This is a question about a certain technique of what might be regarded as self-hypnotism and the possible results. I’m not asking if hypnotism is “real” or if it “works,” as has already been done in several threads:
My friend Kelly and I went through a phase as pre-teens in which we were fascinated by hypnotism. Medical and psychological uses of hypnotism were not very popular at the time and we were interested in “going into a trance” for entertainment or to “see how it would feel.”
Somebody told us that a person could hypnotize himself or herself by rubbing one’s temples and counting backwards from 100 to 0. I wanted to try to guide my friend through hypnoses and ask her personal questions or encourage her to quack like a duck. Kelly, however, suspecting my motives, decided that she would “hypnotize” herself. This sounded dangerous to me. Despite my warnings on venturing into serious things about which we knew nothing, she began to massage her temples and count backwards. “100, 99, 98, 97, 96, [insert numbers], 49, 48, 47, 46, 45, 40, 43, 30, 33, 27, 13,” she chanted.
"Stop, stop! You are loosing consciousness!, " I shouted. Kelly quickly snapped awake and we spent several weeks considering how I had “saved” her from entering an irreversible trance. We were convinced that she would have put herself into a state that would have been difficult to reverse if I had not intervened.
Long years passed; these days I relax myself to sleep by counting backwards, in my head, from 100 to 0. I don’t speak the numbers aloud or rub my temples. This finally brings me to the questions:
- Was my friend introducing an abnormal, alternate “hypnotized” state of consciousness or was she just going to sleep?
*Would counting aloud and rubbing one’s temples be any different than silently counting backwards as I do each night?
*If Kelly was just going to sleep why was she still talking? Could I have asked her questions if I allowed her to continue counting?
*I now know that this would not have caused a frenzied trip to the emergency room with a comatose friend, but would it have been difficult for her to awaken?