional
maturity, and body coordination.
Abilities are stored, not just as the specific, actual learned skill, but also as a
more generalized potential to learn how to learn. For example, skills used to form
letters of the alphabet in early childhood are taken for granted as an adult, yet those
abilities such as making lines, circles, and the spaces between in combinations may be
applied later as an architect, an artist, or a builder. These implicit processes comprise
learning and understandings you may have applied in different contexts throughout
your life. Connections can be made without conscious effort in hypnosis.

Neuroscience of Automatic Habits
Daily routine becomes automatic, regulated by unconscious processes. The
wake-up alarm goes off in the morning and you automatically shut it off. You walk so
naturally and easily that you may never think about the complex links between mind,
brain, and body coordinating unconsciously, unless something goes wrong, and you
have a problem. Try to remember yesterday's activities. Some events are murky and
difficult to recall. But after concentration you probably reclaim more and more details as
you bring automatic activities into your awareness. Once a habit is learned, by simply
thinking about the goal it can be carried out. Then the whole set of processes is
triggered as we carry out the action effortlessly. This is how we are able to leap ahead,
without needing to think about the intervening steps.

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The areas of the brain involved in carrying out habits are the cerebellum and
basal ganglia. Both are part of sub-cortical motor processing. Habit learning uses very
different areas from declarative learning. Declarative learning involves the hippocampus
where new memories are stored. Habits involve the caudate nucleus, one of the parts of
the basal ganglia that is involved in learning movement.

The Neurobiology of Conscious-Unconscious Pathways in Vision
Vision affords another way for distinguishing between conscious and
unconscious pathways. Visual information flows in two pathways: a ventral and dorsal
pathway. These two pathways tend to process information differently. What something
is and how it is represented in form, such as its color or shape is processed through the
ventral pathway, the whatness of what is seen consciously by deliberately pay attention
to and understanding what is seen. Where something is and how to move to its location
in space is processed through the dorsal visual-motor pathway, the objects whereness
in relation to us processed unconsciously, without explicit knowledge or understanding
but instead with a sense of its spatial relationships to our body. When the dorsal
pathway is the dominant process, we can make an accurate response to an object
without consciously understanding how or why, such as reaching a hand out effortlessly
to catch a ball.
Both conscious and unconscious processing have their use, and so it makes sense
to develop both. Some tasks, or situations produce better results if processed
consciously, and others will have superior results with unconscious processing. Often,
best results come from a combination of the two. Thus, in self-hypnosis you will find
your own unique conscious-unconscious balance to utilize either pathway as an access
point.

The Psychology of the Unconscious
Psychology has described and worked with the unconscious processes as tools
for psychotherapy. Freud first made the unconscious famous, as the repository of

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repressed memories, and this is still an important component for the psychology of the
unconscious. But as neuroscience has shown, we know that the unconscious serves
more positive functions, adding to our intelligence and sensitivity.

Unconscious as Intuition
Intuition expresses the poetry of the unconscious. We can think of intuition as
the psychological function that transmits perceptions in an unconscious way. Intuitive
processing can be an intelligent pathway to sophisticated understandings, and so it can
be a valuable skill to develop.
Aristotle believed intuitive functioning is an extremely complex process, based
on our ability to sense and perceive at a basic level, retain sense perception, and
systematize these sense perceptions. Thus, intuition intelligently synthesizes data. Since
the synthesis occurs outside of awareness, people know something without knowing
how they know it. Intuition appears to work backwards, with conclusions reached
before premises.
People experience uncanny hunches, spontaneous familiarity, or insightful
realizations. Intuitive truth is usually recognized, not learned. Most people are aware of
having intuitions. Some rely on them. Intuitions may be extremely clear for some
people, vague to others. Intuitions involve sensitivity to nonverbal, non-rational
phenomena. Some believe this sensitivity is a more accurate way of knowing realitys
truth. Self-hypnosis evokes the use of intuitive mental faculties, permitting them to
develop.
Both consciousness, through awareness and rationality, and unconsciousness, through
intuition and unconscious experiencing, are important.

Associative Qualities of the Unconscious
The unconscious synthesis often occurs within a stream of associations, a free
flow of natural, active, creative processing without intervention of conscious purpose.

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The unconscious makes associations just outside of awareness throughout the day. This
process is extremely useful in hypnosis and trance processes.
William James carefully defined and described associative principles. When two
brain processes have been active at the same time or in immediate succession, one
tends to excite the other. This is basis for the law of association (James 1896). On the
neuronal level, when two things become associated, neurons involved in both fire
together, and as the association is repeated, the wiring between them becomes
stronger.
Association by similarity occurs from the free flow of thoughts. Similar ideas
become linked, forming compounds that link to other ideas. Seemingly dissimilar ideas
can end up mentally connected. Learning influences some of these associative
processes. For example, if we mention the word swallow, ornithologists will think of
birds, throat specialists will think of throat diseases, and thirsty people might realize
how much they want a drink of water. Associations are also influenced by how recent,
vivid, or congruent the ideas are. All in all, the process of association is complex and
multi-faceted.
Despite its complexities, the flow of unconscious associations is not random, but
evolves from your individuality. Patterns of association reflect your past, including likes
and dislikes, conflicts and agreements, needs, actualities and expectancies. Many other
external and internal experiences can be crystallized through associative metaphors.
Learning takes place in therapeutic trance. Sometimes learning leads to an
original discovery. Other times we assimilate, recombine, or restructure old
understandings. New possibilities and changes follow from recombining and
interspersing of meaning into the associative processes of the unconscious mind.

Dreams: Free Flow of Images
Unconscious processing has been described thus far in terms of thought. But
sometimes the unconscious is manifested as images or pictures. These images often
reflect deep levels of inner experience, unknown to consciousness. A single picture can

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encode many possible meanings and learning. In dreams, a few images can symbolize a
lengthy scenario.
Dreams occur spontaneously and yet meaningfully in trance. For example, a
hypnotherapy client of ours had a vivid image in trance of a woman wearing a dark
shawl. Upon awakening she felt puzzled as she described her image. Therapeutic
exploration brought out the connection to her Italian background and her feelings about
her mother who had been sedentary and withdrawn. This client was involved in many
community organizations, having decided early in her life to be different from her
mother. The symbolic image brought forth associations that helped her to better
understand and moderate her tendency to over-commit herself
Sometimes dream images are misleading. One client had a recurring dream of a
frightening monster chasing her. Night after night she was repeatedly terrified by the
dream. She was a very quiet, sweet person who always tried to be considerate, kind and
warm. She rarely got angry and found such emotions difficult to accept. As she worked
in therapy she began to conceive the monster not as a foreign body attacking her, but
rather as her own angry feelings. She had crystallized her conflict into a symbolic image.
After she accepted this, she was able to include more of her personality into her
everyday life and stopped having nightmares. This symbol from her unconscious, though
feared and avoided, turned out to hold the key to resolving her difficulty. The
unconscious can express a complex emotional conflict in one seemingly terrifying image.
Dreams have also inspired great discoveries. Kekule's breakthrough of the
benzene ring structure emerged from a dream. He was struggling day after day, trying to
uncover a configuration to account for the unique properties of benzene. One night he
fell asleep working on his calculations and had a dream of a snake twirling around,
chasing its own tail. Eventually the spinning snake caught its tail and turned as a circle.
When Kekule awoke, he knew that he had solved the problem. Benzene arranges its
molecules as a ring, a possibility he had previously overlooked! He returned to the data
and was able to empirically show the validity of his insight, still accepted today. Kekules
unconscious synthesized the intellectual understandings into a symbol he could

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consciously trace back to the data. Dreams can be a source of creative ideas and a
means for working out difficulties and envisioning new possibilities.
Our approach to self-hypnosis uses this theory of dreams. Dreams may symbolically
represent our needs and concerns. You can utilize this valuable communication youre
your unconscious in trance to resolve difficulties and expand potential. Research has
shown hypnotic hallucinations are similar in character to natural dreams, and so both
are equally effective windows into the unconscious. Self-hypnosis can help to tap this
potential.

How Assumptions, Beliefs, Attitudes, and Expectations Lead to Self-Suggestions
People predict and anticipate events using assumptions, beliefs, attitudes, and
expectations. Some assumptions are unconscious, taken for granted as true, without
correction from awareness. Attitudes deriving from these assumptions remain relatively
stable, coloring and influencing our interactions with the environment. For example,
when people have catastrophic expectations, they may give themselves self-suggestions
that they cant handle such a stressful situation. This idea, leads to maladaptive
behaviors and failures. The process can work in a positive way as well where self-
suggestions associated with positive expectancies, helps people take courageous actions
that meet difficult circumstances hopefully and confidently.
Assumptions and beliefs and the corresponding self-suggestions may be learned
from family and friends, religion, culture, and school, often without being consciously
evaluated. Others evolve from the intrapersonal, the interaction of one's own
personality with the world. For example, most people think carefully and then choose a
profession, but personal beliefs and attitudes about work are often taken for granted
and unconscious. People who believe that work is a struggle, an uncomfortable ordeal
will often leading to their being nonproductive at work, a negative byproduct of their
negative self-suggestion. Those who treat work as personal commitment and devotion,
an essential meaning for their life, will often achieve more and feel happier working.
Attitudes change somewhat as life passes, as well. For example, at retirement age, work

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has a different meaning than at twenty. These attitudes and values may have evolved
from personal inner dynamics, from interpretations of the parent's way of dealing with
work, or from response to outer circumstance, like a devastating war. Whatever the
origins, our beliefs, values, and assumptions influence the kinds of real life actions we
perform. Hypnosis allows us to modify our assumptions and form new suggestions to
make alterations for our benefit.

The Unconscious Quality of Emotions
Emotions also have a strong influence on learning and memory. Our evaluations
of inputs, whether we like or dislike something, or whether an input is associated with a
traumatic or uncomfortable past experience, will have a profound effect on how we
learn and remember. Emotional learning is highly linked to the amygdala, and the
response is often unconscious (Williams, Morris, McGlone, Abbott, & Mattingley, 2004).
Just having an emotional response can increase or decrease the strength of
learning. Even when emotions are unconscious, they influence how well we learn. In
one experiment, students were exposed to certain shapes flashed too fast for conscious
recognition. Later when given a memory test, they performed better with shapes they
had seen unconsciously. They also felt more positive about these shapes, even though
they did not know why (Squire & Kandel, 2000). Hypnosis can draw upon these
emotional factors to facilitate therapeutic learning, and we will guide you to enlist your
emotions as a way to help you.

Testing Hypnotic Unconscious Learning
Without awareness, the mind can take in information unconsciously, then
process it and learn new skills, and retaining the learning for many years. Unlike
conscious processes, which employ aware, deliberate thinking, unconscious mind
performs cognitive processing without awareness or deliberate thinking, responding
more quickly. This processing does need language and semantic processing, and does
not need to rely on explicit sequential logic.

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We decided to test these two types of learning for therapeutic change by
comparing a conscious, insight form of cognitive therapy with unconscious
hypnotherapy (Simpkins & Simpkins, 2008). Before therapy began, each subject
specified a psychological problem, the target complaint to work on. The subjects were
divided into two groups: One receiving hypnotherapy where work was done
unconsciously without any mention of the problem directly. The other group received a
cognitive form of therapy where the problem was discussed and analyzed. All subjects
were tested before and after the 6 sessions of treatment. We found that statistically,
both groups improved equally well. But the closing interviews asking subjects to specify
what they had learned from treatment revealed some interesting differences. Everyone
expressed satisfaction that they had gained new psychological tools, but the two groups
reported receiving different skills. As one might expect, the cognitive therapy
participants felt that their awareness acted as a distinct guide to sense situations, notice
reactions, and trace feelings and thoughts. Im looking at feelings as opposed to surface
thoughts. I can examine them since I am aware of them, remarked one cognitive
therapy participant. Another said, Its the awareness: stopping, stepping back, away
from being immersed in it all, to look at it from the outside. Im noticing things more
and making an effort to observe my surroundings.
The hypnosis participants also felt that they had gained a way to know
themselves by trusting and using their unconscious processes as a tool. Often they
experienced this as simply happening without quite knowing why. One participant said,
Things are just kind of happening; Im not sure why, but I am more relaxed, and I can
trust my intuitive self. Another said, My unconscious has opened up more and it does
more. This feels good. The tools this group acquired tended to be an intuitive ability to
sense their inner needs and a willingness to listen to their inner voice.
Despite the differences in treatment methods, participants developed some
similarities. Many hypnosis participants expressed the same ability to be objective as
the insight participants. One hypnosis subject said, It feels like something, a clouded
something in me that has helped me stand back and look at things more objectively and

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be more relaxed instead of getting freaked out. I cant pinpoint what it is. Both groups
felt they gained objectivity, but they experienced it coming from different sources: the
cognitive group from a clear awareness and the hypnosis group from a supportive
unconscious. Both groups felt they gained greater understanding of themselves and
their problems.
Thus, unconscious processing can be individualized, intelligently oriented, and
sophisticated. Sensitizing to its subtle facets is a key to building self-hypnotic skills.

Conclusion
The mind-brain is capable of functioning without just one set of fixed
assumptions or meaning sense. Freed from the bonds of preconception, you have an
opportunity to make new connections, leading to new potentials. Hypnosis can allow
you to bypasses limitations to bring about something different. In an altered
consciousness, you have opportunities for open, creative moments. Now that you have
familiarized yourself with the positive potential of the unconscious, you can begin to
make this potential truly useful in your life.


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Neuro-Hypnosis: Trusting and


Activating Unconscious Processes
as Resources

C. Alexander Simpkins, PhD
Annellen M. Simpkins, PhD

Saturday, March 29, 2014 1:00-4:15 pm

annellenandalex@radiantdolphinpress.com

simpkins.radiantdolphinpress.com

Hypnosis and the


Brain

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Quick Overview of the Brain


Three Dimensionally

Brain in 3-D

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Brainstem and Cerebellum at


the Base

Basal Ganglia & Limbic


System Deep Within

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Cortex Outer Layer

The Intimate Mind-Body Link


Through the Nervous System

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Recognizing the Mind-Body Link

Lemon

Ideomotor

Using the Mind-Body Link

Visualize
relaxation

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How Hypnosis
Changes the Brain

Hypnotic Dual Aect: Relaxation & Absorption

w Two processes
are experienced
simultaneously:
Relaxation and
Absorption
(focused Relaxation Related Decreases
attention)

w We see two
corresponding
groups of brain
areas that are Absorption Related increases
involved Rainville et al., 2002)

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Brain Areas Involved in Hypnosis


The somatosensory cortex is deactivated
Results in less pain and less concern for pain
(Spiegel, 2008)
Activation is heightened in anterior cingulate
cortex and parts of the thalamus (Damasio,
2000)
Correlates with emotional regulation and
absorption.

Deactivation in brainstem and other thalamic


areas (Rainville et al., 2002)
Correlates with sensory experiencing and
relaxation

Lower blood ow to cortical regions in


frontal lobes (Rainville et al., 2002)
May account for suspension of conscious
judgment that opens the mind to accept
suggestions.
Higher arousal in occipital lobes (Rainville et
al., 2002).
Accounts for vivid visual imagery

Default Mode Network Findings

Hypnosis compared to autobiographical mental imagery


Hypnotic decreases in Task Mode Network
Less uni-lateral frontal-parietal-temporal cortical connectivity
Hypnotic increases in the Default Mode Network
More connectivity in bilateral angular and middle frontal gyri
(Demetzi et al., 2011)
DFM increases connections between medial parts of frontal,
parietal, and temporal lobes
Open-ended daydreaming, used in Ericksonian hypnosis, with
nothing in mind, activates two streams: DMN & Executive
system in PFC
Enhances problem solving
Brings creative solutions
(Christo et al., 2008)

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Hypnosis & Executive Control


Posner & Rothbart (2011) propose
neuroscience ndings indicate that hypnosis
involves greater reliance on early developing
orienting network
Results in being more capable of working with
suggestion

These ndings support the clinical use of


hypnosis
Problems arise from our conscious limitations
Return to the intuitive, felt-sense experiencing to
bypass problems and discover a new source for self
understanding

Similarities & Dierences


Between Hypnosis & Meditation

Both have a dual eect with some dierences:


Relaxation and focused attention in meditation
Relaxation and absorption in hypnosis

Dierences
High gamma band coherence in meditation (Hankey, 2006)
Brain dissociation (low gamma band coherence) in hypnosis
(Egner, Jamieson, & Gruzelier, 2005)

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How Hypnosis with Suggestion


Reduces Conict

Suggestion in hypnosis, Stroop eect


can be bypassed (Simpkins &
Simpkins, unpublished research)

(Campbell, Blinderman, Lifshitz &


Raz, 2012)

Typically conict is monitored by


cingulate gyrus, the bridge between
the PFC and limbic system

Hypnosis bypasses these systems by


taking away the conict

Stroop Test

RED BLUE GREEN

BLACK YELLOW ORANGE

PURPLE BROWN RED

BLACK GREEN BLUE

9
9/26/15

Stroop Test 2

RED BLUE GREEN

BLACK YELLOW ORANGE

PURPLE BROWN RED

BLACK GREEN BLUE

Principles
for Activating The
Intelligent
Unconscious
Brain Processes
Hypnotically

10
9/26/15

Principle 1
Trust Your Unconscious

A Paradigm Shift on the Unconscious

Erickson presented a new view of the unconscious at a


time when Freudian views predominated

11
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Freuds Established View

We are largely unconscious

The unconscious is the source of disturbance, repressions, and


problems

Conscious reason is the road to healthy functioning


Make the unconscious conscious
Where id was, there ego shall be
As soon as the unconscious processes involved are made conscious, the
symptom must vanish The task of the psychoanalytic treatment can be
summed up in this formula: Everything pathogenic in the unconscious must be
transferred into consciousness.
(Freuds Introductory Lectures)

Ericksons New View:


Trust the Unconscious

The conscious mind is the source of problems


It is lled with learned limitations

Unconscious functioning is natural, healthy, and positive


Not necessary to make the unconscious conscious
Not negative repressions
Rather the source for potential and solutions to lifes
problems

Erickson often said, Your unconscious is a lot smarter than


you are!

12
9/26/15

Ancient Wisdom: Unconscious as the


Source of Wisdom

Meditation Traditions of the East also address the


unconscious
Wordless insight that goes beyond thought
Taught through meditation, koans, arts

All develop a kind of unconscious knowing that does not


rely on deliberate rational thought
Meditation methods activate the unconscious
therapeutically

Unconscious Intelligence & The Brain

Hypnotic and meditative unconscious correlates with


recent neuroscience ndings

Many intelligent brain processes function unconsciously


and automatically
You know how to move, to sense, to feel & to think
The brain takes care of these things accurately & wisely

13
9/26/15

Examples of Unconscious Wisdom 1

Long term memory has


intelligent non-conscious
(implicit) pathways

HM and the Mirror Tracing


Task

(Gabrieli, Corkin, Mickel, &


Growdon, 1993)

Example of Unconscious Wisdom 2


The Dorsal and Ventral Vision Pathways

Titchener Circles
(Milner & Goodale, 1995)

14
9/26/15

Experiencing the Wisdom of the


Unconscious
Are you right or left thumbed?

Principle 2
Individualize

15
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Drawing on the Clients Experiencing

No two brains are the same, and so


individualize treatment for more
powerful eects
Hypnosis that is most eective takes
place individually, in your own way and
your own time
Ericksons early experiment: The bowl of fruit
Hypnosis is an experience that belongs to each
person.
It comes from your own accumulated learnings
and memories.
The experience can be nonconscious
The hypnotist can do no more than learn how
to oer stimuli and suggestions to evoke
responsive behavior based upon the subjects
own experiential past. ( Erickson, 1964)

Experiencing Your Individuality

Vividly imagine eating a favorite food

16
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Principle 3:
Be Flexible in
Looking at the
Problem

Addressing the Real Problem


Feedback from the
nervous system may not
always reect the
problem.
For example anxious
clients may think they are
having a heart attack

What people think is the


problem is often not the
real problem
Look for the patterns,
turn it around, step
outside or in
The client who thought
she was afraid of ying

17
9/26/15

Let Yourself See Multiple Possibilities

Dene a Problem in a New Way

Your own problem or a clients problem

18
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Principle 4:
Receptivity Can Be
Fostered

Observe Clients Receptivity

Receptivity is built into our nervous system


So, even a resistant client is receptive in some
way

Look at the clients responses


Body Positioning
Breathing
Muscle Tonus

Attune to the subtle

19
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Developing Receptivity

A Yes set can strengthen the


therapeutic bond
Simpkins research

For the cooperative client


Develop a yes set

For the resistant client


Develop a No set

Developing Acceptance
Together
Consider the shared moment here together here at this wonderful conference

Envision the learning and growth you are having

20
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Principle 5:
Accepting and
Utilizing What is
There

Accepting and Using What is There

Milton Erickson taught the idea of


accepting and what he called utilizing
what is there in the client, even the
negative qualities.
There is an initial acceptance of, and a
ready cooperation with, the patients
presenting behavior by the operator
[therapist], however seemingly adverse
it may appear to be in the clinical
situation.
(Erickson, Utilization Techniques, 1959)

Start from where the person is

Thus Individualizing begins with what is


already there

21
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Use the Abilities You Already Have


Use human natures tendencies
Resolve uncertainty
Fill gaps and nd closure
Develop and grow normally

We all have what we consider talents and decits


Build on what is already there, whether seemingly positive or
negative
Enlist talents in the broadest sense, even those you might not
recognize as abilities
The forgetful dieter
We often say, Within the problem you can nd the seeds of
potential

What Are your Talents in the


Broadest Sense?

22
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Principle 6:
Bypass Conscious
Limits to Discover
the True Self

Returning to your inner source

Your conscious mind sometimes gets in your


way from learned limitations

You can bypass this conscious limit to discover


a deeper source

23
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Rediscover your deeper nature


What did you like to do as a child?

Principle 7:
Allowing Change

24
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Learning to Allow

Rather than trying to force change, let it


happen
Imagination VS will

Trust that your clients have a natural capacity


to grow and develop if allowed to do so

Allowing Change

Imagine what you would be like without this


problem? Allow the image to form.

25
9/26/15

Our Research Showing the


Value of Working
Indirectly and
Unconsciously


Working Unconsciously in Psychotherapy

Compared Hypnosis using Ericksonian


Therapy (ET) & Brief Dynamic Therapy (BDT)
(Simpkins & Simpkins, 2008)

Comparison study of two very dierent


approaches to brief therapy
ET: no direct discussion of problem
BDT: Discussion and analysis of problem

26
9/26/15

Research Continued

2 Groups: ET & BDT

4 Tests: for 4 dimensions


1-CPSAS - Social/interpersonal
2-HSCL- Internal/experiential
3-TC - Target complaint
4-GI - Global improvement

Results

No statistical dierence, even on the TC test


Clients in both groups reported that they had new tools to work
with
ET subjects felt they gained an intuitive tool in their unconscious
Things are just kind of happening; Im not sure why, but I am more relaxed,
and I can trust my intuitive self.
My unconscious has opened up more and it does more. This feels good.
BDT subjects felt awareness was their tool:
Its the awareness: stopping, stepping back, away from being immersed in it
all, to look at it from the outside. Im noticing things more and making an
eort to observe my surroundings.

27
9/26/15

Implications of Results
Not always necessary to address a problem
directly in order to resolve it

Indirect methods activate inner processes for
specic as well as nonspecic changes

Shows the indirect approach to problem


solving was upheld by research

Fostering Unconscious Processes

28
9/26/15

Four-Step Method to Trance


Observe
Turn attention away from the world and focus inward
Become absorbed in experiencing

Wonder and Curiosity


What would it be like to go deeply into trance?
What would I feel?
How will my unconscious express itself?

Imagine
Imagine vividly
Imagine, what if I went into trance
Imagine your unconscious owing as it will

Allow
Invite your unconscious to express itself then step back and let it happen
Wait for your response to unfold

Trance to Activate Positive Mind-


Brain Transformation

29
9/26/15

THANK YOU!
Contact us:
annellenandalex@radiantdolphinpress.com
Webpage: simpkins.radiantdolphinpress.com

Join us on Facebook!
Annellen-Alex Simpkins
Annellen Simpkins PhD & C. Alexander Simpkins PhD

Facebook Book Pages


Neuro-Hypnosis
Dao of Neuroscience
Meditation for Therapists and Their Clients
Meditation and Yoga in Psychotherapy

Selected SIMPKINS & SIMPKINS Books


September 30, 2012 April 1, 2013

30
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Published and Forthcoming Books
By
C. Alexander Simpkins, PhD and Annellen M. Simpkins, PhD

Philosophy and Meditation
(2015, Forthcoming). Core Principles of Meditation for Therapy: Improving the
Outcome of Psychotherapeutic Treatment. (Multi-media book/DVD/CD, John Wiley
& Sons).
(2014). The Yoga and Mindfulness Therapy Workbook. (PESI)
( 2013 ). The Tao of Bipolar: Using Meditation and Mindfulness to Find Balance and
Peace. New Harbinger.
(2012). Zen Meditation in Psychotherapy: Techniques for Clinical Practice. John
Wiley & Sons.
(2011). Meditation and Yoga in Psychotherapy: Techniques for Clinical Practice. John
Wiley & Sons.
(2009). Meditation for Therapists and Clients, Norton Professional Books
(2007). & (2004). Meditation from Thought to Action with Audio CD. Radiant
Dolphin Press. (1998) Tuttle Publishing.
(2004). Principles of Meditation with Audio CD. Radiant Dolphin Press. (1996).
Tuttle Publishing.
(2004). Living Meditation with Audio CD. Radiant Dolphin Press. (1997), Tuttle
Publishing.
(2003). Yoga Basics. Tuttle Publishing.
(2003). Zen in Ten: Easy Lessons for Spiritual Growth. Tuttle Publishing.
(2003). Buddhism in Ten: Easy Lessons for Spiritual Growth. Tuttle Publishing.
(2002). Tao in Ten: Easy Lessons for Spiritual Growth. Tuttle Publishing.
(2001). Simple Tibetan Buddhism: A Guide to Tantric Living. Tuttle Publishing.
(2000). Simple Buddhism: A Guide to Enlightened Living. Tuttle Publishing.
(2000). Simple Confucianism: A Guide to Living Virtuously. Tuttle Publishing.
(1999). Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance. Tuttle Publishing.
(1999). Simple Zen: A Guide to Living Moment by Moment. Tuttle Publishing.
(1998). Zen Around the World: A 2500-Year Journey from the Buddha to You. Tuttle
Publishing.
Psychotherapy, Hypnosis, and Neuroscience
(2016), Forthcoming). Resistance, Rebellion, and Growth. (Springer)
(2012). Neuroscience for Clinicians. (Springer)
(2010). Neuro-Hypnosis: Using Self-Hypnosis to Activate the Brain for Change.
Norton Professional Books.
(2010). The Dao of Neuroscience: Combining Eastern and Western Principles for
Optimal Therapeutic Change. Norton Professional Books
(2005) & (1999). Effective Self-Hypnosis: Pathways to the Unconscious & cassette
or Audio CD. Radiant Dolphin Press.
(2004). Self-Hypnosis for Women & Audio CD. Radiant Dolphin Press.
(2001). Self-Hypnosis Plain and Simple. Boston: Tuttle Publishing.
(2001). Timeless Teachings from the Therapy Masters. Radiant Dolphin Press.
Other Books
(2005). Taekwondo: Building on the Basics. Radiant Dolphin Press.
(2002). Chung Do Kwan: The Power of Tae Kwon Do. Tuttle Publishing.
(2002). A Perfect World: The Rom Files. Radiant Dolphin Press.
Foreign Editions
(2010). Polish. Meditation for Therapists and their Clients
(2006). Italian. Fondamenti di Yoga. Oriental Press.
(2006). Indonesian. Simple Buddhism. BIP, PT Bhuanailmu Populer.
(2006). Indonesian. Simple Taoism. BIP, PT Bhuanailmu Populer.
(2006). Indonesian. Simple Confucianism. BIP, PT Bhuanailmu Populer.
(2004). Russian: Zen in Ten. Mockbb.
(2003). Spanish (Spain): Auto hypnosis Facil Y Simple. Arkano Books.
(2002). Italian. Autoipnosi Ericksoniana. Astrolabio.
(2002). Swedish. Tao Fran Borjan. Svenska Forlaget.
(2001). Spanish (Spain). El Zen Simple. Oceano Ambar.
(2000). Spanish (Spain). El Tao Simple. Oceano Ambar.
(2000). Dutch. Basisgids Taoisme. Bosch & Keuning.
(2000). Dutch. Basisgids Zen. Bosch & Keuning.
(2000). French. Le Petit Livre du Tao. La Table Ronde.
(2000). French. Le Petit Livre du Zen. La Table Ronde.
(2000). Irish. Simple Taoism. Newleaf: Gil & Macmillan.
(2000). Irish. Simple Zen. Newleaf: Gil & Macmillan.
(1999). Spanish (Mexico). Principios de Meditacion. Editorial Diana.
(1996). Dutch. Meditatie Stap voor Stap. HMP.
(1996). Dutch. Meditatie Een Inleiding in Ontspanning. Bzztoh.