The Psychology of Suggestions
What is a suggestion?
1. A suggestion is any single thought, series of thoughts, ideas, words, beliefs, or actions given in any manner direct , indirect, conscious, unconscious, that changes or alters a persons normal behavior pattern.
2. A suggestion is any process whereby a person accepts a command, a plea, a proposition, a thought, idea, belief, or any direction to be acted upon in the absence of any critical or reflective thoughts which would normally occur.
3. A suggestion is any process whereby one person or group may have subtle or direct influence on anothers behavior in any state whether it be the conscious, unconscious, or hypnotic state.
Suggestions come in a variety of ways. They influence us every day of our lives and have done so since the day of our birth. Below are a few examples of the types of suggestions that may have had a bearing on changing or altering our normal behavior patterns.
Direct Suggestions are any verbal statement or physical action that is direct, to the point and without camouflage. Direct suggestions are given in an authoritarian or persuasive manner.
Everybody stand up. (authoritarian)
Everybody stand up, please. (persuasive)
Pass the sugar.
Eat your food.
Indirect/Inferred Suggestions are generally not recognized as suggestions. This is because they are primarily non-verbal, often only motions or sounds, and the subject is not even aware of their influence.
Cough … and you cause others to cough.
Yawn ¦ and you cause others to yawn.
Smile ¦ and you cause others to smile.
Look up at tall buildings¦ and you cause others to look up.
Pointing a finger at someone, suggesting they come here
Pointing a finger at someone, suggesting they leave the room
Nodding your head to indicate your approval or disapproval
Making a fist at someone, suggesting violent action
Prestige Suggestions are those you accept and act upon as your very own without âsecond thoughtâ or contradiction because they were given by a person of prestige whom you like, trust, respect or in whom have some confidence. Prestige suggestions may enhance your life in some way â socially, economically, politically, academically, emotionally, intellectually, physically or psychologically.
Examples of people who have prestige:
Friends, Parents, Relatives
Non-Prestige Suggestions are personalized conditioned reflex suggestions that influence a persons conduct in the waking state.
Music suggests happiness, sadness, dancing, singing, romance, etc.
Sight or smell of food suggests hunger, or possibly nausea.
Rain suggests freshness, cleanliness, depression, coziness, etc.
Street noises suggest hyperactivity or excitement.
Environmental Suggestions are those that affect your 5 human senses, VAKOG (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory, Gustatory)
Clear sunny days with bright blue skies and comfortable temperatures make us feel happy, content and full of vitality.
Dismal gray days of rain, snow, or fog make us feel âdown in the dumpsâ or sluggish.
Extreme heat or cold can generate feelings of discomfort or pain.
Well-decorated or well-ventilated working or living conditions can cause us to react with a feeling of well-being and elation.
Conditioned Reflex Suggestions cause a person to form a habit pattern or way of life based on a continuous, constant, repetitious learning process. This learning process is reflex conditioning, and it can be a conscious or a subconscious process that will influence or alter a persons behavior pattern with or without his/her awareness. Conditioned reflex suggestions affect all five of the human senses and they can be self-induced or externally induced.
Good Humor man rings his bells, you automatically buy his ice cream
Parades, mob violence, political rallies, all may stimulate your physical/emotional responses
Religious ceremonies accept dogmas and doctrines without question
Vulgarity or obscenities stimulate positive or negative emotions or physical responses
Emotional Suggestions are those that raise your emotional or sensory state thereby setting into motion any feelings, sensations or emotional responses.
Shouting/making verbal threats can cause a state of fear or panic
Antagonizing can cause anger
Gentleness/empathy can cause happiness, laughter or crying
Unconscious Suggestions are those comments, statements, suggestions or stimuli received by a person while in some form of altered, receptive state which an outside source absent-mindedly or indiscreetly induces. Generally, neither part is consciously aware of the consequences.
Social Suggestions are those suggestions designed to lead or appeal to an individual for the purpose of conformity. Experiments in social suggestions show that people tend to âfollow the crowd. Individuals give into peer pressure.
Politics people tend to vote for the person who appears to be the peoples choice
In the world of fashion people âfollow the trends. To be in style is to be accepted. It is a way of belonging and being in with the crowd by inference.
Autosuggestion is the process of giving suggestions to oneâs self, either in the a waking state or any alpha or meditative state.
Hereto-Suggestions are those given by one person to another in any manner.
Post-Hypnotic Suggestions are those suggestions which are specifically designed to be implanted during the hypnotic state, then used or acted upon after the person has been hypnotically awakened.
Pre-Hypnotic Suggestions are those generally used with deep hypnotic subjects to âpre-talkâ their suggestions in a conscious state prior to hypnosis induction. The pre-talk will include the goal or purpose of the induction about to take place, plus the time frame, or the conditions for awakening from the hypnotic state.
Negative Suggestions are designed to tell the client not to manifest something, be it a behavior, emotion or thought.
Don’t feel stressed.
Don’t get angry.
You will not smoke.
Don’t roll your eyes at me.
While generally not recommended to use in hypnosis, negative suggestions can sometimes produce a desirable effect:
Don’t go into a trance too quickly.
Don’t think about relaxing too deeply.
Don’t smile as you think about your future.
Don’t enjoy this process too much.
Words that may indicate negative suggestions are being used:
Try Maybe Hope
Never Don’t Can’t
Positive Suggestions are designed to create images of the desired outcome.
Do feel happy.
You can relax deeply.
You will succeed.
Words that may indicate positive suggestions are being used:
Succeed Will Know
Always Do Can