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Can aphantasics be hypnotized?

Jerry jordison asked 7 months ago

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I have paid hypnotist money to be hypnotized with no result. I’ve recently discovered I’m aphantasic. Is there a direct connection?

Zach Dobosh August 28, 2020 09:07 pm

Hey Jerry,

I am no expert on this topic but this is a question I’ve pondered quite a bit. I personally think we have a significantly lower probability of being hypnotized by traditional means. I personally have spent a lot of time listening to audio hypnosis sessions with no noticeable affects. I’ve seen multiple aphantasics ask similar questions throughout the web. And from what I understand, visualization is a pretty critical tool for most hypnotists. The way I’ve heard neuroscientist, Andrew Huberman, who specializes in mental states (such as hypnotic, flow, fight-or-flight, highly neuroplastic, etc) and vision, he describes the process of hypnosis as guiding the subject to broaden awareness to the feelings within your body, he sound from your surroundings, and visual elements outside of your physical surroundings, in a particular manner and sequence. When this is done properly, I guess we enter a highly suggestive state, simultaneously hovering between high concentration and relaxation. I intend to look into this more and also survey about susceptibility to conspiracy theories. I hypothesize we are likely more immune to these as well. Modern conspiracy theory videos seem to be leveraging principles of hypnosis, in my opinion.

Could you describe your experience with the hypnotist?

Jerry jordison replied 2 weeks ago

Again, thank you for the last message. I have a friend who took corses with NLP and practiced on me. We had an enjoyable time trying it out, but it didn’t seem to work for me. However, my friend felt he was successful with other volunteers. I’ve attented Hypnosis shows…were the hypnotist gets a bunch of people on stage, hypnotise them and entertain the audience with ‘tricks’. I volunteered several times, but was directed to my seat…until the last time I faked it. I stayed on stage for the first half doing what he asked the group to do. When he gave the key word to come back on stage for the second half, I didn’t go, as I was aware of eveerything. At the break I talked to a couple of other people who were on stage and hypnotized and they told me they couldn’t remember anything while up there. When the key word was given they immediately ran up on stage again.
For years I was a member of Eckankar, receiving precepts, or instructions on how to leave my body to ‘soul travel’. Each exercise was another form of guided meditation, but I was unsuccessful. Recently I signed up for Shaolin Tai Chi…which included marshal arts and meditation…a lot of guided meditation, which I enjoyed, but no experiences. So the bottom line is I’m a person who has witnessed success with hypnosis and meditation, but never experienced it.
If you think I could be helpful in your research I would be happy to chat with you. I hope you enjoy my ebook. If you do/did I will mail you the second book, which focuses on the benefits of meditation and reincarnation.

Jerry jordison August 29, 2020 02:05 am

Thanks for contacting me, Zach. I submited information to this site in April and never heard back. What follow is my innital imput. I’m pasting it here in case you didn’t see it. However I will answer you question about my expeience with the hypnotist in more detail.

After discovering that I have aphantasia, I realized why I failed at my attempts to be hypnotized and unsuccessful with meditation.

 I’m seventy-seven. It was just last year while listening to the CBC radio I heard a discussion on aphantasia. As I listened I realized they were talking about me…a person who cannot ‘see pictures in my head’. It has been my normal throughout my life and has created much frustration in my daily functioning. I thought it was the way I was born…with a lower IQ than many people. I was always poor in spelling at school, and rejoiced when computers were invented with Spell Check. Now I realize my inability to spell correctly could be related to not being able to visualize the written word. Yes, I used phonics to sound words out, but instantaneous recognition of words did not work for me.

Watching cop shows on television created a feeling of failure in me because I would never be able to describe the events at a murder scene. I might be able to tell you some general things, like the number of people involved, or their general size, but I couldn’t tell you the colours of their hair, or clothe. To this day, my wife would comment on a certain person…you know the one with brown hair. It never helped me to recognize such a person. I couldn’t tell those details about anyone I’ve meant. I could not visualize them.

My most important revelation in discovering I’m aphantasic, is the realization why I was never successful at meditation. Most of my adult life I’ve been interested in spirituality, with particular emphasis on meditation. I’ve taken several courses, attended workshops, and meditation groups in order to receive the benefits of mediation…less stress, enhanced self-awareness, improved memory, improved sleep, pain control, decrease blood pressure, etc. All of my efforts proved elusive. I purchased visualization recordings and attended visualization groups, again with no success. I was persistent, knowing the great benefits of it.

I realized hypnosis was a form of visualization and studied that at university. I learned to be a hypnotist, and successfully hypnotized many people. I hypnotized dozens of people to help them stop smoking, and eliminate headaches. My passion led to hypnotic regressions, both to younger ages and to past lives. I ended up writing two books on the topic (see bio). I paid professional hypnotist to hypnotize me, with no results.

A hypnotist usual method is to suggest to the subject to visualize certain scenes like resting in a hammock, gently floating in a canoe, walking in a flower garden, etc. Most people were able to visualize these experiences making them good subjects to be taken into a hypnotic trance. As I proceeded with the hypnotic induction I realized I couldn’t visualize the experiences I had asked them to be involved in.

My interest in psychic things, and my success at helping others to accomplish such things as telepathy, precognition, astral projection and soul travel, made me envious to want to experience these things myself. I was persistent and kept working at it but with no success.

At the time I didn’t realize that other people really could clearly ‘see’ what I suggested and what they experienced. I thought somehow we were all the same…couldn’t actually ‘see’ pictures, but were objectively creating reality as a mind game. It was just this past year when I fully understood that I was a part of the two percent of people who couldn’t visualize…I was aphantasic. Knowing this, it was a comfort to know my failure wasn’t completely my fault. I’m less frustrated now and accept my inability to experience the ‘spiritual’ world. At the same time I know it is a reality for all of us, but not all can experience it.

I have a friend who has a photogenic memory. My assumption is aphantasia is the opposite of that. I have never been musical in my life, I cannot sing. I always wanted to play a guitar, so a few years ago I took lessons. I learned the finger placements for the cords and I practiced jamming with a group of people for a few years (I watched their finger placements). I had to finally admit that I could not distinguish one cord from the other…I’m tone deaf. I’m assuming this is another symptom of aphantasia.

Being aphantasia is not a pleasant thing. It creates frustration and stress. However, knowing you have aphantasia creates understanding and acceptance.

Jerry jordison August 29, 2020 02:26 am

From an early age I've been interested in ESP etc. Later I discovered that ESP could be acieved with menitation. Not only ESP by such things as 'astral projection', soul travel, chanelling, contacing your spirit guide, etc. I bought books on how to meditate. I practiced but didn't have any success. I connected meditation with hypnosis, or guided meditation. I bought many guided meditation tapes and listen to them...no results. I then contacted a medical doctor who did hypnosis. He tried his best to hypnotise me, but no success (but I still had to pay him). I met friends who were also interested in hypnosis and exchanged sessions...many times...no success. However, I was succesful in hypnostising the friend. I went to a weekend conference with a professional hypnotist as a speaker. He clained he could hypnotise anyone. I approched him at the conference and he agreed to do a session with me. His method was to visualize a teenage event...my first car...and attempted to get me to talk about it. I couldn't 'see' anything to tell him (I only mentioned a few things I remembered). He took my hundred dollars and appoligized. I continued with guided meditation tapes until a years ago when I heard about aphantasia. It was a releaf to know why I couldn't be hypnostised, but a disappointment becasue I wanted to experience the benefits of meditation.

Since I was successful in hypnotising people, I continued with it. I started to regress people to younger ages, and then to past lives. I ended up writing two books about it. I helped recreate wonderful experiences for others, but no direct experience for me.

If you are interested I converted my first book to an ebook, and offered it for free. Here is the address for it: http://www.notunique.ca/content/bm~doc/we-are-not-unique-a-discussion-on-spirituality---jerry-jordison.epub

Jerry Jordison

Zach Dobosh replied 3 weeks ago

Very interesting, Jerry. I do have some recollection of either seeing or hearing about your post earlier in the year. Your story is phenomenal, hearing about the depths to which you immersed yourself in these practices and neither you nor the hypnotists you met along the way recognized there was a stark difference in each other’s mental representations. I too have spent much time practicing meditation, visualizing, and self-hypnosis, with little to no perceivable value, mostly just frustration. I have taken much more to movement meditations of various sorts – yoga, ecstatic dance, breathwork, and a ton of running. I use these tools like one uses the more western-popularized forms of meditation, and receive reliably gain the beneits of calm, arousal control, clarity, insights, and more. The only meditation /hypnosis I’ve found semi productive is yoga nidra, particularly sessions that have you directing your attention to specific spots of the body at a somewhat brisk pace. This often requires heightened focus and the spotlighted focus triggers a notable somatic experience. I use it in bed sometimes in order to release my mind from circular thoughts and move into deeper relaxation.
The common denominator between all of the above-mentioned practices is body awareness. I believe body awareness is a reliable doorway to the subconcious mind, helping amplify creativity and gain greater awareness and control over the program running that is running in the background. I still would like to learn a technique of hypnosis that could be executed in a more directed manner, and have also spent some time researching Erickson Hypnosis & NLP. Have you looked into these at all?

If you were up for it, I would love to chat sometime. This is a topic I plan to curate tools around and write about. It would be great to collaborate with you on this! I’ve downloaded your Ebook and an Ebook reader, I look forward to reading it.

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